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First attempt disappointment - 650 (Q44, V35). Motivated for 700+!!

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GMAT 1: 720 Q49 V40
First attempt disappointment - 650 (Q44, V35). Motivated for 700+!!  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Mar 2019, 21:18
I unfortunately only discovered GMAT Club two weeks before my first official attempt, but this has quickly become a huge resource for me...so it’s about time I contribute!

Background:
I am one year out of undergrad (majored in International Business) and am in a 3-year rotational program at a large biotech company. My plan is to pursue my MBA after I complete this program, so I am getting the GMAT out of the way now. I have never been great at standardized tests but have seen many others in the same boat be able to crack this test.

Goal:
Attend a top 10 MBA program

Study materials:
OG
Magoosh
Veritas

Practice tests:
Kaplan: 560 (very beginning, no studying)
Veritas Tests 1-6: 630-670 (Q43-45, V33-37)
GMAT Prep #1: 650 (Q48, V32)
GMAT Prep #2: 720 (Q49, V39) (two days before actual GMAT)

Here we go...

I began loosely studying this last August with Magoosh. From August through December, I used this time to brush up on quant and verbal fundamentals. I then ignorantly thought that this would translate to success when I started tackling practice problems - I couldn’t have been any more wrong. In hindsight, I realize that studying each rule/formula/etc. in a vacuum, is not conducive to what the GMAT is testing: reasoning. So, while knowing these fundamentals is essential for doing well, it doesn’t make a difference if you don’t know how to properly leverage them in a non-traditional way. (I think revisiting Magoosh with what I know now, will be very helpful)

So 5 months had gone by and my practice problem scores were pathetic, I then hit the panic button and invested in Veritas Prep in mid-January. Veritas has been extremely helpful in that it demonstrates the application of reasoning strategies that are useful on the different types of GMAT problems. This significantly boosted my confidence as well as my scores.

For the 4 weeks before the exam, I turned up the intensity of the studying. I would get up extra early and study for 2 hours before work, another 1.5-2 hours after work, and a solid 5-6 hours on the weekends. I would alternate between problem sets, strategy reviews, and practice tests. The Veritas practice tests were a bit discouraging, but I read in many forums that I should just ignore the score and focus on the problems (way easier said than done).

About 2 weeks out, I took a official GMAT practice and scored a 650 (Q48, V32). This was very odd, yet encouraging, because I would normally do much better on Verbal than quant on the Veritas tests, making me think that Veritas’ quant is certainly on the difficult side.

And 2 days before the exam, I hit my stride: Official practice test #2, I scored a 720 (Q49, V39). This is the score I was dreaming of and knew I could get if I did my best on both sections. And with this, I was feeling confident for my GMAT on 3-16...

Test day – 650 (Q44, V35).
I hit a difficult RC passage halfway through the verbal. This ate up too much time and lingered on my brain for the rest of that section. On quant, I thought I was certainly in the 48-49 range – I was seeing mostly hard question types and was identifying the traps that each problem had (so I thought). Bottom line is that I under-performed – could have been nerves, feeling under-confident on RC and CR, or not having solid enough strategies.

And here we are…2 days after this defeat, but I am fired up to do whatever it takes to get this 700+ score!! I’m curious if there is anyone else out there who has been in, or currently is in, a similar situation. Thanks in advance!


Here's to finally exploring GMAT Club like I should have been doing months ago :tongue_opt3
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Re: First attempt disappointment - 650 (Q44, V35). Motivated for 700+!!  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Mar 2019, 08:52
Hi McWill

I am sorry to know that your score was not in line with your expectations.

Your current score indicates a good grasp on the basics and fine-tuning your skills is what it will take to reach your target score. Here are stories of a few other students who improved from similar scores,
    • Carrie, a native speaker, improved from a 590 (V36) to 750 (V50) by leveraging our GMAT Live Prep course. Click here to watch here video interview. Click here to read her amazing GMAT Club de-brief.
    • Learn how Leonardo (from Brazil) improved his Quant score for a Q46 to Q49 and went on to score an amazing 750. He "identified and practiced specific sections" in Quant to achieve this feat. Click here to watch his video debrief. He recently secured an admit from Wharton, Booth and Tepper.
Since you mentioned it could have been test anxiety I would recommend that you read this article on How to beat GMAT Anxiety.

Way Forward

To reach your target score the first step is to create a plan which can help you:
    1. determine the abilities at sub-sectional level that you need to build to reach your target score based on your strengths and weaknesses
    2. estimate of time required to study
    3. what to study when
To create one such plan for yourself, you can use the Personalized Study Planner tool. Once you create the plan, you must focus on execution.

Since you are close to your target score, I would recommend that following Fine-Tuning strategy:
    1. Take Ability Quizzes (Quant Ability Quizzes | Verbal Ability Quizzes)
    2. Go to Skill Data section (Analytics section of Scholaranium) and isolate the weaknesses
    3. Improve upon those weaknesses using your existing resources of Free Trial content from e-GMAT
    4. Track improvement using the Ability Quizzes and repeat the steps 2-4 till you reach your target score

Hope this helps. If you would like to discuss the strategy further, write to us at support@e-gmat.com referencing this post.

Regards,
Aditee
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Re: First attempt disappointment - 650 (Q44, V35). Motivated for 700+!!  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Mar 2019, 11:41
1
650 is a good score and I am glad that you are aiming higher. I would recommend laying out a SWOT analysis of your prep and basic understanding of the concepts.

Be self critical and ensure to spend a lot of time on those specific areas.Investing in an online course would help keep the prep organized and efficient. TTP is a great course for Quants and could easily get you a q49+ score. E-gmat would be the best option for verbal.

Best wishes!
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Re: First attempt disappointment - 650 (Q44, V35). Motivated for 700+!!  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Mar 2019, 19:05
Hi McWill,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. Believe it or not, your situation is quite common. Many test-takers score higher on their official practice exams than they do on their official GMAT. Also, given that you’ve been seriously studying really only since January (just two months), it’s not all that surprising that you were unable to crack a 700, despite your hitting a 720 on your official practice exam.

That said, a 650 is a really solid start, so with some more smart and dedicated prep, you probably can improve your GMAT score. Are you looking for advice on how to move forward for your retake? If so, feel free to reach back out. Also, you may find it helpful to read the following articles about The Phases of Preparing for the GMAT and How to Score a 700+ on the GMAT.
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Re: First attempt disappointment - 650 (Q44, V35). Motivated for 700+!!  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Mar 2019, 21:18
Hi McWill,

To start, focusing on the GMAT now - years before you'll actually 'need' the Score - is a smart choice.

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, most of your CAT score results - along with your Official Score - show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 650 +/- a few points). That 720 is an 'outlier', so it's unclear how realistic that one result actually was. You clearly handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also make certain consistent mistakes. Thankfully, the GMAT is a predictable, standardized Test, so you CAN train to score at a higher level.

Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

1) On what dates did you take EACH of your CATs and how have you scored on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

You might also choose to purchase the Enhanced Score Report. While the ESR doesn’t provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong (and what you should work on to score higher). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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The Course Used By GMAT Club Moderators To Earn 750+

souvik101990 Score: 760 Q50 V42 ★★★★★
ENGRTOMBA2018 Score: 750 Q49 V44 ★★★★★
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First attempt disappointment - 650 (Q44, V35). Motivated for 700+!!  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 21 Mar 2019, 19:40
EMPOWERgmatRichC,

Thank you for reaching out. Per your questions:

1. Kaplan: 560 (Q39 V27) - August 2018
Veritas 1: 630 (Q43 V34) - Jan 21
Veritas 2: 650 (Q44 V35) - Feb 20
Veritas 3: 670 (Q45 V37) - Mar 5
Veritas 4: 670 (Q45 V37) - Mar 9
Veritas 5: 650 (Q44 V36) - Mar 13
GMAT Prep #1: 650 (Q48, V32) - Mar 2
GMAT Prep #2: 720 (Q49, V39) (two days before actual GMAT) - Mar 14

2. In terms of hours, I can make time for as much as it's going to take. I do not mind waking up extra early to study 1.5-2 hours before work. I can also study another 1.5-2 hours after work and as much as needed on the weekends. Feeling extra motivated to make this happen.

Additionally, I have attached my ESR. Thanks so much!
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Originally posted by McWill on 20 Mar 2019, 20:15.
Last edited by McWill on 21 Mar 2019, 19:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First attempt disappointment - 650 (Q44, V35). Motivated for 700+!!  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Mar 2019, 20:27
ScottTargetTestPrep

Thank you very much for the articles. I read both during my lunch break today!

Yes, I would appreciate any sort of advice for someone in my situation. I read up on Target Test Prep and it seems to be great for going the extra mile for quant. I feel that after all of the studying I have done, I have a very strong foundation for quant as I am beginning to see quant questions more as reasoning problems than as formulaic math problems.
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Re: First attempt disappointment - 650 (Q44, V35). Motivated for 700+!!  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Mar 2019, 20:32
egmat

Thank you very much for the extremely inspiring stories and the study planning! I plan on taking both of these ability quizzes and directly attacking my weaknesses. Stay tuned...
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Re: First attempt disappointment - 650 (Q44, V35). Motivated for 700+!!  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Mar 2019, 22:02
Hi McWill,

I've sent you a PM with some notes on your ESR and some additional questions/suggestions.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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souvik101990 Score: 760 Q50 V42 ★★★★★
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Re: First attempt disappointment - 650 (Q44, V35). Motivated for 700+!!  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Mar 2019, 07:30
McWill wrote:
ScottTargetTestPrep

Thank you very much for the articles. I read both during my lunch break today!

Yes, I would appreciate any sort of advice for someone in my situation. I read up on Target Test Prep and it seems to be great for going the extra mile for quant. I feel that after all of the studying I have done, I have a very strong foundation for quant as I am beginning to see quant questions more as reasoning problems than as formulaic math problems.


Hi McWill,

It’s my pleasure to help. So, as I already mentioned, a 650 (with a Q44) really is a nice start. Regarding how to improve your quant score, you need to take a structured and linear approach to your studying so that you can further study each individual quant topic and then practice each topic until you’ve gained mastery. The good news is that the Target Test Prep course is designed to allow you to study in that way. So, when you complete the course, you can be sure that you've methodically improved your GMAT quant skills and filled in your gaps in knowledge.

Certainly, if you have any further questions regarding TTP or your study plan in general, feel free to reach out to me directly.

Good luck!
_________________

Scott Woodbury-Stewart

Founder and CEO

Scott@TargetTestPrep.com
TTP - Target Test Prep Logo
122 Reviews

5-star rated online GMAT quant
self study course

See why Target Test Prep is the top rated GMAT quant course on GMAT Club. Read Our Reviews

If you find one of my posts helpful, please take a moment to click on the "Kudos" button.

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Re: First attempt disappointment - 650 (Q44, V35). Motivated for 700+!!   [#permalink] 21 Mar 2019, 07:30
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