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Technique to improve really poor quant score

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New post 10 Aug 2019, 07:35
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This is my first post in this forum and I really hope that someone is able to help me with this matter.

The problem is that I am really struggling with the quant part. After 35h of solely studying quant I only scored a Q27 in the Gmat Club Quant CAT (first Manhattan prep CAT I took 4 weeks ago was comparable..) . In my business studies , the quant subjects weren´t my core strengths, but a lot of hard work was enough to belong to the top 5% of my class .

The problem I have is that somehow it is really tough for me to get to the "mastery" level of a topic. I always excelled in learning out formulas and application by heart, but I feel like that this is not enough to get me a GMAT score of 680+.

Maybe someone has an idea of how I could get this deeper understanding of topics which is substantial for the GMAT. Until now I always read the Manhattan chapters and did the tasks and the problem sets related to each topic in the OGU. I also have an error log where I note down topic/ key takeaways and my mistakes.

Has anyone maybe experienced a similar problem and would like to share his approach/ learning technique to improve his/her score ? Thanks a lot !
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New post 10 Aug 2019, 08:33
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Hello and welcome to the forum,

The GMAT is a wonderful exam in terms of the careful use of psychometric to exploit a test-taker’s ability to reason. I see one flaw in your way of thinking, and that is attempting to compare the Quant section of the test to a regular math exam. I am sure that you attack questions by attempting to solve them mathematically because I too once tried that approach and failed miserably. Somehow, I've managed to score consistently in the 50-51 range and I am going to share with you how I did it.

First things first, are you timing yourself when taking GMATClub CATs? If you are, I am going to beg you to stop now. If your score is under 42, you still lack conceptual knowledge and timing yourself will only hurt your confidence and your ability to learn the material. I am a big believer of timing strategies and self-awareness; however, agility is gained by first acquiring some level of confidence. These things put together lead to mastery. I am sure you went over the guides, but did you take the time to truly analyze what they attempt to convey? Application and content knowledge are equally important for the GMAT. I advise you to review every question carefully and ask yourself “what can I learn from this question? what lesson can be useful to apply on similar questions?” Talk to yourself and note down the things that you think will be useful in the future. Enough with the BS and let’s get down to business.

1) Reset your question bank from GMATClub.
2) Put a pause on OG questions and focus solely on GMATClub CATs.
3) Use GMATClub’s Math Book since it contains rather useful shortcuts not taught by MGMAT and it will also offer you a different perspective on the same topics.
4) Make a realistic schedule and stick to it. For me it was 1 GMATClub CAT per day and 50-100 OG questions.
5) GMATClub CATs are significantly harder than the real thing. Leverage the difficulty level to learn about yourself and identify any tricky questions that can show up on test day. I personally have a journal divided in different sections and subsections (e.g SEC # Properties, SUB SEC Prime #s) and when I see a challenging question that teaches me something about that specific section I simply note it down.
6) Quality study time is better than long hours with no clear direction or strategy. So sit down and plan to spend 2-3hrs on each GMATClub test, take the first couple of them on Practice Mode forget about the timer (at this stages it is less important than you think). Attempt to solve every question as if your GMAT score depended on it (because it does) and I cant stress this enough... REVIEW REVIEW REVIEW.
7) Even though you should be reviewing every practice question daily, I like to allocate a day every week to review them as a whole and reflect on my weaknesses and strengths. You can’t learn something if you don’t know that you don’t know it... as dumb as it sounds this is the best advice I’ve ever received.
8) More about timing: Do MGMAT CATs untimed as well, they don’t matter, official GMAT Prep CATs do, so for the latter I recommend to start experimenting with timing and different scratch pad arrangements to keep you organized and aware of your pace.
9) Contrary to popular belief, every question matters, not on the actual exam, but during your prep. If you don’t see at least two different solutions to the same question, look it up on this forum and I assure you, you’ll find at least 5 different ways to approach the question. Get comfortable and develop a strategy... STICK TO IT.

Miscellaneous tips on Quant:

The more arithmetic you know, the faster you’ll be. Learn computation shortcuts, perfect squares and roots, as well as percentages and their fractions. Knowing that you can confidently solve fast will give you more time to think about the question logically, which in turn will yield more thoughtful answers and better results.

Once you get your basics straightened out, I encourage you to try and learn algebra templates. They are quite useful and will sometimes be disguised in arithmetic questions (e.g. x^2-2xy+y^2= (x-y)^2).

Lastly, only reason why I am recommending untimed practice is because I want you to focus on building your weaponry since speed and accuracy have a strong correlation. The more conceptual knowledge you acquire, the faster you will get through the section.

Best of luck!

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New post 10 Aug 2019, 09:44
Thanks a lot for your fast answer, especially the part with the untimed practise makes sense. You said that you did around 50-100 OGU questions per day, did you just choose them randomly or did you have any kind of system to choose based on (sub) topics ?
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New post 10 Aug 2019, 10:10
I can't give you any technique, but i can tell you the way so that you can get a good score in quant part!
Just study from the given link. Read the explanation of best kudos! That's enough to get a good score. You should not memorize so many formulas-just note down those 'formulas' that are tested in official questions.
http://gmatwithcj.com/resources/mega-co ... questions/

https://gmatclub.com/forum/search.php?view=search_tags
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New post 10 Aug 2019, 10:12
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No problem! I am happy to help.

The OG 2020 has over 450 questions and I also purchased Kaplan’s qbank. I would not suggest that you do the same thing since you are scoring significantly lower than I was at that point. Kaplan’s qbank has over 2700 questions and they are actually sorted out by category (e.g. Statistics, # Properties, Algebra etc.) I had a lot of practice questions to spare so I would try and complete as many questions as possible. I said 50-100 depending on the # of questions that I got wrong. The days in which I showed lower accuracy, I had to complete less questions since I had to allocate more time to review my mistakes. Kaplan’s qbank is helpful insofar as it adapts to you like the actual gmat and it has a huge database.

Summary: Usage and Strategy

1) GMATClub Tests: knowledge and exposure to harder than average questions. They force you to use logic rather than math and if you want more than a 40Q on these tests you’ll need to think outside the box (untimed/knowledge building/strategy and approach)

2) OG: exposure to real GMAT questions, helps you start preparing for timed exams. Numerous questions help build stamina. Do the questions on their online platform rather than the paperback version, since it has a built-in timer and metrics/analytics. The good thing about the OG is that it starts off easy and the questions get harder as you progress. I was aiming at 90% accuracy with OG questions. When you start completing medium level questions make sure to revisit all concepts.

3) Kaplan’s qbank is optional but highly encouraged. Great to hone in specific skills. Only adaptive question bank with analytics. Suitable platform with lots of practice questions. I used this in the final stage of my prep to cover any gaps. Price is $99 but I would definitely buy again.

Some things I want you to remember: (1) my first score on the quant section was a 28 (2) my method is rigorous and it worked for me but it might not necessarily work for everyone. Listen to everyone but don’t follow their exact advice, instead use trial and error to identify what works for you and what doesn’t (3) the resources are out there and you don't need to be a genius; yet, determination and willingness to commit to the exam will take you a long way. (4) Lastly, if you do everything I told you, I promise that you will see an improvement in your score; however, if you don’t review and revisit everything at least once you will be doing all this work for no reason. The GMAT tests repeated concepts but you’ll never see a repeat question, which means that learning truly start after you are done answering the practice questions not while you are answering them.

If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to reach out.

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New post 10 Aug 2019, 22:46
Thanks again, really helpful input. Will keep you posted on the score development!

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Re: Technique to improve really poor quant score  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Aug 2019, 06:45
Hi MyGMAT2019,

SInce you are scoring Q27 after 35 hours of prep, you need to look at HOW you have been preparing and make some changes, right? To truly learn GMAT quant, moving forward, you should follow a linear and structured study plan that allows you to individually learn each GMAT quant topic and then practice each topic until you’ve gained mastery. Let me expand on this idea further.

For example, if you are learning about Number Properties, 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.

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 Increase Your GMAT Quant Score.

Feel free to reach out with further questions.
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Re: Technique to improve really poor quant score  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Aug 2019, 19:45
Hi MvGMAT2019,

For free math practice and help, I recommend that you set up an account at Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org). The site is completely free and makes the learning a bit more fun and 'game-like' (as opposed to the dry academic approach taken by most books). While the site is vast, you should limit your studies to basic Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry. You might find it worthwhile to spend a little time re-building those skills, then return to your GMAT studies.

Before I can offer you any additional advice, 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? How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used so far?
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs/mocks (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?

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

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New post 12 Aug 2019, 23:13
Hi Rich,
Let me answer you questions

1) How long have you studied? How many hours do you typically study each week?
7-9h
2) What study materials have you used so far?
MPrep
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs/mocks (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?
1st, 6 weeks ago Q28, MPrep, timed
2st, 2days ago Q27,GmatClub, times
3rd, Yesterday Q40, GmatClub, not timed

Goals:
4) What is your overall goal score?
690+
5) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
Before 12/2019
6) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
After Christmas
7) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
Tier 1 European Business Schools (LSE,LBS,HEC,ESADE,Bocconi,HSG), Programm: Msc Finance (in Europe you need a GMAT for your application after your bachelors (first 3 years of Uni))

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New post 12 Aug 2019, 23:13
Hi Rich,
Let me answer your questions

1) How long have you studied? How many hours do you typically study each week?
7-9h
2) What study materials have you used so far?
MPrep
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs/mocks (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?
1st, 6 weeks ago Q28, MPrep, timed
2st, 2days ago Q27,GmatClub, timed
3rd, Yesterday Q40, GmatClub, not timed

Goals:
4) What is your overall goal score?
690+
5) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
Before 12/2019
6) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
After Christmas
7) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
Tier 1 European Business Schools (LSE,LBS,HEC,ESADE,Bocconi,HSG), Programm: Msc Finance (in Europe you need a GMAT for your application after your bachelors (first 3 years of Uni))

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Re: Technique to improve really poor quant score  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Aug 2019, 16:07
Hi MvGMAT2019,

Test Day is a rather specific 'event', so to score at a high level, you really have to train for the FULL GMAT. While you're clearly focused on honing your Quant skills, an overall Score Goal of 680+ will require that you have reasonably strong Verbal skills as well. From your posts so far, it's not clear how you are performing in the Verbal section - and it's not clear if you've ever taken a FULL-LENGTH CAT in a realistic fashion (re: taking the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections, taking it away from your home, at the same time of day as when you'll take the Official GMAT, etc.). Have you taken any CATs in that way yet? If you have not, then you should plan to take one soon (perhaps this weekend). Once you have that result, you should post back here (or you can PM me directly).

You still have plenty of time to continue studying and honing your skills - which is good - but until we have a clear sense of how you respond to the FULL GMAT under realistic conditions, we won't know whether you're approaching your studies in the proper way.

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Rich
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New post 13 Aug 2019, 16:50
MvGMAT2019

Here are some ideas to try out.

* Remember that GMAT quantitative ability is less about knowing concepts (which are extremely basic) and more about using logic and skill to quickly arrive at correct solution.

* To excel, you must - repeat, must - absolutely become comfortable with solving easy to medium- difficulty questions, effortlessly and correctly. By basic, I mean such things as: calculating percentages, decoding word problems, operating ratios, divisions, multiplications, additions/subtractions, manipulating exponents, serial mathematical operations, etc. To achieve mastery in such topics, you can try solving multiple sets of very basic problems, both with actually writing out and doing them in your mind.

* Do untimed problem solving, analyzing each and every step, no matter how easy the question may appear.

* There is no point in drilling very difficult questions unless you achieve the above goals.

The test is adaptive. That means that you will not get to see the difficult questions unless you are able to correctly and consistently answer the easy to medium difficulty questions.

GMAT quant skill is a skill like any other. It can be mastered with patience and practice.
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Technique to improve really poor quant score   [#permalink] 13 Aug 2019, 16:50
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