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From 540 to 640 - Aiming for a 700 - Need advice

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From 540 to 640 - Aiming for a 700 - Need advice  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 19 Jan 2019, 01:39
Hi there!

First of all thanks for taking the time to read this post. This is a post which has 2 main purposes:
1- Reaching for some additional help
2- Keep motivation up for myself and for all test takers who struggle out there.

Before going any further, I first want to thank the guys from Target Test Prep. This improvement is solely due to their tool, which help me raised from a 17 to a 41 on Quant this time. If you're serious about scoring in Quant, then TTP is your thing.

So here it is, another post on my GMAT journey. After the catastrophic 540 in mid September (which you can read about here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/exam-yesterd ... l#p2130708) I took the exam yesterday again hitting a 640.

Let's be honest, it's less than I expected, especially if we consider my CAT practice tests:
1 - 710 (Quant 47; Verbal 39) - December 23d
2 - 700 (Quant 49; Vebral 35) - December 27th
3 - 680 (Quant 42; Verbal 41) - January 2nd
4 - 690 (Quant 47; Verbal 38) - January 6th
5 - 680 (Quant 47; Verbal 38) - January 13th

Having said that, there is 2 positive sides of this:
1- I have improved by 100 points
2- I have hit my target score, so it's not a matter of capacity. I can do it; and if I can, considering my starting point of 540, anyone can.

But in order to do it, I would need some additional advice from the community and from your experience.
First, here is a little reflexion I did about what has improved on my latest preparation and what still needs improvement:

Study plan:
What has improved:
Reaching assistance from Target Test Prep
Taking notes of all the lessons
"Actively" reviewing my notes, by explaining them to myself and scratching them on paper about once a week
Getting back to concepts when I struggled to answer a question or I did not understand the concept tested
Keeping record of my weak areas
Redoing sets of questions when targeted accuracy was not met
What still needs improvement:
Relying too much on Target Test Prep; should I do more OG?
Not keeping a carefull error log and getting back to it
Stop "actively" reviewing 2 weeks before the exam and rushing into doing a max questions
Not mastering the essential concepts (Properties of integer; Exponents); without this, it is unlikely I will get a 700 question on Geometry
Low motivation 2 weeks prior to the exam; probably becaus of too much craming (3-4 hours of study a day + 6-7 on weekends)

Lifweise
What has improved:
Getting back to my normal life: going to the gym, going out with friends without being 24 hours a day 7 days a week on day job and GMAT; brain needed to escape
Taking a day off per week
Having a more positive attitude towards the test and believing i can actually suceed
What still needs some improvement:
Letting stress of the exam impact my behavior at home
Stop taking days off 2 weeks prior to the exam; although the exam is coming, the brain still needs to rest
Doing to many things at the same time: while I was working on the GMAT, i was interviewing in house for a job position and at a Big 4 for an M&A position; maybe it took too much energy and concentration away

Practice test
What has improved:
When I did not have any expectation about my score and I was just focusing on the question, this is when I hit my highest scores (710 - 690)
What still needs some improvement:
Worrying about my score during some exams
Doubting about my ability to hit 700 when I hit 680 on the 3d test
Not taking all of the exam in real test conditions (at the library uni, where the environment is pretty much like a test center one)

Test Day
What has improved:
This time I was fully relaxed and actually went without any fear to the exam
I read on my weak areas prior to it to keep them fresh in my mind and make sure I was not going to make any mistake on them
What still needs some improvement:
Eating before the exam was probably not a good idea.. digesting during the exam
Doing a 2 hours train trip to the exam center on the moring; next time i'll consider sleeping at the exam center's town the night before and avoid the fatigue
Not doing some easy questions prior to it to "get my mind started"

So here it is. This is my analysis. Do not hesitate to share your thoughts on this and on additional points I could work on to improve and get this 700 I am aiming for!
Also, I think I'll dedicate about a month and a half more to the test before retaking it, what do you think? Is it manageable to improve by 50 points in that time?

All the best and keep up the good work!

Originally posted by app219 on 18 Jan 2019, 03:20.
Last edited by app219 on 19 Jan 2019, 01:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: From 540 to 640 - Aiming for a 700 - Need advice  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jan 2019, 12:15
Hi iac00,

Raising a 540 to a 640 is a nice improvement; raising this Score to a 700+ will depend on a number of factors, including your current 'ability level' in the Quant and Verbal sections.

1) What were your Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores on each of your Official GMATs?
2) Your original application plans involved applying to Schools in December. How have those plans changed? When are you planning to apply now?
3) You listed a number of CAT Scores in this post. How many of those CATs had you taken before?

You might 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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Re: From 540 to 640 - Aiming for a 700 - Need advice  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2019, 03:45
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi iac00,

Raising a 540 to a 640 is a nice improvement; raising this Score to a 700+ will depend on a number of factors, including your current 'ability level' in the Quant and Verbal sections.

1) What were your Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores on each of your Official GMATs?
2) Your original application plans involved applying to Schools in December. How have those plans changed? When are you planning to apply now?
3) You listed a number of CAT Scores in this post. How many of those CATs had you taken before?

You might 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


Hey! Thanks for the answer. Here is the answer to the questions:

1) I can't remember for the 1st one, I threw it away and canceled the score. But for this one Q:41; V:36
2) Well this is something that has changed a lot. Here is the thing. My dream after my master was to enter in M&A. Now i'm currently in the last step of the selection process to enter in M&A for a big firm. I randomly applied one day thinking "oh you know what, just give it a try" and it looks like it's working so far. So if i manage to get in, I'll work for them for a couple of years and then go to B School. But no matter what I want to get this GMAT done now since the validity is 5 years. Otherwise, if I don't get that position, I want to apply in mid-April for the last round.
3) None of them actually. All were brand new.

Thanks for your help!
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Re: From 540 to 640 - Aiming for a 700 - Need advice  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2019, 15:11
Hi iac00,

Since we have been chatting on the phone, I’ll reiterate our conversation here. First and foremost, your improvement from 540 to 640 IS something to be proud of. I know how hard you’ve been working, so don’t sell yourself short here. You’ve made great gains!

That being said, I know that you are not satisfied, and we both believe that with some more work and a touch of relaxation, you CAN hit your 700+ score goal. So, moving forward, the first thing you need to do is go back into the TTP course and begin a very thorough review. As we discussed during our call today, when you learn something for the first time, sometimes you miss small details or nuances of particular concepts, so by reviewing those quant concepts again, you’ll likely better remember them, and that knowledge will help you tremendously on test day. Furthermore, to most easily find your remaining weaknesses, take advantage of the TTP custom test feature. Select 2 or 3 chapters at a time and complete a 31-question review test. After each test, thoroughly analyze your correct and incorrect answers to determine what you are doing well and where you still need help. Once you have completed your review, reset and retake exams 1 and 2, and then complete exam 6.

Let’s continue to stay in touch, so we can ensure that we get you to your goal on test day. Talk to you soon, my friend.

Let’s do this!!
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Re: From 540 to 640 - Aiming for a 700 - Need advice  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jan 2019, 17:08
Hi iac00,

To start, another 1.5 months of study time could potentially be enough time to learn the necessary Quant and Verbal Tactics to hit your Score Goal. There are a number of factors to consider as you plan out this next phase of your studies though:

1) I have to assume that the 2-hour train ride on Test Day was not something that you considered when you took your practice CATs; an important question is what ELSE (if anything) you didn't account for on Test Day? Now that you've taken the Official GMAT, you know all of the details that go into Test Day, so you have to better train to implement them during your studies. Big changes in your routine in the last couple of days of the Exam tend to do more harm than good.

2) Which 'brands' of CATs have you used so far throughout your studies? The most realistic CATs available are the 6 from GMAC, but retaking a CAT that you've already taken is NOT a realistic way to assess your skills. Seeing even a few 'repeat' questions can 'throw off' the Scoring Algorithm and impact your pacing, energy levels, fatigue, etc. (meaning that they would likely all be better than they normally would be). Thankfully, the CATs from Kaplan, MGMAT and Veritas are all 'close enough' to the real thing that they will provide you with a relatively realistic score assessment (assuming that you use the CAT correctly).

3) Many of changes you've discussed for your future studies seem to involve how you will be scheduling your studies (and your life), but if you're just going to study in the same ways as before and with the same materials as before, then it's not clear what you're going to do differently to pick up those missing points. On your 1st GMAT, you noted that your Verbal percentile was around the 76th percentile; that would have been right around a V35 or V36. You were clearly spending most of your time over the last 4 months on your Quant skills - but I have to assume that you still did SOME Verbal work. If you kept practicing for the Verbal in the same general ways as before (and with the same materials), then this recent V36 isn't too surprising. We have reasonable evidence of what happens when you keep approaching a section in the same general way. To turn a 73rd percentile Score into a 90th+ percentile Score, some significant changes will be required.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com
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Re: From 540 to 640 - Aiming for a 700 - Need advice   [#permalink] 21 Jan 2019, 17:08
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