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Need advice for improving my score

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New post 19 Jul 2018, 19:42
Hello everyone,

I just took my first real GMAT exam today, and after seeing my score, I feel utterly defeated.

My story: My first CAT exam I scored a 580. I signed up for an MGMAT in-person class and did all the homework problems. My next CAT exam scores are as follows: 590, 610, 620, 650, 600, 590, and 610 on the actual exam.

I feel like I've hit a slump. I've been studying for over 3 months now and I can't even get back to that 650 score. I used to study using the MGMAT problem lists, and then I ended up doing 20 verbal/20 quant/4 IR questions daily with review afterwards. I would look through the questions I got wrong, write notecards for the ones I really didn't understand, and read all the explanations. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, as my scores are continuously going down.

I've been studying for roughly 3 months now, around 2-4 hours a day. I'll be starting my full time job next week, so I'm sure I'll have even less time to study now.

I can't seem to get back to that 650 score, and I've just recently completed all of the OG problems. My goal is to score 720+, but from what I've seen so far it seems impossible.

Any and all advice would be great. Should I speak with a tutor? I'm kind of hoping this will be a last resort, as it's quite expensive.

Thanks again.
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New post Updated on: 07 Aug 2018, 20:48
In addition:

All of my CAT exams were taken roughly 2-3 weeks apart.

I scored a 7 on the IR and a 6 on the essay.

Thanks again.

Originally posted by 0mni on 19 Jul 2018, 19:44.
Last edited by 0mni on 07 Aug 2018, 20:48, edited 1 time in total.
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Need advice for improving my score  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jul 2018, 09:23
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0mni wrote:
Hello everyone,

I just took my first real GMAT exam today, and after seeing my score, I feel utterly defeated.

My story: My first CAT exam I scored a 580. I signed up for an MGMAT in-person class and did all the homework problems. My next CAT exam scores are as follows: 590, 610, 620, 650, 600, 590, and 610 on the actual exam.

I feel like I've hit a slump. I've been studying for over 3 months now and I can't even get back to that 650 score. I used to study using the MGMAT problem lists, and then I ended up doing 20 verbal/20 quant/4 IR questions daily with review afterwards. I would look through the questions I got wrong, write notecards for the ones I really didn't understand, and read all the explanations. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, as my scores are continuously going down.

I've been studying for roughly 3 months now, around 2-4 hours a day. I'll be starting my full time job next week, so I'm sure I'll have even less time to study now.

I can't seem to get back to that 650 score, and I've just recently completed all of the OG problems. My goal is to score 720+, but from what I've seen so far it seems impossible.

Any and all advice would be great. Should I speak with a tutor? I'm kind of hoping this will be a last resort, as it's quite expensive.

Thanks again.


You should mention the splits between Q and V in actual GMAT test as that helps to create a clear picture.

Many GMAT test takers hit the slump while preparing, so you are not alone, therefore don't get disheartened.

There are three steps to improve score in every examination.

1. Learn from every question whatever small or big concepts you hit.

2. Revise and remember the concepts you have learnt.

3. Implement correctly what you have done in step 1 and 2.

Easier saying than done, but this is the only way of improving. Don't die for GMAT, but be a good student. Revision is the most important part of prep, but sadly the most ignored part too . Students learn new things but forget the already learnt concepts. They lose precious time as they have to redo all. Better to revise things time to time and add new skills side by side. It seems that GMAT has only 2 sections Q and V, but when you study you find that there are way too much of concepts to learn. And than you find that time is slipping. So, follow the above steps. Hopefully, you will achieve 750+.

Below mentioned links may help you.

1. https://gmatclub.com/forum/the-definiti ... 69705.html

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

Good luck
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New post 20 Jul 2018, 13:24
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Hi Omni,

I spent 6 years working at Veritas Prep, and I can confidently say that we helped countless students in your exact situation improve their scores from the mid-500s and low 600s into the 700 range (many of whom had also taken a prep course with a different company). So while I completely understand why you would feel defeated, PLEASE DON"T GET DISCOURAGED!

Given how diligent you have been about your studies (2-4 hours per day for three months is impressive), and especially because you start a new job next week, I recommend taking roughly two weeks off of your studies to decompress and, of course, focus on acclimating at work. But don't let too much time go by before you pick the GMAT back up again because you will want to take advantage of everything still being relatively fresh in your mind (just give yourself enough time to let those mental wounds heal).

Moving forward, to answer your question, a private tutor can definitely help if you can afford a really good one. Whatever you do, just remember that you are not alone nor the only person to be in this situation. Again, when I worked at Veritas, many of our students were on their second, third or even fourth attempt at the GMAT. What I really like about working at ORION now is that our self-guided course personalizes a study mission to each student's strengths and weaknesses, so you might want to check it out if you're interested.

Good luck!
Marc
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Re: Need advice for improving my score  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jul 2018, 14:57
Thank you so much for your replies.

I will give Orion a look, and I will search around to find a tutor. I'm definitely not going to give up, and I'll keep working to improve my score.

I think my main issue is how I review the problems I do. I've already completed and nearly memorized all of the OG problems. I might look into purchasing new problems, but I feel I should review the questions I've already done better. I tend to read everything in the explanations, but reading everything for 40+ problems a day is probably not my best bet for learning. I definitely need to adjust my reviewing process.

I will post my exact Verbal/Quant scores when I get a chance.

Thanks again!
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New post 20 Jul 2018, 16:13
0mni wrote:
Thank you so much for your replies.

I will give Orion a look, and I will search around to find a tutor. I'm definitely not going to give up, and I'll keep working to improve my score.

I think my main issue is how I review the problems I do. I've already completed and nearly memorized all of the OG problems. I might look into purchasing new problems, but I feel I should review the questions I've already done better. I tend to read everything in the explanations, but reading everything for 40+ problems a day is probably not my best bet for learning. I definitely need to adjust my reviewing process.

I will post my exact Verbal/Quant scores when I get a chance.

Thanks again!


My pleasure! To quickly follow up on two things you just said:

1. "I've already completed and nearly memorized all of the OG problems." - Remember that you will NEVER see those exact questions on test day. The fact that they are in the OG means they are retired questions. Instead of memorizing every question, you should ask yourself, "what makes this questions difficult in the first place?" And, "how could the testmakers write similar questions using the same traps?" Essentially, think of every practice question as a case study. The reason you will study hundreds of case studies in business school isn't because you are going to experience those exact same scenarios again in your line of work (unless you are capable of inventing a time machine). Rather, the value of the case study is to extrapolate what you learn so that you can apply those lessons in any future situation you encounter. Similarly, every GMAT practice question is an opportunity to study the mind of the testmaker so that you can anticipate and avoid trap answers, or learn from silly mistakes you may have previously made.

2. I agree - 40+ problems per day might be overkill. Consistency is key, but it sounds like you might be burning yourself out. Our students who report the most success typically study 5-6 days per week, but sometimes for only 20-30 minutes each day. And that is perfectly fine.

Hope you enjoy your ORION trial!
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http://www.learnwithorion.com

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Re: Need advice for improving my score  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jul 2018, 18:24
Hi 0mni,

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 various CAT results - and your Official GMAT Score - show that you essentially performed the same each time (600 +/- a few points; the 650 is a bit of an 'outlier', but is within 'range' if you got a bit 'lucky' on a few questions on that one CAT). You clearly handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also make certain consistent mistakes. It's possible that you have gotten "stuck" at this score level, so continuing to study in the same ways as before will almost certainly lead to a similar score result. This is meant to say that you will likely need to make some significant changes to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections going forward.

In a prior post, you stated that you were starting a Full-time job in the summer, so I assume that that is going to happen soon. How many hours do you think you'll be able to consistently study each week going forward?

In addition:
1) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?
2) What were the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for your Official GMAT?
3) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
4) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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Re: Need advice for improving my score  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jul 2018, 16:19
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I’m sorry to hear how things went with your GMAT, but I’m happy to help you get on the right path! While a tutor certainly could help, at this point, you may consider first adjusting your study routine, because regardless of whether you work with a tutor, you are going to need the best possible study materials for your self-study.

I see that you have studied mostly with prep books up to this point. While it is true that some test-takers use GMAT books to prepare for the exam, I’ve found that my students are more successful when they use a self-study course for their preparation. Self-study courses typically provide detailed study plans and have granular analytics, so you can easily track your progress as you move through the course. The ability to track your progress will keep you more engaged, and you’ll be able to more accurately forecast when you’re ready to take your real GMAT.

Given that your practice scores were never higher than 650, it’s likely that you never fully developed mastery of GMAT quant and verbal, and thus your score plateaued. Moving forward, consider a study routine that allows you to first build mastery of GMAT quant and verbal, and then do focused practice. For example, if you are learning about number properties, you should develop as much conceptual knowledge about number properties as possible. In other words, your goal will be to completely understand properties of factorials, perfect squares, quadratic patterns, LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, and remainders, to name a few concepts. After carefully reviewing the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer number properties questions, you will want to practice by answering 50 or more questions just from number properties. As you do such practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get right. If you get a remainder question wrong, ask yourself why you got it wrong. 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 and verbal topics.

Let’s say you are reviewing Critical Reasoning. Be sure that you first learn the necessary concepts of CR questions and then 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 you didn't get it right. 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, if anything, you would have needed to know in order 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.

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 the 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 at least around 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better.

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.

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.

In order to follow the path described above, you may need some new verbal and quant materials, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the [best quant](https://gmatclub.com/reviews/highest-ra ... or-quant-4) and [verbal](https://gmatclub.com/reviews/highest-ra ... -verbal-34]verbal courses).

You also may find it helpful to read my article for more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT.

Feel free to reach out with questions.

Good luck!
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Re: Need advice for improving my score &nbs [#permalink] 23 Jul 2018, 16:19
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