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Just took my first CAT, please HELP.

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Just took my first CAT, please HELP.  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Nov 2018, 13:24
Hi, this is my first post.

I recently decided to apply for a MSRED program. My profile might not be a usual one for a GMAT taker, I am 35, Industrial Engineer, have a 2 year old son, not from the USA (English is not my native language) and 8-9 years of experience in Real Estate, so it's been a long time since I last studied for anything. I bought the verbal-quant course from e-Gmat and began studying on first week of september. I have a very demanding job, however I spend around 2 hours/day and couple more during the weekends. I took my first CAT (GMAT official prep) today and scored 470 (Q31, V25) which is far below from what I expected. I have found e-gMat very helpful, however I wish I could have a faster pace going through all the topics. By the time I take the exam I won't be able to complete all of them.

I'm not sure if I'm studying the right way, or if there is something I can do to boost my learning and therefore my score. For example, when I look at the topics I studied at the beginning of the course, I tend to forget a bunch of the basics, so I'm not sure if its lack of practice or I'm just not learning the right/best way. When I take sectional tests I do well, but when I take a complete quant or verbal section my performance is not good at all.

What would you recommend? Will taking CAT's every weekend and working on the answers/topics I got wrong a right way to improve?

I have my test scheduled for December 13th, I know I'm short of time but want to boost my score as much as I can. Worst case scenario, I'll just take another exam next year but this will cause a 1-1.5 year delay to start the program since application deadline is Jan 15. I just want to try to make it for the program beginning in 2019.

Thank you!
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Re: Just took my first CAT, please HELP.  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Nov 2018, 18:56
Hi cam1983,

A CAT/mock is really a 'measuring device' - when used correctly, it will give you a realistic score and help define your strengths and weaknesses, but it will NOT help you to fix any of those weaknesses. To raise your scores, you have to learn the necessary Tactics and put in the proper practice and repetitions. The CAT will show you whether your studies are helping you to improve or not. As such, to significantly improve on this Score - you're going to have to do a lot more than just taking a FULL CAT each week.

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:

1) Have you used any other study materials besides the course you mentioned?
2) What is your goal score?
3) What are the average GMAT Scores at each of the Programs that you plan to apply to?

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Rich
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Re: Just took my first CAT, please HELP.  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Nov 2018, 20:14
Thanks for your response.

1. I’m using the course I mentioned along with the OG.
2. >630
3. There is no minimum, however it usually depends on the average of the applicants, some years it has been 650, others 670, others 700. Experience, resume, recommendations and personal statements are considered to have an important weight as well. I consider I have a verg good application in terms of experience, cv and recommendations, so if I score a little below average I think the rest of my application should help to make a balance.

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Re: Just took my first CAT, please HELP.  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Nov 2018, 02:21
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Hi cam1983,

Thank you for trusting e-GMAT with your preparation needs. We provide extensive support to students for strategy and subject-matter related doubts. I would request you to share your queries with us on support@e-gmat.com using your registered email id. This will help us look at your course dashboard and Scholaranium data to help you prepare better and reach your target score.

Regards,
Aditee
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Re: Just took my first CAT, please HELP.  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Nov 2018, 13:44
Hi cam1983,

Assuming that this 470 is accurate, you have some serious work to do to hit your Score Goal. Raising a 470 to a 630+ 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. With your current Test Date, you have just a little over 3 weeks of potential study time though - and a 160+ point improvement in so short a period is likely too difficult to be considered realistic. There's no harm in taking the GMAT as scheduled, but you would almost certainly need to retest later - and you'll need to commit to a longer, structured Study Plan to hit that Score.

1) Are there any other application deadlines after January 15th?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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

Rich Cohen

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Re: Just took my first CAT, please HELP.  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Nov 2018, 17:04
Thank you for your honest responses. I know my expectations are far from reality for now, I will work hard to get closer.
1. For the schools I’m interested no, I would have to wait for another year.
2. Around 15-18 hours

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New post 19 Nov 2018, 18:57
Hi Aditee! I haven't done much in Scholaranium since I haven't finished all the topics, do you consider I should start to practice in scholaranium the topics already covered, even though it will take time from completing the rest?

Thanks
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Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
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GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: Just took my first CAT, please HELP.  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Nov 2018, 21:07
Hi cam1983,

If that's the only application deadline remaining for this application cycle, then you have approximately 8 weeks until that January date. To give yourself the best possible chance at improving on this 470, you might want to consider pushing back your Test Date so that you can put in as many additional weeks into your studies as you can. It would still be challenging to hit 630+ in that timeframe, but you would have a much better shot at it than if you limited yourself to just 3.5 more weeks of study.

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

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/

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

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Re: Just took my first CAT, please HELP.  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Nov 2018, 19:14
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Hi cam1983,

I agree that you should push your GMAT as far out as possible to give yourself the best chance at achieving your 630 score goal. Worst-case scenario, if you don’t hit your GMAT score, you can apply next year, right?
That being said, I want to discuss your study plan.

First of all, I don’t recommend taking a practice test every weekend. Taking practice exams before you are ready can really derail any chance for improvement. Remember, GMAT practice tests serve two main purposes: to provide diagnostic information and to get you accustomed to the test-taking experience. In other words, by taking a practice test, you can get a sense of what types of GMAT questions you are comfortable answering, arrive at a reasonable estimation of how you would score on the GMAT at that point in time, and practice taking the GMAT and handling its various challenges, such as time pressure and the varying difficulty of the questions presented.

Can practice tests be valuable tools for learning and continued score improvement? Yes, of course, if they are used properly and at optimal times in your preparation. However, you should not use practice tests as primary learning vehicles because they don’t really provide the kind of practice that you need to increase your score. To improve your score, you need to learn the basics of answering various types of GMAT questions, and then practice applying what you have learned by carefully answering practice questions in order to learn to answer them correctly. When you first learn how to answer a particular type of question, answering that type of question correctly can easily take way longer than the two minutes or so per question that you are allotted when you take the GMAT (or a practice test). So, to effectively prepare, you have to practice answering questions of each type without the constraints of the exam, and work up to the point at which you can answer questions of each type in around two minutes.

When taking a practice test, you don’t give yourself the kind of time you need to learn to answer questions. Two minutes per question flies by, and if you want to finish each section of the test on time, in many cases, regardless of whether you have figured out how to answer a question, you may have to pick an answer and move on. So, while taking a practice test can be a great way to work on your overall approach to taking the GMAT, taking a practice test is not a great way to learn how to get right answers to various types of questions. To hit your score goal, you likely need to focus on the latter type of prep. You certainly can benefit from taking one diagnostic practice test early in your preparation to gauge your current skill level (as you have done), but why spend three hours taking another practice test (and another, and another) to learn the same thing over and over again: You have to learn more content and develop more skills to hit your score goal. Using practice tests in such a way wastes a valuable tool.

Once you have done substantial preparation and mastered much of the content tested on the GMAT, when you sit for practice tests, they will actually show, to some degree, lingering weak areas. I say “to some degree” because although practice tests provide a pretty good approximation of how you will score on the GMAT at a particular point in time, the sample size of the number of questions found on any practice test is rather small (31 quant questions and 36 verbal questions), so practice tests don’t do a very good job of showing specific areas of weakness. For example, let’s say that on a practice test, you encounter one Rate-Time-Distance question among the 31 quant questions, and you get the question wrong. Should you conclude that you need extensive work on Rate-Time-Distance questions? Of course not. Similarly, what if you correctly answered the Rate-Time-Distance question? Does that mean you’re good to go on such questions? Maybe. But maybe not. In fact, let’s say that out of six practice tests, you saw a total of six Rate-Time-Distance questions and correctly answered them all. Can you conclude that you’re solid on Rate-Time-Distance questions? Probably not. One thing that makes the GMAT challenging is the vast potential for variation in the questions. There are hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of variations of Rate-Time-Distance questions that can appear on any test. So, correctly answering five or six (or ten) Rate-Time-Distance questions doesn’t really tell you much. You must take care not to over-infer based on a handful of practice tests and nothing else.

I realize that you are focused on getting through your GMAT study plan as quickly as possible, but trust me, studying for speed won’t do you any good. Right now, you need to ensure that you are following a linear and structured study plan so that you can truly master GMAT quant and verbal. Regardless of how long that takes, developing content mastery will be key to your success. After all, if you don’t do well on the GMAT, you won’t be applying this year, right? So, let’s focus on studying the RIGHT way. If you can do so, things will work out for you in the end.

Lastly, you may find it helpful to read my article about developing the proper mindset for GMAT success.

Good luck!
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Re: Just took my first CAT, please HELP.  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2018, 04:45
cam1983 wrote:
Hi Aditee! I haven't done much in Scholaranium since I haven't finished all the topics, do you consider I should start to practice in scholaranium the topics already covered, even though it will take time from completing the rest?

Thanks


Hi cam1983,

I would need to look at your course dashboard and know your current and target scores to give you a precise answer for this. Please share the current and target scores.

Regards,
Aditee
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Re: Just took my first CAT, please HELP. &nbs [#permalink] 27 Nov 2018, 04:45
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