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From Q42 to Q44 to Q46 to Q50: my GMAT Quant Journey (with ESRs)

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Status: Professional GMAT Tutor
Affiliations: AB, cum laude, Harvard University (Class of '02)
Joined: 10 Jul 2015
Posts: 671
Location: United States (CA)
Age: 38
GMAT 1: 770 Q47 V48
GMAT 2: 730 Q44 V47
GMAT 3: 750 Q50 V42
GRE 1: Q168 V169
WE: Education (Education)
From Q42 to Q44 to Q46 to Q50: my GMAT Quant Journey (with ESRs)  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 01 Mar 2018, 09:28
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Also see: From V46 to V47 to V40 to V42: my GMAT Verbal Journey (with ESRs)

I am a Harvard grad and American GMAT tutor based in San Diego, and I take the GMAT regularly to stay sharp and up-to-date. I have always been naturally talented at Verbal--I scored V48 (99%) on my first attempt, which helped propel me to a composite score of 770--but on Quant, I have had to struggle for my success. Like so many others, especially those of us coming from the American educational system, where overall mathematics skills are lacking relative to elsewhere in the world, I have found the fast-paced, adaptive format of the GMAT Quant section to be a challenging opponent, and yes, even I have had setbacks in my journey to reach an elite (80%+) Quant score.

On my last 5 GMATs, I scored 47 (pre-ESR), 42, 44, 46 and finally 50/51 on Quant. Below is my journey, in pictures. I imagine that the ESRs will be helpful to many of you in formulating your pacing strategies.

Image

I don't have an ESR from the 1st time I took the test in 2012 (Q47), but I imagine it would have looked something like the one above. Like this student, I performed very well at the beginning, but I ran out of time at the end.

Image
Image

On my 2nd attempt, I earned only an average Quant score, mostly due to my subpar performance in the critical 2nd and 3rd quarters. I was determined to go faster this time, and I did great at the end, but it was too late--my difficulty level had already fallen too low. I only got 9 (counted) questions wrong this time, but I performed 5 points worse than the previous test due to a significantly lowered difficulty level.

Image
Image

On my 3rd attempt, I turned in a mostly solid performance in the first three quarters of the test, but I fell apart at the end, running out of time and getting 6 out of the final 7 questions wrong. Q44 is certainly not bad for 12 of 28 counted questions wrong, though--the test rewarded me for earning harder questions at the end, even though I got most of them wrong.

Image
Image

Welcome news--progress rather than regress! On my 4th attempt, I turned in a solid performance during the first three quarters of the test, and survived the final quartile of the test due to improved pacing strategy, even though I still ran out of time at the very end. Interestingly, I got 9 questions wrong this time--the exact same number incorrect as the time I scored a Q42--but I scored 4 points higher.

Image
Image

Finally, the coveted Q50, on my 5th try! I took my time during the critical first two quarters of questions (up to three minutes per question) and managed to perform very well (12 out of 14 correct) . Toward the end of the section, I made sure to speed myself up and be more aggressive with my answers, giving myself enough time to finish. For the first time, I was able to complete every question, and I finished strong--only 6 questions wrong total--despite the high difficulty level of the questions I was being served.

My next goal: getting only 0-2 wrong and earning a perfect 51/51.

Happy studies,

-Brian

_________________

Harvard grad and 99% GMAT scorer, offering expert, private GMAT tutoring and coaching worldwide since 2002.

One of the only known humans to have taken the GMAT 5 times and scored in the 700s every time (700, 710, 730, 750, 770), including verified section scores of Q50 / V47, as well as personal bests of 8/8 IR (2 times), 6/6 AWA (4 times), 50/51Q and 48/51V (1 question wrong).

You can download my official test-taker score report (all scores within the last 5 years) directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y94hlarr Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

GMAT Action Plan and Free E-Book - McElroy Tutoring

Contact: mcelroy@post.harvard.edu (I do not respond to PMs on GMAT Club.)

...or find me on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/GMATpreparation


Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 03 Dec 2017, 13:34.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 01 Mar 2018, 09:28, edited 24 times in total.
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Re: From Q42 to Q44 to Q46 to Q50: my GMAT Quant Journey (with ESRs)  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Dec 2017, 16:03
mcelroytutoring wrote:
Also see: From V46 to V47 to V40 to V42: my GMAT Verbal Journey (with ESRs)

I am a Harvard grad and American GMAT tutor, and I take the GMAT at least every few years to stay sharp and up-to-date. I have always been naturally talented at Verbal--I scored V48 (99%) on my first attempt, which helped propel me to a composite score of 770--but for Quant, I have had to struggle for my success. Like so many others, especially those of us coming from the American educational system, where overall mathematics skills are lacking relative to elsewhere in the world, I have found the fast-paced, adaptive format of the GMAT Quant section to be a challenging opponent, and yes, even I have had setbacks in my journey to reach an elite (80%+) Quant score.

On my last 5 GMATs, I scored 47 (pre-ESR), 44, 42, 46 and finally 50/51 on Quant. Below is my journey, in pictures. I imagine that the ESRs will be helpful to many of you in formulating your pacing strategies.

Image

Here, I turned in a mostly solid performance in the first three quarters of the test, but I fell apart at the end, running out of time and getting 6 out of the final 7 questions wrong. Q44 is certainly not bad for 12 of 28 counted questions wrong, though--the test rewarded me for earning harder questions at the end, even though I got most of them wrong.

Image

Here, I backslid, mostly due to my subpar performance in the critical 2nd and 3rd quarters. I did great at the end, but it was too late--my difficulty level had already fallen too low. I only got 9 (counted) questions wrong this time, but I performed 2 points worse than the previous test due to a lowered difficulty level.

Image

Welcome news--progress rather than regress! I turned in a solid performance during the first three quarters of the test, and survived the final quartile of the test due to improved pacing strategy, even though I still ran out of time at the very end. Interestingly, I got 9 questions wrong this time--the exact same number incorrect as the last time--but performed a full 4 points better on my overall score.

Image

Finally, the coveted Q50! I took my time during the critical first two quarters of questions (up to three minutes per question) and managed to perform very well (12 out of 14 correct) . Toward the end of the section, I made sure to speed myself up and be more aggressive with my answers, giving myself enough time to finish. For the first time, I was able to complete every question, and I finished strong--only 6 questions wrong total--despite the high difficulty level of the questions I was being served.

My next goal: getting only 0-2 wrong and earning a perfect 51/51.

Happy studies,

-Brian


Brian, great improvement and thanks for the insights. Thanks as well for your feedback on my situation. To what do attribute your range of scores? Better day-of performance or just gradually getting better in core skills? How much of this is odds game? Ie. just the luck of the CAT draw? Are 5 point swings possible from random takes?

Thx!
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Status: Professional GMAT Tutor
Affiliations: AB, cum laude, Harvard University (Class of '02)
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Age: 38
GMAT 1: 770 Q47 V48
GMAT 2: 730 Q44 V47
GMAT 3: 750 Q50 V42
GRE 1: Q168 V169
WE: Education (Education)
Re: From Q42 to Q44 to Q46 to Q50: my GMAT Quant Journey (with ESRs)  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Dec 2017, 16:26
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Thanks datatrader! Happy to help, and great question. I would say that the difference is about 60% improved skills, and about 40% luck, especially on Verbal, where even just 1 question wrong can drop 3 points from your section score. There is always a strong element of luck on the GMAT, so yes, 5-point swings (in either direction) are definitely possible--you can see that from my own GMAT scores on the lower left.
_________________

Harvard grad and 99% GMAT scorer, offering expert, private GMAT tutoring and coaching worldwide since 2002.

One of the only known humans to have taken the GMAT 5 times and scored in the 700s every time (700, 710, 730, 750, 770), including verified section scores of Q50 / V47, as well as personal bests of 8/8 IR (2 times), 6/6 AWA (4 times), 50/51Q and 48/51V (1 question wrong).

You can download my official test-taker score report (all scores within the last 5 years) directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y94hlarr Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

GMAT Action Plan and Free E-Book - McElroy Tutoring

Contact: mcelroy@post.harvard.edu (I do not respond to PMs on GMAT Club.)

...or find me on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/GMATpreparation

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Re: From Q42 to Q44 to Q46 to Q50: my GMAT Quant Journey (with ESRs)  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Dec 2017, 00:01
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Nice job, Brian! Interesting endeavor. Keep in mind there is a lifetime GMAT attempt limit, so make sure you hit the coveted 800 before you get there....
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Re: From Q42 to Q44 to Q46 to Q50: my GMAT Quant Journey (with ESRs)  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 01 Feb 2018, 00:21
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EDIT, 1/30/18: Upon further inspection, the chronological order of my Quant scores in the original title of this post was incorrect.

The correct order is 47 (pre-ESR), 42, 44, 46, and 50.

HanoiGMATtutor : I am keenly aware (but sad :( ) that the GMAC will only allow me 3 more official attempts, and I plan to space them out over the next 20-25 years or so, provided I live that long. Fingers crossed!

But hey, listen: we all know that a score of Q60/V60/770 is impossible (the maximum score on either section is a 51). Are you trying to point out the absurdity of the fact that any user can put any score next to his/her profile, or are you trying to fool somebody? I'm hoping that it's the first explanation and not the second. We need more honesty about scores on this forum, and less profit-based gamesmanship.

To 800,

-Brian

_________________

Harvard grad and 99% GMAT scorer, offering expert, private GMAT tutoring and coaching worldwide since 2002.

One of the only known humans to have taken the GMAT 5 times and scored in the 700s every time (700, 710, 730, 750, 770), including verified section scores of Q50 / V47, as well as personal bests of 8/8 IR (2 times), 6/6 AWA (4 times), 50/51Q and 48/51V (1 question wrong).

You can download my official test-taker score report (all scores within the last 5 years) directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y94hlarr Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

GMAT Action Plan and Free E-Book - McElroy Tutoring

Contact: mcelroy@post.harvard.edu (I do not respond to PMs on GMAT Club.)

...or find me on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/GMATpreparation


Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 30 Jan 2018, 23:08.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 01 Feb 2018, 00:21, edited 17 times in total.
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Re: From Q42 to Q44 to Q46 to Q50: my GMAT Quant Journey (with ESRs)  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2018, 09:44
mcelroytutoring – congratulations to scoring a Q50. I commend your relentless effort to get a perfect score on GMAT Quant and wish your good luck for your next attempt. How did you plan your improvement from Q46 to Q50? Was there a specific strategy or did you just practice?
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From Q42 to Q44 to Q46 to Q50: my GMAT Quant Journey (with ESRs)  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 06 Jul 2018, 17:43
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egmat wrote:
mcelroytutoring – congratulations to scoring a Q50. I commend your relentless effort to get a perfect score on GMAT Quant and wish your good luck for your next attempt. How did you plan your improvement from Q46 to Q50? Was there a specific strategy or did you just practice?

Hi Rajat, thanks very much!

Well, I always knew that I was capable of scoring Q50 on a good day--like many of my students, my main obstacles have been careless mistakes and time management. I even scored a Q47 on my very first official attempt in 2012, which is understandable, because by that time I had already been tutoring the GMAT for over 10 years, and I had taken tons of practice CATs, including tests from 3rd-party sources as Manhattan (there were only 2 GMAT Prep exams back in those days, plus the old PowerPrep software).

The truth is that I didn't "study" at all for any of my 5 attempts so far, at least in the traditional sense. However, I am a professional GMAT tutor, so I am working though GMAT questions about 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, and I have completed over 5,000 official GMAT questions and all 6 official GMATPrep tests, as well as Question Pack 1, all the questions from the mobile app, the (now outdated) PowerPrep exams, and even the GMAT Paper Tests. As you can imagine, I am able to stay sharp and up-to-date by guiding my own students through these very same questions on a daily basis. And if I'm not tutoring GMAT, then I'm tutoring GRE, SAT, or ACT, which all have similarities in the Quant/Math sections.

Other than that, I think it's important to focus on real GMAT questions, and to be spend just as much time reviewing questions as you do answering them. Be willing to spend 10 minutes figuring out a question, even if you must eventually learn how to complete it in 1.5 or 2 minutes on test day.

To 51,

-Brian

_________________

Harvard grad and 99% GMAT scorer, offering expert, private GMAT tutoring and coaching worldwide since 2002.

One of the only known humans to have taken the GMAT 5 times and scored in the 700s every time (700, 710, 730, 750, 770), including verified section scores of Q50 / V47, as well as personal bests of 8/8 IR (2 times), 6/6 AWA (4 times), 50/51Q and 48/51V (1 question wrong).

You can download my official test-taker score report (all scores within the last 5 years) directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y94hlarr Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

GMAT Action Plan and Free E-Book - McElroy Tutoring

Contact: mcelroy@post.harvard.edu (I do not respond to PMs on GMAT Club.)

...or find me on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/GMATpreparation


Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 31 Jan 2018, 10:22.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 06 Jul 2018, 17:43, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: From Q42 to Q44 to Q46 to Q50: my GMAT Quant Journey (with ESRs)  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2018, 10:44
@macelroytutoring – love your confidence. I am sure it will help you score Q51. Also, absolutely agree with your recommendation to spend 10 minutes figuring out where/why you made a mistake (if you made one that is) just to make sure that you don’t repeat the same. That’s how we improve!!

-Rajat
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Re: From Q42 to Q44 to Q46 to Q50: my GMAT Quant Journey (with ESRs) &nbs [#permalink] 31 Jan 2018, 10:44
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