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# I've plateaued and need advice. HELP!

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Intern
Joined: 31 Jul 2019
Posts: 3

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31 Jul 2019, 18:47
1
I've flat out plateaued (pun intended) and need advice on what to do next.

I went through a Manhattan Prep class last fall and took the GMAT in December 2018 (610 Q40 V33). I was really disappointed in my score. I took a 3 month break and restarted studying. Over the last 2 months I've taken 3 CATs that ended with the same overall result (640 Q41 V36, 640 Q40 V37, 640 Q43 V35).

What should I do next?

Do I keep pushing on self studying? Do I sign up for another class? Do I redo the class I've already taken? HELP!

Goal score: 680

taa
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 14868
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170

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31 Jul 2019, 20:48
1
Hi taa33,

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 3 recent CAT score results - along with your Official GMAT Score (from 7 months ago) show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 620 +/- a few points). You handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also make certain consistent mistakes. You're actually closer to a 680+ than you probably realize, but considering the similarity in these various results, it's possible that you have gotten "stuck" at this particular score level. If you've developed any 'bad habits' during your prior studies, then it will take some time to fix them (and replace those 'bad habits' with new 'good habits'). Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level.

Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) Since you restarted your studies, how many hours do you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used over the course of all of your studies?

Goals:
3) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
4) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
5) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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

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Intern
Joined: 31 Jul 2019
Posts: 3

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01 Aug 2019, 04:51
Quote:
Studies:
1) Since you restarted your studies, how many hours do you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used over the course of all of your studies?

Goals:
3) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
4) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
5) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

1) I'm probably averaging about 8-10 hours. Only half of that I'd really consider "productive time". I have the capacity and desire for an sizable increase.
2) I've solely used Manhattan Prep materials and the OG 2018.

3) I'd like to take the GMAT sometime this year. I'm not in a huge rush.
4) Because I'm interested in part-time (weekend) options, I feel as if I have more flexibility with applying. I am thinking that I will apply after I've reached my goal score and have taken the time needed to have a polished application package.
5) Kellogg, Booth, Stern, Anderson, Ross, Marshall (weekend for all)

taa
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Joined: 29 Jan 2015
Posts: 1349
Location: India
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01 Aug 2019, 05:48
1
taa33 wrote:
I've flat out plateaued (pun intended) and need advice on what to do next.

I went through a Manhattan Prep class last fall and took the GMAT in December 2018 (610 Q40 V33). I was really disappointed in my score. I took a 3 month break and restarted studying. Over the last 2 months I've taken 3 CATs that ended with the same overall result (640 Q41 V36, 640 Q40 V37, 640 Q43 V35).

What should I do next?

Do I keep pushing on self studying? Do I sign up for another class? Do I redo the class I've already taken? HELP!

Goal score: 680

taa

Hi taa33,

Welcome to GMATCLUB. Around 4 months is good enough to achieve your target score. It's a good thing you have taken a GMAT Mock once. You now know your weaknesses and can 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. 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 TTP as they have great reviews on GMATCLUB.

If you are looking for a good course in 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.

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 practice 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.

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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Manager
Joined: 30 Nov 2017
Posts: 187
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01 Aug 2019, 08:34
Hello,

It's not time for you to give up yet. I used to imagine how daunting it will be for you to improve, but it's not. You just have to be determined enough to improve. Other people's time line may not be your time line. Identify what works best for you but start with the resources and insight you can get from this forum.You might need to upgrade or change your materials or study approach. Estimate your performance from each session for instance your average in RC, CR, SC, DS or PS. Let's say you are getting 50 percent in DS from quizzes, find out why you can't improve, identify the topics pulling you down then focus on building fundamentals on those areas. That is how you will improve gradually on all session till your ability level gets to like 80 to 90 or to almost 100 percent. Hope this helps. Cheers

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GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
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01 Aug 2019, 16:21
Hi taa33,

Based on the information that you've provided, you could potentially retake in a month and hit your Score Goal, but you'll have to focus on learning and practicing the proper Tactics during your studies.

Since you've named some highly-competitive Schools, you would likely find it beneficial to speak with an Admissions Expert about your overall profile and plans. There's a Forum full of those Experts here:

1) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?
2) Do you anticipate that you will need to take any 'time off' from your studies in the immediate future (for work, travel, etc.)?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________
760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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# Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save \$75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/
Manager
Joined: 23 Apr 2019
Posts: 143

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01 Aug 2019, 16:39
taa33 wrote:
I've flat out plateaued (pun intended) and need advice on what to do next.

I went through a Manhattan Prep class last fall and took the GMAT in December 2018 (610 Q40 V33). I was really disappointed in my score. I took a 3 month break and restarted studying. Over the last 2 months I've taken 3 CATs that ended with the same overall result (640 Q41 V36, 640 Q40 V37, 640 Q43 V35).

What should I do next?

Do I keep pushing on self studying? Do I sign up for another class? Do I redo the class I've already taken? HELP!

Goal score: 680

taa

You are far from plateauing.

You have taken a bunch of CATs instead of focusing on concentrated untimed studies. You can take practice tests much later once you have mastered the concepts.

Your verbal scores could improve significantly. If you can touch V42-44, your overall scores will improve.

There is also room for improvement in quant.

A 3-month break from studying is substantial. Try to do a few hours regularly to stay on track.

All of these things indicate that you have ample room to improve, which should be good news.
Intern
Joined: 31 Jul 2019
Posts: 3

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01 Aug 2019, 19:23
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:

1) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?
2) Do you anticipate that you will need to take any 'time off' from your studies in the immediate future (for work, travel, etc.)?

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

1) I think that I can realistically/consistently hit the 15±3 hr mark each week.
2) Besides holidays and a few days here and there, I think I can make it to the end of the year without missing more than 1 day straight.

I want to become a GMAT assassin, EMPOWERgmatRichC!
Target Test Prep Representative
Status: Founder & CEO
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Posts: 7482
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02 Aug 2019, 09:45
Hi taa33,

For sure DO NOT give up my friend. Since you have been studying for some time and have yet to break 640 it’s clear that you have numerous weak areas that are dragging down your GMAT score. In order to find and strengthen those weak areas, you may consider following a linear and thorough study plan that allows you to individually learn each GMAT quant and verbal topic and then practice each topic until you’ve gained mastery.

Regarding how to move forward, you may consider using additional prep materials, so check out some of the success stories of past GMAT students as well as reviews of various GMAT prep courses to see what prep materials have worked for other test-takers.

The Surprising Factor that is the Key to Hitting Your GMAT Score Goal: Grit

How to Score a 700+ on the GMAT — A Mini Guide for Success
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EMPOWERgmat Instructor
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 14868
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170

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02 Aug 2019, 14:23
Hi taa33,

I've sent you a PM with some additional notes and questions.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________
760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

*****Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!*****

# Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save \$75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/
Founder
Joined: 04 Dec 2002
Posts: 18003
Location: United States (WA)
GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42
GPA: 3.5

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02 Aug 2019, 21:16
2
Hi and welcome to GMAT Club.

Your Manhattan GMAT course is a pretty high end product. It doesn’t mean it will work for everyone but it does mean that something didn’t click. Before you spend anymore time studying or getting other materials I would really suggest understanding what did not click or why is your quant score is stuck.

Also, It would be helpful to know where you have started before you’ve taken the course. Most people taking that course improve around 120 points to 150 points. It’s possible you’ve achieved that improvement and I need to go to the next level to improve 200 or 250 points.

PS. You’re not the first one to post something along these lines. It’s definitely not a unique situation so don’t feel bad. However most of the time the issue is that the test taker instead of actively learning and engaging with the material instead goes to the motions and takes a passive part instead of being highly engaged. This could be due to studying after a long day of work or being distracted. That’s the most basic reason for getting stuck. Another popular trap is ignoring basics or rushing through them and us having a weak foundation with holes and gaps that precludes building a strong structure of advanced topics.

I don’t know if these are your issues or something else may be at play here; only you can tell really. Look really deep into yourself and ask, have I done everything possible in my power to study? What corners have I cut? What do I know but not admitting to myself? What am I being wishful and not realistic about? Maybe these will prompt something

Then you can go about using new material or perhaps sticking to the same old mgmat books.

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: I've plateaued and need advice. HELP!   [#permalink] 02 Aug 2019, 21:16
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# I've plateaued and need advice. HELP!

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