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How to improve from a 560 (shocking) result?

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Intern
Joined: 29 Jul 2018
Posts: 15
Location: India
How to improve from a 560 (shocking) result?  [#permalink]

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02 Aug 2018, 13:28
Hey guys,

I have been preparing for my GMAT for the past 3 months now. I joined a local coaching center and they definitely helped me with getting my foundations in place. It had been over 5 years since I did any math.

Once I was slightly confident, I gave a GMAT prep and received a 660 (Q40, V41). I was disappointed as I was hoping for a 700+, but I knew I needed to drastically improve on my quants. I continued tackling the problem areas and improved my timing (this was my biggest issue in quants) by giving powerscore tests. My accuracy in these tests ranged from 64-84% in quants and 80-90% in verbal.
I gave another GMAT prep and got a 670 (Q42, V41). After that, I specifically focused on quants for a week, and I could feel myself improving. 5 days before the actual exam, I retook Prep 1 again (2+ weeks after my 1st attempt) and this time scored a 750 (Q47, V47). I wasn't too ecstatic about it as I knew it was slightly inflated, the plus point from it was that the questions in quants were mostly different.

Finally, D-day had arrived. I'm not going to lie, I was slightly nervous but not over the top. I figured the worst that would happen is I would get around 650, which was still decent. I had decided to go with the Quants-Verbal-IR-AWA order. The quant questions started coming forth and towards the end of the section, I realized that the questions were getting too easy. I figured I did bad in quants, but I was determined to do well in Verbal, it was always my strength. I felt my verbal questions were really going well, and it did seem to get tougher. I finished both sections with more than 7 mins to spare each. This is something that I had never done in my previous tests. I finished the IR and AWA sections. Although I expected a hit in the score due to quants, I was hoping my verbal marks would make up for it. To my horror, I got a 560 (Q38, V30). I was devastated, and I quickly canceled my scores.

This was a real kick to my gut as I had been spending 5-6 hours a day for the lost 3 months preparing for the exam. I also maintained an error log of all my tests - powerscores, wiley, GMAT, etc. and would revisit them occasionally to ensure that I didn't repeat the same mistakes. I guess the biggest disappointment was seeing by verbal marks, the area I thought I would do well.

After a couple of days of sulking, I've decided to give it another shot. Unfortunately, I have to give it in a month as I'm currently between jobs and won't have the same amount of time to focus on it. I'm lost on how to go about it and would love to hear any suggestions.
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 15263
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: How to improve from a 560 (shocking) result?  [#permalink]

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02 Aug 2018, 13:32
Hi shelleyjohnsam,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day didn't go as well as planned. When these types of score drops occur, the two likely "causes" involve either something that was unrealistic during practice or something that was surprising (or not accounted for) on Test Day. If you can answer a few questions, then we should be able to figure this out:

1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
2) Did you take them at home?
3) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you took your Official GMAT?
4) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
5) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE (re: on a prior CAT, in an online forum or in a practice set)?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

The Course Used By GMAT Club Moderators To Earn 750+

souvik101990 Score: 760 Q50 V42 ★★★★★
ENGRTOMBA2018 Score: 750 Q49 V44 ★★★★★
Intern
Joined: 29 Jul 2018
Posts: 15
Location: India
Re: How to improve from a 560 (shocking) result?  [#permalink]

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02 Aug 2018, 22:51
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi shelleyjohnsam,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day didn't go as well as planned. When these types of score drops occur, the two likely "causes" involve either something that was unrealistic during practice or something that was surprising (or not accounted for) on Test Day. If you can answer a few questions, then we should be able to figure this out:

1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
2) Did you take them at home?
3) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you took your Official GMAT?
4) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
5) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE (re: on a prior CAT, in an online forum or in a practice set)?

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

Hey Rich,

1) I didn't take the AWAs. Didn't see a point as I was any way taking them at the end of the exam
2) Yes
3) Yup, I took them roughly around the same time I had scheduled my GMAT
4) Nope, I ensured that I tried to replicate the test environment as much as possible
5) Except for the 1st GMAT Prep, I mentioned above, I haven't re-taken any CATs. There were some RC passages and a couple of SC questions I had encountered before in other tests/sets. Most of which I had answered correctly previously as well.

Also, I forgot to mention that I purchased an ESR to better understand where I went wrong. However, for some reason, I can't apply it to my canceled score. I've written to GMAT support and I'm waiting to hear back from them.
e-GMAT Representative
Joined: 02 Nov 2011
Posts: 2862
Re: How to improve from a 560 (shocking) result?  [#permalink]

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03 Aug 2018, 03:59
1
Hi shelleyjohnsam,

It is great that you have decided to take the test again to reach your target score. Consider the first attempt as an eye-opener, learn from it and work towards achieving your target score. To help students make a personalized study plan, we wrote an article on Personalized Study Plans for 100+ Score Improvement. We have also created sample plans for different score improvements and starting points. You can adapt those to your own situation and if you have any queries regarding it, you can write to us at support@e-gmat.com.
Here are a couple of examples of students who have improved to their target score. If they could do it, so can you.
• Bruno improved from a 540 to 730 in 1 month. See how he focused on "logical approach" and building "core skills". Click here to watch his amazing video debrief.
• Abhijay improved from 560 (V20) to 710 (V38). Click here to watch his inspiring video debrief.

Learn the Logical Approach used by Bruno and Abhijay to ace GMAT

I invite you to attend the free webinars this weekend on sentence correction and number properties to learn ways that helped Bruno and Abhijay with 150+ score improvement. Register on the below links to reserve your spot.

Regards,
_________________
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 15263
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: How to improve from a 560 (shocking) result?  [#permalink]

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03 Aug 2018, 13:14
Hi shelleyjohnsam,

While the ESR doesn't provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong (and what you should work on to score higher). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you. In addition, I've sent you a PM with some additional notes/questions.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

The Course Used By GMAT Club Moderators To Earn 750+

souvik101990 Score: 760 Q50 V42 ★★★★★
ENGRTOMBA2018 Score: 750 Q49 V44 ★★★★★
Senior RC Moderator
Joined: 02 Nov 2016
Posts: 4106
GPA: 3.39
Re: How to improve from a 560 (shocking) result?  [#permalink]

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05 Sep 2018, 11:20
shelleyjohnsam wrote:
Hey guys,

I have been preparing for my GMAT for the past 3 months now. I joined a local coaching center and they definitely helped me with getting my foundations in place. It had been over 5 years since I did any math.

Once I was slightly confident, I gave a GMAT prep and received a 660 (Q40, V41). I was disappointed as I was hoping for a 700+, but I knew I needed to drastically improve on my quants. I continued tackling the problem areas and improved my timing (this was my biggest issue in quants) by giving powerscore tests. My accuracy in these tests ranged from 64-84% in quants and 80-90% in verbal.
I gave another GMAT prep and got a 670 (Q42, V41). After that, I specifically focused on quants for a week, and I could feel myself improving. 5 days before the actual exam, I retook Prep 1 again (2+ weeks after my 1st attempt) and this time scored a 750 (Q47, V47). I wasn't too ecstatic about it as I knew it was slightly inflated, the plus point from it was that the questions in quants were mostly different.

Finally, D-day had arrived. I'm not going to lie, I was slightly nervous but not over the top. I figured the worst that would happen is I would get around 650, which was still decent. I had decided to go with the Quants-Verbal-IR-AWA order. The quant questions started coming forth and towards the end of the section, I realized that the questions were getting too easy. I figured I did bad in quants, but I was determined to do well in Verbal, it was always my strength. I felt my verbal questions were really going well, and it did seem to get tougher. I finished both sections with more than 7 mins to spare each. This is something that I had never done in my previous tests. I finished the IR and AWA sections. Although I expected a hit in the score due to quants, I was hoping my verbal marks would make up for it. To my horror, I got a 560 (Q38, V30). I was devastated, and I quickly canceled my scores.

This was a real kick to my gut as I had been spending 5-6 hours a day for the lost 3 months preparing for the exam. I also maintained an error log of all my tests - powerscores, wiley, GMAT, etc. and would revisit them occasionally to ensure that I didn't repeat the same mistakes. I guess the biggest disappointment was seeing by verbal marks, the area I thought I would do well.

After a couple of days of sulking, I've decided to give it another shot. Unfortunately, I have to give it in a month as I'm currently between jobs and won't have the same amount of time to focus on it. I'm lost on how to go about it and would love to hear any suggestions.

Hi

You should better focus on a solid study plan with sound strategy. Here is a study plan for you

Best Books

For learning Concepts

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

Best Courses

1. Empower GMAT
2. Math Revolution (Only Math)
3. E-GMAT (Only Verbal)

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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Joined: 29 Jan 2015
Posts: 1416
Location: India
WE: General Management (Non-Profit and Government)
Re: How to improve from a 560 (shocking) result?  [#permalink]

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06 Sep 2018, 01:24
shelleyjohnsam wrote:
Hey guys,

I have been preparing for my GMAT for the past 3 months now. I joined a local coaching center and they definitely helped me with getting my foundations in place. It had been over 5 years since I did any math.

Once I was slightly confident, I gave a GMAT prep and received a 660 (Q40, V41). I was disappointed as I was hoping for a 700+, but I knew I needed to drastically improve on my quants. I continued tackling the problem areas and improved my timing (this was my biggest issue in quants) by giving powerscore tests. My accuracy in these tests ranged from 64-84% in quants and 80-90% in verbal.
I gave another GMAT prep and got a 670 (Q42, V41). After that, I specifically focused on quants for a week, and I could feel myself improving. 5 days before the actual exam, I retook Prep 1 again (2+ weeks after my 1st attempt) and this time scored a 750 (Q47, V47). I wasn't too ecstatic about it as I knew it was slightly inflated, the plus point from it was that the questions in quants were mostly different.

Finally, D-day had arrived. I'm not going to lie, I was slightly nervous but not over the top. I figured the worst that would happen is I would get around 650, which was still decent. I had decided to go with the Quants-Verbal-IR-AWA order. The quant questions started coming forth and towards the end of the section, I realized that the questions were getting too easy. I figured I did bad in quants, but I was determined to do well in Verbal, it was always my strength. I felt my verbal questions were really going well, and it did seem to get tougher. I finished both sections with more than 7 mins to spare each. This is something that I had never done in my previous tests. I finished the IR and AWA sections. Although I expected a hit in the score due to quants, I was hoping my verbal marks would make up for it. To my horror, I got a 560 (Q38, V30). I was devastated, and I quickly canceled my scores.

This was a real kick to my gut as I had been spending 5-6 hours a day for the lost 3 months preparing for the exam. I also maintained an error log of all my tests - powerscores, wiley, GMAT, etc. and would revisit them occasionally to ensure that I didn't repeat the same mistakes. I guess the biggest disappointment was seeing by verbal marks, the area I thought I would do well.

After a couple of days of sulking, I've decided to give it another shot. Unfortunately, I have to give it in a month as I'm currently between jobs and won't have the same amount of time to focus on it. I'm lost on how to go about it and would love to hear any suggestions.

Hi shelleyjohnsam,

Kindly do not be disheartened. GMAT does test your perseverance. It’s a good thing you have taken your exam. You now know your weaknesses and can work on them. If you are willing to study dedicatedly, you are sure to achieve your goal. I believe you may benefit from taking a GMATPREP course as you may be a bit weak with your concepts. 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 also try out the MGMAT guides they are phenomenal and cover the entire syllabus really well. 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 a 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.

Lastly I would also encourage you to purchase GMATPREP QP 1 for some great additional practice.

Hope this helps. All the best.
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Re: How to improve from a 560 (shocking) result?   [#permalink] 06 Sep 2018, 01:24
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