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How to Improve my GMAT Score??!!

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New post Updated on: 23 Aug 2018, 16:24
Hi,

I am Business Economics graduate from Delhi University with a 3 years of work experience in Marketing and Market Research.
I am planning to apply for B Schools for the 2019 intake.

If i have to talk about myself in terms of competitive exams, i have never done well in them, but this time i genuinely determined to get into a good B school and i will keep trying till i don't get a good GMAT score.

I have been studying for about 6 weeks for the exam and i study 5-6 hours a day (I have left my job for medical reasons too). Also i have given CAT (Indian MBA entrance exam) twice in the last 3 years as well.

I have given 4 mocks so far including diagnostic.
1. Diagnostic Mock(Princeton Review) - 500 - Q35/V19 (June)
2. 1st Mock (Princeton Review) - 550 - Q45/V21 (1st August)
3. 2nd Mock (Princeton Review) - 540 - Q35/V29 (8th August)
4. 3rd Mock (GMAC) - 570 - Q43/V25 (23 August)

My target score is 720-730. Q49+/V40+ and planning to give the exam by September end or mid October '18


From the analysis of my mocks i had few inferences.
1. I am okay in quant, but i am confident i can pull that up to Q49 if i practice enough. I must have got 4-5 questions wrong because of silly mistakes.
2. I am not good at verbal, of course. My RC is relatively strong with 75-80% accuracy, but there is room for improvement. However, i struggle with SC and CR with 50-60% accuracy.

Materials that i have used:
1. Official Guide'18 - I need to go through this again, specially the questions i got wrong.
2. Princeton online drills. (Quant and Verbal - specially CR)
3. Veritas Prep (Quant)
4. Manhattan (Sentence Correction and Reading Comprehension) - But i felt this didn't help THAT much.

All of the materials have been exhausted. Need to visit the questions which i got wrong.


What i need help with?
1. Like i mentioned, Quant is something i am not worried about given that i will be practising more and the silly mistakes should reduce. I think i have practised more than 1000 questions. But if there is something more than just practice please let me know or the resources which i should refer to.
2. For verbal, i feel that under the time pressure i am not able to dissect the question and i get lost in words. I can eliminate 3 choices and end up with 2, but most of the time i do guess work between the two options. Any particular suggestions to improve test taking abilities for verbal under time pressure?
3. How to prepare more effectively for CR and RC and from what resources?
4. Given the situation above, any particular strategy that should make my preparation more effective which i am not doing.

Thank you in advance!

Originally posted by aparvez85 on 23 Aug 2018, 11:25.
Last edited by aparvez85 on 23 Aug 2018, 16:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to Improve my GMAT Score??!!  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2018, 11:47
Hi aparvez85,

You've made some nice progress so far; that having been said, raising a 570 to a 720+ will likely require at least another 3 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make 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. That having been said, you might need to consider pushing back your Test Date. Since you've been studying from a variety of different sources, you might be trying to implement too many different Tactics (instead of one uniform set of them).

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) Did you take the FULL CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
2) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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Re: How to Improve my GMAT Score??!!  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2018, 20:59
To answer what you asked.

1) Did you take the FULL CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)? Only the 4th time.
2) When are you planning to apply to Business School? December 2018
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
ISB, INSEAD, NUS, NTU, HEC, LBS
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Re: How to Improve my GMAT Score??!!  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Aug 2018, 06:51
Hey aparvez85, here are my thoughts:


What i need help with?
1. Like i mentioned, Quant is something i am not worried about given that i will be practising more and the silly mistakes should reduce. I think i have practised more than 1000 questions. But if there is something more than just practice please let me know or the resources which i should refer to.
It is excellent that you already feel the silly mistakes decreasing, but you should not just count on this continuation to happen as long as you just practice more questions.what you have to do is analyse your mistakes. keep a running error log of all mistakes.
After each mistake, ask yourself: why did I get this wrong? Was the problem…
- Professional? Did I just not know the material well enough? If so, this means: go back and study it! Review the fundamentals.
- Technical? did I just mess up with something seemingly small or silly? If so, let’s figure out if there’s a tip or technique I need to adopt. (this could be writing down the answer choices and crossing them out, writing down a formula at the beginning of the section, and so on…)
- Strategic - did I choose the wrong answer strategy and waste time? If so, let’s figure out what about the question made a different strategy the right one, and how I will identify this next time.

something else which may help you to this end is online computer assisted customised learning, such as we use in exampal. This uses personalised machine learning to monitor thousands of students, and provides you with the approaches that proved most efficient for each given question.



2. For verbal, i feel that under the time pressure i am not able to dissect the question and i get lost in words. I can eliminate 3 choices and end up with 2, but most of the time i do guess work between the two options. Any particular suggestions to improve test taking abilities for verbal under time pressure? well, for one thing, obviously, the faster you read, the more time you will have. improve simply by reading a lot of English.


3. How to prepare more effectively for CR and RC and from what resources?
SC - here there are less "tricks" and workarounds. It's really mostly about knowing the grammar rules - esp' things like parallelism. not many ways around it.
RC - here there are ways to become more efficient. what you are doing - taking notes for each paragraph - is a very good start, but it's natural and fine that you will have to go back and look at specific parts of the passage that the question refers to. The trick is to do so efficiently - read only the sentence you need. other tips include paying special attention to connecting words (thus, however, etc), not waste time on reading the answers till after we've figured out what we're looking for, and asking ourselves as we read the passage "what is this about? what would be a fitting title for this?" (since there is almost always such a question).

4. Given the situation above, any particular strategy that should make my preparation more effective which i am not doing.
the first thing you need to ask yourself with each question is: "what is the most efficient tool to solve this"? gear your studies around this. let me know if you have any questions!
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Re: How to Improve my GMAT Score??!!  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Aug 2018, 11:30
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How you think through a question dictates how much time you will spend on different parts of a question stem and corresponding answer choices. This is the key for time management -- minimize the time you spend on parts of the question that don't matter!

http://www.gmatpill.com/criticalreasoni ... Estate.mp4

With CR, there's a lot of text to read. The key is to make sense of what's important and to ignore the stuff that is less important.

That way you can go into the answer choices already with something in mind of what to expect.
Image

For RC - the best way to improve is to practice.

I highly recommend Harvard Magazine articles? Why? Because they have a lot of short articles - that are very similar to what you might see on the GMAT exam -- usually 4-6 paragraphs citing some kind of social or science research.

Favorite this:
https://harvardmagazine.com/topic/Research

Image

Look for where it says: "Select a topic:" - Humanities, Social Science, Science, International

Go to the above link and read some of the articles.You'll see these are almost the exact topics you will see on the actual GMAT exam.

Here's one example:

https://harvardmagazine.com/2018/02/how ... lationship

Are you able to quickly read through it - ideally without reading every word - and identify WHO is writing it and WHY they are writing it - WHAT's the whole point to the author spending time to write these passages?

These are great for RC comprehension - with practice, time management becomes a non-issue.

This is what we recommend for our students!

See if this video helps: http://www.gmatpill.com/readingcomprehension/intro.mp4

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I encourage you to read about "Vishal" under the "Verbal Improvement" tab of

http://www.gmatpill.com/testimonials

-- read his story (and video) about RC improvement.


Hope that helps.
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Re: How to Improve my GMAT Score??!!  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Aug 2018, 15:14
Hi aparvez85,

Based on your current application timeline, you have several months of potential study time - which is good. That having been said, you will need to be really 'efficient' with your studies going forward to have everything ready to apply at the end of 2018. Working through lots of additional practice questions is likely NOT going to get you to your Score Goal - especially if you consistently make the same mistakes.

"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 your last CAT. 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 this recent 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: How to Improve my GMAT Score??!!  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Aug 2018, 19:15
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Hi aparvez85,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. Since you have been studying with a variety of resources but are still 150+ points away from your score goal, you really need to look at HOW you have been preparing, and potentially make some changes. Since your latest practice GMAT score is a 570, it’s clear that you lack certain GMAT quant and verbal fundamentals that are necessary for a high GMAT score.

To improve your skills, follow a study plan that allows you to learn linearly, such that you can slowly build GMAT mastery of one topic prior to moving on to the next. Within each topic, begin with the foundations and progress toward more advanced concepts. I understand that you feel your quant is stronger than your verbal; however, you will want to follow the same linear process for quant as you do for verbal.

For example, let’s say you begin studying Critical Reasoning. When studying Critical Reasoning, you need to ensure that you fully understand the essence of the various Critical Reasoning question types. For instance, 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 of question. 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 Critical Reasoning 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 Reading Comprehension 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. However, keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be stimulating, so to better prepare yourself to tackle such passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as the Economist, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

Sentence Correction, on the other hand, 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 reason that your Sentence Correction performance has not improved is likely 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 under 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 in the sentence clearly refer to nouns in the sentence? 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 those reasons are not 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 answer were always the one 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 in a Sentence Correction question, only one or two seem obviously incorrect. It may take time for you to see what you have to see. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to be determined to see the differences 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. For instance, 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 that resulted in your arriving at that answer and what you could do differently in order 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 have done differently that would have extended 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 Sentence Correction skills improve, you’ll then want to practice with SC questions that test you on skills from multiple SC topics.

Follow a similar routine for quant. 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, practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. 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. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

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.

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 and verbal courses.

You also may find it helpful to read this article about
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions.

Good luck!
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Re: How to Improve my GMAT Score??!! &nbs [#permalink] 28 Aug 2018, 19:15
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