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HELP! GMAT 520 (Q36, V25) IR 5 -- Retake strategy?

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Joined: 10 Mar 2013
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HELP! GMAT 520 (Q36, V25) IR 5 -- Retake strategy? [#permalink]

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New post 10 Mar 2014, 04:11

I just took the GMAT hours ago, and have scored 520 (Q36, V25). Naturally, I'm disheartened. I have put way too much effort in this exam and have along the way sacrificed valuable time with my family and friends. Please help me come up with a plan or a strategy on retaking the exam, I know I have a score that's way too low to be admissible to top ranking programs, but I'm looking to get at least a 650 or higher. Background; I am a 23 y/o banker working at a top multinational bank for 3 years, graduated Business Economics in a top institution here in Manila, Philippines with a 2.9 GPA. Planning on applying in business schools in these locations: France, UK, US. Top Picks: Cass, Imperial, HEC, LBS, EDHEC

Here's a quick run-through on how I prepped.

Feb 2013 - bought prep materials on Amazon. These included the following:
*MGMAT Guides (all of them)
* OG 13th ed, verbal and quant reviews
* Kaplan Premier 2013
*Kaplan 800
*Powerscore Critical Reasoning Bible
*MGMAT Notepad
*GMAT Club Math Book

I spent the succeeding months in 2013, intermittently running through the MGMAT guides and taking notes, while also doing problems in the OG13 & Quant guides after every chapter (MGMAT has a list of OG problems after every chapter). It has been difficult considering that I work a full time job and have a demanding social life.

After finishing the guides, I took my frist GMAT Prep test, scoring 550 in timed conditions (forgot the breakdown, deleted it already), and then realized that I needed to work on my quant and my critical reasoning. From that point on, I have read the Kaplan 800, Powerscore Critical Reasoning guide, and took several practice exams, but I have admittedly looked up on some solutions in forums and have also made use of the pause feature of the exam to focus on my learning of the content (mostly for quant, verbal, I took it in timed conditions), rather than answering the questions as quickly as possible. My scores are the following:

GMAT PREP 1: 650
MGMAT CAT 1: 680 (Q48, V34)
MGMAT CAT 2: 600 (Q45,V29)
MGMAT CAT 3: 600 (Q46, V28)
MGMAT CAT 4: 640 (Q45, V33)

Clearly, I was struggling with verbal, My SC scores are consistent, I answer most of them correctly, however, struggled in CR & RC and my quant is also very much inflated, considering I didn't take the questions in timed conditions.


I took a one-week leave from work to focus on my prep. I have used this week to take the bunch of practice exams above, and have also read through the CR bible again.


Woke up, had a good night's sleep (about 8 hours), prayed incessantly, jogged for 30 mins, had pad thai for brunch, and went to the test center. When I got to the test, I cruised through the essay, which I think I nailed, struggled through IR. On my first break, I ate a few bricks of dark chocolate, and gulped on a bunch of red bull, went to the restroom, and proceeded back to the test center. Throughout much of the quant part, I found myself guessing for more htan half the time, because I felt pressed by time, which I know is not the best way. I try solving the problem, but didn't end up actually arriving to any sure answer, much to my dismay. As for the verbal part, I went for my intuition and have attacked the problems the way I was used to, As you can see with my verbal scores, the one I got was consistent with the ones I have been getting, and this is sad. At the end of the exam, I realized that I didn't do very well and will have to retake. I was thinking of cancelling the exam and forfeit the $250 I spent on it, but I ended up reporting it anyway to see how I did and how I could do better (also curious with my AWA score). When I hit the big button, I was devastated. Clearly, this wasn't what I expected after studying all those hours. Called my parents and friends, expressed my dismay, cried about it, and decided to retake as it has been my ambition and dream to study MBA abroad and beat this freaking exam.


Please help me to form a strategy in my retake. Here are a few questions I would like to ask and if you could offer an insight, it would be highly appreciated
1) Was reporting my score a right decision? It's kinda embarassing for the schools to see my score, although I know that they will consider the highest score?
2) What will be the recommended time of prep that I will have to spend further to achieve my target score of 650 and above? Is it also achievable?
3) Any good and cost-effective tutorial courses I can take to improve my scores?
4) When is it best to reschedule my exam? (Writing this on March 10, 2014)

I am also considering resigning from work to focus solely on my B-school prep (GMAT, TOEFL), and then start looking for a job again for a few months until I get into a good program. <- Will this be advisable?

Thank you!!!

"Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway" - Earl Nightingale

Kudos [?]: 8 [0], given: 13

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HELP! GMAT 520 (Q36, V25) IR 5 -- Retake strategy?   [#permalink] 10 Mar 2014, 04:11
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