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From ~650 range to above +700

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New post 14 Jan 2018, 19:07
Hi There,

I found this forum to be very useful and has been using the forum to help myself prep and study GMAT. I've been studying for about 3-4 weeks (2 hours a day and 3-4 hours a day on the weekend with usually one day off during the week) and scored 640 on my first practice CAT and 660 on my second practice CAT this past weekend. My quant range is from 45-47 while Verbal is from 34-37. The biggest mistake that I found from these two tests happened to be time management.

1. spending too much on stat/geomeetry problems on Quant (both PS and DS)
2. tendency to re-read passages on Verbal while spending too much time on "inference" and "assumption" questions.

I found myself to be guessing a few questions towards the end, when I should have guessed problems in the mid-range to avoid getting questions wrong consecutively in the end.

My test is in the next three months and I would like to score +700. I have purchased three sets of books to study thus far:

1. Manhattan Prep (completed)
2. 2018 Official Guide (haven't started)
3. Kaplan GMAT Plus (completed)

Questions.
1. Which book should I use to help improve on verbal?
2. Which book should I use to help improve on Stat/Geo questions?
3. What are some other general tips you could share with me to improve +50 test scores in the next three months?

I really appreciate your help.

Thanks,
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New post 15 Jan 2018, 13:18
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Hi minku1016,

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, your 2 CAT score results show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 650 +/- a few points). These scores show that you handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also make certain consistent mistakes. Many Test Takers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent study time before they hit their 'peak' scores though, so you might naturally improve over time. That having been said, it's worth noting that many Test Takers who use a 'book heavy' study approach end up getting 'stuck' at a particular score level. While it's too early to determine whether that's happened to you or not, you might end up needing to invest in some new, non-book resources.

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) Did you take each CAT in full (with the Essay and IR sections)?
2) What is your exact goal score?
3) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
4) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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New post 15 Jan 2018, 15:09
Hi,

Thank you your for response. What are some good non-book resources?

1) Did you take each CAT in full (with the Essay and IR sections)?
Yes - I got 6 and 8 in IR respectively with essays using the tips from GMATClub by chineseburned on this forum

2) What is your exact goal score?
My goal score is 730, with 700 being the minimum,

3) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
I would like to apply this upcoming Fall 2018.

4) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
I am looking into Duke, UNC, Cornell, Yale, Kellogg and Booth for Round 1 and potentially a few more, such as Ross and Columbia, in Round 2

Thank you,
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New post 16 Jan 2018, 13:16
Hi minku1016,

You've given yourself plenty of time to study for the GMAT - which is good. Since you've already purchased some study materials, I suggest that you study as you like for the next 2-3 weeks, then take a NEW, FULL-LENGTH CAT (with the Essay and IR sections). Once you have that score result, you should report back here and we can discuss if any adjustments to your studies are needed.

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New post 26 Feb 2018, 11:29
Hi,

I took Manhattan GMAT - which seems to have a harder quant than others that I have taken. The final score is 650 (Q44, V35) and it's quite disappointing to see the stagnation even with a few extra weeks of studying. Critical reasoning and sentence correction continue to be my weakness, as English isn't my native language.

I also wanted to ask for your thoughts on this - My exam is scheduled on 4/28, but I am thinking of taking it late March to see how I actually perform and give myself another four weeks to take the second test.
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New post 26 Feb 2018, 12:52
Hi minku1016,

The MGMAT CATs are generally regarded as being a bit tougher than the Official CATs, so you shouldn't be too concerned about this Score. Based on your prior CAT results, this recent result means that you're likely continuing to perform at the same general 'ability level.' Thus, continuing to work through practice questions in the same ways is almost certainly NOT going to be enough to get you to a 730+. You will have to change how you 'see' (and respond to) the GMAT to pick up those missing points. Ultimately, this means that you have to learn/practice new Tactics for BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections.

With an April 28th Test Date, you still have plenty of time to study and improve. It's not clear though whether taking another Official GMAT at the end of March would be beneficial or not - although if you do not mind spending the extra money, then going through the entire 'Test Day process' could teach you some things about Test Day that you might not be considering yet.

1) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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New post 26 Feb 2018, 13:56
Hi Rich,

Thank you again for your prompt response. I will be putting as much time as possible to get to 700+. I am currently putting in about 2 hours a day and 3-4 hours a day on Saturday and Sunday, so in total about 15-20 hours per week.

I will be focusing on reviewing the fundamentals again:
1) MGMAT SC
2) PowerScore Critical Reading Bible
3) MGMAT Number Properties
4) 5-10 Questions Daily from OG 2017 & Kaplan.

I do recognize some of the improvements in pattern recognition, but not to the optimal level that I am hoping for. The purpose of taking the test in March is this prepping process has been too long that I want to see what I will actually get by taking the real test.
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New post 26 Feb 2018, 19:24
Hi minku1016,

From your prior posts, it's not clear what 'brand' of CATs your first two CATs were. Were they the two free Official GMAC CATs or were they some other CAT? Before you 'lock in' another Test Date in March, it would help to have one more Official GMAC CAT Score to use as reference. It's possible that the points that you're looking to pick up aren't really about your knowledge of the 'basics'/'fundamentals' and might actually be about other aspects of how you take your Exams.

After taking each CAT, it's important to do a full review of your performance (with the goal of defining WHY you got questions wrong). While a full Mistake Tracker or CAT Analyzer would provide more detail, there are some basic questions that you should look to answer after you take each CAT (and the more specific you can be with your answers, the better).

After reviewing each section of this CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) In the Verbal section, how many questions did you "narrow down to 2 choices" but still get wrong?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 11 Mar 2018, 17:23
Hi,

I took my GMAT Prep#2 test today (3/11) and finally got a 700 (Q:49, V36, and IR:8). Even though it was just a practice test, I was thrilled to break into 700. I have signed up my test on 3/27 (in two weeks) and kept my original one on 4/28 as well. My goal in the next two weeks is to

1) thoroughly review on the questions I got wrong on GMAC Prep #1 and #2
2) Review questions I got right on GMAC Prep #1 and #2
3) Do more OG problems both quant and verbal
4) Focus more on time-management as I was short on time in verbal and got 4 questions consecutively wrong in the last RC
5) Take 2 more practice exams before the exam.

Thank you so much for your responses in the past few weeks. I will report back once more prior to the test and my result after the test.

Sincerely,
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New post 28 Mar 2018, 14:02
Hi Rich,

Reporting back. I got a 620 (Q46, V30, IR6) and was shocked by the score. Nerves did get me and it didn't help when I panicked early in Quant and it led me to under-perform in Verbal and IR as well. I've never got a 30 on Verbal before nor a 6 in IR as well. But it was overall a good experience just knowing how the real test works and the environment. I am taking this week off from studying and focus again starting Monday for the 4/28 test.
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New post 28 Mar 2018, 21:09
Hi minku1016,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day didn't go as well as planned. When these types of score drops occur, the two likely "causes" involve either something that was unrealistic during practice or something that was surprising (or not accounted for) on Test Day. If you can answer a few questions, then we should be able to figure this out:

When you took your CATs:
1) After March 11th, you mentioned that you were planning to take 2 more CATs. How did you score on those CATs?
2) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
3) Did you take them at home?
4) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you plan to take your Official GMAT?
5) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
6) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE (re: in an online forum or in a practice set)?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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New post 04 Apr 2018, 16:55
Hi Rich,

Nothing significantly different. I think the nerves did really get me. I got my ESR report and I got first 8 problems right in Quant. However, during the test I specifically remember around Q11 or Q12, super easy question popped up with hard questions the following, so I was getting conscious of whether I was under-performing. My RC was 95% percentile with CR at 84%... however my SC was 15%... which was shocking. I usually get around 60-70% at least but not sure how 15% popped up.
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Re: From ~650 range to above +700  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Apr 2018, 16:11
Hi minku1016,

Since you have the ESR for this Exam, I'll be happy to analyze it for you. Beyond that, if you want help to properly define what went wrong on Test Day - so that you can retest and score higher - then you're going to have to properly answer the questions that I asked.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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Re: From ~650 range to above +700  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jul 2018, 11:01
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi minku1016,

Since you have the ESR for this Exam, I'll be happy to analyze it for you. Beyond that, if you want help to properly define what went wrong on Test Day - so that you can retest and score higher - then you're going to have to properly answer the questions that I asked.

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


Hi Rich,

I have signed up re-take in late September. I'd like to try out EmPower for my study plan. My area of weakness is Sentence Correction, along with Geometry and 700+ level Algebra questions. Which programs would you recommend?
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Re: From ~650 range to above +700  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jul 2018, 11:49
Hi hanamana,

Since it's been about 3.5 months since our last series of emails, I would like to know a bit more about how you've been studying during that time:

1) What study materials have you used so far?
2) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH) over the last 3 months?
3) How did you score on the Official GMAT on 4/28? Did you take the GMAT any additional times since then?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: From ~650 range to above +700  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jul 2018, 11:53
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi hanamana,

Since it's been about 3.5 months since our last series of emails, I would like to know a bit more about how you've been studying during that time:

1) What study materials have you used so far?
2) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH) over the last 3 months?
3) How did you score on the Official GMAT on 4/28? Did you take the GMAT any additional times since then?

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


Hi Rich,

I ended up scoring a 620 (Q46, V30) and stopped studying GMAT for about two months. I've been doing daily GMAT question of the day in the past two weeks and am ready to re-tackle GMAT for the next two months starting today.

1) What study materials have you used so far?
MGMAT Series, with OG18 along with Kaplan 800

2) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH) over the last 3 months?
I haven't taken any practice exams, but these are my scores
1st (Q39, V35) 6/18/2017 - 620 MGMAT I
2nd (Q41, V34) 7/5/2017 - 620 MGMAT II
3rd (Q44, V34) 1/20/2018 - 640 - Kaplan I
4th (Q47, V33) 1/21/2018 - 660 - Kaplan II
5th (Q38, V37) 1/28/2018 - 630 - MGMAT III
6th (Q47, V32) 2/10/2018 - 640 - GMAT Official I
7th (Q44, V35) 2/25/2018 - 650 - MGMAT IV
8th (Q49, V36) 3/11/2018 - 700 - GMAT Official II
9th (Q49, V38) 3/24/2018 - 710 - GMAT Official III
10th (Q49, V38) 4/1/2018 - 710 - GMAT Official IV

3) How did you score on the Official GMAT on 4/28? Did you take the GMAT any additional times since then?
620 (Q46, V30, IR6, AWA6). No, i have not touched any GMAT since then (really burnt out).
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New post 24 Jul 2018, 14:24
Hi hanamana,

I've sent you a PM with some notes/suggestions.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: From ~650 range to above +700  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jul 2018, 16:18
Hi hanamana,

I’m sorry hear about how things went with your latest GMAT. I understand that you are burned out from studying, but I’m glad you are willing to give the GMAT another shot. The good news is that you have been able to score 700+ on your last three GMATPrep exams, so with some smart and dedicated prep, you likely can increase your GMAT score.

That being said, one possible reason for the difference between your scores on practice tests and your score on the real GMAT is that in your preparation, you have not really learned to do what you have to do in order to score high on the actual GMAT. Rather, you picked up on some patterns that were effective in getting you relatively high scores on practice tests. So, to hit your GMAT score goal, you probably have to adjust the way that you’ve been preparing.

To increase your GMAT score to a higher level, you have to go through quant and verbal carefully to find your exact weaknesses, fill gaps in your knowledge, and strengthen your skills. The overall process will be to learn all about how to answer question types with which you currently aren't very comfortable and do dozens of practice questions category by category, basically driving up your score point by point. When you do dozens of questions of the same type one after the other, you learn just what it takes to get questions of that type correct consistently. If you aren't getting close to 90 percent of questions of a certain type correct, go back and seek to better understand how that type of question works, and then do more questions of that type until you get to at least around 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better.

For example, if you find that you are not strong in answering Number Properties questions, carefully review the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions and practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. As you practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get right. If you got a remainder question wrong, ask yourself why you got it wrong. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not properly apply the remainder formula? Was there a concept you did not understand in the question? By carefully analyzing your mistakes, you will be able to efficiently fix your weaknesses and in turn improve your GMAT quant skills. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

You can work on verbal in a similar manner. Let’s say you are reviewing Critical Reasoning. Be sure that you practice a large number of Critical Reasoning questions: strengthen and weaken the argument, resolve the paradox, find the conclusion, must be true, etc. As you go through the questions, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get correct. If you missed a weaken question, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize what the question was asking? Did you skip over a key detail in an answer choice? Getting GMAT verbal questions right is a matter of what you know, what you see, and what you do. So, any time that you don't get one right, you can seek to identify what, if anything, you would have needed to know in order to get the right answer, what you had to see that you didn't see, and what you could have done differently to arrive at the correct answer.

Each time you strengthen your understanding of a topic and your skill in answering questions of a particular type, you increase your odds of hitting your score goal. You know that there are types of questions that you are happy to see and types that you would rather not see, and types of questions that you take a long time to answer correctly. Learn to more effectively answer the types of questions that you would rather not see, and make them into your favorite types. Learn to correctly answer in two minutes or less questions that you currently take five minutes to answer. By finding, say, a dozen weaker quant areas and turning them into strong areas, you will make great progress toward hitting your quant score goal. If a dozen areas turn out not to be enough, strengthen some more areas.

So, work on accuracy and generally finding correct answers, work on specific weaker areas one by one to make them strong areas, and when you take a practice GMAT or the real thing, take all the time per question available to do your absolute best to get right answers consistently. The GMAT is essentially a game of seeing how many right answers you can get in the time allotted. Approach the test with that conception in mind, and focus intently on the question in front of you with one goal in mind: getting a CORRECT answer.

In order to follow the path described above, you may need some new verbal and quant materials, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses.

You also may find it helpful to read my article for more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT.

Please reach out with any further questions.
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Re: From ~650 range to above +700  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Aug 2018, 16:47
Hi,

I took a practice exam and got a 710 (Q49, V36, IR7). I got 6 SC wrong, 3 RC wrong, and 2 CR wrong.

For math, 2 wrong in the first 10 problems.
Re: From ~650 range to above +700 &nbs [#permalink] 11 Aug 2018, 16:47
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