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Very slow improvement: Diagnostic 630 - GMAT 1 640, GMAT 2 (650)

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Very slow improvement: Diagnostic 630 - GMAT 1 640, GMAT 2 (650)  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 01:36
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Hi folks,

Never thought I will be writing this post as I had made a mistake of considering GMAT an easy task based on my peer performance. I have reached a saturation point in GMAT, a point from where moving ahead looks tough. Following are the details of the journey so far:

1) Diagnostic in July 2017 > score 630 (Q48,V28)

2) GMAT 1 in April 2018 (with half baked prep on verbal & 8-10 days prep on quant) > score 640 (Q49, V28). I had actually purchased egmat in 2017 & the course was about to expire & I had been procrastinating the prep, so I took the GMAT date & but didn't make a good plan & also couldn't study properly.

3) Restarted my study in July 1st 2019 with new enthusiasm, took a break from work for 3-4 months (due to health issues as well) & renewed egmat subscription, my mock score in mba.com was Attempt 1 660(Q48,V33), Attempt 2 670 (Q49, V33), my GMAT 2 score 650(Q47, V33). My veritas mock test (4 tests) score have been fluctuating from 660-700 (best: Q49, V37)
Clarification on Q47, I actually applied a slightly modified trick for test-taking, leading to a 2 min extra time in the end. I also missed the last question in Verbal. I am attaching ESR for information.

Few silly mistakes I have made during the test:
1) Since the beginning, I haven't been able to connect with egmat approach to SC questions, I found the literature very useful to understand concepts but I felt more confident & relaxed when working with GMAT Ninja's approach of (Definite error & I then meaning analysis). However, i **** to new approach very late in the preparation around 9 days before the GMAT date.
2) I changed my approach to question guessing during the exam. In veritas mock tests, where I have also scored 700 (Q49, V37), I used to skip 1 entire RC due to time shortage but in actual test, I decided to not guess RCs, I rather guessed CRs & SCs to maintain the pace. I actually saw a video a day before GMAT, suggesting to not mark incorrect choices consecutively.
3) Though I had maintained the error log (especially in Quant), I didn't really get the time to practice questions for all topics e.g. I didn't practice Standard deviation, probability question (I always knew I was uncomfortable with it). I was continuously focused on a few areas (DS, inequalities in quant & verbal (RC & SC) in general).

Mistake analysis & plan ahead:
Despite the pressure of Round 1, I am assuring myself that it is not much of a damage to apply in R2 so I still have some time to improve my score. My target is 750 (Q50,V42)
1. Quant: I was dependent on GMAT club test, in which I used to score Q46-Q48, didn't practice on all OG problems. After post mistake analysis, I am going to do tough questions from OG2020. In 2-3 days
2. Verbal: I am not very sure on the right approach, any suggestions will be helpful. But, my plan is to practice more SC (using egmat Scholarnium, OGVR questions, SC question bank on GMATclub) to reduce the time taken to answer questions correctly. I haven't practice much for CR & RC from OG & OGVR, so will again revise concepts on CR & RC to increase speed. My average time for each correct question in verbal is actually 2 mins, so probably I need to improve my reading & comprehending speed. One thing, I am not sure if I should use a timer to practice OG or how many questions in one sitting. To build stamina, I am thinking of starting with 2 70 stretches daily with 8 min break. A good friend suggested my to read Newyork times to improve reading speed.
3. IR- my score stay above 7 so no worries.
4. Since I have 8-12 hours available for a month, I am planning to dedicate 1st half to quant & 2nd half to verbal as I plan to take the test in next August 16 (Any suggestions on next date?); I will take the date only when my score has improved by at least 60-70 points.
5. Mock test: planning to buy Mock test 3-6 from mba.com for the better test-taking environment. Planning to use veritas mock test more for pacing practice. I hope, a total of 7 practice test (3 veritas & 4 mba.com) will help.

My friends seem to easily cross 720 & I feel that I must be doing something seriously wrong to be not able to cross even the 700 score. Please wish me luck & evaluate my strategy. I am happy to discuss problems & approach on GMAT test. I have been thinking of hiring a GMAT tutor who can simply point me towards the right approach. Any suggestions are welcome. God, it feels good to share the GMAT experience; I am again hopeful :)

Thanks
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New post 02 Aug 2019, 03:34
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Hi Himanshu, looking at ESR, time management emerges as a crucial concern to address; in Verbal, you had less than a minute on average, for the last quarter of questions, and this reflects in your accuracy rate of just 50% in that quarter.

It does look like you're spending more time per question on SC, than one would normally expect (around 70 seconds). In fact, you spent 1:30 minutes on each SC question, despite skipping/guessing few SC questions. This tells me that for your genuine SC attempts, you actually spent way more than 1:30 minutes per SC question. That really needs to come down.

You also seem to be slightly bogged down by various strategies of tackling SC questions; strategies can only do so much; hope the concepts are water-tight Himanshu, for no strategy can compensate for lack of concepts.
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New post 02 Aug 2019, 04:26
Thanks EducationAisle for the feedback. I also believe that excessive time in SC is harming my overall verbal score. I believe that my concepts in SC are good because i know the reason for every incorrect choice. I have recently started following the strategy by GMATNinja: 1) I read the sentence to understand the meaning
2) Identify definite errors (SV, tense, pronouns (they are first target for), parallelism and comparison and obvious idioms.
3) Then i eliminate options with errors or wrong meaning
4) if i don't find any definite marker, i try to keep choice that conveys the meaning in the best possible manner.

By using this strategy, my confidence & accuracy have improved but my timings has increased by few seconds. I believe that practicing more SC questions (especially modifiers, comparison), i will be able to reduce timing.

Any further suggestions to improve timing ? Look forward to hearing suggestions

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Re: Very slow improvement: Diagnostic 630 - GMAT 1 640, GMAT 2 (650)  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 10:00
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hpandey - Thank you for being a student. Did you write to the e-GMAT team? Your account has a ton of data and we can provide some very specific recommendations. Also, your ESR is very telling - especially in B2.

The good news - you already have a great foundation. With right attitude and focussed (& stubborn) effort you can get to a Q50, V40 possibly in a month or so.

-Rajat
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Re: Very slow improvement: Diagnostic 630 - GMAT 1 640, GMAT 2 (650)  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 10:12
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Hi Hpandey,

Your ESR tells a lot about your test. I personally feel that all you lack is getting the questions right at the right time. To develop timings I think you should give a few mocks and try increasing your reading speed.

Regards
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Re: Very slow improvement: Diagnostic 630 - GMAT 1 640, GMAT 2 (650)  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 10:24
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Well. Do OG2020 especially for verbal SC and CR. Do ALL questions. Read the explanation on EACH wrong choice. This is crucial if you want to shoot 700+.

Comprehension of what is right and what is wrong brings me from 600 level to 700 level.

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 11:43
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egmat wrote:
hpandey - Thank you for being a student. Did you write to the e-GMAT team? Your account has a ton of data and we can provide some very specific recommendations. Also, your ESR is very telling - especially in B2.

The good news - you already have a great foundation. With right attitude and focussed (& stubborn) effort you can get to a Q50, V40 possibly in a month or so.

-Rajat


Hi Rajat,

egmat has been a good companion. Thanks for the response. I was not aware of any service provided by egmat team. My performance in verbal has been fluctuating across sections a lot e.g. in Sigma MockX my ability was 81 in CR, 66 in SC and 36 in RC. The situation is completely reversed in GMAT-2. Same has been the case with other mocks. I have been so baffled with the variations that I didn't know what to ask and which performance to consider as inherent ability. If egmat team can help with just right directions based on scholaranium, ESR and sigma mockX, i would be greatful.
I will certainly now try to share my doubts regarding the performance over the email.

Thanks
Himanshu

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Very slow improvement: Diagnostic 630 - GMAT 1 640, GMAT 2 (650)  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 12:01
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New post 05 Aug 2019, 05:29
Hi Rajat & Payal,

I have sent an email with my understanding of the score in verbal along with my ESR from GMAT 2. Please let me know suggestions to proceed forward.

Thanks
Himanshu
egmat wrote:
himanshu - we definitely can. Otherwise, there is no point in collecting all this data. Do write to rajat ()e-gmat.. or payal ()e-gmat.. and one of us will take a look and provide a diagnosis and a path forward.

-Rajat


all: I have done most of the questions in verbal from OG & now practically know the answers to almost all the questions in OG & 50%+ in verbal egmat scholaranium. So, how should I now practice SC or CR?, Should I try new questions from GMATclub question bank. I am now religiously going through the error log to make sure that i don't forget the concept & don't repeat mistakes.
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New post 05 Aug 2019, 16:59
Hi Himanshu,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day did not go better. GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, most of your CAT/mock score results - along with your 2 Official Scores - show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 660 +/- a few points). You handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also make certain consistent mistakes.

Since these data points go back 2 YEARS, it's likely that you have developed some 'bad habits' that are keeping you from scoring higher (and will take time to fix - and replace with new 'good habits'). Raising a 660 to the point that you can consistently score 750+ will likely require at least another 2 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make significant 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.

Before we discuss the data in your ESR, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on your timeline and your goals:

1) Going forward, how many hours are you planning to study each week?
2) What Schools are you planning to apply to during Round 2?
3) What is the minimum Score that you feel comfortable applying with?

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New post 05 Aug 2019, 19:20
Thanks Rich for a new perspective. I must say i am little scared of what lies ahead and tired of GMAT prep (it's boring and feels like a baggage now) Well i have allotted 1 month from now for GMAT prep (4 weeks) and then plan to give GMAT again.

1) I can dedicate easily 6 hours daily for next 4 weeks i.e. 40+ hours in a week
2) Target schools for MBA are Kellogg, Yale, Ross, Tuck; Columbia(MPP), Harward(MPA).
3) 740 is the minimum score for US bschool; I will apply comfortable to apply in ISB with 730.

Thanks
Himanshu

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New post 06 Aug 2019, 16:50
Hi Himanshu,

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

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Very slow improvement: Diagnostic 630 - GMAT 1 640, GMAT 2 (650)  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2019, 19:55
hpandey - After going through the differential analysis of your ESR along with your performance data from Scholaranium, you should now have a fairly good idea of the areas you need to work. The key to that 750-score is to address those issues, spend the appropriate amount of time on each sub-section so you perform as per your strength, and to be consistent throughout the test.

Good luck!!

-Rajat
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Very slow improvement: Diagnostic 630 - GMAT 1 640, GMAT 2 (650)   [#permalink] 06 Aug 2019, 19:55
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