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Underwhelming and unbalanced 630

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Underwhelming and unbalanced 630  [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2019, 11:19
Hi everyone,

after only reading - and finding this forum incredibly helpful - until this point, I have decided to sign up and ask for your advice following my GMAT exam on last Friday. I scored Q37 and V40, reaching only 32nd percentile on Quant, but 90th percentile on Verbal. I'm a little suprised that there are so "few" points difference in score, but so much more difference in terms of percentiles. Since I am contemplating a retake, I have essentially two major questions where I would appreciate your help:

- Would you recommend to retake in my position?
- How can I get better at my weaknesses (Quant, rather obvious)?

I will try to answer a few of the questions I have seen other people being asked in order to give you more details about how it went for me.

1) How long did you study for each of your Official GMATs?

I started by getting the OG after Christmas and going through the review sections one by one. I didn’t have a feeling for the extent of the GMAT back then. At first, I was under the belief that it would be sufficient just to practice OG questions… a bit later, I then got the Manhattan Prep Strategy Guides and started working through them one by one, usually in the evenings after work, sometimes from around 8pm – 10pm, sometimes from 9pm – 10pm. I tried to prepare for at least one hour per day, except for weekends where I tried to take more time. In mid-February, I had one week off where I studied more intensively, gaining pace at working through the SGs. With the SGs, I usually did the included quizzes as well as the referenced OG problem sets (didn’t mix these up at this point.) I only found out much later about the MPREP online question banks. After working through the Strategy Guides, I did some of the MPREP online question banks for the Quant section, plus started doing mixed sets using the Wiley Online Question Bank.

Coming back to topic – short tl;dr:
Intense studying in February, March and April, until April 24th, approx. 1h daily in the evenings after work. Approx. 2h per day on the weekends. Probably, effective studying time is slightly lower. But this is a rough indication, somewhere between my goal and the actual time I devoted.

2) What study materials have you used so far?

As already mentioned above, I used

- 2019 GMAC OG (and CATs) - I didn't manage to look into the additional volumes (Quant and Verbal Review)
- Wiley Online Question Bank
- Manhatten Prep Foundations of Math: went through these to see whether I had any existential gaps. Figured I still knew most of the concepts, and didn't do a lot of the drills because of that.
- Manhattan Prep Strategy Guides (and CATs)
- GMAT Navigator. I used it to track the OG problem sets from the MPrep Strategy Guides. When doing mixed sets later, I switched to the Wiley Online Question Bank.
- GMAT Club Forums for looking up problems

Perhaps, it wasn't the smartest choice to first use GMAT navigator and later switch to Wiley, since I had stats at different places.


3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)? Did you take any of these recent CATs more than once?

I guess this is the most interesting part. My CATs were quite varied - you could probably say inconsistent. I took two MPrep CATs and one mba.com CAT.

1st CAT: March, 17th: 600, Q39, V34. This was the 1st Manhattan Prep CAT I did.
At this time, I had studied covered most of the Quant-related Strategy Guides, but only a part of the Verbal Strategy Guides. Therefore, I was quite ok with the result, considering I hadn't studied some of the subjects yet at all.

2nd CAT: April, 16th: 740, Q46, V47. This was the 1st and only mba.com CAT I did. It left me with a "funny" feeling - I did this one right after a full day of work, from around 5pm until around 8pm. The result to me almost seemed "to good to be true" and I was really kind of in a "flow".

3rd CAT: April, 22nd: 650, Q42, V37. This was the 2nd Manhatten Prep CAT I did, less than a week before the actual thing. Looking back, it was probably a bit too late, but I had some difficulties to take it any earlier due to work and family matters... it was Easter at the time. This one felt more realistic to me than the mba.com one I did before. I decided to take the MPrep CAT for my last practice exam before the GMAT, since I had read about the more difficult quant section and also to try another test again after scoring 740 in the mba.com one.

I did review these CATs, but didn't do any of them more than once. I found it cumbersome to review the mba.com practice exam, because there were no explanations and you couldn't even jump back to the previous question during review. This is probably all available if you pay for it...

GMAT: April, 26th: 630, Q37 and V40.

Quant: it started off ok, then i took slightly too long for several questions, probably adding up a few seconds at each. Not so much one invididual question causing the trouble, but rather the multitude of them. I was as able to do the "math", but probably missed a few shortcuts here and there. Got a bit stressed, smearing with the pen because I'm left-handed. Really annoying if you can't read your notes from when you started the problem. Probably lost track of timing in between.
I don’t even remember one particularly, overwhelmingly difficult question, but got too stressed with the entirety of it.
Ended up with approx. 10 more questions to go and a bit more than 10 minutes left -> had to rush it. Second to last question guessed without looking, then I was even too late to guess final question (I didn't figure the GMAT software would be so sluggish and Windows 98 style).

Verbal was then relaxing in comparison, perhaps even too much. Got distracted in between, thinking about whether I performed poorly on Quant Section. Note to self: worth to inverse order next time?
Timing worked pretty well on verbal even though I didn’t put much attention too it – probably Verbal is just more of a strength for me.

Next up, IR hit me harder than expected. There were only two questions before it went all multi-tab, the question type I’d have liked to avoid the most. Guessed through the first three questions hoping to skip them, only to discover there were even more – a lot more. First, there was one with some kind of experiment on two Sisters (Sister A and Sister B), with conflicting statements and an examination of hypotheses to which statement other people would agree more.. second big IR hitter was something about ratios of wages and living cost in Sweden for rural and urban residents in the 1890s – 1920s. A bit better than the one with the two sisters, but quite tricky too.
I kind of felt a certain fatigue at the point of IR, idk why. Just didn’t seem to have the energy anymore after Verbal, even though I had some snacks in the breaks and used the time completely. The essay then went pretty well again.

tl;dr - I felt like I messed up in Quant section, bringing my score under the level I achieved in the practice exams. I know I am stronger in Verbal than in Quant, but it felt like I lost a lot of the confidence during I had built up before in the Quant section. Timing was certainly a large factor for my Quant score, as well as IR probably.

4) When are you planning to apply to Business School?

My initial goal was to hit 650 because it would take me above the treshold of 600 most of the business schools I'm looking at are requiring. While I am currently still in my full-time job, I planned to apply for a few programmes this spring, meaning until end of May. Having scored 630 now, I'm still above the treshold, even though I didn't reach my personal objective. Considering the 16-day "ban", the amount of time needed for preparation and the duration of the GMAT mailing, I won't be able to retake for the applications until end of May. However, other programmes I found appealing closed too early for me and will open back up for applications in approx. September.

5) Conclusion

Summing it up, I had mixed CATs and then performed not as well as I had hoped for - I had at least hoped for a 650. I kind of have the gut feeling that "I have it in me". I know that I can and will apply with the 630 I received now, but first, it is not the result I had hoped for, and second it is also rather imbalanced. Therefore, I am considering a retake, putting more focus on Quant, immersing more in the "shortcut" approaches and gaining confidence.

What do you think? Would you recommend to give it another go? Personally, I am inclined to do so, because I like the "challenge" it poses. However, I'd probably have to put in a good amount of work.

What would you suggest to me as to improve my Quant confidence? It's probably about practice, practice and practice - and reviewing even more and more carefully than I did before.

Any advice is appreciated! Looking forward to your opinions.

Best Regards
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Re: Underwhelming and unbalanced 630  [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2019, 11:32
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Congratulations on scoring so high on the verbal section on the GMAT. Good news is that Quant is far easier to improve than is Verbal. At this stage, you should sign up for an online quant course. GMAT Club Test Center is another great resource to increase the quant score. Also, you would want to practice verbal questions to maintain verbal performance.
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Re: Underwhelming and unbalanced 630  [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2019, 13:26
Kamillentee wrote:
Hi everyone,

after only reading - and finding this forum incredibly helpful - until this point, I have decided to sign up and ask for your advice following my recent GMAT exam. I scored Q37 and V40, reaching only 32nd percentile on Quant, but 90th percentile on Verbal. I'm a little suprised that there are so "few" points difference in score, but so much more difference in terms of percentiles. Since I am contemplating a retake, I have essentially two major questions where I would appreciate your help:

- Would you recommend to retake in my position?
- How can I get better at my weaknesses (Quant, rather obvious)?

I will try to answer a few of the questions I have seen other people being asked in order to give you more details about how it went for me.

1) How long did you study for each of your Official GMATs?

I started by getting the OG after Christmas and going through the review sections one by one. I didn’t have a feeling for the extent of the GMAT back then. At first, I was under the belief that it would be sufficient just to practice OG questions… a bit later, I then got the Manhattan Prep Strategy Guides and started working through them one by one, usually in the evenings after work, sometimes from around 8pm – 10pm, sometimes from 9pm – 10pm. I tried to prepare for at least one hour per day, except for weekends where I tried to take more time. In mid-February, I had one week off where I studied more intensively, gaining pace at working through the SGs. With the SGs, I usually did the included quizzes as well as the referenced OG problem sets (didn’t mix these up at this point.) I only found out much later about the MPREP online question banks. After working through the Strategy Guides, I did some of the MPREP online question banks for the Quant section, plus started doing mixed sets using the Wiley Online Question Bank.

Coming back to topic – short tl;dr:
Intense studying in February, March and April, until April 24th, approx. 1h daily in the evenings after work. Approx. 2h per day on the weekends. Probably, effective studying time is slightly lower. But this is a rough indication, somewhere between my goal and the actual time I devoted.

2) What study materials have you used so far?

As already mentioned above, I used

- 2019 GMAC OG (and CATs) - I didn't manage to look into the additional volumes (Quant and Verbal Review)
- Wiley Online Question Bank
- Manhatten Prep Foundations of Math: went through these to see whether I had any existential gaps. Figured I still knew most of the concepts, and didn't do a lot of the drills because of that.
- Manhattan Prep Strategy Guides (and CATs)
- GMAT Navigator. I used it to track the OG problem sets from the MPrep Strategy Guides. When doing mixed sets later, I switched to the Wiley Online Question Bank.
- GMAT Club Forums for looking up problems

Perhaps, it wasn't the smartest choice to first use GMAT navigator and later switch to Wiley, since I had stats at different places.


3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)? Did you take any of these recent CATs more than once?

I guess this is the most interesting part. My CATs were quite varied - you could probably say inconsistent. I took two MPrep CATs and one mba.com CAT.

1st CAT: March, 17th: 600, Q39, V34. This was the 1st Manhattan Prep CAT I did.
At this time, I had studied covered most of the Quant-related Strategy Guides, but only a part of the Verbal Strategy Guides. Therefore, I was quite ok with the result, considering I hadn't studied some of the subjects yet at all.

2nd CAT: April, 16th: 740, Q46, V47. This was the 1st and only mba.com CAT I did. It left me with a "funny" feeling - I did this one right after a full day of work, from around 5pm until around 8pm. The result to me almost seemed "to good to be true" and I was really kind of in a "flow".

3rd CAT: April, 22nd: 650, Q42, V37. This was the 2nd Manhatten Prep CAT I did, less than a week before the actual thing. Looking back, it was probably a bit too late, but I had some difficulties to take it any earlier due to work and family matters... it was Easter at the time. This one felt more realistic to me than the mba.com one I did before. I decided to take the MPrep CAT for my last practice exam before the GMAT, since I had read about the more difficult quant section and also to try another test again after scoring 740 in the mba.com one.

I did review these CATs, but didn't do any of them more than once. I found it cumbersome to review the mba.com practice exam, because there were no explanations and you couldn't even jump back to the previous question during review. This is probably all available if you pay for it...

GMAT: April, 26th: 630, Q37 and V40.

Quant: it started off ok, then i took slightly too long for several questions, probably adding up a few seconds at each. Not so much one invididual question causing the trouble, but rather the multitude of them. I was as able to do the "math", but probably missed a few shortcuts here and there. Got a bit stressed, smearing with the pen because I'm left-handed. Really annoying if you can't read your notes from when you started the problem. Probably lost track of timing in between.
I don’t even remember one particularly, overwhelmingly difficult question, but got too stressed with the entirety of it.
Ended up with approx. 10 more questions to go and a bit more than 10 minutes left -> had to rush it. Second to last question guessed without looking, then I was even too late to guess final question (I didn't figure the GMAT software would be so sluggish and Windows 98 style).

Verbal was then relaxing in comparison, perhaps even too much. Got distracted in between, thinking about whether I performed poorly on Quant Section. Note to self: worth to inverse order next time?
Timing worked pretty well on verbal even though I didn’t put much attention too it – probably Verbal is just more of a strength for me.

Next up, IR hit me harder than expected. There were only two questions before it went all multi-tab, the question type I’d have liked to avoid the most. Guessed through the first three questions hoping to skip them, only to discover there were even more – a lot more. First, there was one with some kind of experiment on two Sisters (Sister A and Sister B), with conflicting statements and an examination of hypotheses to which statement other people would agree more.. second big IR hitter was something about ratios of wages and living cost in Sweden for rural and urban residents in the 1890s – 1920s. A bit better than the one with the two sisters, but quite tricky too.
I kind of felt a certain fatigue at the point of IR, idk why. Just didn’t seem to have the energy anymore after Verbal, even though I had some snacks in the breaks and used the time completely. The essay then went pretty well again.

tl;dr - I felt like I messed up in Quant section, bringing my score under the level I achieved in the practice exams. I know I am stronger in Verbal than in Quant, but it felt like I lost a lot of the confidence during I had built up before in the Quant section. Timing was certainly a large factor for my Quant score, as well as IR probably.

4) When are you planning to apply to Business School?

My initial goal was to hit 650 because it would take me above the treshold of 600 most of the business schools I'm looking at are requiring. While I am currently still in my full-time job, I planned to apply for a few programmes this spring, meaning until end of May. Having scored 630 now, I'm still above the treshold, even though I didn't reach my personal objective. Considering the 16-day "ban", the amount of time needed for preparation and the duration of the GMAT mailing, I won't be able to retake for the applications until end of May. However, other programmes I found appealing closed too early for me and will open back up for applications in approx. September.

5) Conclusion

Summing it up, I had mixed CATs and then performed not as well as I had hoped for - I had at least hoped for a 650. I kind of have the gut feeling that "I have it in me". I know that I can and will apply with the 630 I received now, but first, it is not the result I had hoped for, and second it is also rather imbalanced. Therefore, I am considering a retake, putting more focus on Quant, immersing more in the "shortcut" approaches and gaining confidence.

What do you think? Would you recommend to give it another go? Personally, I am inclined to do so, because I like the "challenge" it poses. However, I'd probably have to put in a good amount of work.

What would you suggest to me as to improve my Quant confidence? It's probably about practice, practice and practice - and reviewing even more and more carefully than I did before.

Any advice is appreciated! Looking forward to your opinions :-)


Hi Kamillentee,

Welcome to GMATCLUB! You definitely need to work hard on improving your Quant score. It will be wise to sign up for a prep course that can help you master the basics. For Quant, you can consider TTP. It is a very well designed course and covers the entire syllabus really well. I must add that 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 taking multiple mocks might help. Apart from the GMATPREP, Manhattan GMAT tests and Veritas Prep Tests in my experience have good verbal and Quant section and will certainly help you point out and improve your weak areas.

Further another advantage of taking many mocks is to build up your stamina. Apart from the GMATPREP tests, taking practice tests of any major GMATPREP company ought to do that.

Lastly I would also encourage you to purchase the GMATPREP QP 1 for some great additional practice.

You can also go through the below link to design a Quant specific study plan.

https://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/3-month-g ... h-focused/

Hope this helps. All the best.
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Underwhelming and unbalanced 630  [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2019, 17:06
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Hi. Sorry about the unbalanced score. I am afraid BSchools want a higher score than Q37. I think you should aim for at least Q44 (that's the lowest for an artistic/marketing people I have seen and then also plan to have a higher Verbal score). So push Quant a bit higher. You should focus on arithmetic, word problems and geometry. That should be sufficient to get there. Don't overwhelm yourself and perhaps get the MGMAT Math foundations book to cover whatever else may need covering in the basics department (e.g. division rules, etc). This will make you better and stronger!
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Re: Underwhelming and unbalanced 630  [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2019, 19:38
Hi Kamillentee,

You ask some really great questions. So, for starters, unless you are 100 percent certain that your 630 gets you into your desired business schools, I agree with BB that you should retake the GMAT to improve your quant score. That said, since you scored a Q37 on your latest GMAT, it’s clear that you are lacking the fundamental GMAT quant skills you need for a high score, right? That said, to improve those skills, you need to take a balanced approach of learning and practice. In other words you need to follow a study plan that allows you to individually learn each GMAT quant topic and then practice each topic until you've gained mastery. Studying in such a way will allow you to methodically improve your GMAT quant skills by filling in gaps and knowledge and ultimately will greatly improve your quant confidence. 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.

Good luck!
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Re: Underwhelming and unbalanced 630  [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2019, 21:19
Hi Kamillentee,

To start, a 630 is a solid Score - and from what you describe, it's above the average GMAT Score at the Programs that you're interested in. With a 630, you're actually closer to a 650+ than you probably realize though. You appear to consistently perform at a high level in the Verbal section, so a bit of Quant-focused study might be all that you need to significantly improve on this 630. 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 - and a Q37 won't impress anyone (it might also be seen as a 'red flag' at certain Programs). That score implies that you were okay on many of the 'math questions' that you faced, but you made a lot of little mistakes on Test Day and you missed out on LOTS of 'strategy-based' points. This is meant to say that by focusing on Quant Tactics, you'll be better able to increase your GMAT Score AND better impress how Business School Admissions Officers will view your potential to handle the Program.

1) Do you have an idea of what date you would want to retake the GMAT?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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Underwhelming and unbalanced 630  [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2019, 23:25
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I would recommend targettestprep for quant. A rigorous amount of practice over a month on their portal is sufficient to get your score to q49.
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Re: Underwhelming and unbalanced 630  [#permalink]

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New post 19 May 2019, 12:52
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Kamillentee,

To start, a 630 is a solid Score - and from what you describe, it's above the average GMAT Score at the Programs that you're interested in. With a 630, you're actually closer to a 650+ than you probably realize though. You appear to consistently perform at a high level in the Verbal section, so a bit of Quant-focused study might be all that you need to significantly improve on this 630. 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 - and a Q37 won't impress anyone (it might also be seen as a 'red flag' at certain Programs). That score implies that you were okay on many of the 'math questions' that you faced, but you made a lot of little mistakes on Test Day and you missed out on LOTS of 'strategy-based' points. This is meant to say that by focusing on Quant Tactics, you'll be better able to increase your GMAT Score AND better impress how Business School Admissions Officers will view your potential to handle the Program.

1) Do you have an idea of what date you would want to retake the GMAT?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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


Hi guys,

sorry for the late reply, I've been a bit preoccupied in the last few weeks and wanted to gather my thoughts before replying. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions and valuable advice, especially to bb, ScottTargetTestPrep and EMPOWERgmatRichC. I've been suspecting the same thing about my Quant score, that it could potentially be considered a "red flag" for any application, even if I make it over the 600 hurdle.

As I've applied now for a few schools with this score (most programs are closing their admission periods soon), I am not under pressure for a retake. However, I am in favor of retaking the test for several reasons. Firstly, I might get rejected at some schools and could improve my chances there, secondly a better score might get me into schools I haven't even considered yet, thirdly a higher score could benefit me in some of the programs, e.g. when applying for exchange semesters etc., and last but not least, I am dissatisfied with my score and want to do better.

As for the date, I will be pretty busy with work and a long-planned vacation in June, meaning that I could pick GMAT Prep back up realistically by the end of June/beginning of July. My goal would then be to take the test somewhen in September or August, depending on the time needed to improve.

To answer your second question, EMPOWERgmatRichC, I think it is realistic that I can dedicate a similar time to the GMAT prep until the retake. Meaning, ideally an hour per day between Monday and Friday and more on the weekends. I could probably fit in a few days off work to study more intensively, to an extent similar to that of the weekend. Granted that Summer is arriving in Europe and I might "have to" go to the lake occasionally, I guess 10-12 hrs per week seem realistic to me.

What would your recommendation under these circumstances? How much time would you recommend to take for prep? Or should I make it dependent on the mock test scores and then sign up, once I have reached a certain consistent level? However, I think that at some point, you just have to sign up to get in the "mode"..
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Re: Underwhelming and unbalanced 630  [#permalink]

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New post 20 May 2019, 13:27
Hi Kamillentee,

This next phase of your studies will depend on a couple of factors. First, GMAT skills tend to 'fade' over time, so if you're not going to be back to a consistent study routine until the end of June, then some 'review time' might be needed to make sure that you've retained your existing skill set. Second, your overall Score Goal will help to define the amount of additional study time that you'll likely need. There's a significant difference between raising a 630 to a 650 and raising a 630 to a 700, so you have to be clear on the type of Score that you're after - so that we can up with an appropriate Study Plan for that Goal.

You might also choose to purchase the Enhanced Score Report. 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.

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Rich
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Re: Underwhelming and unbalanced 630  [#permalink]

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New post 20 May 2019, 18:46
Hi Kamillentee,

Honestly, it’s difficult to give you an exact time frame for improving your quant score. That said, if you are motivated to improve your score, I don’t think it’s necessary to blindly sign up for a test date, as you want to give yourself as much time as you need to prepare.

Regarding HOW to study, I recommend following the advice I provided above. I know you have another 6 weeks or so before you dive back in, but once you do, feel free to reach out with further questions.

Good luck!
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Re: Underwhelming and unbalanced 630   [#permalink] 20 May 2019, 18:46
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