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# Fork in the road: Lopsided 720 (Q44, V45). Retake strategy?

Author Message
Intern
Joined: 09 Apr 2010
Posts: 10
Location: Egypt

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09 Apr 2010, 03:51
Hi everyone,

First, as this is my first post, many thanks to everyone at GMAT Club for their tremendous helpfulness. This is a fantastic site with invaluable resources and a very supportive community. Although I've been lurking for a while, this forum has been tremendously helpful in trudging through studying.

I'm hoping to get some advice on strategies for retaking (and perhaps whether I should retake) the GMAT. I took my first stab at the exam this past Sunday and although my overall score was over that magical 700 mark, my relatively low quant score (44) is below that even more magical 80% mark. I'll be applying to Wharton, HBS, MIT and the like for matriculation in 2011. I know conventional wisdom says that unless I had an uncharacteristically poor performance on test day, I should focus my efforts on other parts of the application. But since that's relatively far away, I don't know if I can sit tight for so long wondering if I could make a more convincing quant score.

I studied intensively for about three months using primarily MGMAT, the official guides and GMAT Prep versions one and two. Except for about 5 days of verbal, I studied exclusively quant since this was my weakness from the beginning. My score history is below. My strategy was to do practice problems and extensively review mistakes, guesses and slow work. In general, I seem to have issues over-complicating problems, making basic calculation errors, and missing the point of the question.

It's easy for me to spend 7 minutes on a problem (which I of course wouldn't do in a real test), write a page of calculations and come up with an answer that's not one of the choices! I've tried working very slowly through problems using a detailed plan of attack, making my scratch work beautiful, conceptualizing before diving into details, working under timed conditions, and many other strategies. But I just can't seem to find what my problem is.

Score history:

GMATPrep V2, Test #1, Try #1: Q43, V42, Overall 690
Kaplan CAT #1: Q39, V37, Overall 630
GMATPrep V1, Test #1, Try #1: Q?, V?, Overall 710
Kaplan CAT #2: Q35
Kaplan CAT #4: Q47
MGMAT #1: Q40
MGMAT #2: Q41, V40
MGMAT #3: Q46
MGMAT #4: Q42, V40, Overall 680
GMAT Prep V1, Test #2, Try #1: Q42, V37, Overall 650
MGMAT #5: Q43, V45, Overall 720
GMATPrep V2, Test #1, Try #2: Q48, V44, Overall 750
GMATPrep V1, Test #1, Try #2: Q50, V?, Overall 760
GMATPrep V2, Test #1, Try #1: Q48, V40, Overall 720
GMATPrep V1, Test #2, Try #2: Q47, V48, Overall 760
REAL DEAL: Q44, V45, Overall 720

Looking through my scores, I wish I had seen coming my disappointment with my quant score, since my final score was inside my typical range. Oh well. I want to figure out why my three months of studying apparently yielded only a 1 point boost from my diagnostic test at Q43 and real test at Q44. My goal would be to get my quant score to a 49.

A little background on me: I graduated from a top liberal arts college in the US with a BA in Computer Science and International Relations. I did fine in college math classes (A in Calc III, B in Linear Algebra, B in Math Structures) and normally math has been my strong suit. After graduating I worked in quant-heavy product management at a software company for 2 years and for the past 1.5 years have worked at a university in long range planning and budgeting. I think my work experience should be very strong and I could get recommenders to focus on my quantitative skills.

My (evolving, hypothetical) Retake Plan
Based on the fantastic post by hobbit "improving your quant from 44-46 to 50+"
- Sign up with a private tutor who can personally analyze my situation. (I considered a Knewton class, but don't want to invest so much time in basics and in verbal)
- Focus on repetition of basic skills by practicing easier problems
- Review every official problem where I was slow or wrong and find similar simpler problems to build the underlying concepts
- Use the GMATClub tests as my primary base of new difficult practice questions
- Make more extensive use of Kaplan book to build basic skills
- (Perhaps) purchase a book like Jeff Sackmann's Total GMAT Math

Questions for the ever-patient and benevolent GMATClub community:
1) Is retaking with the ambition of going from a Q44 to a Q49 unrealistic given my fairly consistent score history?
2) Any suggestions on how I might fundamentally change my approach such that I actually see improvement? Suggested materials? Thoughts on the strategy above or using a private tutor as opposed to online classes?
3) If I didn't retake, how suspiciously will the schools I'm looking at view my low quant score in the context of a math-ish background? Am I crazy for thinking about retaking?

Intern
Joined: 09 Apr 2010
Posts: 10
Location: Egypt
Re: Fork in the road: Lopsided 720 (Q44, V45). Retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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27 May 2010, 02:39
2
I just thought I'd update everyone on my retake experience, which has been a long journey starting back in December. I finally retook the GMAT yesterday, and although I only scored ten points higher than my first score, I met my goal of raising my quant score nine percentile points to a 47. My score in the end was a 730/Q47/V45, which I'm happy with. It's finally over!

My strategy was mostly what I described below, starting with signing up for a private tutor to personally analyze my situation. I carefully considered those from the big test companies, but decided it would be better to try out someone independent who didn't have to push certain materials. I tried a few different unimpressive tutors but was firmly convinced by Charles Biblios, aka GMAT Ninja (http://gmatninja.com/). He took a personal interest in my overall goals and was critical to developing a strategy to improving my math performance. Charles is a fun-loving GMAT genius and crackerjack pedagogue. His lighthearted intensity makes boosting your score seem a matter of snapping together legos.

Over the course of several sessions with Charles, he quickly developed a sense of my individual strengths, weaknesses and peculiarities when facing the GMAT. We focused on building basic math skills rather than practicing super difficult problems. I went back to the beginning of the official guides and really took my time to systematically improve my understanding of basic techniques. I caught myself making all kinds of regular calculation mistakes and feeling stumped on things I should have memorized.

I think the critical component was Charles' advice on accuracy and timing. I really had to learn how to pick my battles and skip problems that I know I could solve with more time. Apart from that, I had to treat the problems that I did chose to tackle as a matter of life and death, even checking each step of my work after finishing the problem. This really taught me to be a lot more precise and focus on winning the battles I could in a short period of time.

So, for anyone with a quant score in the mid-forties looking to move closer to that 80 percentile mark, I highly recommend returning to the basics and focusing on refining strategy rather than on mastering difficult problems. Also, especially since studying for the GMAT can seem like such a solitary journey, I highly recommend finding a tutor who can personalize the experience and take an interest in your success. I recommend Charles, the GMAT Ninja, but anyone who can give you expert advice can make a big difference!
Manager
Joined: 27 Dec 2009
Posts: 138
Re: Fork in the road: Lopsided 720 (Q44, V45). Retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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11 Apr 2010, 10:22
Hi , 720 is indeed a very good score. However, you can also think of retaking the test if you want to increase your quants score. I guess if you retake the exam you will have nothing to loose. Even if you score less than 720 in the second time, Schools take the best of the scores. All the best.
Intern
Joined: 09 Apr 2010
Posts: 10
Location: Egypt
Re: Fork in the road: Lopsided 720 (Q44, V45). Retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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11 Apr 2010, 11:59
Msand, thanks for your reply and thoughts. Any ideas on how to change my strategy to bump up the quant score? Somehow all that studying I did didn't get me any improvement from my baseline
Director
Joined: 23 Apr 2010
Posts: 542
Re: Fork in the road: Lopsided 720 (Q44, V45). Retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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28 May 2010, 01:43
trimetrus, could you please be more specific on how you overcame making silly mistakes and how you improved your timing? That would help.

Intern
Joined: 09 Apr 2010
Posts: 10
Location: Egypt
Re: Fork in the road: Lopsided 720 (Q44, V45). Retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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12 Jun 2010, 02:42
1
I think the key for me on getting rid of silly mistakes was, as my GMAT tutor said, "treat each problem as a matter of life and death" and checking problems after I finished them (while practicing).

For the first, treating each problem as a matter of life and death, my issue was that I thought going through simple calculations faster was going to save me valuable time. For example, if I had a fraction of 192 divided by 16, I would try and take the smart route of recognizing that this divides evenly in one step instead of just dividing the fraction by two a bunch of times until it got to an easy-to-reduce fraction. I felt afraid of the latter "stupid" approach thinking it would take too long.

For the second, checking problems, I would simply check my work before selecting my answer. It seems simple enough, but I assumed this was another technique that I shouldn't invest in. I did this most intensively while practicing, and just checking taught me to do more careful work because I got to know my errors. For most of the time I only spent time checking while I was doing practice problems. But then I found that the value I got from checking was greater than the time lost, so I incorporated this into my strategy while taking timed tests as well.

Lastly, I really focused on getting right the problems that I could and cutting my losses on the ones I was less likely to get. I had heard this strategy a hundred times, but still assumed that I should only be skipping problems that were very, very difficult. To the contrary, I decided to skip problems I knew I could do but would involve calculations I often mess up. You can get a lot of questions wrong and still get a decent quant score. With that in mind I tried to aim for less and feel comfortable skipping problems I was sure I could do under different circumstances. Learning to invest more time in problems I could do precisely and skipping the ones I couldn't hugely helped my timing strategy.

Hope this helps,
Taylor
Director
Joined: 23 Apr 2010
Posts: 542
Re: Fork in the road: Lopsided 720 (Q44, V45). Retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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12 Jun 2010, 06:52
Taylor, thanks a lot for answering my question. It was very useful.
Intern
Joined: 03 Oct 2009
Posts: 1
Re: Fork in the road: Lopsided 720 (Q44, V45). Retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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29 Jun 2010, 23:11
Taylor, you took those private tutoring online?
Intern
Joined: 09 Apr 2010
Posts: 10
Location: Egypt
Re: Fork in the road: Lopsided 720 (Q44, V45). Retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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30 Jun 2010, 00:08
Yes, we used Skype. He had a camera and a white board so we could work through problems together. Even with the distance between Egypt and New York, it worked perfectly.
Intern
Joined: 21 Jul 2016
Posts: 2
GMAT 1: 700 Q50 V34
Re: Fork in the road: Lopsided 720 (Q44, V45). Retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2017, 02:30
Hii trimetrus,

730 is indeed a very good score. kudos to you..can u better teach us how u got an excellent score in verbal.. u have consistently touched V45 mark.. plz enlighten us hw to achieve even V40 mark.. that will be helpful and i would be happy to hear from you..
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 13577
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: Fork in the road: Lopsided 720 (Q44, V45). Retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2017, 10:43
Hi omshrivastav,

The other posts in this thread are over 10 years old, so it's unlikely that the original poster will be responding to your questions. That having been said, if you're looking to improve your GMAT score, then it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied?
2) What materials have you used?
3) How have you scored on each of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores)?

Goals:
4) What is your goal score?
5) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
6) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
7) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

# Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save \$75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

*****Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!*****

Intern
Joined: 21 Jul 2016
Posts: 2
GMAT 1: 700 Q50 V34
Re: Fork in the road: Lopsided 720 (Q44, V45). Retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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05 Aug 2017, 18:15
Hii Rich,
Thnks for the response..

Last year i took gmat nd scored 700.. but the effort i had put, i expected a 720+ score.. so i got disappointed nd decided to retake.. but smhw its been 1 year and i could book my date for 25th august this month..

So, its a 1 year gap since my preparation.. and i have started my studies since last 15-20 days.. i have not taken any CAT this year.. i hav used OG, VOG, official GMAT prep question pack 1 and few e-gmat video lectures..

My goal score is 730+..
Exam date is 25th august..
Colleges i m not sure but will try for US colleges.. medium to high level..

Plz respond if you could suggest me best way to improve..

Sent from my YOGA Tablet 2-830LC using GMAT Club Forum mobile app
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 13577
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: Fork in the road: Lopsided 720 (Q44, V45). Retake strategy?  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

06 Aug 2017, 10:01
Hi omshrivastav,

To start, I suggest that you start your own post thread (instead of continuing on at the end of this one).

Without a realistic CAT Score result to use as reference, we really have no idea how close you are to your goal score (nor what you would have to focus on to improve). Given your timeframe (less than 3 weeks), taking that CAT should be the priority. I strongly recommend that you take one of the Official GMAT CATs and take it in a realistic fashion (take the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections, take it away from your home, at the same time of day as when you'll take the Official GMAT, etc.). Once you have that score, you should report back and we can discuss how best to proceed.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

# Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save \$75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

*****Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!*****

Re: Fork in the road: Lopsided 720 (Q44, V45). Retake strategy?   [#permalink] 06 Aug 2017, 10:01
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# Fork in the road: Lopsided 720 (Q44, V45). Retake strategy?

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