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How can I increase my GMAT score?

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New post 09 Jul 2018, 08:40
Hi everyone!

I gave my GMAT diagnostic test on 27th May, 2018 and got a very low score of 300 (Q21, V9). After that, I have been continuously preparing for the test and gave my second mock test on 20th June, 2018 and got a score of 510 (Q44, V17). I was satisfied with my progress and was motivated to get a better (improved) score on the next mock test.
So, after looking at my score, I was confident about my quant section and decided to give all of my attention to the verbal section.

After 20 days of preparation, I gave my third mock test today and was shocked that my score dropped to 420 (Q39, V9) from my last performance.
I know the reason behind the drop in my quant section, i.e. lack of practice after my 2nd test but, I am unable to figure out the reason for the drop in the verbal section.

Any kind of suggestion for improving my individual section, as well as an overall score will be appreciated.

P.S - I have been taking GMAT classes from Manya-The Princeton Review (India) since the day I took my diagnostic test.

Thank You.
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New post 09 Jul 2018, 08:46
Hi vd3497,

Those types of results in the Verbal section imply that you're "winging it" when working through Verbal questions - and that you are probably not using a consistent set of Tactics when working through the Verbal section.

1) What "steps" do you go through when working through a typical SC, RC and CR prompt?
2) How often do you take notes when working on a Verbal question (and how often do you just do the work "in your head"?)?

Beyond those questions, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on your timeline and goals:

3) What is your goal score?
4) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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New post 09 Jul 2018, 09:54
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi vd3497,

Those types of results in the Verbal section imply that you're "winging it" when working through Verbal questions - and that you are probably not using a consistent set of Tactics when working through the Verbal section.

1) What "steps" do you go through when working through a typical SC, RC and CR prompt?
2) How often do you take notes when working on a Verbal question (and how often do you just do the work "in your head"?)?

Beyond those questions, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on your timeline and goals:

3) What is your goal score?
4) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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


Thank you for replying. The answers to your questions are as followed:-

1) As of now, I have only done 2 modules of Verbal - RC, SC. And to be honest, I didn't practice RC at all in the past 2 weeks. On the other hand, I studied SC vigorously and while I was solving 3 to 8 level questions, I was getting 75% of them correct.
The steps I followed during my practice sessions for SC were that I need to look out for the grammar rule and meaning of the sentence. Whereas, during the test, I took a lot of pressure because of time management.
For RC, I was simply using skimming + scanning + POE to solve the questions and in my 2nd mock test, I was able to see the improvement.

2) I always keep in mind to write down the reasons for elimination for every answer choice and for RC passages, I write down the gist of the passage in less than 15 words.

3) Minimum 700

4) August last week, 2018

5) & 6) Right now, my focus is to get my score at a competitive level at least.
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New post 10 Jul 2018, 06:16
Hi vd3497,

It is good to see that you are tracking your performance at regular intervals. This helps greatly in course correction and taking the required steps before the test.

What do such low scores indicate?


Your score trend indicates that you are haphazardly approaching the questions and not following a process. You are using what most people call a trial and error method. Your scores also indicate lack of conceptual clarity and ability to apply those concepts on GMAT level questions. The silver lining here is that all the skills required to ace GMAT are learnable if you put yourself to it. You must identify and build the core skills required and learn how to apply all the concepts in a reliable and repeatable manner.



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New post 11 Jul 2018, 22:12
Hi vd3497,

To start, raising a 420 to a 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. As such, you might want to consider pushing back your planned Test Date.

1) What 'brand(s)' of CATs have you used so far? Have they been Official CATs, Princeton CATs or some other 'brand' of CAT?

"Review" is an exceptionally important part of the GMAT training process; your ability to define WHY you're getting questions wrong is essential to defining the areas that you need to work on (and the specific things that you need to 'fix '). As such, I'd like to know a bit more about your last CAT. While a full Mistake Tracker would provide a lot more information, there are some basic questions that you should be able to answer (and the more EXACT you can be with your answers, the better):

After reviewing each section of this recent CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 12 Jul 2018, 23:00
vd3497 wrote:
Hi everyone!

I gave my GMAT diagnostic test on 27th May, 2018 and got a very low score of 300 (Q21, V9). After that, I have been continuously preparing for the test and gave my second mock test on 20th June, 2018 and got a score of 510 (Q44, V17). I was satisfied with my progress and was motivated to get a better (improved) score on the next mock test.
So, after looking at my score, I was confident about my quant section and decided to give all of my attention to the verbal section.

After 20 days of preparation, I gave my third mock test today and was shocked that my score dropped to 420 (Q39, V9) from my last performance.
I know the reason behind the drop in my quant section, i.e. lack of practice after my 2nd test but, I am unable to figure out the reason for the drop in the verbal section.

Any kind of suggestion for improving my individual section, as well as an overall score will be appreciated.

P.S - I have been taking GMAT classes from Manya-The Princeton Review (India) since the day I took my diagnostic test.

Thank You.


Study Plan

Best Books

For Concept Learning

Manhattan Quant Guides
Manhattan Verbal Guides
For CR: The Powerscore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible
For RC: Aristotle RC Grail

For Practice

The Official Guide for GMAT 2015-18
The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review 2015-18
The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review 2015-18

Strategies

You can start with Quant or Verbal which suits you. If you have started with Quant then Start with the Arithmetic but if started with verbal then start first with Sentence correction. One month for learning Quant concepts and one month for practicing question and same practice for Verbal. During you Practicing question don't forget to make an error log to track your weak areas after practice. Once you know your weak areas revise your Concepts related to those areas and do some more Practice. 6-8 CATs are enough for practice the real tests. Make your Stamina for sitting 3 hours in the test and don't study more than 2 hours in one sit and 4 hours per day

Top CATs for Practice

1. Official GMAC CATs
2. Manhattan CATs
3. Kaplan CATs
4. GMAT Club Quant CATs

Good Luck
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New post 14 Jul 2018, 06:59
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi vd3497,

To start, raising a 420 to a 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. As such, you might want to consider pushing back your planned Test Date.

1) What 'brand(s)' of CATs have you used so far? Have they been Official CATs, Princeton CATs or some other 'brand' of CAT?

"Review" is an exceptionally important part of the GMAT training process; your ability to define WHY you're getting questions wrong is essential to defining the areas that you need to work on (and the specific things that you need to 'fix '). As such, I'd like to know a bit more about your last CAT. While a full Mistake Tracker would provide a lot more information, there are some basic questions that you should be able to answer (and the more EXACT you can be with your answers, the better):

After reviewing each section of this recent CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

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


Hi Rich,
Actually, I have to submit an admission application and GMAT score is a part of it. So, I have a deadline of 31st August. Moreover, I can devote my full time to my GMAT preparation until the deadline. I am practicing (and reviewing my work) every day and working towards getting a 700+ score.

I have given The Princeton Review mock tests and I believe the score can be trusted.

I have been properly reviewing my previous mock tests especially, for Quant section and I believe 4-5 questions were incorrect because I did not apply the Plugging In technique properly, 2-3 questions got incorrect because I was not comfortable with the rate concept (which I am currently working on). I had to guess at max 1-2 questions in Quant due to the time constraint. On the other hand, for the verbal section, I faced a major time management issue in the last mock and I literally marked the last 5 questions in 5 seconds each. The reason was RC. I don't have a habit to read regularly so doing RC within the time limit is kinda tough for me. I realised that I can improve the timings by practicing RC daily. For the narrowing down to 2 choices and still getting it incorrect - were 2-3 questions and the sole reason was that I confused myself by overthinking during the test.

Currently, I make sure that I practice each section and each category questions every day to make sure that I don't make the same mistake as I did in the preparation of the previous mock.

If you feel that I am still missing on something, then do let me know.

Thank you!
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New post 14 Jul 2018, 07:10
SajjadAhmad wrote:
vd3497 wrote:
Hi everyone!

I gave my GMAT diagnostic test on 27th May, 2018 and got a very low score of 300 (Q21, V9). After that, I have been continuously preparing for the test and gave my second mock test on 20th June, 2018 and got a score of 510 (Q44, V17). I was satisfied with my progress and was motivated to get a better (improved) score on the next mock test.
So, after looking at my score, I was confident about my quant section and decided to give all of my attention to the verbal section.

After 20 days of preparation, I gave my third mock test today and was shocked that my score dropped to 420 (Q39, V9) from my last performance.
I know the reason behind the drop in my quant section, i.e. lack of practice after my 2nd test but, I am unable to figure out the reason for the drop in the verbal section.

Any kind of suggestion for improving my individual section, as well as an overall score will be appreciated.

P.S - I have been taking GMAT classes from Manya-The Princeton Review (India) since the day I took my diagnostic test.

Thank You.


Study Plan

Best Books

For Concept Learning

Manhattan Quant Guides
Manhattan Verbal Guides
For CR: The Powerscore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible
For RC: Aristotle RC Grail

For Practice

The Official Guide for GMAT 2015-18
The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review 2015-18
The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review 2015-18

Strategies

You can start with Quant or Verbal which suits you. If you have started with Quant then Start with the Arithmetic but if started with verbal then start first with Sentence correction. One month for learning Quant concepts and one month for practicing question and same practice for Verbal. During you Practicing question don't forget to make an error log to track your weak areas after practice. Once you know your weak areas revise your Concepts related to those areas and do some more Practice. 6-8 CATs are enough for practice the real tests. Make your Stamina for sitting 3 hours in the test and don't study more than 2 hours in one sit and 4 hours per day

Top CATs for Practice

1. Official GMAC CATs
2. Manhattan CATs
3. Kaplan CATs
4. GMAT Club Quant CATs

Good Luck


Hi SajjadAhmad,

Thanks for the study plan and the book suggestions. Will surely use them.
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How can I increase my GMAT score?  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jul 2018, 13:40
vd3497 wrote:
Hi everyone!

I gave my GMAT diagnostic test on 27th May, 2018 and got a very low score of 300 (Q21, V9). After that, I have been continuously preparing for the test and gave my second mock test on 20th June, 2018 and got a score of 510 (Q44, V17). I was satisfied with my progress and was motivated to get a better (improved) score on the next mock test.
So, after looking at my score, I was confident about my quant section and decided to give all of my attention to the verbal section.

After 20 days of preparation, I gave my third mock test today and was shocked that my score dropped to 420 (Q39, V9) from my last performance.
I know the reason behind the drop in my quant section, i.e. lack of practice after my 2nd test but, I am unable to figure out the reason for the drop in the verbal section.

Any kind of suggestion for improving my individual section, as well as an overall score will be appreciated.

P.S - I have been taking GMAT classes from Manya-The Princeton Review (India) since the day I took my diagnostic test.

Thank You.


Hi vd3497,

You should dedicate around 3 months to improve your score. It’s a good thing you have taken a GMAT Mock once. You now know your weaknesses and work on them. If you are willing to study dedicatedly for that period, you are sure to achieve your goal. I think you need to solidify you base and adopt a proper technique to answer the questions. You can continue with Manya-The Princeton Review for your preparations, however if you do not feel you are improving with them, I believe you may benefit from taking a GMATPREP course. If you are willing, there are some great GMAT prep companies that can help you with your preparation.

In order to make an informed decision I would highly encourage you to go to their websites and try on their free trial and decide for yourself which one do you like better. You try out free access to EmpowerGMAT, Magoosh and Optimus Prep as they have great reviews on GMATCLUB.

Also for verbal, I would highly encourage you to consider e-gmat verbal online or the e-gmat verbal live course. They are both amazing courses especially designed for non-natives. They offer almost 25% of their courses for free so you can try out their free trial to decide which one you want to go for. Plus the e-gmat Scholaranium which is included in both the courses is one of the best verbal practice tools in the market. You can easily track your progress in that you can identify your strengths and analyze and improve on your weak areas.

You can also try out the MGMAT guides they are phenomenal and cover the entire syllabus really well. Just by going through these guides and solving the OG will help you reach 600+.I must add that if you are particularly looking to discover and improve on your weak areas in Quant; a subscription to GMATCLUB tests is the best way to do that. They are indeed phenomenal and will not only pinpoint your weak areas but also help you improve on them.

Further taking multiple mocks might help. Apart from the GMATPREP, Manhattan GMAT tests and Veritas Prep Tests in my experience have good verbal and Quant section and will certainly help you point out and improve your weak areas.

Further another advantage of taking many mocks is to build up your stamina. Apart from the GMATPREP tests, taking practise tests of any major GMATPREP company ought to do that.

I would also encourage you to purchase GMATPREP QP 1 for some great additional practice. Here is a link that will help you with your decision.

https://gmatclub.com/forum/best-gmat-ve ... ml?fl=menu

Lastly, you can check out a very interesting article by Mike McGarry from Magoosh detailing a 3 month study plan

https://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/3-month-g ... -students/. You will find it very helpful as it gives out a study plan as per your needs.

Hope this helps. All the best.
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New post 14 Jul 2018, 19:21
Hi vd3497,

What is the minimum Score that you would apply with for the August 31st deadline? I ask because there is no point in "rushing in" an application if you're just going to be rejected. Even if you were consistently scoring in the low-500s right now (which you're NOT), then raising that Score to a 700+ would almost certainly require 3 months (or more) of consistent, guided study. Your scores are inconsistent (and 2 of the 3 CATs are lower than 510) - so the goal to try to score 700+ in just 1.5 months is likely too difficult to be considered realistic. Your ULTIMATE goal is to get into your first-choice School, so you have to think in terms of how best to make that happen. Right now, it doesn't appear that you're giving yourself enough time to 'lock in' that higher GMAT Score (because you're letting this upcoming application deadline dictate your decisions).

The scoring algorithm on the Official GMAT is far more complicated than most people realize. Since that algorithm is proprietary, no GMAT company has an exact match for it, thus CAT scores can vary a bit based on the 'biases' involved in their respective designs. The most realistic CATs available are the 6 from GMAC (the 2 free CATs, and each of the 2 that come with Exam Pack 1 and Exam Pack 2), so it would be useful to know how you performed on one of those CATS. As such, I strongly recommend that you take one of the Official GMAC CATs next and take it in a realistic fashion (take the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections, take it away from your home, at the same time of day as when you'll take the Official GMAT, etc.). Once you have that score, you should report back here and we can discuss the results.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 27 Nov 2018, 23:22
Hello everyone,

After a lot of efforts, I gave my 2nd attempt at GMAT yesterday. Wait, let me first give some information about my 1st attempt - I gave it on 22nd August, 2018 and got a really low score of 500 (Q44, V17). After this, I decided to work on improving my score to a 650. I practiced for 3 months and gave a test yesterday, in which I got a 580 (Q45, V24). I know it is a very low score too.
Now, I have been preparing for 6 months continuously and I am still stuck at a score in 500s. I really want to improve my score. Also, I have been scoring between 600 to 650 in my mock tests. So, I feel that I can do it. I just need some guidance in improving my score. I have read a lot of articles about how to improve the score but I feel that they are all very general. I need something that will surely help me increase my score. Please feel free to give me advice.

Also, I didn't cancel any of my scores as of now. But I am confused whether I should cancel my yesterday's score?
Any sort of help will be appreciated.

Thank You
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Re: How can I increase my GMAT score?  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Dec 2018, 17:58
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Hi vd3497,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. First off, if you do not plan to use your 580, I recommend you cancel the score. If, for some reason, you end up needing to use it, you can always reinstate the score.

Now, regarding how to improve your GMAT score, since you have been studying for 6 months and have improved your score by only 80 points, you need to analyze HOW you have been preparing and potentially make some changes. Furthermore, since you scored 580, it’s clear that you lack some fundamental quant and verbal skills necessary for a high score. Thus, it’s imperative that you follow an organized and linear study plan, so that you can methodically improve your skills. Within each GMAT topic, begin with the foundations and progress toward more advanced concepts. Let me expand on this idea further.

Let’s say you start by learning about Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to fully master the individual Critical Reasoning topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn about each question type, do focused practice so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you get a weakening question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize the specific question type? Were you doing too much analysis in your head? Did you skip over a keyword in an answer choice? You must thoroughly analyze your mistakes and seek to turn weaknesses into strengths by focusing on the question types you dread seeing and the questions you take a long time to answer correctly.

When practicing Reading Comprehension, you need to develop a reading strategy that is both efficient and thorough. Reading too fast and not understanding what you have read are equally as harmful as reading too slow and using up too much time. When attacking Reading Comprehension passages, you must have one clear goal in mind: to understand the context of what you are reading. However, you must do so efficiently, so you need to avoid getting bogged down in the details of each paragraph and instead focus on understanding the main point of each paragraph. That being said, do not fall into the trap of thinking that you can just read the intro and the conclusion and thereby comprehend the main idea of a paragraph. As you read a paragraph, consider how the context of the paragraph relates to previous paragraphs, so you can continue developing your overall understanding of the passage. Furthermore, as you practice, focus on the exact types of questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s Tone, etc. As with Critical Reasoning, analyze your incorrect Reading Comprehension answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. Keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be easy to read. So, to better prepare yourself to analyze such passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as the Economist, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

Sentence Correction is a bit of a different animal compared to Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning. 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, it is likely that you will have to work 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 in order 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. It may take time for you to see what you have to see. 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.

As with your Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension regimens, after learning a particular Sentence Correction topic, engage in focused practice with 30 questions or more that involve that topic. As your skills improve, you will then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple Sentence Correction topics.

Although your quant is stronger, you can follow a similar process for that section. For example, if you are reviewing Number Properties, be sure that you practice 50 or more questions just from Number Properties: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. 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. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

Each time you strengthen your understanding of a topic and your skill in answering questions of a particular type, you increase your odds of hitting your score goal. You know that there are types of questions that you are happy to see and types that you would rather not see, and types of questions that you take a long time to answer correctly. Learn to more effectively answer the types of questions that you would rather not see, and make them into your favorite types. Learn to correctly answer in two minutes or less questions that you currently take five minutes to answer. By finding, say, a dozen weaker quant areas and turning them into strong areas, you will make great progress toward hitting your quant score goal. If a dozen areas turn out not to be enough, strengthen some more areas.

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

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 further questions.

Good luck!
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