new800 wrote:

I just took the GMAT on Monday and I was very disappointed with my score of 680, Q49 and V34. Especially since I bought the official practice tests 3 and 4, went through them without pausing and trying to mimic the test environment, and scored 750 and 770. I noticed some of the questions repeated between the tests which I think attributed to my false score. I bought all of the 404 official practice questions and went through those. I crammed studied one week with video lessons and some of their questions. I essentially spent two weeks cramming for the test before I wrote it and before that I have been studying on and off with questions of the day from here and a 2014

Kaplan book that my friend gave me. I also went through the everything you need to know for quant that gmat club offers.

I don't know if it was just test day that got to me. Or if I'm really not above the 700 level. I know I have some weak areas in quant that were maybe exposed in the real test. Weak areas such as I may second guess my mental math, some ratio problems I have trouble with, I dislike questions about trips with multiple parts and questions with inequalities, especially when absolute values are mixed in. I don't know how I suffered so much on verbal. I've never been strong on verbal though. An issue I have with verbal is on RC questions I may not understand what the passage is about, the question asked and even the answers. I also don't tend to read very fast. SC questions I find myself second guessing a lot. CR questions sometimes I just find them too difficult.

I did find that on some questions in the quant section that I was second guessing myself, or I didn't know immediately what approach I should take to solve the problem and spent too much time on some questions. I almost didn't finish as I rushed through the last couple of questions. I think I had about 10 seconds for the final question which was disappointing because it looked like a problem that I could have solved very quickly if I had 30 seconds to focus. For verbal, something bad must have happened near the beginning because by the time I was at the last two questions I had over ten minutes left...

I have to master some areas in quant to get up from Q49 to Q50 or Q51 which I think is possible. Seems to me like I will have to just keep practicing. For verbal though I am not even sure where to begin as it just seems like I'm so weak there.

I would appreciate and suggestions for improvement or links to resources and your advice. Well, if anything, thank you very much for your time.

Tips to improve qant :

1. Know the Exam

It sounds simple, but you’d be amazed at how many students don’t study all the subjects they’ll encounter in CAT Quant. Either they don’t know what those subjects are, they’ve studied with the wrong practice materials, or they’re crossing their fingers that their particular weaknesses won’t show up on this year’s test. Don’t let this be you! Check out the Math Syllabus for the CAT Exam to brush up on the Quant topics you might see.

2. Practice Mental Math

Yes, I know there’s a calculator on-screen. But have you spent any time using on-screen calculators? If you have, you know that they’re clumsy and waste precious seconds. Beyond that, test-takers end up relying on them for math they could do just as quickly (if not more quickly!) in their heads. Spend some time each day building up your mental math skills as you practice. It does take some practice, so start early—but you’ll be amply rewarded with extra time on the exam.

3. Use Flashcards in Context

So many test-takers prepare for Quant by writing out formulas on flashcards. Don’t get me wrong—it’s great to study on the go! But it’s no good to know a formula if you don’t know how to use it. A better idea? Write out problems that use those formulas on the flashcards. Even if you’re on the bus or waiting in line and don’t have room to take notes, all the better—it’s a great time for mental math practice!

4. Know Your Strategies

By the time the official exam rolls around, you should have your general Quant strategy all set. How many questions will you attempt? You can check out some of these posts for guidance, based on how accurate you are and what your score goal is:

How Many Questions Should I Attempt in CAT 2017?

How Many CAT Questions Should I Attempt to Score Within the 100 Percentile?

How Many CAT Questions Should I Attempt to Score Within the 99.5 Percentile?

How Many CAT Questions Should I Attempt to Score Within the 95 Percentile?

How Many CAT Questions Should I Attempt to Score Within the 90 Percentile?

How Many CAT Questions Should I Attempt to Score Within the 80 Percentile?

But you should also be familiar with strategies you can use in the Quant section particularly. Even though these are GMAT tips, they work just as well on the CAT:

Backsolving

Strategies for Halving and Doubling

(Tip: Explore the Quant section of our GMAT blog for even more math practice and tips!)

5. Build Your Endurance

The Quant section is the third and final section of the CAT. By that point, you’ll have been at the test center for more than two hours and most likely be tired, thirsty, hungry, and a lot of other adjectives to boot! The way to address this? Practice in test-like conditions. I know it can be a pain to set aside three hours a week (or twice a week, or even more) to take practice exams all at once—but it’s the only way you’ll get the endurance that you need for test day.

6. Become a “Mathematical Thinker”

How are you at spotting patterns? Using formulas? Putting principles into practice? Thinking mathematically is one skill that you should be practicing constantly before tackling Quant on test day. Check out Mike’s tips for Mathematical Thinking to get you started!

7. Know Your Vocab

If you’re missing a lot of questions in Quant practice, have you considered that you may be misunderstanding the questions themselves? Take a look at our CAT Word List to make sure you have the mathematical vocabulary you need to be truly prepared for the exam.

8. Be Careful

Silly mistakes can cost you big points on CAT Quant. What do I mean by this? Dropping a negative sign. Reading the question wrong. Even answering it correctly, but clicking the wrong answer choice. For more on common math mistakes and how to avoid them, check out Mike’s advice.

9. Get Faster

To get faster, work with sets of 10 practice problems. At first, time yourself, but don’t hold yourself to any particular timeframe. Take note of that time. Then, with each subsequent set, shave a few seconds off of your initial time. Keep going until you hit the same accuracy score—then shave a few more seconds off. This process can take a few weeks or even a few months, but it pays off big in the end.

10. Get Better

At the end of the day, there are only two ways to up your CAT Quant score: get faster and answer more questions, or get better. Ideally, you’d do both. And how do you get better? Take the above tips and apply them to your practice: your drills, your problem sets, your mock exams. Push your accuracy score as high as you can. And when test day comes around, you’ll know that you did everything you could to ensure maximum success on CAT Quant!