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Stuck at 530 - EmpowerGMAT good?

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New post Updated on: 03 Dec 2018, 21:19
1
Hi guys-

I've signed up to Manhattan, Veritas, and feel like I'm learning good concepts and strategies, but not how to systematically convert my study energy into a score gain on the test -- like a guy in the gym just doing a bunch of random exercises.

I'm memorizing and reviewing stacks of specific solution routines, which doesn't seem to be improving my score. My noteboard looks like scrambled egg nonsense when I take an actual CAT; I feel I don't know where to start thinking about each problem, and each new problem they throw at me seems to involve a different trick that I'm not prepared to handle. I've put in probably 150 hours at this point of study and practice, completed over 200 problems, made about 50 flashcards, kept an error log, etc. But I just took my 3rd practice test and it's the lowest one yet-- 530 (Q32, V30).

I've taken 3 test exams since August (one MBA dot com practice exam with no study (540 -- Q27 / V38), one VP (560 -- Q35 / V32), another VP (530 -- Q32 / V30)). I've also hired a brilliant and highly recommended tutor who has been teaching me great math routines and general strategies, but again, I don't feel like I'm evolving as a test-taker.

I'm wondering what my key 1 or 2 problems are and how to overcome them. I run a business - no wife or distractions -- and can devote 3-4 of dedicated study hours per day, 6 days a week. I'd like to get to my goal score of 730 by early December so I have time to finish the rest of my app. If I don't make at least 700 by December, I will postpone my application until next year.

Getting a little desperate now :) I've read good things about EmpowerGMAT from other people who seem to have been in a similar situation. I have access to all the strategies and solutions I need--it's just a matter of doing X to produce Y, and I'm not sure the anatomy of that success system yet. I'm all over the place with this and psychologically mangled right now haha. But I'm in it to win it. Willing to work extremely hard and not quit. Let me know if you think Empower is a good fit.

Thanks

Originally posted by ThomasR22 on 28 Sep 2018, 01:50.
Last edited by ThomasR22 on 03 Dec 2018, 21:19, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Stuck at 530 - EmpowerGMAT good?  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Sep 2018, 10:28
Rthomas wrote:
Hi guys-

I've signed up to Manhattan, Veritas, and feel like I'm learning good concepts and strategies, but not how to systematically convert my study energy into a score gain on the test -- like a guy in the gym just doing a bunch of random exercises.

I'm memorizing and reviewing stacks of specific solution routines, which doesn't seem to be improving my score. My noteboard looks like scrambled egg nonsense when I take an actual CAT; I feel I don't know where to start thinking about each problem, and each new problem they throw at me seems to involve a different trick that I'm not prepared to handle. I've put in probably 150 hours at this point of study and practice, completed over 200 problems, made about 50 flashcards, kept an error log, etc. But I just took my 3rd practice test and it's the lowest one yet-- 530 (Q32, V30).

I've taken 3 test exams since August (one MBA dot com practice exam with no study (540 -- Q27 / V38), one VP (560 -- Q35 / V32), another VP (530 -- Q32 / V30)). I've also hired a very expensive tutor who has been teaching me great math routines, but again, I don't feel like I'm evolving as a test-taker.

I'm wondering what my problem is and how to overcome it. I run a business - no wife or distractions -- and can devote 3-4 of dedicated study hours per day, 6 days a week. I'd like to get to my goal score of 730 by early December so I have time to finish the rest of my app. If I don't make at least 700 by December, I will postpone my application until next year.

Getting a little desperate now :) I've read good things about EmpowerGMAT from other people who seem to have been in a similar situation. I have access to all the strategies and solutions I need--it's just a matter of doing X to produce Y, and I'm not sure the anatomy of that success system yet. I'm all over the place with this and psychologically mangled right now haha. But I'm in it to win it. Willing to work extremely hard and not quit. Let me know if you think Empower is a good fit.

Thanks,
R


EmpowerGMAT provides a free trail for 5 days I think. You can try hand on that course and check whether it works for you or not.

Target Test Prep is also a very good course for QUANT. You can try that too.

Here are few links to help you :

1. https://blog.targettestprep.com/how-to- ... -on-gmat/#

2. https://www.veritasprep.com/blog/tag/qu ... -wisdom-2/

3. https://gmatclub.com/marketplace/free-stuff

4. https://gmatclub.com/forum/the-definiti ... 69705.html
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Re: Stuck at 530 - EmpowerGMAT good?  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Sep 2018, 10:49
Hi Rthomas,

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, your 3 CAT score results show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 550 +/- a few points). From what you describe, it's possible that you've gotten 'stuck' at this score level - even though you probably have the knowledge to score higher. To raise your current level to the 700+ level, you'll likely need 3 months of consistent, guided study - and you're going to have to make some 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.

Before I can offer you any additional advice it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

1) How long have you studied?
2) What specific study materials have you used so far?
3) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
4) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 28 Sep 2018, 11:03
Thanks Rich,
I started studying in late August.
I started on OG problems, chewed through the majority of Manhattan Quant videos and drills, printed out all the Manhattan solutions for Easy OG Quant questions and worked systematically through about 150 official problems that way (I can do these problems in my sleep). Then I got tired of Manhattan and bought Veritas Prep. Enjoyable content and very comprehensive, however, I’m feeling a bit lost in all the material and not sure how much of it will boost my chops on test day. The office hours are great for slow breakdowns of individual problems, but maybe I’m impatient. I don’t feel like after all this slow and systematic work and review I’ve stepped up game as a test-taker, despite picking up core math skills that I slept through in high school and gmat-specific chops like AD/BCE grid and other stuff. Still to this point I haven’t devoted much time at all to Verbal, and as a native speaker who reads frequently, I feel verbal should be my ace in the hole (if I can master the techniques).
- I’m planning on applying to b-school I’m December. HBS and LBS are my top two. As a somewhat successful entrepreneur I feel I can shoehorn my way in, but it will take an absolutely killer GMAT score (especially since my undergrad GPA is weak).

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New post 28 Sep 2018, 11:11
Hi Rthomas,

Many Test Takers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent study time before they hit their 'peak' scores, so if you've been studying for just 1 month, then you should not expect to have 'mastered' any area of the Exam just yet. That having been said, you're going to need to put in a certain amount of time and effort into learning and practice Quant AND Verbal Tactics, so those concepts should take precedence during this next phase of your studies (regardless of which study materials you use).

Since you've named some highly competitive Schools, 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:

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

Most GMAT Companies offer some type of free materials (practice problems, Trial Accounts, videos, etc.) that you can use to 'test out' a product before you buy it. We have a variety of those resources at our website (www.empowergmat.com). I suggest that you take advantage of all of them then choose the one that best matches your personality, timeline and budget.

If you have any additional questions, then you can feel free to contact me directly.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post Updated on: 03 Dec 2018, 21:20
Thank you Rich! I am now an aspiring assassin.

Your program seems to be the first to highlight a KEY success factor that I have overlooked and not yet developed in my life; clean, orderly workmanship on the paper. A.k.a pad game!

So simple. Yet virtually a secret. Nobody talks about it, but if your paper looks like a failed scribbling loser, you will be denied from certain positions of responsibility in life, because it is unacceptable and risky to conduct work like that.

I’ve applied order and discipline to many other major areas of my life including physical and mental fitness, business, and personal relationships, creative pursuits, among others. In all cases, it seems success comes down to the proper execution of 5 or 6 things, at most. Order and movement are paramount. I was unaware until your videos just showed me the crippling impact sloppy note-taking can have on a human life. It represents a sloppy mind. This is not a “nice-to-have” skill. It’s one of the majors!!

May I ask — could you recommend any books or courses I could take to further develop this skill? I want my notes to look like yours for the rest of my life. You have a masterful system and I’d like to understand better how it’s created.

It makes sense that business schools would build a test to detect and deny applicants with unsuccessful habits such as laziness, sloppiness, lack of persistence, etc. Sloppiness and success don’t go together. Thank you for developing this unique and life-changing course!

I’ve been recommended by your staff to do the Total Score Booster plan. I will report back soon, lots of work to do. Thank you Rich.

Posted from my mobile device

Originally posted by ThomasR22 on 29 Sep 2018, 07:38.
Last edited by ThomasR22 on 03 Dec 2018, 21:20, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 29 Sep 2018, 12:56
Hi Rich,

While I don't have any external resources that I would recommend regarding how to take organized notes, I can offer this general mindset (which is what I tend to follow when I'm working through GMAT questions).

Here's a simple way to measure whether you're taking the proper notes or not: if you handed your work pad to another person, would that person understand all of the information that you were given in the prompt, the question that you were trying to answer and the 'steps' that you had worked through? If the answer to any of those questions is 'no', then you have NOT taken enough notes. After reviewing all of these questions, if you can honestly say that you have the ability to answer most of them correctly - then your "process" is the issue. What WORK (on the pad) are you willing to do to make sure that you get those points? Most of the questions on the GMAT are actually fairly straight-forward: you have to organize some information, think about everything you've been given, work through a few 'steps' and confirm that you are actually answering the question that is ASKED.

To be efficient, you have to become comfortable taking notes AS you read (so that you don't have to reread a prompt again and again - and waste time). You don't have to 'rush' to do any of this work - just do it properly the first time - and you'd be amazed at how quickly you can work through most prompts and get the correct answer.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 29 Sep 2018, 13:12
Great thinking- I will design my work notes for an audience to understand. This is a cool challenge.

Your course is incredible so far. It’s exposing and helping me patch many of my vulnerabilities super fast. I wish I had found this a month ago before purchasing Manhattan and Veritas and the private tutor. But then again, my frustration with those tools (and they *are* helpful, high-quality and the people are super nice) led me to Empower, so I’m grateful! Thanks again. Back to work.

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New post 30 Sep 2018, 12:15
Hi Rich! Q---

When you say "practice like crazy" in your videos, what does that activity look like exactly? There is definitely a wrong way to practice. What should I be doing to make sure I'm practicing like crazy in the right way?

Thank you,
Rich
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Re: Stuck at 530 - EmpowerGMAT good?  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2018, 14:48
Hi Thomas,

maybe a couple of comments and reviews from the following source could be of help:

https://gmatclub.com/reviews/gmat_courses/?fl=menu

Best regards,
Chris
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A couple of things that helped me in verbal:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/verbal-strategies-268700.html#p2082192

Gmat Prep CAT #1: V42, Q34, 630
Gmat Prep CAT #2: V46, Q35, 660
Gmat Prep CAT #3: V41, Q42, 680

On the mission to improve my quant score, all help is appreciated! :)

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Re: Stuck at 530 - EmpowerGMAT good?  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2018, 20:12
1
Hi Rich,

The type of practice I'm referring to is really about doing quality work (on your pad, NEVER "in your head") at all times. Many Test Takers develop the bad habit of not taking notes, not organizing/labeling their work properly, doing math steps in their heads, etc. - and it takes a real commitment to stop making those bad choices. A great deal of practice (and sometimes the repetition of doing certain questions repeatedly) is often needed - with a focus on doing the proper work on your pad - before that mindset takes hold and becomes the 'default way' that you will approach all questions (both Quant and Verbal).

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
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Re: Stuck at 530 - EmpowerGMAT good?  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Oct 2018, 10:34
1
Rthomas wrote:
Hi guys-

I've signed up to Manhattan, Veritas, and feel like I'm learning good concepts and strategies, but not how to systematically convert my study energy into a score gain on the test -- like a guy in the gym just doing a bunch of random exercises.

I'm memorizing and reviewing stacks of specific solution routines, which doesn't seem to be improving my score. My noteboard looks like scrambled egg nonsense when I take an actual CAT; I feel I don't know where to start thinking about each problem, and each new problem they throw at me seems to involve a different trick that I'm not prepared to handle. I've put in probably 150 hours at this point of study and practice, completed over 200 problems, made about 50 flashcards, kept an error log, etc. But I just took my 3rd practice test and it's the lowest one yet-- 530 (Q32, V30).

I've taken 3 test exams since August (one MBA dot com practice exam with no study (540 -- Q27 / V38), one VP (560 -- Q35 / V32), another VP (530 -- Q32 / V30)). I've also hired a brilliant and highly recommended tutor who has been teaching me great math routines and general strategies, but again, I don't feel like I'm evolving as a test-taker.

I'm wondering what my key 1 or 2 problems are and how to overcome them. I run a business - no wife or distractions -- and can devote 3-4 of dedicated study hours per day, 6 days a week. I'd like to get to my goal score of 730 by early December so I have time to finish the rest of my app. If I don't make at least 700 by December, I will postpone my application until next year.

Getting a little desperate now :) I've read good things about EmpowerGMAT from other people who seem to have been in a similar situation. I have access to all the strategies and solutions I need--it's just a matter of doing X to produce Y, and I'm not sure the anatomy of that success system yet. I'm all over the place with this and psychologically mangled right now haha. But I'm in it to win it. Willing to work extremely hard and not quit. Let me know if you think Empower is a good fit.

Thanks,
R


Hi

Its better you should read reviews about the course

Empower GMAT: https://gmatclub.com/reviews/empowergmat-345345651?fl=menu

e-GMAT: https://gmatclub.com/reviews/e-gmat-6?fl=menu

Good Luck
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New post 09 Oct 2018, 14:44
Update-

I am now 25% through EMPOWERGMAT Total Score Booster plan and just took my 3rd CAT.

My focus has been entirely on pad hygiene, test it / test the answers / reading comp approach, and I can say this latest test I faced with a new confidence for sure. What I have deliberately NOT been practicing is my pacing - and as such I had to dump the last 9 of the Quant and 9 of Verbal this time. Remarkably I still ended up with the score of 530! I view this as a success. I am now going through the mistake tracker and individual problems to diagnose what I got wrong and why.

I can say though my RC game is through the roof, the first 9 or 10 q’s on Verbal - all long passage stuff - I confidently aced. Quant was stronger than ever too but again, I’ll need to pick up the pace soon.

I’m entrusting the EMPOWERGMAT plan to help me fill in my knowledge gaps and build dexterity and speed. Next CAT will be a MGMAT or Veritas so I can more precisely track my speed (this one was MBA #2).

Next CAT I will improve my timing and expect to break 600s.

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Re: Stuck at 530 - EmpowerGMAT good?  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Oct 2018, 22:34
Hi Rich,

When taking CATs (and the Official GMAT), you should remember that the goal is NOT to 'ace the GMAT' - you're going to get lots of questions wrong (but that's okay, almost everyone does). The key to a 700+ score is to not let those losses come on the 'gettable' questions. This is why TRIAGE is such an important concept. As you review this CAT, you should be on the lookout for the question that you think were too hard or too weird. If you could have approached those questions differently (in a faster or easier way), then that needs to be noted. If the questions are based around subjects that you have not covered yet, then you should note them for later review. If they're just really hard/crazy questions, then you should note WHY they were difficult, so that you can recognize similar questions in the future (and dump them faster). Those 9 questions-or-so that you had to rush through at the ends of each section - how many were questions that you COULD have correctly answered if you had the proper time? I ask because you might already be at the "600 level" right now, but overcommitting to a few tough questions ate up too much of your clock and kept you from picking up those additional points.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: Stuck at 530 - EmpowerGMAT good? &nbs [#permalink] 09 Oct 2018, 22:34
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