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Should I retake (possibly cancel)? 730 (46 Q, 44V, IR8)

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Should I retake (possibly cancel)? 730 (46 Q, 44V, IR8)  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Aug 2019, 15:11
Hello everyone!

I just took the GMAT today and scored a 730 (46 Q, 44V, IR8)
First of all I'd like to recognize that 730 is indeed a great score and I am grateful that I received such a score!

However, I am wondering if I should cancel the scores or retake the exam once again to push for that 760+ and would appreciate all of the advice I can get.

A little bit of background about me - I am from India but I am currently studying at the University of Pennsylvania (C'20), majoring in Mathematical Economics with a minor in Computer Science. I have a pretty subpar GPA (3.0), due to reasons such as not really being obsessed with my grades and thinking they do not really matter and taking on several quantitative and challenging courses that are not required for my degree.

My results for the official GMATPrep tests have been:

Test 1 (Mock with no prep at all) - 680 (Q44, V39, IR5)

I read over MGMAT Quant books (- Advanced GMAT Quant), MGMAT Sentence Correction, and worked through the problems in OG Quant & Verbal Review 2019.

Test 2 (Mock with a week of prep) - 760 (Q50, V42, IR8)

After this point I did not really do any prep as such apart from going through some similar questions as to the ones I got wrong or going through my error log occasionally. None of the tests were reset at any point.

Test 3 - 760 (Q 50, V42, IR8)

Test 4 - 740 (Q49, V42, IR8)

Test 5 - 740 (Q48, V44, IR8)

Test 6 - 780 (Q50, V48, IR8)

During the actual exam, I mainly struggled with my pace and time management on Quant. I had to really speed through and guess most of the last 6-7 questions, and I spent a lot of my time on several questions in the middle. I still have the entire OG 2019 unsolved, the MGMAT Advanced Quant book, and 5 Veritas Prep tests remaining with me. To be quite honest, I am most definitely thinking about retaking the exam as I know I can most probably do better in Quant, given that it is actually my strong suit. I am seeking any helpful advice in terms of addressing my Quant problems and resources to use, and I was wondering if I should cancel my scores as retaking after receiving 730 makes you look like you're obsessed with your scores and trying to over compensate?

I apologize for the long post and I appreciate all of the wonderful advice by you all! Thank you.
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Re: Should I retake (possibly cancel)? 730 (46 Q, 44V, IR8)  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Aug 2019, 15:43
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kartikeytyagi - Hello. Let me start off by saying that, as you have pointed out yourself, a 730 is a fine score. Yes, you know you can do better, but you should also put matters into perspective. I would ask some of the following questions:

1) What schools do you intend to apply to, and what do their class profiles (of actual matriculates) look like? A 730 puts you right in the mix at any top-tier business school, so that by itself is not working against you.

2) What can you present to each business school that makes you stand out? Maybe writing an essay about some of those challenging courses and addressing your GPA sacrifice would be interesting. (Careful, though, as you would not want to make it sound like an excuse.)

3) How does attending Penn affect your application? It is unfortunate in my eyes, but the fact remains that Penn is not the same as Penn State in the eyes of many people, students, professors, and admissions staff alike. But I am sure you already knew that when you applied to college. Could you get any advice from professors or students you know there?

4) When do you plan on attending business school? Most programs consider work experience, and if you are going for a purely academic bent, then you will want to stand out there somehow.

5) Who is to say that your testing experience might not repeat itself? To earn a 44V, you probably missed just a handful of questions, and based on your practice results, it looks as though that represents the middle to upper range of your current ability on the test. (Again, emphasis on current.) What would you do if your Quant went up a little but your Verbal went down to, say, that 42 that you were getting more toward the beginning of your prep? Then you might have two 730s on your hands, even if they were of a slightly different nature.

I draw attention to these considerations because you have not let the dust settle on this experience yet. Too often what I have seen and read on this very forum is that dissatisfied students rush back into the test and, for one reason or another, perform either similarly or even worse than they had before, and then they start to sweat bullets. This is a big decision, so you might want to sleep on it for a bit, get plenty of different advice--and I think you are doing a fine job of seeking it in this forum--and then weigh the pros and cons of taking the test again.

In terms of books, you really have all you need, in my opinion, to practice and improve. Of course, you can sign up for some prep course or other and probably get faster at Quant problems, but something tells me that if you just spent more time studying them and scouring this forum to seek multiple solutions to the same problem--that if you would take the time to appreciate those unique solutions that would differ from your own intuitive approach--you would experience a similar growth in comprehension and problem efficiency, and you could keep more money in your pocket.

Full confession: I am a full-time tutor, but I have never picked up any business from this site, and I make no mention of my business (e.g., dropping URLs) here. This is for fun, and I just want to see if I can help others in my spare time, when I do not have to think about earning more money.

Good luck with your pursuits, whether you decide to tackle the GMAT™ again or let sleeping dogs lie.

- Andrew
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Should I retake (possibly cancel)? 730 (46 Q, 44V, IR8)  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Aug 2019, 16:58
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MentorTutoring wrote:

1) What schools do you intend to apply to, and what do their class profiles (of actual matriculates) look like? A 730 puts you right in the mix at any top-tier business school, so that by itself is not working against you.

2) What can you present to each business school that makes you stand out? Maybe writing an essay about


I draw attention to these considerations because you have not let the dust settle on this experience yet. Too often what I have seen and read on this very forum is that dissatisfied students rush back into the test and, for one reason or another, perform either similarly or even worse than they had before, and then they start to sweat bullets. This is a big decision, so you might want to sleep on it for a bit, get plenty of different advice--and I think you are doing a fine job of seeking it in this forum--and then weigh the pros and cons of taking the test again.


Full confession: I am a full-time tutor, but I have never picked up any business from this site, and I make no mention of my business (e.g., dropping URLs) here. This is for fun, and I just want to see if I can help others in my spare time, when I do not have to think about earning more money.

Good luck with your pursuits, whether you decide to tackle the GMAT™ again or let sleeping dogs lie.

- Andrew


An aside: Great respect to you Andrew. One of the few tutors I can respect that doesn't name drop, drum business in disguise or pretend to be a know-it-all.

I do not know Andrew but based on what he has written, I would recommend that people pay close attention to his thoughts.

I particularly concur with his observation that people rush into retakes without really having put much thought into the process. They tend to think that if they scored well or poorer, then they can ace the test the very next time.

This is simply a fantasy. The GMAT and the GRE are well-designed tests that are reliable within their margins of error. Any improvement plus or minus will be compensated in the other direction over a number of attempts. It is not advisable to believe that one can outfox these tests. Cheers.

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Re: Should I retake (possibly cancel)? 730 (46 Q, 44V, IR8)  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Aug 2019, 17:37
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Hovkial wrote:

An aside: Great respect to you Andrew. One of the few tutors I can respect that doesn't name drop, drum business in disguise or pretend to be a know-it-all.

I do not know Andrew but based on what he has written, I would recommend that people pay close attention to his thoughts.

I particularly concur with his observation that people rush into retakes without really having put much thought into the process. They tend to think that if they scored well or poorer, then they can ace the test the very next time.

This is simply a fantasy. The GMAT and the GRE are well-designed tests that are reliable within their margins of error. Any improvement plus or minus will be compensated in the other direction over a number of attempts. It is not advisable to believe that one can outfox these tests. Cheers.

Posted from my mobile device


Thank you, Hovkial. To be fair, my profile name is a little telling, but I am more proud of the image: my wife designed the logo. (I would be surprised if anyone found my self-created site in the online backwaters, since I spend no money actively promoting it, and the SEO, also self-generated, is quite basic.) To out myself somewhat, I am a math tutor in my local school district in nowhere, USA, a small community in which few people know me and I am happy to fly under the radar. This is actually the only online community in which I regularly participate, and the reason is simple: I cannot believe the breadth and depth of top-notch analysis that is present on the site, and in the nooks and crannies, away from the Expert Replies to the OG questions, I like to offer my own two cents whenever I think I can help out. Another confession: I make mistakes. I practice GMAT™ problems all the time, usually in sets of 20, and just earlier today, I missed two questions within such a set. One of them was even a question I had answered correctly in my head but had forgotten to change on the screen! I was mortified to see that one pop up as an error, but I guess that sort of silly mistake happens to us all from time to time. If it helps me become a better, more careful tutor, and I can use my own slip-ups to advise others, then so be it.

I really like the way you phrased that last part of your response. To "outfox" the GRE® or GMAT™, it takes more than simple self-belief. Among perfect-scorers, even, I often read about how so-and-so has been a tutor or teacher of the test for 10+ years and still had doubts about a question or two.

As you said, cheers. (Boy, that takes me back to my Premier League fantasy football days. So serious did I take that game that I was nearly offered a job writing a weekly data-based column on Rotoworld... but alas, I was American instead of British, and the correspondent had to live in the right country.)

- Andrew
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Re: Should I retake (possibly cancel)? 730 (46 Q, 44V, IR8)  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Aug 2019, 18:22
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Hi kartikeytyagi,

First off, 730 is a great start! However, since you scored higher than 730 on the majority of your official practice exams, I don’t think it would hurt to give the GMAT one more shot. That said, to improve your quant score to a higher level, you need to go through GMAT quant carefully to find your exact weaknesses, fill gaps in your knowledge, and strengthen your skills. The overall process will be to learn all about how to answer question types with which you currently aren't very comfortable and do dozens of practice questions category by category, basically driving up your score point by point.

For example, if you find that you are not strong in answering Number Properties questions, then carefully review the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions and practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. 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. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

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 quant materials, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant courses.

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

Please reach out with any further questions.
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Re: Should I retake (possibly cancel)? 730 (46 Q, 44V, IR8)   [#permalink] 19 Aug 2019, 18:22
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