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Two failed attempts at the GMAT. Can't see a way forward

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New post 06 Aug 2019, 11:56
Hello,

I have been preparing for the GMAT since quiet sometime now.
I gave the exam on 15th June, and managed to score a 710 (Q-49, V-37).
I wasn't quiet happy with my score.
My target score is around 740-750.
I started preparing for the GMAT again in the first week of July, and wrote my GMAT today i.e 6th August.
I primarily focused on Verbal. In the last two Official mocks I scored a 730 (Q-51, V-37) and a 750 (Q-50, V-42).
However, on the real test I again scored a 710 (Q-51, V-35).
I want to write the GMAT again and apply in the second round now that the first round seems impossible.
I do not know where to begin and how to go about with Verbal.
I feel pretty much lost after the verbal score of my 2nd attempt.
Can somebody please advice ?
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New post 06 Aug 2019, 16:24
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Hi Priyanka1293,

First off, both a 710/Q49 and a 710/Q51 are outstanding Scores (90% of Test Takers are not able to hit that Score on the Official GMAT once - much less twice), so you can comfortably apply to any Business Schools that interest you. As such, a retest is probably not necessary. As an aside, referring to those two results as "failed attempts" makes you sound silly - and you have to be careful about how you present yourself in your applications (especially in your essays and interviews). 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:

https://gmatclub.com/forum/ask-admissio ... tants-124/

There's certainly no harm in retesting - but again, it's probably not necessary. Did you purchase the Enhanced Score Report for either of these two attempts? While the ESR 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). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

It's not clear why you think it's "impossible" to apply for Round 1 right now, so before I can offer you any additional advice, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on your timeline and your goals:

1) On what dates did you take EACH of your CATs and how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)? Did you take any of these CATs more than once?
2) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
3) If you don't score at least 740, would you decide not to apply?

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Rich
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New post 06 Aug 2019, 16:49
1
I have the solution.

Do every single one of these questions (Verbal) http://gmatwithcj.com/resources/mega-co ... questions/

And do as many GMAT club practice tests (Quant only) as you can and review them.

This will lead you to a 730 or above.

Best,
Michael
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New post 07 Aug 2019, 03:13
delmoneyy wrote:
I have the solution.

Do every single one of these questions (Verbal) http://gmatwithcj.com/resources/mega-co ... questions/

And do as many GMAT club practice tests (Quant only) as you can and review them.

This will lead you to a 730 or above.

Best,
Michael


Thank you delmoneyy.
I'll use the verbal resources
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New post 07 Aug 2019, 03:22
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Priyanka1293,

First off, both a 710/Q49 and a 710/Q51 are outstanding Scores (90% of Test Takers are not able to hit that Score on the Official GMAT once - much less twice), so you can comfortably apply to any Business Schools that interest you. As such, a retest is probably not necessary. As an aside, referring to those two results as "failed attempts" makes you sound silly - and you have to be careful about how you present yourself in your applications (especially in your essays and interviews). 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:

https://gmatclub.com/forum/ask-admissio ... tants-124/

There's certainly no harm in retesting - but again, it's probably not necessary. Did you purchase the Enhanced Score Report for either of these two attempts? While the ESR 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). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

It's not clear why you think it's "impossible" to apply for Round 1 right now, so before I can offer you any additional advice, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on your timeline and your goals:

1) On what dates did you take EACH of your CATs and how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)? Did you take any of these CATs more than once?
2) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
3) If you don't score at least 740, would you decide not to apply?

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


Hi Rich,

I am planning to purchase the ESR for my 2nd attempt (Q-51, V-35). It's not available as of yet. (I've canceled this score).
In my first attempt I had messed up the timing in my quant section during the end and was very nervous during the next verbal section.
Hence, I thought an ESR wouldn't exactly help.
About the CAT's.
I took OG-3 on 28th July, scored a 730 (Q-51, V-38).
I took OG-4 on 4th August, scored a 750 (Q-50, V-42).
I was attempting both these tests for the first time. I also make it a point to not solve GMATPrep questions, while solving questions from GMAT Club.
The schools.
My initial target list was as below
1. Standford
2. Harvard
3. Wharton
4. MIT Sloan
5. Chicago Booth
6. Kellogg
7. Hass
8. Ross
9. Columbia
10. Yale
11. UCLA
12. Tuck
13. Duke (Fuqua)
I understand the first 5 maybe out of reach with my current score, but I am also questioning if I can get into any of these with my current score.

I want to apply this year, and I want to start school in 2020. I am just not sure of the schools I can get into with a 710.
I belong to an over-represented pool.
I am a Female Indian Engineer with 4 years of experience as a Technology consultant in a Big4.

Do let me know what you think.
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New post 07 Aug 2019, 07:45
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First off, 710 with Q51 is awesome my friend! So, you should be proud of that. I realize you need to improve your verbal skills, so here is some advice on how to do so.

When studying Critical Reasoning, you need to ensure that you fully understand the essence of the various question types. Do you know the importance of an assumption within an argument? Can you easily spot a conclusion? Do you know how to resolve a paradox? Do you know how to properly evaluate cause and effect? Do you know how to properly weaken or strengthen an argument? These are just a few examples; you really need to take a deep dive into the individual Critical Reasoning topics to develop the necessary skills to properly attack any Critical Reasoning questions that you encounter.

As you learn each Critical Reasoning problem type, do focused practice so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you incorrectly answered a Weaken the Argument question, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize the specific question type? Were you doing too much analysis in your head? Did you skip over a keyword in an answer choice? You must thoroughly analyze your mistakes and seek to turn weaknesses into strengths by focusing on the question types you dread seeing and the questions you take a long time to answer correctly.

When practicing Reading Comprehension, you need to develop a reading strategy that is both efficient and thorough. Reading too fast and not understanding what you have read are equally as harmful as reading too slow and using up too much time. When attacking Reading Comprehension passages, you must have one clear goal in mind: to understand the context of what you are reading. However, you must do so efficiently, so you need to avoid getting bogged down in the details of each paragraph and focus on understanding the main point of each paragraph. That being said, do not fall into the trap of thinking that you can just read the intro and the conclusion and comprehend the main idea of a paragraph. As you read a paragraph, consider how the context of the paragraph relates to previous paragraphs, so you can continue developing your overall understanding of the passage. Furthermore, as you practice Reading Comprehension, focus on the exact types of questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s Tone, etc. As with Critical Reasoning, analyze your incorrect answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. You can perfect your reading strategy with a lot of practice, but keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be stimulating. So, to better prepare yourself to tackle such bland passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as The New York Times, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

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, you likely will have to work on all three of those aspects. Furthermore, the likely reason that your Sentence Correction performance has not improved is that you have not been working on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, to be successful in Sentence Correction, 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 less than 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 none of those reasons are 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. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to put in the necessary time to see the differences between answers 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 to arrive at that answer and what you could do differently 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 do 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 skills improve, you’ll then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple SC topics.

You also may find my article with more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.

Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Good luck!
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New post 07 Aug 2019, 10:16
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Hi Priyanka1293,

Since you earned a Q51 on this recent Official GMAT, I assume that you know how to calculate an average - and what an AVERAGE GMAT Score at a particular School represents. Since you're interested in some highly-competitive Schools, it's important to remember that beyond having a strong GMAT Score (which you have!) you need a strong OVERALL profile AND you need to properly 'market yourself' to each individual Program that you apply to. This is ultimately why I suggested that you discuss your profile and plans with an Admissions Expert. Based on the information that you've provided, you can (and should) apply to any Business Schools that interest you.

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

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New post 07 Aug 2019, 11:39
ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
First off, 710 with Q51 is awesome my friend! So, you should be proud of that. I realize you need to improve your verbal skills, so here is some advice on how to do so.

When studying Critical Reasoning, you need to ensure that you fully understand the essence of the various question types. Do you know the importance of an assumption within an argument? Can you easily spot a conclusion? Do you know how to resolve a paradox? Do you know how to properly evaluate cause and effect? Do you know how to properly weaken or strengthen an argument? These are just a few examples; you really need to take a deep dive into the individual Critical Reasoning topics to develop the necessary skills to properly attack any Critical Reasoning questions that you encounter.

As you learn each Critical Reasoning problem type, do focused practice so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you incorrectly answered a Weaken the Argument question, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize the specific question type? Were you doing too much analysis in your head? Did you skip over a keyword in an answer choice? You must thoroughly analyze your mistakes and seek to turn weaknesses into strengths by focusing on the question types you dread seeing and the questions you take a long time to answer correctly.

When practicing Reading Comprehension, you need to develop a reading strategy that is both efficient and thorough. Reading too fast and not understanding what you have read are equally as harmful as reading too slow and using up too much time. When attacking Reading Comprehension passages, you must have one clear goal in mind: to understand the context of what you are reading. However, you must do so efficiently, so you need to avoid getting bogged down in the details of each paragraph and focus on understanding the main point of each paragraph. That being said, do not fall into the trap of thinking that you can just read the intro and the conclusion and comprehend the main idea of a paragraph. As you read a paragraph, consider how the context of the paragraph relates to previous paragraphs, so you can continue developing your overall understanding of the passage. Furthermore, as you practice Reading Comprehension, focus on the exact types of questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s Tone, etc. As with Critical Reasoning, analyze your incorrect answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. You can perfect your reading strategy with a lot of practice, but keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be stimulating. So, to better prepare yourself to tackle such bland passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as The New York Times, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

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, you likely will have to work on all three of those aspects. Furthermore, the likely reason that your Sentence Correction performance has not improved is that you have not been working on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, to be successful in Sentence Correction, 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 less than 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 none of those reasons are 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. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to put in the necessary time to see the differences between answers 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 to arrive at that answer and what you could do differently 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 do 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 skills improve, you’ll then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple SC topics.

You also may find my article with more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.

Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Good luck!


Thank you so much ScottTargetTestPrep!

This really helps.
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New post 07 Aug 2019, 11:43
EMPOWERgmatRichC ScottTargetTestPrep.

I have one more question.
If I decide to apply in R1 with my 710. Is 49,37 a better score or 51/35.
One score is more balanced, and well the other is Q-51.
Also, I got the ESR to my GMAT.
The percentiles are as below
CR : 66
SC : 77
RC : 80.
This is a major shock to me since my strongest area within the verbal section was CR.
My accuracy in CR on the GMAT is 50%, while my accuracy on all my other mocks (Manhatten, OG, Veritas) was around 80%.
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New post 07 Aug 2019, 16:40
1
Hi Priyanka1293,

Many Business Schools view an Applicant's Quant Scaled Score as an indicator of how that Applicant might handle the 'academic side' of the Program - so the Q51 would probably be the better option. That having been said, the specifics of your profile - and the specific Programs you plan to apply to - might dictate that your other Score would be the better choice. An Admissions Expert should be able to provide a proper assessment though.

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

*****Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!*****

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Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
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Re: Two failed attempts at the GMAT. Can't see a way forward   [#permalink] 07 Aug 2019, 16:40
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