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# Retake Advice for low quant 48 with 750 overall

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Retired Moderator
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07 Mar 2014, 09:41
Hi,

First of all, let me say big thanks to gmatclub community for sharing gmat material, experience, tips so generously, notwithstanding my abysmal GMAT performance. GMATclub was especially helpful in providing solutions for tough OG gmat quant questions.

I retook the GMAT in December '13 and scored 750 with a very poor score of 48 on quant. Here is the breakdown Q48+V46+IR4+AWA5. I studied for about 1.5 months. All I studied was for quantitative section. I used the following material:
1. OG 13 (did verbal section only once but repeated quant questions I got wrong)
2. OG for quant review 2nd edition
3. GMATPrep Question Pack1 (finished only quant questions)
3. GMATPrep 1, 2, 3 (I could not get to Test4)
4. Magoosh

Overall I solved more than 1500 gmat quant questions. I chased down each question I got wrong: studied the explanation given on gmatclub and manhattan club forum and really tried to understand where I went wrong and how I would not commit the similar mistake again. After so much of hard work I was totally crestfallen to see 48 on my quant section. I took the gmat first time in 2008 and my gmat score was 710 (Q48+V39). That means my quant score has not budged one bit with all my efforts. What's more frustrating is that my undergrad was in mechanical engineering. So I don't think fundamentals is my problem. However here are few areas I really struggled with:

1. Silly mistakes: I am guilty of Real brain farts- calculating that A is bigger on note pad and picking B as an answer instead on the screen, not counting no. of columns properly in DI questions, answering Sam's age whereas Mandy's age was asked, writing down a number in such sloppy hand-writing that it looks 35 instead of
31, not switching signs while flipping the inequality, or not distributing the negative sign properly, making a mistake while trying solving the entire quadratic equation in the head etc etc..
2. I hate writing with the note pad and pen given at the test center. As if my handwriting is not despicable enough all ready, now I need to deal with this evil stationary. Believe me, writing down the calculations is the most stressful experience for me during the test. Has anyone faced the similar problem? Will it help buying Manhattan's note pad and pen?

I am just sick and disgusted at my inability to figure out GMAT math. So absolutely any advice will be really appreciated -

- what books, testprep company material I should try?
- Whether I should memorize tables up to 30, certain squares, cubes, square roots, cube roots etc etc
- Whether I should create flash cards for math formulae?
- Any exam or test strategies I should follow?

I am not a perfectionist but really need to retake the GMAT to improve my quant score. I just got rejected by every single PhD Finance program in top75. I need to up the quant score at least to 50. I have spoken with professors on the adcoms and they told me that without 50 on quant it is just an auto reject.

Thank you
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My journey V46 and 750 -> http://gmatclub.com/forum/my-journey-to-46-on-verbal-750overall-171722.html#p1367876

Last edited by NoHalfMeasures on 08 Mar 2014, 01:53, edited 2 times in total.

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07 Mar 2014, 09:43
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When did the 48 become a low score??? if 48 is very low. What is very high?
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07 Mar 2014, 10:00
Hi BB,
Thanks for your quick reply. 48 may not be a poor score in general, but in the context of PhD finance admission it is really just unacceptable and almost always results in auto rejection. I have learned that hard way. Like i mentioned I got rejected by every phd program I applied to and I applied to schools ranked as low as top 75 in North America.
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07 Mar 2014, 11:04
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Wow. Auto reject at even 49? That's crazy.

Anyhow, I'll try to help rather than show my disgust at the process -
1.) Maintain error log. Visit it every alternate day. Write down trips, tricks, traps, good questions, mistakes - ANYTHING under the sky that you think you should remember.
2.) Most of us don't face that much trouble with the pad at the center. I'd suggest buy MGMAT one to get a hang of it.
3.) I had poor handwriting issues as well. Write bigger and clearer. Dont try to fit in things in a small area. I know there is limited space on the pad, but you can get a new one.
4.) Memorizing squares, cubes, tables etc. might be helpful. However, they would not have a huge impact. Might help fasten your calculation a wee bit. However, I always felt I needed to do the calculations manually to not make silly errors. So, for most part, memorizing trips to calculate faster were just useless for me. See what works for you.
5.) Go through my debrief (signature) and pick up the quant points, if you please.
6.) Regarding material - stick with MGMAT, GC quant book, and OG for concepts.
7.) Practice - highly recommend Gmatclub tests at this level. They are really great in pushing you to your limits and forcing to think in a better/quicker way. Would also suggest you try problems in Bunuel's signature. (search him on the forum if you haven't already).

48 to 5X, is really a matter of persistence and getting little things right. And above all, not giving up and showing the right temperament and concentration levels.

Good luck with your prep and PM me if you need anything in specific.

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07 Mar 2014, 14:17
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jumsumtak wrote:
Wow. Auto reject at even 49? That's crazy.

Anyhow, I'll try to help rather than show my disgust at the process -
1.) Maintain error log. Visit it every alternate day. Write down trips, tricks, traps, good questions, mistakes - ANYTHING under the sky that you think you should remember.
2.) Most of us don't face that much trouble with the pad at the center. I'd suggest buy MGMAT one to get a hang of it.
3.) I had poor handwriting issues as well. Write bigger and clearer. Dont try to fit in things in a small area. I know there is limited space on the pad, but you can get a new one.
4.) Memorizing squares, cubes, tables etc. might be helpful. However, they would not have a huge impact. Might help fasten your calculation a wee bit. However, I always felt I needed to do the calculations manually to not make silly errors. So, for most part, memorizing trips to calculate faster were just useless for me. See what works for you.
5.) Go through my debrief (signature) and pick up the quant points, if you please.
6.) Regarding material - stick with MGMAT, GC quant book, and OG for concepts.
7.) Practice - highly recommend Gmatclub tests at this level. They are really great in pushing you to your limits and forcing to think in a better/quicker way. Would also suggest you try problems in Bunuel's signature. (search him on the forum if you haven't already).

48 to 5X, is really a matter of persistence and getting little things right. And above all, not giving up and showing the right temperament and concentration levels.

Good luck with your prep and PM me if you need anything in specific.

Thanks for your quick and thorough reply to my post jumsumtak. You have some great advice there. I will follow your tips and get back to you if I need any further help. Also just read your debrief. i must hand it to you..it is one of the best and most inspiring debriefs I have read so far.

Yes- it is disgusting. Competition for admission to business phd programs esp finance/econ PhDs is brutal. On the top of it if youre an international applicant it gets even more harrowing. And what I am saying is quite infer-able. Wharton mentions average gmat for last entering batch of PhD students as 762. As this average includes gmat scores for all streams including marketing, OB, strategy, finance, I would not be surprised if the avg GMAT for only finance students was +770-780. Columbia, Berkeley, Yale and all other top schools mention in admission FAQs that competitive candidates score +90 on ALL sections which indirectly implies +50 on quant and +740 overall. I can literally go on and on to provide more evidence on how cruel is the world of PhD Finance/Econ but i think this one post sums up it all quite well- http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalr ... e_lev.html
It discusses 'Could Steve Levitt (famed economist and author of freakonomics) get into a top Ph.d. program today?'
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10 Mar 2014, 05:56
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Mensa, out of curiosity. Do you have an MBA ?

Yes, Brutality is a soft word for the PhD Finance.
Columbia Business Schools accepts 300-400 applicants for PhD Finance and accepts 3-5. Columbia PhD Finance have GMAT scores like 780-800.
In-fact Masters in Mathematics is considered better than MBA for PhD in Finance .
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10 Mar 2014, 08:00
AbhiJ wrote:
Mensa, out of curiosity. Do you have an MBA ?

Yes, Brutality is a soft word for the PhD Finance.
Columbia Business Schools accepts 300-400 applicants for PhD Finance and accepts 3-5. Columbia PhD Finance have GMAT scores like 780-800.
In-fact Masters in Mathematics is considered better than MBA for PhD in Finance .

AbhiJ: Thanks for your comment. Finally somebody understands!! Absolutely, even Stern told me in the reject letter that they received 1300 applications last year for about 20 spots. Im sure at least 400 of those would be finance applicants. And its the same story across all top 20 schools.

I know two people (IIT+IIM/ISB+97%onGMAT) switched to PhD strategy/accounting as they realized they would not stand a chance to get into a top Finance PhD programs.

Yes you're right - PhD Finance/Econ prefer applicants with MS - Math/Stat/Eng over MBA/MSFin/MS Econ. But there too successful applicants have GPA of 3.9 to 4.0 on 4.0 scale depending on where you went.

Sure here is my academic background- BE-Mech(India)+MBA(India)+MS Finance(US)

BTW, are you also applying to PhD finance? Any advice on GMAT quant you can share?
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10 Mar 2014, 08:56
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MensaNumber wrote:
AbhiJ wrote:
Mensa, out of curiosity. Do you have an MBA ?

Yes, Brutality is a soft word for the PhD Finance.
Columbia Business Schools accepts 300-400 applicants for PhD Finance and accepts 3-5. Columbia PhD Finance have GMAT scores like 780-800.
In-fact Masters in Mathematics is considered better than MBA for PhD in Finance .

AbhiJ: Thanks for your comment. Finally somebody understands!! Absolutely, even Stern told me in the reject letter that they received 1300 applications last year for about 20 spots. Im sure at least 400 of those would be finance applicants. And its the same story across all top 20 schools.

I know two people (IIT+IIM/ISB+97%onGMAT) switched to PhD strategy/accounting as they realized they would not stand a chance to get into a top Finance PhD programs.

Yes you're right - PhD Finance/Econ prefer applicants with MS - Math/Stat/Eng over MBA/MSFin/MS Econ. But there too successful applicants have GPA of 3.9 to 4.0 on 4.0 scale depending on where you went.

Sure here is my academic background- BE-Mech(India)+MBA(India)+MS Finance(US)

BTW, are you also applying to PhD finance? Any advice on GMAT quant you can share?

I would say spending 1-2 months with GMAT Club Test, MGMAT Advanced Quant and MGMAT Challenge Problems should surely push you into Q50-51 range.
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10 Mar 2014, 13:05
AbhiJ wrote:
MensaNumber wrote:
AbhiJ wrote:
Mensa, out of curiosity. Do you have an MBA ?

Yes, Brutality is a soft word for the PhD Finance.
Columbia Business Schools accepts 300-400 applicants for PhD Finance and accepts 3-5. Columbia PhD Finance have GMAT scores like 780-800.
In-fact Masters in Mathematics is considered better than MBA for PhD in Finance .

AbhiJ: Thanks for your comment. Finally somebody understands!! Absolutely, even Stern told me in the reject letter that they received 1300 applications last year for about 20 spots. Im sure at least 400 of those would be finance applicants. And its the same story across all top 20 schools.

I know two people (IIT+IIM/ISB+97%onGMAT) switched to PhD strategy/accounting as they realized they would not stand a chance to get into a top Finance PhD programs.

Yes you're right - PhD Finance/Econ prefer applicants with MS - Math/Stat/Eng over MBA/MSFin/MS Econ. But there too successful applicants have GPA of 3.9 to 4.0 on 4.0 scale depending on where you went.

Sure here is my academic background- BE-Mech(India)+MBA(India)+MS Finance(US)

BTW, are you also applying to PhD finance? Any advice on GMAT quant you can share?

I would say spending 1-2 months with GMAT Club Test, MGMAT Advanced Quant and MGMAT Challenge Problems should surely push you into Q50-51 range.

Thanks AbhiJ! I have never used these resources before. So pretty excited to take a look at them.
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12 Mar 2014, 21:45
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Thanks for the interesting post

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13 Mar 2014, 16:15
Don't you think your rejection has to do with the low IR score ?

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13 Mar 2014, 18:42
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13 Mar 2014, 22:02
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MensaNumber wrote:
Hi,

First of all, let me say big thanks to gmatclub community for sharing gmat material, experience, tips so generously, notwithstanding my abysmal GMAT performance. GMATclub was especially helpful in providing solutions for tough OG gmat quant questions.

I retook the GMAT in December '13 and scored 750 with a very poor score of 48 on quant. Here is the breakdown Q48+V46+IR4+AWA5. I studied for about 1.5 months. All I studied was for quantitative section. I used the following material:
1. OG 13 (did verbal section only once but repeated quant questions I got wrong)
2. OG for quant review 2nd edition
3. GMATPrep Question Pack1 (finished only quant questions)
3. GMATPrep 1, 2, 3 (I could not get to Test4)
4. Magoosh

Overall I solved more than 1500 gmat quant questions. I chased down each question I got wrong: studied the explanation given on gmatclub and manhattan club forum and really tried to understand where I went wrong and how I would not commit the similar mistake again. After so much of hard work I was totally crestfallen to see 48 on my quant section. I took the gmat first time in 2008 and my gmat score was 710 (Q48+V39). That means my quant score has not budged one bit with all my efforts. What's more frustrating is that my undergrad was in mechanical engineering. So I don't think fundamentals is my problem. However here are few areas I really struggled with:

1. Silly mistakes: I am guilty of Real brain farts- calculating that A is bigger on note pad and picking B as an answer instead on the screen, not counting no. of columns properly in DI questions, answering Sam's age whereas Mandy's age was asked, writing down a number in such sloppy hand-writing that it looks 35 instead of
31, not switching signs while flipping the inequality, or not distributing the negative sign properly, making a mistake while trying solving the entire quadratic equation in the head etc etc..
2. I hate writing with the note pad and pen given at the test center. As if my handwriting is not despicable enough all ready, now I need to deal with this evil stationary. Believe me, writing down the calculations is the most stressful experience for me during the test. Has anyone faced the similar problem? Will it help buying Manhattan's note pad and pen?

I am just sick and disgusted at my inability to figure out GMAT math. So absolutely any advice will be really appreciated -

- what books, testprep company material I should try?
- Whether I should memorize tables up to 30, certain squares, cubes, square roots, cube roots etc etc
- Whether I should create flash cards for math formulae?
- Any exam or test strategies I should follow?

I am not a perfectionist but really need to retake the GMAT to improve my quant score. I just got rejected by every single PhD Finance program in top75. I need to up the quant score at least to 50. I have spoken with professors on the adcoms and they told me that without 50 on quant it is just an auto reject.

Thank you

Also, check out my blog: http://www.veritasprep.com/blog/categor ... om/page/5/
I discuss holistic approaches useful for GMAT questions. They will come in handy if you are targeting Q50/51.
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18 Mar 2014, 06:56
sab7a wrote:
Don't you think your rejection has to do with the low IR score ?

I discussed this aspect with the people in the know. They don't think this could have been an issue
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18 Mar 2014, 07:00
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
MensaNumber wrote:

Also, check out my blog: http://www.veritasprep.com/blog/categor ... om/page/5/
I discuss holistic approaches useful for GMAT questions. They will come in handy if you are targeting Q50/51.

Hi Karishma, interesting approach you have there. I liked your articles. I think they will be useful for my quest towards a neigh perfect GMAT quant score. Thanks!
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18 Mar 2014, 08:03
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Expert's post
Hello,

Concerning whether to take another exam. It is a tough call, but a few things to take into account:

Schools do not normally care if a student takes the exam multiple times. That's ok. Can one apply with less than a 700 or a bit less than the school may ask for? Of course! The application to an MBA or other program will depend on several factors, including the GMAT. Now if a student gets a 350 on the GMAT and needs roughly a 700 then of course a retake is in order but if schools are asking for a 700 and someone gets a 690, I would still say go for it, not because a 690 is not excellent but because if one can get a 690 then when can certainly even jump to a higher level. In fact from one exam to the next scores can vary wildly sometimes. A score can dip from one exam to another even with the same amount of knowledge or the same percentage of correct/incorrect. The GMAT scoring algorithm takes many factors into account including where you make errors (eg making mistakes on 'graded' versus experimental questions, or the 'weight' of the question itself etc), how many mistakes you commit in a row, whether you finish both sections or leave questions out, whether the last few questions of either section seemed like they were guessed at (ie did you spend only a few seconds on the last few questions as opposed to the full time you should have), how you felt on test day - these can all affect score.

From one test to the next you can easily jump +/- 30 points (and even up to 80 or so) depending on where the mistakes are. So you can get the same percentage of right and wrong on two exams with the same amount of knowledge and yet have a score that differs by quite a bit. This is the same as the real GMAT. To illustrate, I can make a mistake every other question in the Quant over 5 exams (ie in every exam my percentage is 50% but have a score range from, say, a 15 to a 35, for example, which is quite insane, but it shows too that where you make mistakes can often be more important than how many. Overall, when a student wants to know where he/she stands, the best way to do so is to take the average after a few exams. This should get you to a fairly close estimation of where you are at. You can also check out our blog for more info on GMAT scoring: http://gmat.economist.com/blog/test-tak ... ted-part-i

I do wish to add the following. While I like to encourage students to retake exams if they have the energy and time to do so, in certain circumstances in may not be necessary especially in the context of other application criteria. So altogether a retake is good for students who are both far and close to their GMAT range but this will take dedication and further practice. If you have it in you to do so then go for it! If you have other aspects you need to take care of but are already at your range then I do not see it as all important. The other aspects of the application may carry quite a bit more weight. And finally, you can always ask the school itself whether it is worth doing. Sometimes they actually help in that regard.

I hope that helps.

All the best,

Elizabeth
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18 Mar 2014, 11:54
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LazyBoy8 wrote:

Lazyboy8: I cannot speak to your brother and friends experience but my own experience, research on this subject, and what I hear from my contacts (a few of them are on admissions committee of and others are PhD students at top finance PhD programs), have given me some solid insights into the PhD finance admissions. And I am sorry PhD finance admission is unlike any other PhD business stream admission (Marketing, Strategy, OB etc) let alone PhD biomedical engg.

I think it is a misconception that it does not matter where you get your PhD. Let me try to debunk it. But first let me clarify: PhD finance rankings are quite different from conventional MBA rankings. In fact, they start to diverge quite a lot once you go past top 10/15. Here is one finance research ranking from several others that are out there- http://legacy.wpcarey.asu.edu//fin-rank ... esults.cfm. Alright so why do rankings matter? If you get your PhD from a top ranked school, you will mostly end up in a research university, whereas if you get your PhD from a lower ranked school, you will end up in a teaching school. Not to mention that at top ranked schools you will receive better training as you will not only work with well know professors/researchers but also have access to more resources (data bases etc). Teaching universities will pay you apprx \$50K less each year, have more teaching load, have fewer researcher resources (peers, databases) etc. Thus it is a vicious cycle and very few manage break out of it. But if someone enjoys teaching then it is not a bad option.

Unlike MBA admissions, it does not get significantly easier as you go lower in the ranking for PhD finance. Good lower ranked schools though receive fewer applications they have fewer spots too. For instance- Boston College receives around 200-250 applications each year for 2-3 seats. Ditto Simon Fraser!

The only factor that is more important than the GMAT for PhD finance admission is your GPA. You might get away with lower GMAT i.e. quant score of 49 if you have 3.9-4.0 (out of 4) GPA. Nothing else- work ex, teaching exp, essays, recommendations(may be not if you manage to get a solid letter from Eugene Fama! ) will fly with the adcom if you don't have the requisite GPA/GMAT scores.

That's why this post is not about IF I SHOULD RETAKE but is about WHAT SHOULD I DO DIFFERENTLY IF I RETAKE? That's also why this post is here and not in admissions section, though many folks will benefit from this advice there. Is there a way to link it to PhD admission section as I really think it will benefit PhD applicants there by giving a right perspective so that they prepare accordingly?
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21 Mar 2014, 20:50
LizEconomistGMAT wrote:
Hello,

Concerning whether to take another exam. It is a tough call, but a few things to take into account:

Schools do not normally care if a student takes the exam multiple times. That's ok. Can one apply with less than a 700 or a bit less than the school may ask for? Of course! The application to an MBA or other program will depend on several factors, including the GMAT. Now if a student gets a 350 on the GMAT and needs roughly a 700 then of course a retake is in order but if schools are asking for a 700 and someone gets a 690, I would still say go for it, not because a 690 is not excellent but because if one can get a 690 then when can certainly even jump to a higher level. In fact from one exam to the next scores can vary wildly sometimes. A score can dip from one exam to another even with the same amount of knowledge or the same percentage of correct/incorrect. The GMAT scoring algorithm takes many factors into account including where you make errors (eg making mistakes on 'graded' versus experimental questions, or the 'weight' of the question itself etc), how many mistakes you commit in a row, whether you finish both sections or leave questions out, whether the last few questions of either section seemed like they were guessed at (ie did you spend only a few seconds on the last few questions as opposed to the full time you should have), how you felt on test day - these can all affect score.

From one test to the next you can easily jump +/- 30 points (and even up to 80 or so) depending on where the mistakes are. So you can get the same percentage of right and wrong on two exams with the same amount of knowledge and yet have a score that differs by quite a bit. This is the same as the real GMAT. To illustrate, I can make a mistake every other question in the Quant over 5 exams (ie in every exam my percentage is 50% but have a score range from, say, a 15 to a 35, for example, which is quite insane, but it shows too that where you make mistakes can often be more important than how many. Overall, when a student wants to know where he/she stands, the best way to do so is to take the average after a few exams. This should get you to a fairly close estimation of where you are at. You can also check out our blog for more info on GMAT scoring: http://gmat.economist.com/blog/test-tak ... ted-part-i

I do wish to add the following. While I like to encourage students to retake exams if they have the energy and time to do so, in certain circumstances in may not be necessary especially in the context of other application criteria. So altogether a retake is good for students who are both far and close to their GMAT range but this will take dedication and further practice. If you have it in you to do so then go for it! If you have other aspects you need to take care of but are already at your range then I do not see it as all important. The other aspects of the application may carry quite a bit more weight. And finally, you can always ask the school itself whether it is worth doing. Sometimes they actually help in that regard.

I hope that helps.

All the best,

Elizabeth

Thanks for your comment and advice, Elizabeth. Like I mentioned in my earlier post it is quite clear to me that I need to retake. So I will take the 7 day trial of Economist-GMATTutor to see if it suits my study style.
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22 Mar 2014, 07:00
Hi, I've just taken my GMAT with close to none preparation on quant section and got Q51. It might contradict with usual methods suggested by popular coaching programmes (I haven't read any), but what I do is try to get through those easier questions as swiftly as possible, especially those question with firm answers. I spend a little more time on those 12TEN questions as Kaplan premier 14 calls it, but I think I spend mostly one minute on most easier questions. Approaching the end like 4,5 questions left, I have around 13-14 minutes left, and I can take as much time as I like on them.
There's even one question I took 6 minutes to figure it out... It kinda works for me, but since I've only done 1 CAT practice test and the actual test itseslf, I don't know if it works every single time. Just a thought though.

p.s. as for how unprepared I am for quant, I spent a minute DURING THE REAL GMAT wondering where's the calculator and reading the help section to see if the lack of calculator is mentioned...... lol

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07 Apr 2014, 02:06
azalea wrote:
Hi, I've just taken my GMAT with close to none preparation on quant section and got Q51. It might contradict with usual methods suggested by popular coaching programmes (I haven't read any), but what I do is try to get through those easier questions as swiftly as possible, especially those question with firm answers. I spend a little more time on those 12TEN questions as Kaplan premier 14 calls it, but I think I spend mostly one minute on most easier questions. Approaching the end like 4,5 questions left, I have around 13-14 minutes left, and I can take as much time as I like on them.
There's even one question I took 6 minutes to figure it out... It kinda works for me, but since I've only done 1 CAT practice test and the actual test itseslf, I don't know if it works every single time. Just a thought though.

p.s. as for how unprepared I am for quant, I spent a minute DURING THE REAL GMAT wondering where's the calculator and reading the help section to see if the lack of calculator is mentioned...... lol

Hi Azalea: Are you suggesting me to spend as less time as possible on easier questions and then utilize the freed time on cracking the harder ones? But would not it hurt more to get the easier question wrong than it would benefit to get the harder questions right? Also are you recommending Kaplan Premier 14? Thanks
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Re: Retake Advice for low quant 48 with 750 overall   [#permalink] 07 Apr 2014, 02:06

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