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Looking for advice on which strategy/program to prep for retake?

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Looking for advice on which strategy/program to prep for retake?  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 27 Feb 2019, 23:50
Hi All,

I'm looking for advice on a new strategy and learning material which I can cover in the next 4-6 weeks before I plan on retaking the GMAT. I'm looking to apply to a R3 intake which closes on June 5th. (If necessary I could do R4 to gain extra time but that would be a last resort.)

I had my first official GMAT test today and scored a 660 (Q44, V37). My target score is 690 - 710, but importantly I also need at least a Q47. I'm a native English speaker and consider myself quite well read. My undergraduate degree was in engineering.

I prepared for the GMAT over a 12 week period but had a 2 week break over Christmas due to remote travel and family events, so 10 weeks in total. I signed up for a package on the Economist GMAT tutor which appealed to me because it was a combination of self-learning and one-on-one tutoring. Unfortunately I later came to discover that the content is lacking compared to other companies' offerings and the level of insight offered by the tutors was also disappointing. I averaged between 15-20 hours of study a week, but as the exam date got closer I felt like I was cramming instead of really learning quant material thoroughly.

Apart from the Economist software I was also using the OG19 (but only managed to get through about half the questions) and browsing GMATclub alot. I also have the official additional quant and verbal question books but didn't even get around to looking at either of them. I was also using an errorlog and going over all of my practice test results.

Here is a breakdown of my practice CAT results:
Test 1: Dec 13, Economist GMAT diagnostic (before any prep). 590 Q37, V33.
Test 2: Jan 27, Economist GMAT. 610 Q37 V36 IR5
Test 3: Feb 3, Economist GMAT. 670 Q47 V35 IR7
Test 4: Feb 9, Economist GMAT. 660 Q35 V45 IR7
Test 5: Feb 14, GMATPrep 1. 690 Q45 V39 IR4
Test 6: Feb 20, GMATPrep 2. 690 Q44 V40 IR7
Test 7: Feb 23, GMATPrep 3. 640 Q38 V39 IR8 (had a bad run on quant on this one)

On quant I found that I was making too many careless mistakes and I also had trouble figuring out what my weaknesses were. I have seen some other software (like e-gmat) which proclaims to help you find your weaknesses and give you targeted questions, but I would welcome any suggestions here on what software I could use.

For verbal I seem to have hit a wall at around V40 using my current strategies.

I have ample energy/motivation to do whatever needs to be done, but my experience has shown me that I was perhaps studying "hard" but not "smart". Any support or advice would be much appreciated!

Thanks!

Originally posted by Pangolin on 27 Feb 2019, 18:54.
Last edited by Pangolin on 27 Feb 2019, 23:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Looking for advice on which strategy/program to prep for retake?  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2019, 23:26
Hi Pangolin,

To a 660/Q44 is a strong score (it's right around the 80th percentile overall), so it could be enough to get you into your first-choice School. As such, a retest might not be necessary. Depending on the Schools that you plan to apply to, 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:

https://gmatclub.com/forum/ask-admissio ... tants-124/

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 your timeline and your goals:

1) Why do you think you "need" a Q47? Do any of the Programs that interest you require a certain 'minimal' performance in the Quant section?
2) The June 5th intake you referred to is over 3 months away; is there a reason why you are limiting your studies to another 4-6 weeks?
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
4) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

You might also choose to purchase the Enhanced Score Report. While the ESR doesn't provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong (and what you should work on to score higher). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

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Re: Looking for advice on which strategy/program to prep for retake?  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2019, 23:49
Hi Rich,

Thanks for the prompt response to my post.

The school I'm targeting is INSEAD and having spoken to a couple admissions advisors, they have advised that I need to get in the 700 range and at least the 70th percentile on both Quant and Verbal to be competitive. A Q47 is already below the 70th percentile but I believe I have a strong profile outside of the GMAT requirements so I think that should suffice. The only reason I am limiting my study period is to avoid preparing for the GMAT and developing my application simultaneously. (My assumption being that I wouldn't be able to focus completely on either, but open to suggestions on this.).

Going forward I will still be able to dedicate at least 15-20 hours a week consistently to study, but I feel like I really need to change up my studying method or strategy this time as in the two weeks prior to the test I put in significantly more time per week with little return on both my practice and actual test scores. I'll also have a read about the ESR.

Thanks.
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Re: Looking for advice on which strategy/program to prep for retake?  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Feb 2019, 00:11
Hi Pangolin,

Assuming that your Verbal skills are consistently this strong, then you could focus on the Quant section, hone the necessary skills and potentially retest in a month (and hit both your Quant Scaled Score and Overall Score Goals). A Q44 means that you did well on most of the 'math questions' that you faced in the Quant section, but you made some little mistakes as you worked through the section AND you missed out on LOTS of 'strategy-based' questions. The Quant section of the GMAT is NOT a 'math test' - it's a 'critical thinking test' that requires lots of little calculations as you work through it. To score at a much higher level in this section, you need to become more of a 'strategist' and less of a 'mathematician.'

With an ESR, we could nitpick your performance in a bit more detail. That having been said, it's not necessary to have that data to define what you need to work on in the Quant section.

1) 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

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Looking for advice on which strategy/program to prep for retake?  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 10 Mar 2019, 22:39
Hi Pangolin,

660 is a good score even if not your target score. I say this because this score indicates that you have a decent grasp over the concepts tested on the GMAT and sets a good foundation for your further improvement.

Getting to your target score

Having a personalized study plan that has clear milestones will double your chances to reach your target score in 25% fewer hours. To create one such plan for yourself, you can use Personalized Study Planner. I have created a sample plan for you from 660 to 750. You can create your own plan by giving personalized inputs using your ESR.
Image

This article on Creating a study plan using PSP and ESR lists the steps and tips that you can use to create your own plan.

Identifying your weakness is the first step

You have rightly understood that to solve a problem you need to first identify what is going wrong. For that you need precise feedback on your performance. Scholaranium is one such platform that many students like Guillermo and Nishant have leveraged to improve their abilities.
    • Guillermo improved from a Q38 (36 percentile) to Q50 (86 percentile). Click here to watch is inspiring video interview. Read his amazing GMAT Club debrief here.
    • Carrie improved from a Q35 (26 percentile) to a Q50 (85 percentile) in 3 weeks. Click here to watch here video interview. Click here to read her amazing GMAT Club de-brief.

Way Forward

The maximum improvement will come from your weak area. Below is an outline for identifying the weak areas and working on them
    • Take ability quizzes right at sub-section level. Click here to take a Quant Ability Quiz.
    • Analyse the Skill Data section to identify the weak areas and work on them
    • Track Improvement and repeat the process until you achieve your desired scores
With thorough analysis you will be able to identify not only the topics you need to work on, but also where the gap is – if it is understanding a concept or applying the same. If you have any query, please free to write to us at support@e-gmat.com.


Regards,
Zinnia
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Originally posted by egmat on 01 Mar 2019, 03:52.
Last edited by egmat on 10 Mar 2019, 22:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Looking for advice on which strategy/program to prep for retake?  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Mar 2019, 07:05
Hi Pangolin,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. The good news is that 660 is a good start! That said, to improve your GMAT score to a higher level, you need to go through GMAT quant and verbal carefully to find your exact weaknesses, fill gaps in your knowledge, and strengthen your skills. The overall process will be to learn all about how to answer question types with which you currently aren't very comfortable and do dozens of practice questions category by category, basically driving up your score point by point. When you do dozens of questions of the same type one after the other, you learn just what it takes to get questions of that type correct consistently. If you aren't getting close to 90 percent of questions of a certain type correct, go back and seek to better understand how that type of question works, and then do more questions of that type until you get to around at least 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better.

For example, if you find that you are not strong in answering Number Properties questions, then carefully review the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions and practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. When you are working on learning to answer questions of a particular type, start off taking your time, and then seek to speed up as you get more comfortable answering questions of that type. As you do such practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get right. If you got a remainder question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not properly apply the remainder formula? Was there a concept you did not understand in the question? By carefully analyzing your mistakes, you will be able to efficiently fix your weaknesses and in turn improve your GMAT quant skills. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

Each time you strengthen your understanding of a topic and your skill in answering questions of a particular type, you increase your odds of hitting your score goal. You know that there are types of questions that you are happy to see and types that you would rather not see, and types of questions that you take a long time to answer correctly. Learn to more effectively answer the types of questions that you would rather not see, and make them into your favorite types. Learn to correctly answer in two minutes or less questions that you currently take five minutes to answer. By finding, say, a dozen weaker quant areas and turning them into strong areas, you will make great progress toward hitting your quant score goal. If a dozen areas turn out not to be enough, strengthen some more areas.

You can work on verbal in a similar manner. Let’s say you are reviewing Critical Reasoning. Be sure that you practice a large number of Critical Reasoning questions: Strengthen and Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, find the Conclusion, Must be True, etc. As you go through the questions, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get correct. If you missed a Weaken question, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize what the question was asking? Did you skip over a key detail in an answer choice? Getting GMAT verbal questions right is a matter of what you know, what you see, and what you do. So, any time that you don't get one right, you can seek to identify what you had to know to get the right answer, what you had to see that you didn't see, and what you could have done differently to arrive at the correct answer.

So, work on accuracy and generally finding correct answers, work on specific weaker areas one by one to make them strong areas, and when you take a practice GMAT or the real thing, take all the time per question available to do your absolute best to get right answers consistently. The GMAT is essentially a game of seeing how many right answers you can get in the time allotted. Approach the test with that conception in mind, and focus intently on the question in front of you with one goal in mind: getting a CORRECT answer.

Regarding prep courses, in addition to seeking advice in this thread, take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses, and also read through some [url=https://gmatclub.com/forum/share-your-gmat-experience-8/?fl=menu] GMAT success stories to see what materials have worked well for other test-takers.

You also may find it helpful to read the following articles about
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT and [url=https://blog.targettestprep.com/improve-gmat-score/]how to increase your GMAT quant score.

Feel free to reach out with further questions.

Good luck!
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Re: Looking for advice on which strategy/program to prep for retake?   [#permalink] 03 Mar 2019, 07:05
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