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# Three Attempts - 610 to 640. How to improve further ?

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Joined: 13 Feb 2018
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Three Attempts - 610 to 640. How to improve further ?  [#permalink]

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01 Dec 2019, 10:39
Hello Experts,

First of all, thank you for your time. As it is quite clear from the title itself that I've not substantially improved at my GMAT scores and that I need your valuable guidance.

A quick background:
I started my preparation in March, 2019 and took my first attempt in early September and subsequently took two more attempts in November, 19.

1st Attempt - 610 (Q48 V26) - Honestly, I saw this one coming because I had seen such scores in Gmat prep exams.

After getting 610, I started my preparation again and this time I was determined to attack my weaknesses such as Reading Comprehension and Difficult Sentence Correction questions. For two months straight, I became much more confident and the result was visible in my GMAT Prep Scores (All six test scores - Ranging from 690 to 720). In early November, I sat for another shot and the result was :

2nd Attempt - 630 (Q45, V32), IR -6 - During the test, I spent too much time during initial questions in Quants Section and this action led to the overall decrease in my score. Anyway, I was not even happy with my verbal score, since I was scoring V34 to V38 in Gmat Prep. Attributing this failure to anxiety and poor time management, I booked another test. I only had 3 weeks, so I kept on practicing and on the D - day the result was :

3rd Attempt - 640 (Q48, 29), IR -7 - This result broke my heart into pieces. I was not expecting this at all !

I've got my latest ESR and following is my performance in fundamental skills:

Critical Reasoning :
Analysis/ Critique : 0%
Construction/ Plan : 80%

Identify Inferred Idea : 80%
Identify Stated Idea : 60%

Sentence Correction :
Grammar : 87%
Communication : 50%

I am planning to take another attempt (hopefully final) in late January and here are my queries:

1. What strategy should I opt to improve my verbal score from V29 to V38+
2. I have solved OG and Advanced OG Quants, what extra material should I practice to score Q50 in quants sections?
3. Should I take my next attempt in late Jan 2020 or delay it a little ? Given that I'll be studying consistently.

I am eagerly looking forward to your response

Thank you again!
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Re: Three Attempts - 610 to 640. How to improve further ?  [#permalink]

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01 Dec 2019, 12:18
Consider delaying the test.

Your scores all fall within the margin of error. When the Q score goes up slightly, the verbal dips, etc. From your description, it appears that when you studied for verbal between tests 1 and 2, the Q score dropped and the V score went up (somewhat). For the third attempt, you appear to have compensated for the stated issue "spent too much time in initial questions in Q". This had the effect that your Q score went up and the V score went down.

There could be many explanations for the above results. One of them could be that at this stage, you are not properly managing both sections at the same time. Perhaps you should study both content simultaneously and focus on strengthening your basics. The latter will never be a waste of time and could result in higher scores on both sections. This is a common issue among testtakers in that studying for one section results in dip in scores on the other section. This issue should be addressed before the next test. This process may take time, so consider postponement.
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Re: Three Attempts - 610 to 640. How to improve further ?  [#permalink]

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01 Dec 2019, 19:16
Hi vkhosla001

I'm sorry to hear that your recent attempt did not go as well as hoped. A 640/Q48 is still a solid Score though, so it could be enough to get you into your first-choice School. As such, a retest might not be necessary. Depending on the Schools that you plan to apply to, you would likely find it beneficial to speak with an Admissions Expert about your overall profile. There's a Forum full of those Experts here:

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) Over the last 3 months, how many hours did you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used over the course of ALL of your studies?
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?

While the Enhanced Score Report doesn’t provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong on Test Day (and what you should work on to score higher). Since you purchased the ESR, I'll be happy to analyze it for you. Before you can include attachments to your posts/PMs, you need to have at least 5 posts in the forums. If you post once more, then you can include attachments; if you would rather not post your ESR publicly, then you can feel free to PM or email it directly to me (at Rich.C@empowergmat.com).

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Joined: 13 Feb 2018
Posts: 8
Re: Three Attempts - 610 to 640. How to improve further ?  [#permalink]

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01 Dec 2019, 23:08
Hovkial wrote:
Consider delaying the test.

Your scores all fall within the margin of error. When the Q score goes up slightly, the verbal dips, etc. From your description, it appears that when you studied for verbal between tests 1 and 2, the Q score dropped and the V score went up (somewhat). For the third attempt, you appear to have compensated for the stated issue "spent too much time in initial questions in Q". This had the effect that your Q score went up and the V score went down.

There could be many explanations for the above results. One of them could be that at this stage, you are not properly managing both sections at the same time. Perhaps you should study both content simultaneously and focus on strengthening your basics. The latter will never be a waste of time and could result in higher scores on both sections. This is a common issue among testtakers in that studying for one section results in dip in scores on the other section. This issue should be addressed before the next test. This process may take time, so consider postponement.

Thank you Hovkial for the response. Now, I've started to study the basics again.
Here is the list of study material that I have/ I'm going to study:

1. Sentence Correction - Manhattan SC and Aristotle SC
2. Critical Reasoning - Powerscore CR
3. Reading Comprehension - Will continue to doing from Official Guide.
4. Quants - Official Guide for Practice and Basics from Manhattan

If possible, please suggest any additional material that I should supplement. Also, as I have already exhausted my GMAT Prep exams, which mock tests should I consider doing?

Many thanks again
Intern
Joined: 13 Feb 2018
Posts: 8
Three Attempts - 610 to 640. How to improve further ?  [#permalink]

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01 Dec 2019, 23:10
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi vkhosla001

I'm sorry to hear that your recent attempt did not go as well as hoped. A 640/Q48 is still a solid Score though, so it could be enough to get you into your first-choice School. As such, a retest might not be necessary. Depending on the Schools that you plan to apply to, you would likely find it beneficial to speak with an Admissions Expert about your overall profile. There's a Forum full of those Experts here:

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) Over the last 3 months, how many hours did you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used over the course of ALL of your studies?
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?

While the Enhanced Score Report doesn’t provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong on Test Day (and what you should work on to score higher). Since you purchased the ESR, I'll be happy to analyze it for you. Before you can include attachments to your posts/PMs, you need to have at least 5 posts in the forums. If you post once more, then you can include attachments; if you would rather not post your ESR publicly, then you can feel free to PM or email it directly to me (at Rich.C@empowergmat.com).

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich

Thank you for the response EMPOWERgmatRichC.
Please find below the responses to your queries :

Studies:

1) Over the last 3 months, how many hours did you typically study each week? -
Average - 2 to 3 hours on weekdays, 5-6 hours on Saturday, Mock (3 hours) on Sunday.

2) What study materials have you used over the course of ALL of your studies?
a. SC - Manhattan and Aristotle
b. CR - Manhattan and Powerscore
c. RC - Manhattan and Free Webinars from companies such as crack verbal, veritas prep.
d. Quants - Manhattan and Official Guide Practice
e. Practice - OG 2020 and Advanced OG
f. Mocks - GMAT Prep (all six), Expert Global

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)?

4th September, 2019 - 610 (Q48 V26), IR -6
5th November, 2019- 630 (Q45, V32), IR -6
26th November, 2019 - 640 (Q48, 29), IR -7

Goals:

4) What is your overall goal score?
Total - 720
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
Since, I have missed the deadlines, I'll be applying next year in August, 2020.
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
- NUS
- NTU
- London Business School
- Imperial College
- India School of Business

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Re: Three Attempts - 610 to 640. How to improve further ?  [#permalink]

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02 Dec 2019, 10:52
Hi vkhosla001,

I’m sorry to hear how things have been going with your GMAT. Given that you have taken the GMAT 3 times aND still have not broken V29, I think you likely need more time than just a month or two to improve your verbal score to 38+. Thus, I would hold off scheduling your GMAT, continue to study, and then take the GMAT once you are truly ready to do so. In any case, here is some specific advice you can follow to improve your verbal skills. I’ll start with CR.

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 just a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning 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. 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 answers were always the ones 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 Sentence Correction skills improve, you will then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple Sentence Correction topics.

Lastly, regarding materials for both quant and verbal, take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses. You also may find it helpful to read the following article about The Phases of Preparing for the GMAT.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions. Good luck!
_________________

# Scott Woodbury-Stewart

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Scott@TargetTestPrep.com
122 Reviews

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self study course

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Re: Three Attempts - 610 to 640. How to improve further ?  [#permalink]

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02 Dec 2019, 21:33
Hi vkhosla001

From what you've described, your studies so far have been "book heavy"; unfortunately, many GMATers who study in that way end up getting 'stuck' at a particular score level. 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. As such, you would likely find it beneficial to invest in some new, non-book study materials for this next phase of your studies.

In addition, while the most realistic CATs available are the 6 from GMAC, retaking a CAT that you've already taken is NOT a realistic way to assess your skills - since you will likely see some 'repeat' questions that you have already faced. Unfortunately, seeing even a couple of repeats can 'throw off' the Scoring Algorithm and impact your pacing, energy levels, fatigue, etc. (meaning that they would likely all appear to be better than they actually are). Thankfully, the CATs from Kaplan, MGMAT and Veritas are all 'close enough' to the real thing that they will provide you with a relatively realistic score assessment (assuming that you correctly take the CAT in a realistic fashion) - so you can use new CATs from any of those sources next.

In my prior message, I asked about your PRACTICE CATs/mocks - but you listed your 3 Official Scores. Your prior practice Scores are relevant - and they can help to define patterns in your performances, so I'd like to see that data. 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)?

Raising a 640 to the point that you can consistently score 720+ will likely require at least another 2 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level. You've also given yourself plenty of time to continue studying - so now we just need to make sure that you have a Study Plan that focuses on the proper Quant and Verbal Tactics.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: Three Attempts - 610 to 640. How to improve further ?  [#permalink]

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02 Dec 2019, 23:02
vkhosla001 wrote:
4th September, 2019 - 610 (Q48 V26), IR -6
5th November, 2019- 630 (Q45, V32), IR -6
26th November, 2019 - 640 (Q48, 29), IR -7

Hi! I do think that the gap between your second and third attempts was just too little, to really move the needle.

You are looking at 8+ point jump in Verbal. That cannot be achieved by doing more of the same thing (that you did in your three attempts). Critically take a look at your preparation in the past and look for areas that you could approach differently.

With three attempts behind you, are you a veteran yourself and will be the best judge of what should change in your fourth (and hopefully final) attempt.

All the best!
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Re: Three Attempts - 610 to 640. How to improve further ?  [#permalink]

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04 Dec 2019, 00:15
ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
Hi vkhosla001,

I’m sorry to hear how things have been going with your GMAT. Given that you have taken the GMAT 3 times aND still have not broken V29, I think you likely need more time than just a month or two to improve your verbal score to 38+. Thus, I would hold off scheduling your GMAT, continue to study, and then take the GMAT once you are truly ready to do so. In any case, here is some specific advice you can follow to improve your verbal skills. I’ll start with CR.

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 just a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning 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. 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 answers were always the ones 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 Sentence Correction skills improve, you will then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple Sentence Correction topics.

Lastly, regarding materials for both quant and verbal, take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses. You also may find it helpful to read the following article about The Phases of Preparing for the GMAT.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions. Good luck!

Thank you so much ScottTargetTestPrep. I have taken a note of each and every suggestion provided by you.
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Joined: 13 Feb 2018
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Three Attempts - 610 to 640. How to improve further ?  [#permalink]

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04 Dec 2019, 00:17
EducationAisle wrote:
vkhosla001 wrote:
4th September, 2019 - 610 (Q48 V26), IR -6
5th November, 2019- 630 (Q45, V32), IR -6
26th November, 2019 - 640 (Q48, 29), IR -7

Hi! I do think that the gap between your second and third attempts was just too little, to really move the needle.

You are looking at 8+ point jump in Verbal. That cannot be achieved by doing more of the same thing (that you did in your three attempts). Critically take a look at your preparation in the past and look for areas that you could approach differently.

With three attempts behind you, are you a veteran yourself and will be the best judge of what should change in your fourth (and hopefully final) attempt.

All the best!

You are absolutely correct EducationAisle, I have now started analyzing my preparation section by section and soon I'll begin with my preparation. Thank you !
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Re: Three Attempts - 610 to 640. How to improve further ?  [#permalink]

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05 Dec 2019, 12:11
vkhosla001 wrote:

Thank you so much ScottTargetTestPrep. I have taken a note of each and every suggestion provided by you.

My pleasure!
_________________

# Scott Woodbury-Stewart

Founder and CEO

Scott@TargetTestPrep.com
122 Reviews

5-star rated online GMAT quant
self study course

See why Target Test Prep is the top rated GMAT quant course on GMAT Club. Read Our Reviews

If you find one of my posts helpful, please take a moment to click on the "Kudos" button.

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Re: Three Attempts - 610 to 640. How to improve further ?  [#permalink]

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05 Dec 2019, 14:38
vkhosla001 wrote:

Thank you Hovkial for the response. Now, I've started to study the basics again.
Here is the list of study material that I have/ I'm going to study:

1. Sentence Correction - Manhattan SC and Aristotle SC
2. Critical Reasoning - Powerscore CR
3. Reading Comprehension - Will continue to doing from Official Guide.
4. Quants - Official Guide for Practice and Basics from Manhattan

If possible, please suggest any additional material that I should supplement. Also, as I have already exhausted my GMAT Prep exams, which mock tests should I consider doing?

Those are all good resources. However, they may not be sufficient for high scores.

To become comfortable with concepts, it is useful to supplement with textbooks, practice, videos, creating your own problems and solutions, reviewing, etc.

For verbal: There are many good grammar books available for low prices. Pick up a few and study the topics. Similarly for CR, pick up reasoning books. For RC which is similar to CR is some aspects, read widely and practice.

For quant: Again, pick up books on high school-level math concepts. There are plenty out there.

Use official sources for practice, especially for verbal. For quant, you can practice from sources here and elsewhere.

Do a few mock exams, but not too many. This site has links to "marketplace" for mock exams.

Most important will be to focus on learning and practicing. The end result will be positive if you do these things diligently. GL!
Re: Three Attempts - 610 to 640. How to improve further ?   [#permalink] 05 Dec 2019, 14:38
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