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Scored 540 V26/M28 - Any Tips Moving Forward?

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New post 22 Feb 2019, 00:37
I took my first exam today and unfortunately scored very low - 540. I've been studying for a few months using the Manhattan Prep books, and was scoring in the upper 500s range in practice tests. While I scored an overall 540, I got in the 89 percentile in IR (even though it doesn't mean much). I am aiming for a 650 and fully believe I can achieve that score, but do not know what else to do to improve.
My study habits over the past few months has been to outline the Manhattan Prep books, do a lot of problems in an 2016 Official GMAT book, and watch YouTube videos for concepts I didn't really grasp as well.

With working long hours during the week, does anyone have any suggestions/tips/ideas to get my score above 650 (hopefully higher)? My plan was to buy the newer version of the Official GMAT book and do as many problems as I can. I am still very motivated to succeed on this test and greatly appreciate any advice!
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New post 22 Feb 2019, 01:51
I will have my two cents here.

Although you have mentioned your total score, you have not mentioned your break up (say e.g. Q35,V27, IR6). It would help, experienced people and experts if you mention that.
Another thing is how many practice tests had you taken before appearing actual test. And what are the challenging area you have identified to improve yourself.
I myself have Aristotle RC, CR and SC grail, besides Manhatten SC guide fro verbal. I had used TTPcourse for quant section and I am very very much impressed with depth, breadth, rigor, and clarity of the TTP Course. Also, I have loved the course's user interface and structure (helping you do timed practice). I may choose the same for my reattempt.
As for verbal and test taking skills, I may choose EMPOWER GMAT course - impressed with reviews (search here REVIEWS) .
You may choose to opt for a course from MARKETPLACE and take free tours - most of the courses offer that. And you yourself can decide which one suits your needs.


Hope this helps.
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Scored 540 V26/M28 - Any Tips Moving Forward?  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Feb 2019, 02:26
PrachiLomde wrote:
I took my first exam today and unfortunately scored very low - 540. I've been studying for a few months using the Manhattan Prep books, and was scoring in the upper 500s range in practice tests. While I scored an overall 540, I got in the 89 percentile in IR (even though it doesn't mean much). I am aiming for a 650 and fully believe I can achieve that score, but do not know what else to do to improve.
My study habits over the past few months has been to outline the Manhattan Prep books, do a lot of problems in an 2016 Official GMAT book, and watch YouTube videos for concepts I didn't really grasp as well.

With working long hours during the week, does anyone have any suggestions/tips/ideas to get my score above 650 (hopefully higher)? My plan was to buy the newer version of the Official GMAT book and do as many problems as I can. I am still very motivated to succeed on this test and greatly appreciate any advice!


Hi PrachiLomde Welcome to GMAT Club!
I am not an expert. I am telling you what I wish I knew when I started.
The fastest way to improve is to quickly identify the weak areas in your concepts. This can be done by spending time on the questions you got wrong and analyzing what mistake did you do and why did you do that mistake, maybe you forgot the concept or you don't know the concept or any other silly mistake such as poor rough work in quant. After identifying that area you must work on it and re-test yourself, whether you understood it or not. Do it repeatedly and after some time you will have less number of weak areas to worry about. Another skill to improve upon is test taking strategy such as timing, guessing, etc. (These will come later on).

test prep companies can't help you much in understanding your weak areas. Only you can do this work. The more diligently you do it the faster you score rise will be. There are many good posts about doing error analysis. Check out the forums. Don't let any mistake go by easily. Keep track of your mistakes. Keep yourself motivated.
Best of luck for the journey ahead.



Thanks
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Re: Scored 540 V26/M28 - Any Tips Moving Forward?  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Feb 2019, 05:50
PrachiLomde wrote:
I took my first exam today and unfortunately scored very low - 540. I've been studying for a few months using the Manhattan Prep books, and was scoring in the upper 500s range in practice tests. While I scored an overall 540, I got in the 89 percentile in IR (even though it doesn't mean much). I am aiming for a 650 and fully believe I can achieve that score, but do not know what else to do to improve.
My study habits over the past few months has been to outline the Manhattan Prep books, do a lot of problems in an 2016 Official GMAT book, and watch YouTube videos for concepts I didn't really grasp as well.

With working long hours during the week, does anyone have any suggestions/tips/ideas to get my score above 650 (hopefully higher)? My plan was to buy the newer version of the Official GMAT book and do as many problems as I can. I am still very motivated to succeed on this test and greatly appreciate any advice!


Hi PrachiLomde,

Welcome to GMATCLUB. You should study for around 2.5-3 months to improve your score. It’s a good thing you have taken a GMAT Mock once. You now know your weaknesses and work on them. If you are willing to study dedicatedly for that period, you are sure to achieve your goal. I think you need to solidify you base and adopt a proper technique to answer the questions. I believe you may benefit from taking a GMATPREP course. If you are willing, there are some great GMAT prep companies that can help you with your preparation.

Your choice of MGMAT guides is good. They are phenomenal and cover the entire syllabus really well.

If you are having a hard time in verbal, I would highly encourage you to consider e-gmat verbal online or the e-gmat verbal live course. They are both amazing courses especially designed for non-natives. They offer almost 25% of their courses for free so you can try out their free trial to decide which one you want to go for. Plus the e-gmat Scholaranium which is included in both the courses is one of the best verbal practice tools in the market. You can easily track your progress in that you can identify your strengths and analyze and improve on your weak areas.

I must add that if you are particularly looking to discover and improve on your weak areas in Quant; a subscription to GMATCLUB tests is the best way to do that. They are indeed phenomenal and will not only pinpoint your weak areas but also help you improve on them.

Further taking multiple mocks might help. Apart from the GMATPREP, Manhattan GMAT tests and Veritas Prep Tests in my experience have good verbal and Quant section and will certainly help you point out and improve your weak areas.

Further another advantage of taking many mocks is to build up your stamina. Apart from the GMATPREP tests, taking practise tests of any major GMATPREP company ought to do that.

I would also encourage you to purchase GMATPREP QP 1 for some great additional practice.

Lastly, you can check out a very interesting article by Mike McGarry from Magoosh detailing a 3 month study plan

https://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/3-month-g ... -students/. You will find it very helpful as it gives out a study plan as per your needs.

Hope this helps. All the best.
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Re: Scored 540 V26/M28 - Any Tips Moving Forward?  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Feb 2019, 06:07
PrachiLomde wrote:
I took my first exam today and unfortunately scored very low - 540. I've been studying for a few months using the Manhattan Prep books, and was scoring in the upper 500s range in practice tests. While I scored an overall 540, I got in the 89 percentile in IR (even though it doesn't mean much). I am aiming for a 650 and fully believe I can achieve that score, but do not know what else to do to improve.
My study habits over the past few months has been to outline the Manhattan Prep books, do a lot of problems in an 2016 Official GMAT book, and watch YouTube videos for concepts I didn't really grasp as well.

With working long hours during the week, does anyone have any suggestions/tips/ideas to get my score above 650 (hopefully higher)? My plan was to buy the newer version of the Official GMAT book and do as many problems as I can. I am still very motivated to succeed on this test and greatly appreciate any advice!


Manhattan Guides for basics. Then i would suggest you to do the advance Guide and finally Gmat Club Tests.

Evaluate them carefully and work on your weak areas more.

All the best :thumbup:
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Re: Scored 540 V26/M28 - Any Tips Moving Forward?  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Feb 2019, 18:27
Hi PrachiLomde,

Many Test Takers who use a 'book heavy' study approach end up getting 'stuck' at a particular score level - and since it sounds like your studies have been book heavy, then it's possible that you have gotten stuck as well. 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) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs/mocks (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?

Goals:
3) Is your overall Score goal 650 or something else?
4) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
5) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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Re: Scored 540 V26/M28 - Any Tips Moving Forward?  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Feb 2019, 12:47
I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. Since you have been studying for a few months and have yet to break into the 600s on any of your exams (practice or real), it’s clear that you need to look at HOW you have been studying and make some changes, right? I recommend taking a more thorough and structured approach rather than repeating your previous study plan. You need a study plan that allows you to individually learn each quant and verbal topic, starting with the foundations before moving to more advanced concepts. Studying in such a way will allow you to methodically improve your GMAT quant and verbal skills and ensure that no stone is left unturned.

Say, for example, 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.

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.

You can work on verbal in a similar manner. For example, let’s say you start by learning about Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to fully master the individual topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn about each 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. You can perfect your reading strategy with a lot of practice, but keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be easy to read. So, to better prepare yourself to tackle such passages, begin reading 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 really a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning the 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. Likely, the main reason that Sentence Correction has not "clicked" for you is that you have not put enough work into developing your skill in seeing what is going on in the various versions of the sentence that the answer choices create. 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 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, 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. 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.

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 my article with more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.

Good luck!
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Re: Scored 540 V26/M28 - Any Tips Moving Forward?   [#permalink] 24 Feb 2019, 12:47
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