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

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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:

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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Thank you. I posted a profile on one of the threads in the link!

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.

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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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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!

Posted from my mobile device
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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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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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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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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!
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Hey all, reporting back good news: I took the GMAT and got a 750 (49Q, 42V, 7IR, 6AWA). Very happy with this score even though it is just a hair off of the 760 goal that I had set. I am going to do a full debrief after I finish submitting my R2 applications. I have found other GMAT debriefs helpful/inspiring but don't have the time or mental energy to write one quite yet.
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mbit wrote:
Hey all, reporting back good news: I took the GMAT and got a 750 (49Q, 42V, 7IR, 6AWA). Very happy with this score even though it is just a hair off of the 760 goal that I had set. I am going to do a full debrief after I finish submitting my R2 applications. I have found other GMAT debriefs helpful/inspiring but don't have the time or mental energy to write one quite yet.

hello sir,

Congratulations on achieving such a high score on GMAT. i went through this post thread while i was looking for a solution to my problem.
I have been studying since past 7 months and struggling with score improvement. My current level is q-45/v-36 (MGMAT).
I will be really grateful if you could offer an insight regarding how did you improve from Q-43 to 49? i just need 700+ (at least q-49) for indian schools.

Kumar Utkarsh

Originally posted by Kumar Utkarsh on 03 Nov 2018, 05:50.
Last edited by Kumar Utkarsh on 03 Nov 2018, 23:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Congratulations on achieving such a high score. Please let us know how did you improve from Q43 to Q49.
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Sure thing! I was struggling the same way you were. Here are my thoughts:

I'll separate out quant and verbal because they took very different amounts of work for me. I was able to make a big verbal jump quickly and focused on two things (below). Remember: don't skimp on the verbal! You can make huge leaps and put a high ceiling on your GMAT score by getting consistently good verbal marks. My scores progressed 700 (44Q 41V) to 720 (48V 41V) to 750 (49V 42V). Thus, I was able to hit the 700 mark every time even though I sucked it up on quant a couple times.

1) For RC/CR: focus on UNDERSTANDING. That's it... Best strategy: read a sentence/section then paraphrase what it ACTUALLY MEANS. Read the next sentence/section, then go back and paraphrase what BOTH sentences/sections ACTUALLY MEAN. Do this until you finish the RC/CR. It is slow at first, but if you practice, you can get fast at it. I finished my verbal section with 4 minutes to do my last question. After using this strategy for many, many practice questions, I found that, in many cases, I actually new what the question was going to be before I even read it. Also, in the end, this saved me time because I never had to write anything down. I knew the passages/questions so thoroughly by the time I finished reading that I could answer the questions quickly and, for the most part, from recall. For me, this strategy literally took me from 33V to 40V. To get from 40V to 42/43/44+V you have to do a lot of practice with it and get very comfortable with difficult RC questions. (Two other side notes: only use official GMAT questions for verbal and when you get a question wrong, take as much time as you need to UNDERSTAND WHY.) To get faster at this strategy, read articles from reputable magazines (Economist, New Yorker, Nat Geo, etc.) I read 2-3 every morning while I was getting better at this just to wake my mind up master the strategy.

For quant, I went through several ceilings and it was tough to break through every time, so don't give up! I struggled with three things (in this order):

1) I couldn't get practice questions right consistently: this was because I didn't know the basics. Everyone starts here. To get past this stage, I think the Manhattan prep series are amazing. You might defer to the opinion of actual tutors/experts, but I think you are past this stage if you are scoring legit 46Q 36V practice GMATs. (The Manhattan prep advance quant book is a good way to start getting into the deep waters with quant.)

2) I couldn't get the questions right under time pressure/on the practice exams: ever look back at your practice exam error log and realize that you should have gotten every question right? Yeah... I have been there. For me, I used a tutor to help me get through this stage. abhimahna is THE MAN (thanks for all your help!). I don't know if he is still tutoring, but if not, I'm sure there are many other good tutors you can find. It's a commitment, but it was well worth it for me. If you don't want to use a tutor, the gist of what I worked on was THOUSANDS of practice questions, making sure I UNDERSTOOD each one. Doing 40-50/day from specific sections (e.g. 300 for rate/time, 300 for word problems, etc.) By the time you have done enough, you can start to read a question and know, for the most part, what is coming. The GMAT uses templates for their questions, understanding the templates by heart will ease nerves on test day (see below) and help you with strategy. You don't need to get every question right to get a 49Q--far from it. You need to know your strengths and weaknesses, so you know which problems to spend extra time on and which to pass.

3) I could not perform to the best of my abilities on test day: this was THE MOST FRUSTRATING of all the steps. My last two CATs were 50Q 47V... my first THREE official GMATs were 44Q 41/42V (700). Conquering this last step, performing on test day, was all about controlling my emotions and mindset. For my 700 scores, the test felt like it was coming at me a million miles an hour--it was like I hadn't studied at all. I don't think my understanding of the material changed over the course of taking official exams either. The biggest step was calming my nervous. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. For me, it came after getting my 720. The next time I took the exam, I didn't feel any pressure at all. I went through the questions calmly, absorbed the info, skipped questions before spending way to much time, etc. My 750 was actually the most enjoyable of the exams that I took. Again, hard to practice for this... but I would say, JUST DON'T WORRY. If you put in the work, you will do well. Getting overly nervous will only hurt your scores. Plus, as mentioned, you don't need to be anywhere near 'perfect' to get even a 760. We had a sports psychologist talk to our team in college and he said something that is very relevant to GMAT test-takers. To paraphrase, 95% of an athletic event is the training/physical aspect--only 5% is mental. BUT, that 5% mental aspect can DESTROY all of your 95% mental preparation. It is the same with the GMAT. 95% is practice only 5% is managing test-day stuff, but, speaking from personal experience, that 5% can have a huge impact on your overall score.

*One tip: read the initial instruction pages at the official exam just like you are reading a question (see above). This is stupid but helped calm my nerves. I started with verbal and realized that I wasn't actually absorbing info the first 1-5 questions because I was too hyped up. I started reading those intro pages to make sure that I was actually absorbing basic info...if you can't even read the test-day rules, you probably aren't going to comprehend a difficult CR question! This seemed to help me slow my heart rate and get into the right mindset.

I hope this helps! Just don't give up. Again, my scores 700, 700, 700, 720, 750, so I understand GMAT disappointment
Intern
Joined: 29 Apr 2017
Posts: 46
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GMAT 1: 660 Q43 V38
GMAT 2: 690 Q48 V36
GPA: 3.54
WE:Operations (Transportation)
mbit wrote:
Sure thing! I was struggling the same way you were. Here are my thoughts:

I'll separate out quant and verbal because they took very different amounts of work for me. I was able to make a big verbal jump quickly and focused on two things (below). Remember: don't skimp on the verbal! You can make huge leaps and put a high ceiling on your GMAT score by getting consistently good verbal marks. My scores progressed 700 (44Q 41V) to 720 (48V 41V) to 750 (49V 42V). Thus, I was able to hit the 700 mark every time even though I sucked it up on quant a couple times.

1) For RC/CR: focus on UNDERSTANDING. That's it... Best strategy: read a sentence/section then paraphrase what it ACTUALLY MEANS. Read the next sentence/section, then go back and paraphrase what BOTH sentences/sections ACTUALLY MEAN. Do this until you finish the RC/CR. It is slow at first, but if you practice, you can get fast at it. I finished my verbal section with 4 minutes to do my last question. After using this strategy for many, many practice questions, I found that, in many cases, I actually new what the question was going to be before I even read it. Also, in the end, this saved me time because I never had to write anything down. I knew the passages/questions so thoroughly by the time I finished reading that I could answer the questions quickly and, for the most part, from recall. For me, this strategy literally took me from 33V to 40V. To get from 40V to 42/43/44+V you have to do a lot of practice with it and get very comfortable with difficult RC questions. (Two other side notes: only use official GMAT questions for verbal and when you get a question wrong, take as much time as you need to UNDERSTAND WHY.) To get faster at this strategy, read articles from reputable magazines (Economist, New Yorker, Nat Geo, etc.) I read 2-3 every morning while I was getting better at this just to wake my mind up master the strategy.

For quant, I went through several ceilings and it was tough to break through every time, so don't give up! I struggled with three things (in this order):

1) I couldn't get practice questions right consistently: this was because I didn't know the basics. Everyone starts here. To get past this stage, I think the Manhattan prep series are amazing. You might defer to the opinion of actual tutors/experts, but I think you are past this stage if you are scoring legit 46Q 36V practice GMATs. (The Manhattan prep advance quant book is a good way to start getting into the deep waters with quant.)

2) I couldn't get the questions right under time pressure/on the practice exams: ever look back at your practice exam error log and realize that you should have gotten every question right? Yeah... I have been there. For me, I used a tutor to help me get through this stage. abhimahna is THE MAN (thanks for all your help!). I don't know if he is still tutoring, but if not, I'm sure there are many other good tutors you can find. It's a commitment, but it was well worth it for me. If you don't want to use a tutor, the gist of what I worked on was THOUSANDS of practice questions, making sure I UNDERSTOOD each one. Doing 40-50/day from specific sections (e.g. 300 for rate/time, 300 for word problems, etc.) By the time you have done enough, you can start to read a question and know, for the most part, what is coming. The GMAT uses templates for their questions, understanding the templates by heart will ease nerves on test day (see below) and help you with strategy. You don't need to get every question right to get a 49Q--far from it. You need to know your strengths and weaknesses, so you know which problems to spend extra time on and which to pass.

3) I could not perform to the best of my abilities on test day: this was THE MOST FRUSTRATING of all the steps. My last two CATs were 50Q 47V... my first THREE official GMATs were 44Q 41/42V (700). Conquering this last step, performing on test day, was all about controlling my emotions and mindset. For my 700 scores, the test felt like it was coming at me a million miles an hour--it was like I hadn't studied at all. I don't think my understanding of the material changed over the course of taking official exams either. The biggest step was calming my nervous. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. For me, it came after getting my 720. The next time I took the exam, I didn't feel any pressure at all. I went through the questions calmly, absorbed the info, skipped questions before spending way to much time, etc. My 750 was actually the most enjoyable of the exams that I took. Again, hard to practice for this... but I would say, JUST DON'T WORRY. If you put in the work, you will do well. Getting overly nervous will only hurt your scores. Plus, as mentioned, you don't need to be anywhere near 'perfect' to get even a 760. We had a sports psychologist talk to our team in college and he said something that is very relevant to GMAT test-takers. To paraphrase, 95% of an athletic event is the training/physical aspect--only 5% is mental. BUT, that 5% mental aspect can DESTROY all of your 95% mental preparation. It is the same with the GMAT. 95% is practice only 5% is managing test-day stuff, but, speaking from personal experience, that 5% can have a huge impact on your overall score.

*One tip: read the initial instruction pages at the official exam just like you are reading a question (see above). This is stupid but helped calm my nerves. I started with verbal and realized that I wasn't actually absorbing info the first 1-5 questions because I was too hyped up. I started reading those intro pages to make sure that I was actually absorbing basic info...if you can't even read the test-day rules, you probably aren't going to comprehend a difficult CR question! This seemed to help me slow my heart rate and get into the right mindset.

I hope this helps! Just don't give up. Again, my scores 700, 700, 700, 720, 750, so I understand GMAT disappointment

Hello sir,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a well informed post. i will try to my best to improve upon my efforts using these tips. Just few questions: 1) what resources of question pool did u refer to for practising Quant. I have already exhausted my MGMAT practise bank and OG-17/18. 2) Also, would u reccomend LSAT question sets for verbal improvement?

Thanking you again.
Kumar Utkarsh
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[/quote] Hello sir,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a well informed post. i will try to my best to improve upon my efforts using these tips. Just few questions: 1) what resources of question pool did u refer to for practising Quant. I have already exhausted my MGMAT practise bank and OG-17/18. 2) Also, would u reccomend LSAT question sets for verbal improvement?

Thanking you again.
Kumar Utkarsh[/quote]

Kumar Utkarsh,

1) Do all the free GMATprep software questions and buy the additional GMATprep question pack(s). Go through all of the MGMAT CAT quant sections, doing them untimed so that you can focus on understanding the questions and getting them correct. (IMO the MGMAT CAT quant questions are WAY harder than the actual test. They can be good practice for tough questions, but don't spend all your time here. Remember that you can get a 49Q if you just now the basics by heart. I would go as far as to say that you can get a 50Q if you just know the basics by heart, have a solid understanding of the difficult stuff, and get a little lucky, meaning the difficult questions you see are in your wheelhouse.) Buy the extra GMATprep official CATs and do those in full; after completing each section, go back through and redo all the questions that you get wrong. (Once you start exhausting official resources, your error logs will become really important. Go back and do the questions you missed multiple times, and understand why you missed them. Remember: GMAT only has so many things that they can test you on. On the real exam, it is likely that you will see questions that are similar to the practice questions you do. If you are getting practice questions wrong, it is likely because you aren't comfortable with that particular archetype/structure. I went back and redid questions all the time. If I got a question wrong, I learned 2-3 different ways to solve that question. There were questions that I resolved 30x just to make sure I REALLY knew it. I figured that I was more likely to panic on one of those questions on the test, but if I knew a bunch of different ways to solve a question type, I would be more likely to stay calm and execute.) Finally, use the GMATclub questions banks and set your preferences to only official resources. Once you have done that, go back through your error logs. If you have done that many questions and still aren't where you want to be, I don't think you need more new questions. You have hit a wall because you need a deeper understanding of the questions you have already done.

2) I have heard multiple different recommendations on this. My belief is that you should only use official questions for verbal. Eventually you will run short on new questions, but my advice is the same as above. Go back through your error logs. This is even more relevant on verbal because you should be making sure you know why every non-correct answer is wrong. Can you explain to someone why an answer choice is incorrect? If not, you need to go back through that question.
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WE:Securities Sales and Trading (Mutual Funds and Brokerage)
Sorry for the poor posting etiquette... early in the morning, so I messed that up.
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Hello sir,

Thank you once again for taking time to post such a well informed post in most articulate manner. I really hope to take advantage from it.
I wish you get into your dream college (Stanford) and achieve great success in fututre.

Thanks & Best Regards
Kumar Utkarsh
Intern
Joined: 07 Jan 2018
Posts: 19
Own Kudos [?]: 16 [0]
Given Kudos: 58
Location: United States
Concentration: Finance, Social Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42
GPA: 3.49
WE:Securities Sales and Trading (Mutual Funds and Brokerage)