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Stuck around 650... how to get to 700 on the last few meters...

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Stuck around 650... how to get to 700 on the last few meters...  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Feb 2018, 10:56
Dear group members,
 
I have posted before that I am using Magoosh as prep software. By now I have watched all videos and completed the whole question pool which they provide. (About 1,100 questions combined). It’s a nice and cheap resource for self-studying, but definitely has some analytical shortfalls when it comes to analyzing all that data and to point out the areas which need improvement.
 
Since the end of the summer I have also started taking practice tests. I am struggling taking more practice tests. Due to my crazy work hours during the week, so it’s hard if you need to recover from the work week and are left with time only on weekends to conduct these lengthy tests. I am definitely noticing that I am getting older and its harder to keep the concentration on that level.
 
Right now, I feel like I am stuck around that range in which I score 650. I do not know how to get out of it. Maybe you have some wisdom to share :)

Below you can find my test results:
 
29-Aug, PearsonVue Practice Test 1, GMAT:
580, 56th percentile
Q: 39, 48th percentile
V: 30, 56th percentile
 
26-Sep, Kaplan, GMAT:
660, 80th percentile
Q: 46, 66th percentile
V: 34, 71st percentile
 
05-Dec, Kaplan, GMAT:
650, 77th percentile
Q: 45, 63rd percentile
V: 34, 71st percentile
 
13-Dec, Kaplan, GMAT:
710, 92nd percentile
Q: 49, 79th percentile
V: 39, 89th percentile
 
07-Jan, Kaplan, GMAT:
630, 71st percentile
Q: 42, 51st percentile
V: 35, 76th percentile
 
21-Jan, Kaplan, GMAT:
640, 72nd percentile
Q: 44, 58th percentile
V: 34, 71st percentile
 
As you can see there is certainly a visible progression and I broke out to a 710 score once, but I can’t continuously score in that range.
 
1.)    Is there any general advice that you can give to get out of that range and how I can finally surpass it? I feel like I am stuck.
2.)    Is there any value in paying for a few hours with an online tutor to get a detailed plan for the last few weeks? (ideally I want to write on March 6th) And if yes, which ones can you recommend?
3.)    Has anybody been in a similar situation in which he/she plateaued?
4.)    Are there any good verbal or quant summaries PDF/word available here in the forum? I always feel like my own summaries are missing points or elements and I was wondering whether other GMAT-sufferers have compiled nicer overviews? (links are highly appreciated)
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Re: Stuck around 650... how to get to 700 on the last few meters...  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Feb 2018, 12:53
1
Hi tobey87,

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, most of your CAT score results show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 640 +/- a few points). The 710 is an 'outlier' (in both the Quant and Verbal sections), so there's some question as to how accurate that one result is. 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 took these CATs and your goals:

When you took your CATs:
1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
2) Did you take them at home?
3) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you plan to take your Official GMAT?
4) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
5) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE (re: in an online forum or in a practice set)?

Goals:
6) What is your goal score?
7) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
8) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
9) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

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Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
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*****Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!*****

Intern
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Joined: 23 Aug 2016
Posts: 4
Re: Stuck around 650... how to get to 700 on the last few meters...  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Feb 2018, 02:05
Dear Rich,

thanks for your really quick answer.

When you took your CATs:
1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
No, I always do Quant first, then Verbal, and skipped the IR and Essay Section so far. I am confident that I could wing a 4.5 Essay. If time allows I will invest some time in these sections at the end.

2) Did you take them at home?
Yes, I took some of them at home. the 710 outlier actually during work breaks.

3) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you plan to take your Official GMAT?
No, usually I took them at rather inconvenient times i.e. late afternoon or late at night. Sometimes finishing 10pm. Definitelty not ideal for concentration, but my days are so packed it is difficult finding the time. And I do admit, I have problems doing GMAT as a first thing in the morning... .

4) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
There were distractions, cell phone, short pee pauses, sometimes a longer break between the two sections to take a lunch break. I know it's not ideal.

5) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE (re: in an online forum or in a practice set)?
No.

Goals:
6) What is your goal score?
680 minimum, 700 and higher would be a dream.

7) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
If I could. I would like to write March 6 a first time. If it doesnt work out then. Then I guess I will have to keep going. Although I am growing more and more tired of this test, since it consumes too much free time for working professionals and it has already been so long. (going through a psychological low I suppose)

8) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
I would like to do Round 3. I know most people advise against it. But worst case, I would just reapply in Round 1 in September.

9) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
For round 3: Columbia, NYU, Insead, and backup LSE (only MSc). Perhaps Harvard just for the fun of telling myself that I have done it once in my life.
For round 1 broader range since I would have more time.
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Re: Stuck around 650... how to get to 700 on the last few meters...  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Feb 2018, 02:33
tobey87 wrote:
Dear group members,
 
I have posted before that I am using Magoosh as prep software. By now I have watched all videos and completed the whole question pool which they provide. (About 1,100 questions combined). It’s a nice and cheap resource for self-studying, but definitely has some analytical shortfalls when it comes to analyzing all that data and to point out the areas which need improvement.
 
Since the end of the summer I have also started taking practice tests. I am struggling taking more practice tests. Due to my crazy work hours during the week, so it’s hard if you need to recover from the work week and are left with time only on weekends to conduct these lengthy tests. I am definitely noticing that I am getting older and its harder to keep the concentration on that level.
 
Right now, I feel like I am stuck around that range in which I score 650. I do not know how to get out of it. Maybe you have some wisdom to share :)

Below you can find my test results:
 
29-Aug, PearsonVue Practice Test 1, GMAT:
580, 56th percentile
Q: 39, 48th percentile
V: 30, 56th percentile
 
26-Sep, Kaplan, GMAT:
660, 80th percentile
Q: 46, 66th percentile
V: 34, 71st percentile
 
05-Dec, Kaplan, GMAT:
650, 77th percentile
Q: 45, 63rd percentile
V: 34, 71st percentile
 
13-Dec, Kaplan, GMAT:
710, 92nd percentile
Q: 49, 79th percentile
V: 39, 89th percentile
 
07-Jan, Kaplan, GMAT:
630, 71st percentile
Q: 42, 51st percentile
V: 35, 76th percentile
 
21-Jan, Kaplan, GMAT:
640, 72nd percentile
Q: 44, 58th percentile
V: 34, 71st percentile
 
As you can see there is certainly a visible progression and I broke out to a 710 score once, but I can’t continuously score in that range.
 
1.)    Is there any general advice that you can give to get out of that range and how I can finally surpass it? I feel like I am stuck.
2.)    Is there any value in paying for a few hours with an online tutor to get a detailed plan for the last few weeks? (ideally I want to write on March 6th) And if yes, which ones can you recommend?
3.)    Has anybody been in a similar situation in which he/she plateaued?
4.)    Are there any good verbal or quant summaries PDF/word available here in the forum? I always feel like my own summaries are missing points or elements and I was wondering whether other GMAT-sufferers have compiled nicer overviews? (links are highly appreciated)


Hi tobey87,

Specifically for 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.

Additionally, 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 there is a fantastic GMATCUB Math Book. It will help you improve on all your week areas. You can find it here. https://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-math-bo ... 30609.html

Lastly I would also encourage you to purchase the latest version of OG and the verbal review for some great additional practice.

Hope this helps. All the best.
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Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 13074
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: Stuck around 650... how to get to 700 on the last few meters...  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Feb 2018, 10:23
Hi tobey87,

Test Day is a rather specific 'event' - the details are specific and they matter, so you have to train as best as you can for all of them. The more realistic you can make your CATs, the more likely the score results are to be accurate. The more you deviate, the more "inflated" your practice scores can become - and that's likely what happened here. By skipping sections, taking the CATs at home, taking them at different times of day, etc., you have not been properly training for the FULL GMAT 'experience.'

Test Day involves a variety of really specific steps and parameters (including steps before the Test even begins - such as leaving your home, traveling, etc.). Every factor matters, including the psychological ones. When you sit down on Test Day, you KNOW that you're going to be in the Computer Lab for about 4 hours - but if you're just taking individual sections (or taking a CAT without the Essay and IR sections), then you KNOW that you'll be done in 1-2 hours. The attitude and energy that you use during practice will NOT be a match for what you'll need on Test Day, so it's not a proper way to practice. Right now, it's not clear what your actual 'ability level' is - so it's difficult to define the specific areas that you need to work on to improve.

I suggest that you plan ahead and set aside the proper time to take a new, FULL-LENGTH CAT in a realistic fashion (take the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections, take it away from your home, at the same time of day as when you'll take the Official GMAT, etc.). I understand how busy you tend to be, but there really is NO substitute for this data (and it's essential to helping you hit your Score Goal). Once you have that score, you should report back here and we can discuss how best to proceed.

Since you're planning to apply to some highly competitive Schools, you would likely find it beneficial to speak with an Admissions Expert about your overall profile and plans. You do not want to 'rush' in any applications if they have 'weak spots.' Your real goal is to get into your first-choice Business School - and you have to make the proper decisions to maximize the possibility of that result. There's a Forum full of those Experts here:

http://gmatclub.com/forum/ask-admission ... tants-124/

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!*****

GMAT Club Bot
Re: Stuck around 650... how to get to 700 on the last few meters... &nbs [#permalink] 24 Feb 2018, 10:23
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