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Retaking the GMAT.. PLEASE HELP

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New post 03 Aug 2019, 14:48
I took the Gmat for the very first time in July, and I scored a 350. I took it again today (8/3) and I scored a 450, which is better but still not sufficient. I applied for a Masters degree this fall so I am thinking about retaking it for the very last time in 2 weeks to try to get it.
So I feel really devastated, because I use the GMAT prep. I took the CATS one by one every week to check my improvement and every time I take the test my score improves (went from 320 to 480 to 520) so I was hoping that I would really get a good score this time. The questions this time seemed easier than the first time, therefore it might seem weird but I have NO idea where how I got 450.
I don't want to wait until next Fall to go back to school but also I don't know if I should try one last time in two weeks. If so, any ideas would be welcome.
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New post 03 Aug 2019, 15:25
Hi MariemeDieng,

Raising your Official Score 100 points in a month is a noteworthy achievement - and it shows that you have the capacity to learn and improve. If you're looking to score at a much higher level on the Official GMAT though, then you will likely need more than just 2 additional weeks of study time. 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? How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used so far?
3) On what dates did you take EACH of your CATs/mocks and how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?

Goals:
4) What is your overall 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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Rich
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New post 03 Aug 2019, 15:40
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi MariemeDieng,

Raising your Official Score 100 points in a month is a noteworthy achievement - and it shows that you have the capacity to learn and improve. If you're looking to score at a much higher level on the Official GMAT though, then you will likely need more than just 2 additional weeks of study time. 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? How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used so far?
3) On what dates did you take EACH of your CATs/mocks and how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?

Goals:
4) What is your overall 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





I know that 2 weeks is not really enough to boost my score, but that's my last chance unfortunately. Because I don't have much time, I don't know whether retaking it is a good idea.
Studies:
1) I started in mid April. I usually study for at least 4 hours every day
2) I have only used GMAT Prep for my first attempt. But for my 2nd attempt I found out about this website and I was able to practice many questions given here.
3) First CAT: 320 (Q6 V22) on June 26th
2nd CAT: 500 (Q30 V29) on June 28th
Then I took the official GMAT on July 6th and scored a 350
3rd CAT: 480 (Q29 V28) on July 16th
4th CAT: 520 (Q35 V26) on July 22nd
Then I took the second official GMAT and scored 450

Goals:
1) 550 is my minimum goal
2) I have already applied for this Fall. My recommandation letters, resume, transcripts, all look great. Only the GMAT is missing for me to get in
3) Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. They have a great masters program in Masters of Accounting and Applied Sciences.

Given my record and my goals, do you believe that there's still a bit of hope for me ?
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New post 04 Aug 2019, 08:45
Hey Mariam,

Sorry to hear about your bad test day experience. Yours is a dilemma, which many people face in their lives. The call totally depends upon you. However, I would suggest the following:-

1) Order your ESR, so that you know your weaknesses.
2)Definitely, give the 3rd attempt.
3) Read up on all the guides for fundamentals and improve.

Try giving as much time as possible, there is a lot of scope for improvement.

Regards
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New post 04 Aug 2019, 11:59
kavach wrote:
Hey Mariam,

Sorry to hear about your bad test day experience. Yours is a dilemma, which many people face in their lives. The call totally depends upon you. However, I would suggest the following:-

1) Order your ESR, so that you know your weaknesses.
2)Definitely, give the 3rd attempt.
3) Read up on all the guides for fundamentals and improve.

Try giving as much time as possible, there is a lot of scope for improvement.

Regards




Thanks for the tips. I just ordered my ESR and I got a much better idea on where I failed. Here are the details:
Quantitative:
- Value/Order/Factors 55%
- Geometry 75%
- Counting/ sets/ series 100%
- Rates/ ratios/ percents 60%
- Equalities/Inequalities 75%

Verbal:
- Critical reasoning : Analysis/critique 66% Construction/plan 100%
- Reading Comprehension: Identify inferred idea 83% Identify stated idea 0%
- Sentence correction: Grammar 40% Communication 57%

Any suggestions?
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New post 04 Aug 2019, 14:12
Hi there..
In my opinion you should try Manhattan GMAT books (Atleast for Verbal). They are short and sweet. If u have identified your weak areas then learn how to approach questions and answer them correctly, from these books. Initially they you will think that book will take time but a focused reading can finish RC, CR books within not more than 8 hrs each. SC will take little more time.
What I've felt thus far from my prep is you can quantitatively break every question and make it easy
You can reply if u have anything to ask me

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New post 04 Aug 2019, 15:10
Hi MariemeDieng,

Since you now have 5 forum posts, you can include attachments to your posts and PMs. If you're interested, then I'll be happy to analyze your ESR for you (and if you would prefer to not post it publicly, then you can feel free to PM it directly to me).

A 550 is a modest Score Goal - and it's worth noting that to hit that Score, you do NOT need to correctly answer ANY questions on the GMAT that you think are too hard or too weird, but you have to keep the little mistakes to a minimum. At this point, there's no way to know how long it might take you to properly make those adjustments to how you 'see' (and respond to) the GMAT, but an additional 100-point improvement would likely take you at least another 1-2 months of consistent, guided study.

1) What is the exact application deadline that you are currently facing?
2) When you say that your minimum score 'need' is a 550, would that Score guarantee you admission into this specific Program? If so, then how do you know that? What if you scored less than than (for example, would you still apply if you scored 530?). Since this is an Accounting Program, does the Program have a minimum Quant Scaled Score 'requirement'?

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New post 04 Aug 2019, 15:22
MariemeDieng wrote:
I took the Gmat for the very first time in July, and I scored a 350. I took it again today (8/3) and I scored a 450, which is better but still not sufficient. I applied for a Masters degree this fall so I am thinking about retaking it for the very last time in 2 weeks to try to get it.
So I feel really devastated, because I use the GMAT prep. I took the CATS one by one every week to check my improvement and every time I take the test my score improves (went from 320 to 480 to 520) so I was hoping that I would really get a good score this time. The questions this time seemed easier than the first time, therefore it might seem weird but I have NO idea where how I got 450.
I don't want to wait until next Fall to go back to school but also I don't know if I should try one last time in two weeks. If so, any ideas would be welcome.


Whether you should take the test again in two weeks will be your call. You seem to be in a corner since you have already submitted other materials.

You may not want to hear unfortunate statements (neither do I), but here they are anyway. I have some experience with Masters and PhD programs.

- A third test will likely not improve your scores.

- You have many gaps in your conceptual knowledge of the subject areas.

- Random studying will likely not produce results. You may need both intensive immersion in dedicated studying and large amounts of problem solving.

Top graduate programs in Masters and above are highly competitive. A high score is crucial.

Unlike MBA programs, these programs only admit a tiny number of applicants. Even though schools may publically state that they consider all scores, scores less than 690 are simply not competitive in such programs.

There is usually no do-or-die situations for applying to these programs. You may be much more competitive next year or later. Cheers.

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New post 07 Aug 2019, 17:22
Hi MariemeDieng,

I agree that you likely won’t be able to improve your GMAT score by 100 points in just 2 weeks; however, since your application is already submitted, I suppose you have nothing to lose by giving it one more shot. If things don’t go your way on this attempt, then you can follow a longer-term study plan. In any case, here is some general advice you can follow to improve your GMAT quant and verbal skills.

First off, you need to ensure that you follow a structured and detailed study plan (unlike your previous study routine) that allows you to individually learn each GMAT quant and verbal topic, and then practice each topic until you’ve gained mastery. For example, let’s say you are learning about Number Properties. First, 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.

Follow a similar routine for verbal. For example, let’s say you start by learning about Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to fully master the individual Critical Reasoning topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn about each Critical Reasoning question type, do focused practice so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you get a weakening question wrong, 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 instead 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 thereby 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, 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 Reading Comprehension answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. Keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be easy to read. So, to better prepare yourself to analyze such 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, it is likely that you will have to work on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, 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 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 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 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 take the time 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. 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 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 will then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple Sentence Correction topics.

Feel free to reach out with further questions. Good luck!
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Re: Retaking the GMAT.. PLEASE HELP   [#permalink] 07 Aug 2019, 17:22
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