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New User: Please Help Me Strategize a Way to go from 600 --> 650

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New User: Please Help Me Strategize a Way to go from 600 --> 650  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Oct 2018, 04:38
Hello All,

I am a first time poster although I have been following the forums for quite some time now (yeah, I'm that guy that just lurks and reads and tries problems but doesn't post).
With that being said, I greatly appreciate everyone's input as in my opinion this is the #1 website/place where aspiring business students come to gain knowledge on how to "beat" the GMAT.

I wanted to share my story before getting into the main reason that I am creating this topic: getting help/advice on how to improve my score.

I started my GMAT journey back in February. I studied for a little over a month since time was most definitely not on my side. Round 5 applications for my target school were closing around the middle of May and thus I needed to familiarize myself with the exam and study it by before said date in order to even consider applying. Problem was that I was working 2 jobs in order to make it every month. Thus I embarked on the dark journey in the cold winter months in freezing NY and gave it a go. To make a long story short, I got a very disappointing score when I took the exam in April which ultimately beat me up so bad that I gave up applying to b-school.

Due to work circumstances and other, I decided to tackle this beast once again, and I plan on taking the GMAT sometime within this month (October).

Official GMAT 1 Score: 480. Don't recall each individual score as I was too embarrassed to even look at the computer screen once I finished.

I spent all of June, July, August and September studying. I have gone through all the MGMAT books in great detail solidifying core concepts (from book 0-9 individual guides, as well as Foundations of Math & Verbal). I am now going through the Advanced Quant.

MGMAT Practice Test 1: 530 Q37 V27 (February diagnostic test)
MGMAT Practice Test 2: 510 Q29 V31 - (Middle of March)


MGMAT Practice Test 3: 600 Q39 V34 (October 6th)

I am very happy with my improvement but unfortunately I am not quite there yet. My target school has an avg. score of 640-680 and my target score is AT LEAST a 650 (ideally almost 700). With that being said, I would really appreciate any help/guidance as to how to increase this score in about a month or so.

My main problem is Quant but not so much my inability to answer questions, but rather timing. I had to guess the last 4 questions due to running out of time. I also noticed in the breakdown that I make too many mistakes in DS (9/14 wrong vs 6/17 wrong in PS).

Thank you all in advance, I appreciate any advice!
Have a great day!
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Re: New User: Please Help Me Strategize a Way to go from 600 --> 650  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Oct 2018, 04:51
Hey PierTotti17

Welcome to GMATClub

I'm going to try and give you my understanding of Quant and how it could help you improve
your score. Another advice that I would give you is to take a GMATPrep test and see what
score you are getting in Quant because the Math in Manhattan is very difficult and you are
not going to a lot of similar questions on the GMAT. IMO, GMAT Quant is more about the
application of the concepts - it's not about hefty calculations or speed math.

Whenever you practice questions, try to understand if you are able to apply the learning to
the problems. Every time you are not able to solve a question go through the thread(where
the question has been discussed) and go through the various methods that have been used
to solve the problems. In my experience, you will come across a few methods that will help
you save some time. Try and adapt these methods while you solve questions during practice.

Work on maintaining an error log and go through the mistakes you make from time to time.
This retrospection will definitely help you improve your scores. Last but not the least, these
are few links that you might find handy while preparing for the GMAT.

1. GMATClub Quantitative Mega-Thread
2. ALL YOU NEED FOR QUANT ! ! !
3. PS Directory by Topic and Difficulty
4. DS Directory by Topic and Difficulty
5. Q44 -> Q50
6. Timing strategies

The first two links help you with basic concepts. For topics that you have problems in, you
could work on the concepts from the first thread. The third and fourth links are for practice
only and the sixth link will give you an idea of some of the timing strategies that might be
helpful.

Hope this helps you!
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Re: New User: Please Help Me Strategize a Way to go from 600 --> 650  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Oct 2018, 05:37
Hi pushpitkc,

Thank you for the comprehensive reply!

Truth be told I was a little disappointed with my Quant score on the MGMAT Prac Test since I have been practising more "understand the concept" versus just memorizing formulas. In fact I would attribute my increased accuracy thanks to this. Sometimes I just find that I will understand the question and what it is asking (i.e testing number properties, positives or negatives, even or odds etc) but I will get stuck around halfway and then hit a wall.

I will try taking the GMATPrep exam that you have mentioned. Do you recommend taking 31 questions in one go (I believe I have a total of 90 free questions).

Thanks for the help and for the useful links!
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New post 06 Oct 2018, 05:44
Hi PierTotti17

I am talking about the GMATPrep tests(which will have 4 sections - Quant section with
31 questions, Verbal section with 36 questions, an AWA, and an IR section). There are
2 free tests which you can take. Ideally, it is recommended to take this test as if you
were taking the exam - in similar conditions with breaks of 8 mins :)

This is the link to the platform - https://gmatofficialprep.mba.com/SarasExamPrep#/home
You will have to use your GMAC credentials(the one you use to login in into mba.com)
to log in and take the test. All the best. Do let us know how it goes.

Hope that helps!
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Re: New User: Please Help Me Strategize a Way to go from 600 --> 650  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Oct 2018, 15:45
Hi PierTotti17,

Assuming this recent 600 is an accurate assessment of your current skills, you're actually closer to a 650+ than you probably realize.

"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 this 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?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: New User: Please Help Me Strategize a Way to go from 600 --> 650  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Oct 2018, 06:29
Hi EMPOWERgmatRichC,

Thanks for the advice!


To answer your questions, I would say that the main reasons I get questions wrong are the following:

1) Timing is definitely my biggest issue. I can answer most questions quite comfortably but I need at least 5 mins to do so. I find the timing stress of the "real" exam very off-putting.
2) Questions are hard (I get halfway through a question and then I hit a roadblock).

I have narrowed my weaknesses in the Quant section to:

a) Absolute values (the upper 700 level questions especially). Even more so when I have to deal with absolute value inequalities.
b) Statistics (e.g. complicated mode, mean or range problems involving obscure variables).
c) Upper level combinatorics I absolutely despise.
d) Rates & Work, specifically the ones where multiple machines working together and then we must find how many extra are needed to complete a job.
e) Ratios and mixture problems. Absolutely hate these as well.

If anyone has some tips or tricks for abs value and ratios and rates I would GREATLY appreciate it since I really struggle with them.

But honestly, I would say that the variable that holds me back the most is simply time. Some word problems on the MGMAT take at least a full minute just to make sense of what is being asked.. I don't know how anyone is able to go through a 700 or 800 level question so quickly. And because I am hard-headed, I will try to solve the question and spend 3-4 mins on the question just to get it wrong. I will try the GMATPrep exams that pushpitkc mentioned and see how I fare on those. I guess I will have to learn to know when to let go of a question and guess as best as possible.

As for verbal, quite honestly it's just my stamina. I do the Quant section first and by the time I am done with it I am already over the exam. I make use of the break and then I recharge quite well. But around 20 questions in on Verbal I just lose focus and the critical reasoning and reading comprehension passages and questions all look the same to me. Sentence Correction reason I get the 700-800 questions wrong is due to some obscure idiom being tested.


One final question: to increase from a 600 to roughly 650/680, how many questions per section should I be improving by? 3-5 or more like 6-7?


Thanks again for the great advice!
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Re: New User: Please Help Me Strategize a Way to go from 600 --> 650  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Oct 2018, 12:23
Other folks have given you some great advice already, but I want to point out one thing that stood out to me in your post. You said that you've started using the MPrep Advanced Quant book - don't!

(At least not yet.)

The way the GMAT works is, it tries to only show you questions that it thinks you might get right. The algorithm will try to mostly give you questions that will be a little difficult for you, but not incredibly difficult. (It's possible to have a different experience, but that's usually the result of making a strategic mistake, like poor time management.)

The Advanced Quant book has problems and techniques that are generally at the Q45+ level, in my experience. If you're not already at that level or very close to it, the test won't show you those types of problems at all. Sure, you may learn some useful tricks from it anyways, but the problems and strategies won't usually apply to your own test experience. Unlike a normal test, on the GMAT, it's almost always smarter to 'push your score up from below' by perfecting the easier/medium stuff, than to 'pull it up from above' by working on really hard problems. (One reason is that it's almost always much worse for your score to miss an easy problem than to miss a hard problem. Technically, you can miss a lot of hard problems and still score quite well.)

So instead of moving to the Advanced Quant book, I'd go to another source of official practice problems, like the Guide to Quantitative Review or the extra practice questions from mba.com. Have you used those yet?
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Re: New User: Please Help Me Strategize a Way to go from 600 --> 650  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Oct 2018, 19:45
Hi PierTotti17,

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). To hit 650+, you do not need to correctly answer ANY questions that you think are too hard or too weird, but you DO need to correctly answer the 'gettable' questions. You mentioned that you have trouble 'letting go' of certain GMAT questions; if that's the case, and you cannot overcome that issue, then there will be a limit to how much you can improve.

You didn't quite answer the questions that I asked in my prior post - and that information is important to defining what you really need to be working on. For example, there's a big difference between getting lots of questions wrong because you do not know the content and getting lots of questions wrong because you DO know the content but you make lots of little mistakes in your work.

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?

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

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

*****Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!*****

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Re: New User: Please Help Me Strategize a Way to go from 600 --> 650 &nbs [#permalink] 07 Oct 2018, 19:45
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