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# Stuck at 640 - any advice to improve?

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Intern
Joined: 24 Mar 2013
Posts: 6
Location: India
Schools: NUS '22 (S)
GPA: 3.4
Stuck at 640 - any advice to improve?  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 06 Oct 2019, 23:12
First off, want to thank you all at Gmat Club. This place is amazing really - I don't think I would've been even able to score up to 640/650 if it it hasn't been for you guys.

I've taken the GMAT twice - once in 2014, in which I had prepared using I took the in - person Manhattan Prep GMAT course. I scored a 640 (Q44 V34) which I thought wasn't too bad. Unfortunately, I had some personal life issues going on which made me re-evaluate MBA / business school in general and thus couldn't really pursue re-taking the GMAT or applying to business schools at that time.

Cut to today (2019), I took time off for a couple of months and prepared religiously for the GMAT - I did everything from completing all the OGs in the market (OG15,16,17,18,19,20, Quant and Verbal Books for each year as well) yet sadly scored around the same - 630 (Q45V31). I remember feeling extremely nervous and overall a little panick-y when I noticed there weren't any hard questions showing up in Quant or Verbal, but since I was scoring between 660 (Q48 V33) to 700 (Q49 V35) in the GMAT Practice Exams online (I also bought Exam Pack 3,4 and 5,6 and question pack 1 to prepare, clearly I over-practiced), I guess 630 isn't completely off from what I could have reached.

I've attached both ESRs of the 1st performance and the 2nd one and wanted advice on how to proceed - should I just go ahead and apply with the 630 and 640?

My weakness area has always been Number Properties in Quant and Critical Reasoning in Verbal but it seems I haven't really improved as such overall in both - my RC and SC scores fell a bit in the 2nd attempt as well.

Do hope you guys can help me out.

Thanks!
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Originally posted by darkknightnj on 06 Oct 2019, 22:45.
Last edited by darkknightnj on 06 Oct 2019, 23:12, edited 2 times in total.
Intern
Joined: 24 Mar 2013
Posts: 6
Location: India
Schools: NUS '22 (S)
GPA: 3.4
Re: Stuck at 640 - any advice to improve?  [#permalink]

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06 Oct 2019, 22:47
Trying to post the ESRs again - here are links:
1st ESR: https://docdro.id/dZBZia2
2nd ESR: https://docdro.id/G4tTdFq
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Re: Stuck at 640 - any advice to improve?  [#permalink]

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07 Oct 2019, 08:16
2
1
Hi darkknightnj,

I’m sorry to hear how things went with your GMAT. First off, whether you need to retake your GMAT really depends on to which schools you plan to apply. In any case, let’s discuss what might be going on with your GMAT prep.

Assuming that you took your official practice exams under realistic testing conditions, the results show that, on a good day, you are capable of scoring higher than 610 or 660 on the GMAT. Thus, it’s quite possible that nerves, stress, tiredness, or a combination of all three negatively affected your test-day performance. However, it’s also possible that you have some lingering weaknesses that were exposed on test day. Although I’m unsure of how you prepared, it’s possible that, in your preparation you did not really learn to do what you have to do in order to score high on the actual GMAT. Rather, you picked up on some patterns that were effective in getting you relatively high scores on practice tests. So, for you to hit your score goal, your preparation probably needs to be more complete, meaning that you have to go through the various types of GMAT questions 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. 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.

For verbal specifically, you have to become more skilled at clearly defining the differences between trap choices and correct answers. Otherwise, you will get stuck guessing between two choices or be surprised to find that you incorrectly answered questions that you thought you answered correctly. Becoming more skilled in this way takes carefully analyzing all of the answer choices to lots of verbal questions to develop an eye for the logical differences between the choices. In other words, you have to go beyond answering practice questions and reading explanations to doing deep analysis of questions to learn to see everything that is going on in them.

In order to follow the path described above, you may need some new quant and verbal 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.

If you’d like more specific advice on how to improve your quant and verbal skills, feel free to reach back out.

Good luck!
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EMPOWERgmat Instructor
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 16317
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: Stuck at 640 - any advice to improve?  [#permalink]

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07 Oct 2019, 13:37
1
Hi darkknightnj,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day did not turn out better. When these types of score drops occur, the two likely "causes" involve either something that was unrealistic during practice or something that was surprising (or not accounted for) on Test Day.

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Your 2 Official Scores are remarkably similar to one another - and they show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 640 +/- a few Scaled Score points). You handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also make certain consistent mistakes. This issue actually happens to many Test Takers who use a "book heavy" study approach. Even the best books are limited in what they can teach you; they also can't force you to approach questions in a certain way and their explanations are often one-sided.

Before we discuss the various issues that led to your 2nd GMAT Score - as well as the data in your 2 ESRs - it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) When did you start studying for this second attempt? How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) Did you use any other study materials besides the books that you listed?
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
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Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

The Course Used By GMAT Club Moderators To Earn 750+

souvik101990 Score: 760 Q50 V42 ★★★★★
ENGRTOMBA2018 Score: 750 Q49 V44 ★★★★★
Intern
Joined: 24 Mar 2013
Posts: 6
Location: India
Schools: NUS '22 (S)
GPA: 3.4
Stuck at 640 - any advice to improve?  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 14 Nov 2019, 06:50
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Studies:
1) When did you start studying for this second attempt? How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) Did you use any other study materials besides the books that you listed?
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

Thanks so much for your advice Rich.

1) Started studying a little over 4 months ago (June) with practice tests every 2 weeks till September, where I started to take a practice test each Friday. I studied about 2/3 hours on weekdays and 4-5 hours on weekends.
2) Nope, I used GClub to check further answers on specific Quant/CR questions but generally used the OGs to review all answers.
3) My first practice mock (after 5 year gap) was the same breakdown as my real exam, 620 Q45 V31. Other mocks were pretty much between 660 (Q48 V35) and 720 (Q50 V37). My weakness remains not being able to cross Q45 in the actual exams I've taken and CR in general, I don't seem to score more than 33%ile in the actual exam.

4) My overall score that I would like to get is Q50 V40 so around 740.
5&6) Only planning on applying in Singapore right now, so planning on applying Round 1 for NUS / NTU in Singapore (NUS is 31st Jan deadline and NTU is 1st Nov deadline, I'm probably going to go ahead and apply with the 630 and attach my old 640 score as well
I am also interested in INSEAD and have been speaking with a recruiter there but I know my score of 630 Q45 V31 is too low for INSEAD.

Originally posted by darkknightnj on 09 Oct 2019, 10:59.
Last edited by darkknightnj on 14 Nov 2019, 06:50, edited 1 time in total.
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 16317
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: Stuck at 640 - any advice to improve?  [#permalink]

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09 Oct 2019, 19:23
1
Hi darkknightnj,

I've sent you a PM with an analysis of your ESR and some additional notes.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

The Course Used By GMAT Club Moderators To Earn 750+

souvik101990 Score: 760 Q50 V42 ★★★★★
ENGRTOMBA2018 Score: 750 Q49 V44 ★★★★★
Re: Stuck at 640 - any advice to improve?   [#permalink] 09 Oct 2019, 19:23
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# Stuck at 640 - any advice to improve?

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