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GMAT Retake Advice....690

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GMAT Retake Advice....690  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2019, 19:13
Hi,

Quick background: I will be a relatively old applicant (early 30s). My work experience: started out of undergrad with a highly selective non-profit, a short stint in investment banking, and then 6ish years with a financial services education firm. I am targeting top business programs, ideally Columbia. I realize how competitive these schools application processes are, so I really just want to have a fighting chance. I went to a good(?) liberal arts school, where my GPA was a 3.68.

Anyhow, I took the GMAT for a second time on Saturday. My first attempt was at the end of May. I scored poorly and canceled immediately. I took 10 days off during a vacation. When I returned home I put my nose to the grindstone throughout June and July. On Saturday I scored a 690 Q47/V38 (IR 6).

My GMATPrep practice scores leading up to the exam were
GMAT Prep 2: 630 Q38/V38 - 7/14/19
GMAT Prep 3: 690 Q44/V35 - 7/21/19
GMAT Prep 4: 700 Q48/V38 - 7/28/19
GmatClub Practice Q Cats:
38 - 7/24/19
39 - 7/27/19
40 - 7/30/19

I was a little worried that the 700/Q48 was an outlier, but I don't think that's the case. I think a couple of factors hurt my score. I took the exam at 3:00pm, which was probably less than ideal. I came back from my break between Quant and verbal 20 seconds late, throwing off my timing - or at least rattling me. Throughout the verbal I felt...shocked? I felt like at times I wasn't really reading. I drank too much water and had to use the bathroom by the end of verbal. The exam center was freezing...starting to ramble excuses. The point is, I think that with some better nerves and some more practice I can still improve.

Looking at the ESR, I am really surprised with my CR score. While practicing, I felt that CR was my strongest section of the verbal and that SC was my weakest, although I definitely can still improve my grammar.

Ideally, I would like to retake the test as soon possible and hope to gain another 20-30 points in the next 2-3 weeks. However, this won't be possible with my schedule. It looks like the best date for me would be around the 9/20-9/27. Unfortunately, this will push me into the second round with a lot of schools.

Considering a short break (or not?), I think I can continue to improve my quant to a 48/49 and bring my verbal up to a 40-42. This score should bring me to about 720+ and (hopefully?) improve my chances at some of those top schools.

My question is -- is this realistic? How should I approach bridging this 20/30 point gap? I spoke with another test taker in the waiting room as we were both waiting for our printed scores. He recommended a tutor (very expensive). This fellow test taker told me that the tutor was great and helped him improve his score from a 680 (I think) to a 720 in 3 weeks. I know I have room to grow in both areas and I really believe that with a focused and tailored approach that I can bridge that gap within 4-5 weeks.

I've been using the GMATClub error log religiously for the past 3 weeks leading up to my exam. At a minimum, each night I would do 10 PS / DS questions, some nights 20-30 each. I would also do 10-20 SC questions and a handfull of CR. Once finished with each question, I would log and figure out why I got the question incorrect/correct and create a flashcard to use for spaced repetition each morning / following evening. This process worked well and I definitely saw improvements using this error-based approach.

I completed TTP - although not all of the review tests. I completed the MGMAT Quant books before TTP, during the first half of this calendar year. I would consider that period to be before I was more serious with my studying. I used E-GMAT for SC/grammar, but honestly, as the test date approached, I ran out of time. I'm about 60% complete with that - did not complete parallelism or comparisons, two topics I feel rather good about anyway. I completed the main section of Aristotle SC and reviewed sections of the MGMAT SC book. I read 3/4ths of CR Powerscore - found this super helpful.

I still have two GMATPrep exams (5/6) available and have only finished about half of the 2020 OG. I've never opened the Quant supplement OG and completed probably 1/4th of the SC questions in the verbal supplement. So I have a lot of resources to work with. I was probably studying 1.5 hours each morning and 3-4 hours each evening during the weekdays and 8-10 hours each weekend for the past month and a half -- maybe a bit shorter. This was with a rather busy, although predictable work schedule. My work schedule is about to really quiet down and I will have a lot more availability to study during the week. However, my 'life' will be pretty busy through August and into September (I planned to be finished on August 3rd). Two bachelor parties, a weeklong vacation in Europe, and a cross country wedding will take up my four weekends.

After looking at my ESR, I probably need to revisit some topics content-wise. Algebra, geometry, and inequalities for quant and SC(grammar) and CR for verbal.

Ideas / recommendations. What should I focus on? Recommendations for resources? How to attack this from a strategic perspective? Anything at all...
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New post 06 Aug 2019, 19:14
I forgot to attach my ESR (or I was below the 5 post requirement.......)
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Re: GMAT Retake Advice....690  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2019, 09:47
1
youngburtcooper wrote:
.

Anyhow, I took the GMAT for a second time on Saturday. My first attempt was at the end of May. I scored poorly and canceled immediately. I took 10 days off during a vacation. When I returned home I put my nose to the grindstone throughout June and July. On Saturday I scored a 690 Q47/V38 (IR 6).

My GMATPrep practice scores leading up to the exam were
GMAT Prep 2: 630 Q38/V38 - 7/14/19
GMAT Prep 3: 690 Q44/V35 - 7/21/19
GMAT Prep 4: 700 Q48/V38 - 7/28/19
GmatClub Practice Q Cats:
38 - 7/24/19
39 - 7/27/19
40 - 7/30/19

..

Considering a short break (or not?), I think I can continue to improve my quant to a 48/49 and bring my verbal up to a 40-42. This score should bring me to about 720+ and (hopefully?) improve my chances at some of those top schools.

..

It seems that your real score is somewhat replica of your mock test. So my personal conviction is that it'll be tough to reach 720 within this very short time!
By the by, Powerscore may not help you too much though this book is perfectly fine for preparation. You can try "Thursdays with Ron's tutorials from youtube for CR.
Best of luck..
..
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GMAT Retake Advice....690  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2019, 11:34
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youngburtcooper - Your Quant performance could be improved. Per your ESR, the number of incorrect questions increased in each quarter as the test progressed. I believe you have taken too much time in the initial few questions and therefore had to rush, resulting in string of incorrect answers. By the time you reached the last quarter, your score had already dropped and therefore you got easy questions. You clearly have pacing issues and therefore must follow a robust time strategy. In other words, you have to keep a check on the clock at regular intervals, maybe after 5 or 10 questions. That said, you still have plenty of room for improvement in the Quant section.

Having said all that, I would recommend that you review an excellent forum post on retake plan.
Recommendations and Resources for GMAT Retake: https://gmatclub.com/forum/should-i-ret ... 83339.html
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Re: GMAT Retake Advice....690  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Aug 2019, 18:40
Hi youngburtcooper,

690 with Q47 is not a bad start! Moving forward, I think that if you can complete the remaining items from the TTP study plan, you’ll be able to improve your quant score by a few points.

I’m happy to provide some further advice, so I’ll PM you now, and we can chat further. I’ve got your back, my friend.
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Re: GMAT Retake Advice....690   [#permalink] 12 Aug 2019, 18:40
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