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Help 550 to 730 - studying but not seeing progress!

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Help 550 to 730 - studying but not seeing progress!  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Apr 2020, 14:09
Hi everyone,

I know you've probably seen hundreds of posts similar to this one, but I would appreciate all the help I can get.

For context; I'm aiming to apply to a M7 MBA programme (e.g. Harvard, Wharton, Columbia etc.) in H2 2020. For this, I would expect that I need a score in the 700 - 730 range on my test on June 1st. I signed up to the Manhattan Prep Online Interact Course in February 2020 and I'm about 6/7 weeks into the 9-week course.

I just took my second CAT and I scored a measly 550 - overall results so far are:

1: 520 (verbal 31, quant 31)
2: 550 (verbal 31, quant 35)

In terms of my study routine, I can dedicate around 3hrs on weekdays and 4hrs+ on weekends (due to COVID-19). I start off by reviewing questions I've answered in the course OG practice sets according to 'If I see this.. then', then follow the course (often a video + readings and drill problems) and review flashcards every so often.

I feel rather confident in Verbal (although it's not reflected in the scores, only when studying), but I feel anxious in Quant. In Quant, majority of the concepts are new to me, but I'm slowly becoming more familiar with recognising concepts in questions and I can generally answer the drill sets. But for some reason, I'm never able to answer the DS questions - the logic just seems completely foreign to me and even when I recognise concepts, it's difficult to work through them the first time round under the time pressure. This applies even when I follow the strategies (Test Cases, Smart No., Work Backwards and ADBCE grids).

More specifically, I think I struggle with picking the right numbers for Test Cases and organising this on scrap paper. But, I'm just not sure.

I know for someone who hasn't covered this material it's very early in my study program, but I just want to get more comfortable with Quant and be sure I'm on track to scoring what I need. Given I've done 6 weeks and seen little improvement (considering potential variance in results), I'm not so sure if I'm taking the right approach. Please help!
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Help 550 to 730 - studying but not seeing progress!  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 01 Apr 2020, 22:39
You might want to take an Official Mock test rather than a CAT - Two of the Official Mock tests are free and you can find them on mba.com
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Originally posted by Gmat700Knight on 01 Apr 2020, 19:37.
Last edited by Gmat700Knight on 01 Apr 2020, 22:39, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Help 550 to 730 - studying but not seeing progress!  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Apr 2020, 22:16
adkor95 - Welcome to GMAT Club! I am sorry to hear that you are not able to achieve your target score on the practice tests. At a 550 score level, you need a more structured online course to get to your target score level, i.e. a massive 730. For now, please take a few moments to review the GMAT Club study plan.

GMAT Club Study Plan: https://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-study-plan-217827.html
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Re: Help 550 to 730 - studying but not seeing progress!  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Apr 2020, 03:42
Hi adkor95

Sorry to hear that you're still struggling to improve your score. The detail that you have shared definitely helps me in understanding the core problems with your approach. The good thing is if you work with the right strategy going forward, you seem to have enough time turn around your performance reach your target score. I'm sharing some suggestions below. For a more detailed discussion, you can schedule a consultation call with me by using this link. That way I can take you through the nuances of the strategy.

Recommendations for Verbal


Your score indicates that you're fairly comfortable with the concepts and hence you get the easy and medium questions right. It is the hard questions that might be troubling you. Hence, there is a need to look into the strategy that you're following to solve Verbal questions as there might be some scope for improvement there.

Recommendations for Quant


For Quant, I feel that you need to completely change your strategy. It is important to build things from grounds up and learn the right approach for solving DS questions. You need to learn the method to solve various question types along with how to avoid the common traps set up by GMAT in Quant questions.

To change your strategy, it is important to follow a detailed plan with clear performance goals for every stage. I would discuss these aspects in detail over the call.

Regards,
Piyush Beriwala
GMAT Strategy Consultant
GMAT 740 (Q50, V41)
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Re: Help 550 to 730 - studying but not seeing progress!  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Apr 2020, 12:02
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Hi adkor95,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. Since your current quant score is at 35, it’s clear that you need to follow a study plan that allows you to learn GMAT quant from the ground up. In other words, follow a linear and structured study plan that allows you to learn each GMAT quant topic individually and then practice each topic until you’ve gained mastery. Let me expand on this idea further.

For example, if you are learning about Number Properties, you should develop as much conceptual knowledge about Number Properties as possible. In other words, your goal will be to completely understand properties of factorials, perfect squares, quadratic patterns, LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, and remainders, to name a few concepts. After carefully reviewing the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions, practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. 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 around at least 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

When you are working on learning to answer questions of a particular type, start off taking your time, and then seek to speed up as you get more comfortable answering questions of that type. As you do such practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get right. If you got a remainder question wrong, ask yourself why. 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.

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 quant materials, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant courses.

You also may find it helpful to read this article about How To Increase Your GMAT Quant Score.

Feel free to reach out with further questions.

Good luck!
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Re: Help 550 to 730 - studying but not seeing progress!  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Apr 2020, 19:25
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Hi adkor95,

Many GMATers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent study time before they hit their 'peak' scores, so if you've been studying for just 6 weeks, then you shouldn't necessarily expect to have mastered any of the concepts just yet. By extension, you might naturally improve as you continue to study. That having been said, 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 530 +/- a few points). You handle certain aspects of the Exam consistently well, but you also leave yourself open to making certain types of mistakes. You might be able to fix these issues on your own, but that data might mean that you've developed some 'bad habits' during your prior studies - and continuing to work in that same way could lead to similar results in the future.

From what you've described, your general 'math skills' are probably fine, but you'll need to work on certain areas - but you really have to work on your Tactics and your 'precision' (re: how you take notes and organize your work). Raising a 530 to the point that you can consistently score 700+ will likely require at least another 3 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level. A June 1st Test Date gives you just 2 months of additional study time though, so you might need to consider pushing back your Test Date.

Since you're close to finishing your current Course, I suggest that you follow that plan for now. Once you've completed that work, you should take a NEW, FULL-LENGTH CAT and we use those results to assess your skills, strengths and weaknesses at that time - and plan out the next phase of your studies. If you have any additional questions, then you can feel free to contact me directly at any time (and you can feel free to PM me if you like).

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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Help 550 to 730 - studying but not seeing progress!  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Apr 2020, 01:51
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi adkor95,

Many GMATers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent study time before they hit their 'peak' scores, so if you've been studying for just 6 weeks, then you shouldn't necessarily expect to have mastered any of the concepts just yet. By extension, you might naturally improve as you continue to study. That having been said, 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 530 +/- a few points). You handle certain aspects of the Exam consistently well, but you also leave yourself open to making certain types of mistakes. You might be able to fix these issues on your own, but that data might mean that you've developed some 'bad habits' during your prior studies - and continuing to work in that same way could lead to similar results in the future.

From what you've described, your general 'math skills' are probably fine, but you'll need to work on certain areas - but you really have to work on your Tactics and your 'precision' (re: how you take notes and organize your work). Raising a 530 to the point that you can consistently score 700+ will likely require at least another 3 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level. A June 1st Test Date gives you just 2 months of additional study time though, so you might need to consider pushing back your Test Date.

Since you're close to finishing your current Course, I suggest that you follow that plan for now. Once you've completed that work, you should take a NEW, FULL-LENGTH CAT and we use those results to assess your skills, strengths and weaknesses at that time - and plan out the next phase of your studies. If you have any additional questions, then you can feel free to contact me directly at any time (and you can feel free to PM me if you like).

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


Thanks very much for this advice - it's all very helpful. I'm aware that once I'm done with this program, I will likely need more guided study, so at the moment I'm exploring what those option are, given that I'm not seeing the results I'm after with the current program.

I'll be sure to reach out to plan the next phase of my study as soon as I'm done with my current program over the next few weeks.
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Help 550 to 730 - studying but not seeing progress!   [#permalink] 03 Apr 2020, 01:51

Help 550 to 730 - studying but not seeing progress!

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