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Need GMAT advice ASAP

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New post 25 Jan 2019, 12:50
I took the GMAT last July and got a 620 (35V, 40Q).

Stopped studying for a few months due to life getting crazy. Picked up my books again in mid December and started intensely studying in the very beginning of January. I used questions from the OG bank and the OG practice tests. I was feeling way better about the quant and my accuracy was looking pretty good. Always correct on the "easy" ranked problems, almost always correct on "medium" problems, and probably at 60% accuracy for "hard" problems. I also took two practice tests in this time and got 690 and 710. 82nd percentile on the IR and only one point off on the essay. I am generally good at math but sometimes get overly wrapped up in some of the GMAT problems. I did minimal verbal study during the past month and a half.

I took the real test today and got a 670 (41V, 40V). I took the verbal section first and felt myself doing well there. Took my break and went back into the quant. I know I got the third problem wrong, and my mind automatically went into stress mode. I kept questioning so many things that I should have felt more confident about and did feel confident about during my practice. The mindset I was in during the quant section didn't feel normal or nearly as relaxed as I was during practice questions or practice tests. Kinda felt like everything fell apart there.

I feel discouraged but need to pull myself together for a mid-February test date. I would probably be done if I had kept it together during the quant because I was very happy with the 92nd percentile verbal score. What would you all advise doing here? Should I continue to only use the OG quant problems or should I start using another source like Veritas Prep? What kinds of drills should I do? Giving myself 20 minutes to do 10 questions or giving myself 62 minutes to do 31 problems? Open to all advice!
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New post 25 Jan 2019, 14:54
Hi sammyy37,

To start, you clearly have really strong Verbal skills, so if you can properly adjust your approach to the Quant section, you could potentially score well into the 700s. 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:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied in total?
2) What study materials have you used over the course of all of your studies?
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)? Have you taken any CATs more than once?

Goals:
4) What is your goal score?
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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New post 25 Jan 2019, 16:14
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi sammyy37,

To start, you clearly have really strong Verbal skills, so if you can properly adjust your approach to the Quant section, you could potentially score well into the 700s. 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:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied in total?
2) What study materials have you used over the course of all of your studies?
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)? Have you taken any CATs more than once?

Goals:
4) What is your goal score?
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich


Hi Rich! Thank you for responding! The verbal section came to me quite naturally, so I'm relieved that I only have to focus on quant going forward.

Studies:
1) How long have you studied in total?: I did on and off studying throughout December but I wouldn't really classify it as dedicated studying. I really locked down and studied during the month of January. Monday-Friday consisted of 1-2 hours of studying before work. Then a weekend would be a longer 4 hour session of studying.
2) What study materials have you used over the course of all of your studies?:I've been solely relying on the OG guide problems. I did all of the "medium" and "easy" problems in the Quant-specific book. I do have about 400 questions left in the combined OG Verbal + Quant book because I'm just starting it. I considered doing some of the Veritas prep questions but heard they aren't as accurate of a source.
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)? Have you taken any CATs more than once?: My first Official GMAT CAT was a 690 (45Q, 39V). Second one was a 720 (48Q, 40V). Both were taken in the past two and a half weeks.

Goals:
4) What is your goal score? : Would love to get somewhere in the 710-720 range. If I kept my verbal at 40-41 with a 47-49 on the quant, I would walk away happy.
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School? : I am currently an MLT MBA Prep fellow and will be applying this coming fall. I would like to have the test over with by March at the very latest. I have a mid-February test date and mid-March test date scheduled.
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to? : Tuck, Haas, Fuqua, Yale, Ross, Kellogg, MIT, Stanford.
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New post 25 Jan 2019, 17:37
Hi sammyy37,

Many Test Takers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent study time before they hit their 'peak' scores; from what you describe, most of your study time was inconsistent (and it wasn't until the last 4 weeks that you committed to a proper study routine). Going forward, your focus should clearly be on the Quant section, but you'll still want to get in some Verbal practice (to keep those particular skills sharp).

To start, it's important to note that 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.' From what you described, your studies were focused primarily on working through lots of practice questions - and essentially trying to 'teach yourself' the patterns, Tactics and little 'secrets' to the Exam. Continuing to study in that way might get you to your Score Goal, but it would almost certainly be inefficient relative to studying in a consistent, guided fashion.

1) What are the exact Test Dates for your 2 retests?
2) 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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New post 30 Jan 2019, 18:58
Hi mbabound37,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. First off, given that you really didn’t do too much prep, 670 is not a bad score! That being said, although you scored 720 on a practice exam, keep in mind that you may need more than just one more month to improve your GMAT quant skills and thus improve your GMAT score. Since you won’t be applying until next fall, consider giving yourself more time to fully master GMAT quant. In any case, I’m happy to provide some advice on how to make that improvement.

Since you recently scored a Q40, it’s clear that you have a variety of quant weaknesses that were exposed on your exam, right? To improve your GMAT quant to a 47+ level, you need to go through GMAT quant 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. 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.

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 quant materials, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant courses.

You also may find it helpful to read this article about how to improve your GMAT quant score.

Feel free to reach out with further questions.

Good luck!
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New post 31 Jan 2019, 18:53
mbabound37 wrote:
I feel discouraged but need to pull myself together for a mid-February test date. I would probably be done if I had kept it together during the quant because I was very happy with the 92nd percentile verbal score. What would you all advise doing here? Should I continue to only use the OG quant problems or should I start using another source like Veritas Prep? What kinds of drills should I do? Giving myself 20 minutes to do 10 questions or giving myself 62 minutes to do 31 problems? Open to all advice!
With that V41, you're definitely looking at at least a 720 if you can just get your quant score up.

The Q48 you got on your GMATPrep means that you can get a Q48 on the actual exam as well. The variation (40, 45, 48) is definitely something you need to look into though, to figure out whether there are particular question types or concepts that you find problematic. I'd also work on my test-taking skills by taking more tests if I were you, to put myself in situations where I suddenly encounter difficult questions (and have to decide what to do with them) as many times as I can.
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Re: Need GMAT advice ASAP   [#permalink] 31 Jan 2019, 18:53
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