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Need advice for strategy boost from 650 to 700+ in 2 months

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Need advice for strategy boost from 650 to 700+ in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jul 2019, 02:04
I studied GMAT for 3 months with an average of 2 hours of studying per day. In my last 2 prep tests with GMAT Club Tests and Veritas, I scored 640 (Q48, V30) and 660 (Q49, V30) respectively. I think I have problems with Verbal, especially in SC with almost 60% of incorrect answers in this section. Materials I used: OG 2019, OG Quant & Verbal, Manhattan Sentence Correction (I'm not sure if I got 100% what it said but I did really bad in SC), GMAT Club Mathbook.

I planned to take GMAT in mid Oct so approximately 2.5 more months to go. I have around 5 hours per day for studying until the exam (as I have to spend time for the IELTS test also). So can you please suggest what strategy and materials needed to get me to 700+. And should I take more time to get Q50 or to boost my Verbal score?

Many thanks,
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New post 21 Jul 2019, 11:08
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fudetra wrote:
I studied GMAT for 3 months with an average of 2 hours of studying per day. In my last 2 prep tests with GMAT Club Tests and Veritas, I scored 640 (Q48, V30) and 660 (Q49, V30) respectively. I think I have problems with Verbal, especially in SC with almost 60% of incorrect answers in this section. Materials I used: OG 2019, OG Quant & Verbal, Manhattan Sentence Correction (I'm not sure if I got 100% what it said but I did really bad in SC), GMAT Club Mathbook.

I planned to take GMAT in mid Oct so approximately 2.5 more months to go. I have around 5 hours per day for studying until the exam (as I have to spend time for the IELTS test also). So can you please suggest what strategy and materials needed to get me to 700+. And should I take more time to get Q50 or to boost my Verbal score?

Many thanks,


Hi
I would suggest to go through the below posts for improvement in Quant and Verbal.
https://gmatclub.com/forum/all-you-need ... 40445.html
https://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-impro ... 42361.html
As you have scored Q48 in Gmatclub tests so i think you are already in a good position for Quant. Devote more time for Verbal.
All the best.
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Re: Need advice for strategy boost from 650 to 700+ in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jul 2019, 15:45
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Hi fudetra,

Assuming that you've been taking your CATs in a realistic fashion, then with a 660 you are closer to a 700+ than you probably realize. You could potentially hit your Score Goal with just one more month of proper focused, guided study.

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) On what dates did you take EACH of your CATs and how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?
2) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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New post 22 Jul 2019, 00:41
Many thanks souvonik2k, I'll try to follow their advice. However, I've heard that biz schools prefer candidates with good quant score, is that true?
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New post 22 Jul 2019, 00:55
Hi RichC,

I replied in the quote.

EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi fudetra,

Assuming that you've been taking your CATs in a realistic fashion, then with a 660 you are closer to a 700+ than you probably realize. You could potentially hit your Score Goal with just one more month of proper focused, guided study.

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) On what dates did you take EACH of your CATs and how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?
I took first CAT on Jul-01 with Veritas, score was Q49 V30, second CAT was with GMAT Club Test and I got Q48 V30. Since then I focused on Quant section, especially in Remainder & Combination-Permutation-Arrangement in which my score was not so good.
2) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
I planned to apply in Round 2, around end of Dec 2019, so that I have some time to re-write my GMAT in case I couldn't achieve my targeted score.
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
I planned to apply for top 20 in US (Mccombs, Fuqua, Johnson,...), my GPA was not so good (3.33) so I have to compensate by GMAT.
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Need advice for strategy boost from 650 to 700+ in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jul 2019, 08:10
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Hi fudetra,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. Based off your practice test scores, it’s clear that verbal is holding you back from your 700+ score goal. Moving forward, consider following more of a linear and structured study plan that allows you to individually learn each verbal topic and then practice each topic until you’ve gained mastery. Let me expand on this further.

For example, when studying Critical Reasoning, you need to ensure that you fully understand the essence of the various question types. Do you know the importance of an assumption within an argument? Can you easily spot a conclusion? Do you know how to resolve a paradox? Do you know how to properly evaluate cause and effect? Do you know how to properly weaken or strengthen an argument? These are just a few examples; you really need to take a deep dive into the individual Critical Reasoning topics to develop the necessary skills to properly attack any Critical Reasoning questions that you encounter.

As you learn each Critical Reasoning problem type, do focused practice so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you incorrectly answered a Weaken the Argument question, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize the specific question type? Were you doing too much analysis in your head? Did you skip over a keyword in an answer choice? You must thoroughly analyze your mistakes and seek to turn weaknesses into strengths by focusing on the question types you dread seeing and the questions you take a long time to answer correctly.

When practicing Reading Comprehension, you need to develop a reading strategy that is both efficient and thorough. Reading too fast and not understanding what you have read are equally as harmful as reading too slow and using up too much time. When attacking Reading Comprehension passages, you must have one clear goal in mind: to understand the context of what you are reading. However, you must do so efficiently, so you need to avoid getting bogged down in the details of each paragraph and focus on understanding the main point of each paragraph. That being said, do not fall into the trap of thinking that you can just read the intro and the conclusion and comprehend the main idea of a paragraph. As you read a paragraph, consider how the context of the paragraph relates to previous paragraphs, so you can continue developing your overall understanding of the passage. Furthermore, as you practice Reading Comprehension, focus on the exact types of questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s Tone, etc. As with Critical Reasoning, analyze your incorrect answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. You can perfect your reading strategy with a lot of practice, but keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be stimulating. So, to better prepare yourself to tackle such bland passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as The Economist, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

Sentence Correction is a bit of a different animal compared to Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning. There are three aspects to getting correct answers to GMAT Sentence Correction questions: what you know, such as grammar rules, what you see, such as violations of grammar rules and the logic of sentence structure, and what you do, such as carefully considering each answer choice in the context of the non-underlined portion of the sentence. To drive up your Sentence Correction score, you likely will have to work on all three of those aspects. Furthermore, the likely reason that your Sentence Correction performance has not improved is that you have not been working on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, to be successful in Sentence Correction, first and foremost, you MUST know your grammar rules. Let's be clear, though: GMAT Sentence Correction is not just a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning grammar rules is so that you can determine what sentences convey and whether sentences are well-constructed. In fact, in many cases, incorrect answers to Sentence Correction questions are grammatically flawless. Thus, often your task is to use your knowledge of grammar rules to determine which answer choice creates the most logical sentence meaning and structure.

This determination of whether sentences are well-constructed and logical is the second aspect of finding correct answers to Sentence Correction questions, what you see. To develop this skill, you probably have to slow way down. You won't develop this skill by spending less than two minutes per question. For a while, anyway, you have to spend time with each question, maybe even ten or fifteen minutes on one question sometimes, analyzing every answer choice until you see the details that you have to see in order to choose the correct answer. As you go through the answer choices, consider the meaning conveyed by each version of the sentence. Does the meaning make sense? Even if you can tell what the version is SUPPOSED to convey, does the version really convey that meaning? Is there a verb to go with the subject? Do all pronouns clearly refer to nouns? By slowing way down and looking for these details, you learn to see what you have to see in order to clearly understand which answer to a Sentence Correction question is correct.

There is only one correct answer to any Sentence Correction question, there are clear reasons why that choice is correct and the others are not, and none of those reasons are that the correct version simply "sounds right." In fact, the correct version often sounds a little off at first. That correct answers may sound a little off is not surprising. If the correct answers were always the ones that sounded right, then most people most of the time would get Sentence Correction questions correct, without really knowing why the wrong answers were wrong and the correct answers were correct. So, you have to go beyond choosing what "sounds right" and learn to clearly see the logical reasons why one choice is better than all of the others.

As for the third aspect of getting Sentence Correction questions correct, what you do, the main thing you have to do is be very careful. You have to make sure that you are truly considering the structures of sentences and the meanings conveyed rather than allowing yourself to be tricked into choosing trap answers that sound right but don't convey meanings that make sense. You also have to make sure that you put some real energy into finding the correct answers. Finding the correct answer to a Sentence Correction question may take bouncing from choice to choice repeatedly until you start to see the differences between the choices that make all choices wrong except for one. Often, when you first look at the choices, only one or two seem obviously incorrect. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to put in the necessary time to see the differences between answers and to figure out the precise reasons that one choice is correct.

To improve what you do when you answer Sentence Correction questions, seek to become aware of how you are going about answering them. Are you being careful and looking for logic and details, or are you quickly eliminating choices that sound a little off and then choosing the best of the rest? If you choose an incorrect answer, consider what you did to arrive at that answer and what you could do differently to arrive at correct answers more consistently. Furthermore, see how many questions you can get correct in a row as you practice. If you break your streak by missing one, consider what you could do differently to extend your streak.

As with your Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension regimens, after learning a particular Sentence Correction topic, engage in focused practice with 30 questions or more that involve that topic. As your skills improve, you’ll then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple SC topics.

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

Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Good luck!
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Re: Need advice for strategy boost from 650 to 700+ in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jul 2019, 17:01
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Hi fudetra,

Since you've been studying for 3 months, you should plan to take FULL-LENGTH CATs at regular intervals now (a CAT every 1-2 weeks would be a good idea) - and under realistic conditions (re: taking the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections, away from your home, at the same time of day as when you'll take the Official GMAT, etc.). At this point, we don't actually have much data to work with, so your current 'ability level' might actually be higher or lower than these results imply.

I suggest that you take one of the Official GMAC CATs this weekend (and again, take it in a realistic fashion as described above), so that we can see if you're consistently performing at this current level or not. Once you have that Score, you should post back here (or you can PM me directly) and we can discuss the results and how best to proceed.

In addition, "review" is an exceptionally important part of the GMAT training process; your ability to define WHY you're getting questions wrong is essential to defining the areas that you need to work on (and the specific things that you need to 'fix'). As such, I'd like to know a bit more about the Veritas CAT that you took. While a full Mistake Tracker would provide a lot more information, there are some basic questions that you should be able to answer (and the more EXACT you can be with your answers, the better):

After reviewing each section of that CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

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Re: Need advice for strategy boost from 650 to 700+ in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2019, 09:32
Hi EMPOWERgmatRichC, ScottTargetTestPrep

I took another Veritas CAT today, I didn't take the GMAC CAT as I want to save it for the my last trials. The result for Verbal was much better than the previous one as I focused on Verbal only, specifically SC during last 2 weeks. I got 51 in Quant with 25/31 correct answers and 34 in Verbal with 23/36 correct answers.

Can you please help advise on these points below?
1. Does the Quant part in Veritas CAT reflect the actual algorithm of GMAT test? I had 6 incorrect answers but still scored a perfect 51, I think there should be some problems in the algorithm.
2. As I've improved my most weakest part, which is SC, how much time should I allocate for each part and the strategies now?

Many thanks,
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Re: Need advice for strategy boost from 650 to 700+ in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2019, 08:47
fudetra wrote:
Hi EMPOWERgmatRichC, ScottTargetTestPrep

I took another Veritas CAT today, I didn't take the GMAC CAT as I want to save it for the my last trials. The result for Verbal was much better than the previous one as I focused on Verbal only, specifically SC during last 2 weeks. I got 51 in Quant with 25/31 correct answers and 34 in Verbal with 23/36 correct answers.

Can you please help advise on these points below?
1. Does the Quant part in Veritas CAT reflect the actual algorithm of GMAT test? I had 6 incorrect answers but still scored a perfect 51, I think there should be some problems in the algorithm.
2. As I've improved my most weakest part, which is SC, how much time should I allocate for each part and the strategies now?

Many thanks,


How many official GMAC practice exams have you taken?
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Re: Need advice for strategy boost from 650 to 700+ in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2019, 09:43
ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
fudetra wrote:
Hi EMPOWERgmatRichC, ScottTargetTestPrep

I took another Veritas CAT today, I didn't take the GMAC CAT as I want to save it for the my last trials. The result for Verbal was much better than the previous one as I focused on Verbal only, specifically SC during last 2 weeks. I got 51 in Quant with 25/31 correct answers and 34 in Verbal with 23/36 correct answers.

Can you please help advise on these points below?
1. Does the Quant part in Veritas CAT reflect the actual algorithm of GMAT test? I had 6 incorrect answers but still scored a perfect 51, I think there should be some problems in the algorithm.
2. As I've improved my most weakest part, which is SC, how much time should I allocate for each part and the strategies now?

Many thanks,


How many official GMAC practice exams have you taken?


I took one official test 2 weeks ago and got 640 (Q50 V25), but I was distracted from the outside environment so I didn't mention it here.
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Re: Need advice for strategy boost from 650 to 700+ in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2019, 16:35
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Hi fudetra,

The most realistic CATs available are the 6 from GMAC (the 2 free CATs, and each of the 2 that come with Exam Pack 1 and Exam Pack 2), but the CATs from Kaplan, MGMAT and Veritas are all 'close enough' to the real thing that they will provide you with a relatively realistic score assessment (assuming that you correctly take the CAT in a realistic fashion). For example, did you skip any sections, take the CAT at home, pause the Exam or do anything else that you will not be allowed to do on the Official GMAT? If so, then this Score result might be 'inflated.'

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 score results show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 670 +/- a few points). You handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also make certain consistent mistakes. There will almost certainly be some distractions on Test Day, so part of your training has to be on how well you stay focused even when those small distractions occur.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: Need advice for strategy boost from 650 to 700+ in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2019, 19:15
Could you take another one? This time make sure you take the practice exam in an appropriate environment.
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Re: Need advice for strategy boost from 650 to 700+ in 2 months   [#permalink] 08 Aug 2019, 19:15
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