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GMAT First Attempt : Heartbroken 690. Need help to reach atleast 740.

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GMAT First Attempt : Heartbroken 690. Need help to reach atleast 740.  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Oct 2018, 23:21
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Hello world,

I gave my first gmat on 18th of Oct,2018. I scored a 690: Q49 V35 AWA 5 & IR 8 and was pretty much heartbroken on seeing that score; My gmatprep scores will further show you why. I have attached my ESR at the end but I would suggest anyone who wants to help me to read what I have written about my prep

Background: Indian, Just completed my Bachelors in Technology and have started a job in an MNC. I prepared for gmat in the 1.5-month gap I had in between my college final exams and the joining date for my job.

Materials I have or used :

OG 2018 and Verbal Review 2019: Finished completely (only once)

E gmat prep: Studied SC and CR from there ( Didn't have time to revisit the videos or use scholaranium so have just seen them once ) This was my only source of prep for verbal along with some magoosh blogs(love each one of them) I studied at the end of my prep. They were mostly blogs on that v which and so on. Also studied a little on idioms from magoosh idioms book, it was indeed very good and informative. For RC, didn't study the theory from anywhere, just used my CR skills to pass through them. Combining RC's from OG and Verbal Review, I would say I had 90-95% accuracy in Easy-Medium RC's and 80% on the Harder ones(700+).

gmatclub tests : Just managed to attempt 6 quant tests but I revisited every wrong and flagged questions. My scores were Q47,48,49,50,49,50 (Just used Gmat quant club guide to study quant sinceI have a pretty solid base in maths) Although now I feel I took quant a bit lightly since the quant I encountered in my GMAT was much harder and had very lengthy questions.

MGMAT: Just have attempted 2 mgmat and scored 680( gave it in the initial stage of prep) and 720 (gave it 2 weeks before my exam). Have 4MGMAT mocks left.

GMAT prep: Now here is why I was shattered on test day. This has been my performance on gmat prep. I have used 5 mocks once and have 1 mock that I haven't used at all.

GMATprep1: 720 - Q50 V37 ( Gave it 2 weeks after I started my prep )
GMATprep2: 720 - Q50 V38 ( Gave it 1 week after mock1)
GMATprep3: 770 - Q51 V42 ( Gave it 2 weeks before my actual GMAT)
GMATprep4: 740 - Q50 V40 (Gave it 1 week before my actual GMAT, had 2 questions wrong on quant )
GMATprep5: 740 - Q51 V40 (Gave it 3 days before my Gmat)
GMATprep6: Not attempted yet


In the last 4 gmatprep mocks, I would say out of all my verbal mistakes, 75-80% of them were SC while the rest RC or CR, varying from exam to exam. Usually had I would have either 2 rc 1 cr wrong or 1 rc 2 cr and around 5-6 wrong in SC. I tried a lot to improve my SC but for some reason, it has been very hard to improve. Although I would say I have loved Magoosh content, esp the blogs and idioms book.

Manhattan SC/RC/CR book 6th Edition : Yet to touch them

GMAT ninja videos on SC : Added to watch list and will watch them soon. Didn't have time before I gave my GMAT.

Time in hand : Now that I have started my job, I would say I can give 2-3 hours per day to my gmat prep everyday on weekdays and 8-10 hours on weekend.

I haven't decided when to give my next attempt and I want to give it my all. I don't want to give it a third time. I want to conquer this in the second attempt.
I want to reach a minimum of 740 and I know I can get Q50 V40 if I study smart. I want to focus on SC alot and work on my quant side my side seriously too. I doubt if I even saw more than 4-5 easy questions on my gmat quant. Meanwhile on gmatprep, even on gmatclub I saw atleast 10 questions that I would say were rather short and easy to do.

Anyway, I'm done with my story and eagerly waiting for your advice, be it from BB himself or from a new member. I just feel constantly restless and I won't be completely stress-free until I reach my goal.

ESR attached below.
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Re: GMAT First Attempt : Heartbroken 690. Need help to reach atleast 740.  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2018, 19:27
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anishraina wrote:
GMATprep3: 770 - Q51 V42 ( Gave it 2 weeks before my actual GMAT)
Wow. Were there any questions on this test that you were already familiar with? If not, you are capable of getting a much higher score than 690. Unfortunately, given that your last three scores were 770, 740, and 740, you probably don't have any major weaknesses (unfortunate in the sense that there is no small thing that you can work on to improve your score drastically). I feel this is going to be a case of just continuing to make small improvements and fixes to your concepts and approach. It's frustrating, but I really don't think there is any quick answer here.
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Re: GMAT First Attempt : Heartbroken 690. Need help to reach atleast 740.  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Oct 2018, 03:03
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Hi anishraina,

I’m sorry to hear how things went with your GMAT, but 690 is not a total disaster, right? Your quant score was only one to two points below your practice exam score, and although your verbal score dropped, you still scored in the 76th percentile. That being said, I understand that you are not satisfied with a 690, so the question we need to ask is why you scored so high on your practice exams but lower on the real GMAT (especially verbal). Assuming you took your official practice exams under realistic testing conditions, the results show that on a good day, you are capable of scoring higher than 690. Thus, it’s quite possible that nerves, stress, tiredness, or a combination of all three negatively affected your test-day performance. However, it’s also possible that you have some lingering weaknesses that were exposed on test day.

Scoring high on GMAT verbal tends to involve using logic and noticing key details. However, it is possible to get some verbal questions right by looking for patterns that you have already encountered in your preparation. Looking for patterns will not always work, though, and if the patterns you are familiar with don’t show up in the questions that you see on the actual GMAT, your verbal score will not be very high. So, another possible reason for the difference between your verbal scores on practice tests and your verbal score on the real GMAT is that in your preparation, you did not really learn to do what you have to do in order to score high on verbal. Rather, you picked up on some patterns that were effective in getting you relatively high scores on practice tests. Looking at your ESR, I agree that Sentence Correction stands out as your most significant verbal weakness, so I’m happy to provide some advice on how to improve in that topic.

There are three aspects to getting correct answers to GMAT Sentence Correction questions: what you know, such as grammar rules, what you see, such as violations of grammar rules and the logic of sentence structure, and what you do, such as carefully considering each answer choice in the context of the non-underlined portion of the sentence. To drive up your Sentence Correction score, you likely will have to work on all three of those aspects. Furthermore, the likely reason that your Sentence Correction performance has not improved is that you have not been working on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, first and foremost, you MUST know your grammar rules. Let's be clear, though: GMAT Sentence Correction is not just a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning grammar rules is so that you can determine what sentences convey and whether sentences are well-constructed. In fact, in many cases, incorrect answers to Sentence Correction questions are grammatically flawless. Thus, often your task is to use your knowledge of grammar rules to determine which answer choice creates the most logical sentence meaning and structure.

This determination of whether sentences are well-constructed and logical is the second aspect of finding correct answers to Sentence Correction questions, what you see. To develop this skill, you probably have to slow way down. You won't develop this skill by spending under two minutes per question. For a while, anyway, you have to spend time with each question, maybe even ten or fifteen minutes on one question sometimes, analyzing every answer choice until you see the details that you have to see to choose the correct answer. As you go through the answer choices, consider the meaning conveyed by each version of the sentence. Does the meaning make sense? Even if you can tell what the version is SUPPOSED to convey, does the version really convey that meaning? Is there a verb to go with the subject? Do all pronouns clearly refer to nouns? By slowing way down and looking for these details, you learn to see what you have to see in order to clearly understand which answer to a Sentence Correction question is correct.

There is only one correct answer to any Sentence Correction question, there are clear reasons why that choice is correct and the others are not, and those reasons are not that the correct version simply "sounds right." In fact, the correct version often sounds a little off at first. That correct answers may sound a little off is not surprising. If the correct answer were always the one that sounded right, then most people most of the time would get Sentence Correction questions correct, without really knowing why the wrong answers were wrong and the correct answers were correct. So, you have to go beyond choosing what "sounds right" and learn to clearly see the logical reasons why one choice is better than all of the others.

As for the third aspect of getting Sentence Correction questions correct, what you do, the main thing you have to do is be very careful. You have to make sure that you are truly considering the structures of sentences and the meanings conveyed rather than allowing yourself to be tricked into choosing trap answers that sound right but don't convey meanings that make sense. You also have to make sure that you put some real energy into finding the correct answers. Finding the correct answer to a Sentence Correction question may take bouncing from choice to choice repeatedly until you start to see the differences between the choices that make all choices wrong except for one. Often, when you first look at the choices, only one or two seem obviously incorrect. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to be determined to see the differences and to figure out the precise reasons that one choice is correct.

To improve what you do when you answer Sentence Correction questions, seek to become aware of how you are going about answering them. Are you being careful and looking for logic and details, or are you quickly eliminating choices that sound a little off and then choosing the best of the rest? If you choose an incorrect answer, consider what you did that resulted in your arriving at that answer and what you could do differently in order to arrive at correct answers more consistently. Furthermore, see how many questions you can get correct in a row as you practice. If you break your streak by missing one, consider what you could have done differently to extend your streak.

After learning a particular Sentence Correction topic, engage in focused practice with 30 questions or more that involve that topic. As your Sentence Correction skills improve, you’ll then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple SC topics.

If you’d like some further information regarding how to prep for other verbal topics or for quant, feel free to reach back out. You also may find my article with more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.

Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Good luck!
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Re: GMAT First Attempt : Heartbroken 690. Need help to reach atleast 740.  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2018, 23:53
AjiteshArun wrote:
anishraina wrote:
GMATprep3: 770 - Q51 V42 ( Gave it 2 weeks before my actual GMAT)
Wow. Were there any questions on this test that you were already familiar with? If not, you are capable of getting a much higher score than 690. Unfortunately, given that your last three scores were 770, 740, and 740, you probably don't have any major weaknesses (unfortunate in the sense that there is no small thing that you can work on to improve your score drastically). I feel this is going to be a case of just continuing to make small improvements and fixes to your concepts and approach. It's frustrating, but I really don't think there is any quick answer here.


No, I gave all mocks just once and it was the first time. Will definitely try to make those small fixes and be back to score higher.
PS if you have the time can you help me figure out whether my quant section was of more than usual level of difficulty or is it normal?
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Re: GMAT First Attempt : Heartbroken 690. Need help to reach atleast 740.  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2018, 21:13
anishraina wrote:
No, I gave all mocks just once and it was the first time. Will definitely try to make those small fixes and be back to score higher.
PS if you have the time can you help me figure out whether my quant section was of more than usual level of difficulty or is it normal?
Your quant was pretty much in line with what we'd expect for a Q49. But if by "usual" you meant "average", then yes, you received questions that were tougher than those that most other people would receive. A Q49 is the third highest possible score on the GMAT. Focus on that, not the percentiles, which keep changing and are not part of what the algorithm can "see".
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Re: GMAT First Attempt : Heartbroken 690. Need help to reach atleast 740.  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Nov 2018, 19:49
Getting the maximum questions right in the first and second sections of the verbal affects the score in a major way. The initial questions are easy but have a hidden catch somewhere. I noticed this in my GMAT. I believe we just need to read the initial questions correctly and try answering maximum of them possible correctly. This affects the overall score and percentile in a big way. As evident in the ESR , the percent questions correct in the first two quearters were in the 80-85 percent range. Try pushing it up to 90-95. I am sure your overall score would significantly jump.

All the best!!

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Re: GMAT First Attempt : Heartbroken 690. Need help to reach atleast 740. &nbs [#permalink] 08 Nov 2018, 19:49
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