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Increase 43Q to 51Q... need some advice... HELP :)

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Increase 43Q to 51Q... need some advice... HELP :) [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jan 2018, 16:32
Hey all,

I'm a long-time listener, first-time caller - I have two questions (sorry in advance for the length of my "question"):

1) How can i increase my 43Q on my first CAT to a 51Q when I take the GMAT?

- I took my first CAT today. 43Q was discouraging, primarily because I had studied fairly extensively before I took it (MGMAT book series and many practice questions). Also, I think I have a good understanding of the quant concepts: worked through many of the MGMAT Advanced Quant Problem Sets in addition to reading the book. My primary problem is that I make way too many careless errors. In my CAT, I missed 5 straight questions (P. 4-8); when I went back to review create an error-log, all the wrong answers were due to simple calculation errors/careless mistakes. In fact, 10 of the 14 total questions I missed were due to careless mistakes. How can I fix this? It doesn't seem to be an issue with comprehension, so I don't know what to study - should I just keep churning through practice problems? Also, what level of problem should I focus on? Presumably, if I hadn't been careless on P 4-8, I would have reached harder questions faster, and worry that would create time issues in the future that I didn't have today. All in all, I guess I should be happy I was able to salvage a 43Q with all the early errors...also, just to make this post even longer, I get mixed messages on whether or not the first 10 and last 10 questions are any more meaningful, any insight on that?

2) My dream school is Stanford GSB... surprise, surprise... I think I have a resume that will at least keep me in the game if I can get my GMAT score where it needs to be - hence the 51Q goal. Can someone with more experience let me know if I am overestimating or underestimating the impact my resume will have on the addition process at SGSB?

The GMAT score you need to be competitive at top schools is well-documented, but finding individual student profiles is much harder. Thus, I don't really know how mine stacks up. Any guidance would be much appreciated... For what it is worth - I think I have compelling essays, which I hope they take into consideration. Stanford is, in large part, my dream school because I believe in their vision and mission.

Major points -
Undergrad - 3.5 (psych major and language minor)
Athletics (swimming) - Academic/Athletic All-American all four years, national champion individual and team, national record holder, team captain (senior year), NCAA post-graduate scholarship award winner.
Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University
Teach for America alum
The past 5 years I have run my own business (financial planning) - again, love SGSB focus on entrepreneurship

Thanks in advance for the help on this and all the guidance I have received from other posts/users.
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Re: Increase 43Q to 51Q... need some advice... HELP :) [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jan 2018, 23:19
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mbit wrote:
Hey all,

I'm a long-time listener, first-time caller - I have two questions (sorry in advance for the length of my "question"):

1) How can i increase my 43Q on my first CAT to a 51Q when I take the GMAT?

- I took my first CAT today. 43Q was discouraging, primarily because I had studied fairly extensively before I took it (MGMAT book series and many practice questions). Also, I think I have a good understanding of the quant concepts: worked through many of the MGMAT Advanced Quant Problem Sets in addition to reading the book. My primary problem is that I make way too many careless errors. In my CAT, I missed 5 straight questions (P. 4-8); when I went back to review create an error-log, all the wrong answers were due to simple calculation errors/careless mistakes. In fact, 10 of the 14 total questions I missed were due to careless mistakes. How can I fix this? It doesn't seem to be an issue with comprehension, so I don't know what to study - should I just keep churning through practice problems? Also, what level of problem should I focus on? Presumably, if I hadn't been careless on P 4-8, I would have reached harder questions faster, and worry that would create time issues in the future that I didn't have today. All in all, I guess I should be happy I was able to salvage a 43Q with all the early errors...also, just to make this post even longer, I get mixed messages on whether or not the first 10 and last 10 questions are any more meaningful, any insight on that?

2) My dream school is Stanford GSB... surprise, surprise... I think I have a resume that will at least keep me in the game if I can get my GMAT score where it needs to be - hence the 51Q goal. Can someone with more experience let me know if I am overestimating or underestimating the impact my resume will have on the addition process at SGSB?

The GMAT score you need to be competitive at top schools is well-documented, but finding individual student profiles is much harder. Thus, I don't really know how mine stacks up. Any guidance would be much appreciated... For what it is worth - I think I have compelling essays, which I hope they take into consideration. Stanford is, in large part, my dream school because I believe in their vision and mission.

Major points -
Undergrad - 3.5 (psych major and language minor)
Athletics (swimming) - Academic/Athletic All-American all four years, national champion individual and team, national record holder, team captain (senior year), NCAA post-graduate scholarship award winner.
Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University
Teach for America alum
The past 5 years I have run my own business (financial planning) - again, love SGSB focus on entrepreneurship

Thanks in advance for the help on this and all the guidance I have received from other posts/users.


Hey buddy,

I think this is the post tailormade for you :
https://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-impro ... 41670.html

Some more :
https://gmatclub.com/forum/the-ultimate ... 09801.html

Hope this helps.
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Compilation of Blogs by Mike Mcgarry - Magoosh

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Re: Increase 43Q to 51Q... need some advice... HELP :) [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jan 2018, 08:02
Thank you! These look great. I'll start working through them today.

Any thoughts/insights on the second piece? I know it's a much harder question to answer directly. I guess a more succinct way of asking the question would be - if I get a competitive GMAT score, will my resume even stack up with others applying at top 3 b-schools or do I have unrealistic expectations of my chances?

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Re: Increase 43Q to 51Q... need some advice... HELP :) [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jan 2018, 12:20
Hi mbit,

To start, you've asking a variety of Admissions questions, so you would likely find it beneficial to speak with an Admissions Expert about your overall profile. There's a Forum full of those Experts here:

http://gmatclub.com/forum/ask-admission ... tants-124/

As far as scoring at a high level on the GMAT, we really have to look at your OVERALL performance on this CAT (and not just your Quant Scaled Score). 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) How long have you studied?
2) What study materials have you used so far?
3) What were the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for this CAT?
4) Did you take the FULL CAT (with the Essay and IR sections)?

Goals:
5) What is your goal score?
6) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
7) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
8) Are you considering any Schools besides Stanford?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: Increase 43Q to 51Q... need some advice... HELP :) [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jan 2018, 14:06
Thank you. I posted a profile on one of the threads in the link!

Here are the answers to your questions:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied? ~4 months. I had to pace it out because business has been hectic. ~3 months working through MGMAT series (making sure to research areas/strategies I was weak in). Last month has been mostly practice questions.
2) What study materials have you used so far?m MGMAT series verbal and quant, MGMAT advanced quant (read full and 1/3 of problem sets completed so far), OG problems (all quant and 1/3 verbal), GMATprep (did all 90 questions and working through the supplemental pack right now)
3) What were the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for this CAT? So.. the plan was to take full cat, but my computer wigged out after the quant. I selected the order: quant, verbal, AWA, IR, so I didn't get anything done but the quant. That being said, I did study for a couple hours beforehand. I am hoping that fatigue was a (large) factor in my carelessness. I know it's not ideal to take a CAT under non-test conditions, but that is all my schedule allowed.
4) Did you take the FULL CAT (with the Essay and IR sections)? No, plan is to do V and Q again this weekend then do full CAT following weekend. I will probably use MGMAT this weekend and save the official CAT for the full test.

Goals:
5) What is your goal score? 760
6) When are you planning to take the GMAT? I'm I preparation freak, so my knee jerk reaction is to say that I will take it when I'm ready. I don't plan on applying until September, 2018, so there isn't a huge rush. However, I would love to get it done by February, so I can move on to finishing my essays.
7) When are you planning to apply to Business School? September, 2018 (ideally). R1 to give myself the best shot.
8) Are you considering any Schools besides Stanford? No. I know this seems silly, but I don't want to go to business school just for the letters behind my name. I'm nearly 30, and I already run a business I love. My dream is to do something on a much larger scale. I like Stanford's focus on entrepreneurship. If I don't get a score that gives me a shot at Stanford, I will probably not apply to bschool at all.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Increase 43Q to 51Q... need some advice... HELP :) [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jan 2018, 15:46
Hi mbit,

The 760+ score is the 99th percentile - meaning that 99% of Test Takers never score that high (regardless of how long they study or the number of times that they take the GMAT). Thankfully, NO Business School requires a score that high - so it's important to realize that the score that you "want" and the score that you "need" are not the same thing.

Test Day is a rather specific 'event' - the details are specific and they matter, so you have to train as best as you can for ALL of them. The more realistic you can make your CATs, the more likely the score results are to be accurate. The more you deviate, the more "inflated" your practice scores can become - so there's really no point to taking a CAT unless you choose to do so in a realistic fashion. Test Day involves a variety of really specific steps and parameters (including steps before the Test even begins - such as leaving your home, traveling, etc.). Every factor matters, including the psychological ones. When you sit down on Test Day, you KNOW that you're going to be in the Computer Lab for about 4 hours - but if you're just taking individual sections (or taking a CAT without the Essay and IR sections), then you KNOW that you'll be done in 1-2 hours. The attitude and energy that you use during practice will NOT be a match for what you'll need on Test Day, so it's not a proper way to practice.

This is all meant to say that you should plan to take the FULL CAT 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 how best to proceed.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: Increase 43Q to 51Q... need some advice... HELP :) [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jan 2018, 16:35
Will do! This makes total sense.

And, yes, I get the "want" vs "need." That is, in essence, what provoked the question about my resume. I see posts from members who scored exceptionally well on the GMAT and were denied admittance to Stanford. Others scored much lower and were accepted. This must be related to differences in resumes, essays, and interviews. All to say - I "want" what I "need." But I don't know what that is based on my resume :)

In any case, I will get a legit full CAT score for you!

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Re: Increase 43Q to 51Q... need some advice... HELP :) [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2018, 10:52
I have not been avoiding getting you statistics on purpose. In fact, quite the opposite. I just finished taking a full exam (Q, V, IR + essay). I took the CAT at a location away from my apartment, on the same day and at the same time as I intend to take my exam. I timed out the breaks precisely, and even used the GMAT test simulation booklet and marker.. unfortunately, I must have made some stupid mistake exiting the test because my score is showing as "finished - no score." To say I am frustrated would be an understatement. I will try again next Sunday and also hope to start working with a tutor!

I know that I have not given you the data I promised. However, I have had a general problem with the quant both times, and I would love to know if this is a common problem: my speed and accuracy in practice vs on the CAT is way different. What can I do in my practice this week to help? I already time everything. I am using the OG 2016 for the bulk of my practice questions. I calculated out my average answer speed per difficulty (DS and PS combined, difficulty based on gmat forum rating): easy 1:10, medium 1:50, hard 2:44. Of all 244 questions I have answered and timed, I only missed 10. When I do these questions, I often calculate out or come to a confident answer through logic most of the time. However, during my CAT exams, I hardly feel confident on any questions. I feel like I'm guessing all the time... This had been extraordinarily frustrating! Maybe today was different (I wish I had my score) but I doubt it. I felt even less confident than last week!

Am I practicing the wrong way or using the wrong materials?

Again, I know you don't have data yet. I will take another CAT next Sunday and report back. But I would love to hear from someone else who has gone through this and ended up having success on CATs and GMAT. I feel like I should be way more confident in my quant based on math background, study time and the materials I have used. I have done all the OG 2016 questions, a bunch of the official online timed questions and worked through numerous 700-level questions on GMAT forum and MGMAT to supplement the medium and easy work I have been doing in the OG.

I know you probably cant give me good advice without data, but I also don't want to go though another week of studying 1-3 hours a day if I am doing it all wrong. (I'm very frustrated so at the very least, this will serve as a good vent/therapy session.)
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Re: Increase 43Q to 51Q... need some advice... HELP :) [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2018, 13:53
Hi mbit,

You seem to understand that it's difficult to offer advice without having data that measures your current skills. That having been said, there's a big difference between doing well on a 'block' of practice questions and performing at that same level during the full Quant section of an adaptive CAT. There's also a big difference between doing lots of practice questions and learning/practicing Tactics so that you can take advantage of the patterns that exist in all GMAT questions. On Test Day, you won't know the 'subject matter' of a prompt - or be able to gauge its 'difficulty level' - until you're working through it, so working through a quiz when you already know the difficulty level of what you'll be facing is not a great way to measure your readiness to face the Full Exam. A strong ability to adapt to whatever question is in front of you, change Tactics, handle strange variations of subjects that you already know, etc. is essential to scoring at a high level - and it doesn't sound as though you've developed all of those skills yet.

Silly mistakes tend to occur when you're not taking the proper notes. Here's a simple way to measure whether you're taking those notes or not: if you handed your work pad to another person, would that person understand all of the information that you were given, the question that you were trying to answer and the 'steps' that you had worked through to get the solution? If the answer to any of those questions is 'no', then you have NOT taken the proper notes.

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

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Re: Increase 43Q to 51Q... need some advice... HELP :) [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2018, 14:45
Thank you. I appreciate your response even though I have not given you the data that you asked for yet. Much of that post was written out of frustration with my failed attempt at a CAT and slow progress. I feel better after reading some posts on the forum about much better test takers having similar issues when they were studying.

You are definitely right. I need to get better at quickly and accurately "cracking" the problem and executing on a strategy. Also, building stamina to do this without blunders for 37 straight questions.

Interesting you mention showing someone my scratch pad. When I do practice problems, my work is clear and easy to follow, but my scratch paper after the CAT looked like I was just writing stuff down because I needed something to do for two minutes!

I won't bother you again until I have date!
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Re: Increase 43Q to 51Q... need some advice... HELP :) [#permalink]

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New post 04 Feb 2018, 13:47
47Q 34V IR4 AWA-completed (660)

Not exactly what I wanted, but I am encouraged. I made some silly time management errors in quant that are easily correctable. (I guessed on a few questions because I thought I was further behind than I was.) In IR, I spent 10 minutes on the first question, and had to guess on the last two/three problems, which were easier than the one I spent 10 minutes on. I knew verbal wasn't going well. I just need to focus on it a little more. I have spent almost no time on it.

I've had just one session with my tutor so far, but got some really good info. Hopefully more focused studying can accelerate my progress!
Re: Increase 43Q to 51Q... need some advice... HELP :)   [#permalink] 04 Feb 2018, 13:47
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