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Want to improve from 560 to 650 (especially Verbal)

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New post 20 Sep 2019, 01:44
Hi GMATclub,

I took GMAT exam today and scored 560 (Q46, V22), disappointing result especially Verbal part. My goal is to get 650 (Q47+ V35+) on my next GMAT exam.

I would like to know:

1) How can I improve my verbal from 22 to 35+?
2) How can I further improve my quant score beyond 46?
3) I initially planned to apply for round 1 (Deadline in November 2019), but as suggested by EMPOWERgmatRichC that unless my GMAT score is amazing, applying to round 1 is pointless. Business school do not consider average score in round 1. if my target score is 650, would it be worth re-taking the exam before round 1 deadline ends (By this, I would have around 1 month to improve my study). Or should I wait until round 2 (Around January), so I have more time to study?

Further information.
My target school are CEIBS, University of Melbourne and Sydney University

Thank you so much in advance :angel:

Best
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New post 20 Sep 2019, 06:44
For verbal practice from OG as many as you can. For official SC see CJ's explanation. Search GMAT with CJ you will get it. His explanations helped me a lot. For CR must read PowerSore at least two times very carefully then comev to OG.
I will be happy, if you give me kudos.

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New post 20 Sep 2019, 12:17
Hi BestWich,

For Round 1 applications, you really need an amazing OVERALL application (not just a competitive GMAT Score), since Business Schools have no reason to give away any of their 'spots' to an 'average' applicant during Round 1.

Before I can offer you any additional advice for your studies, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying:

1) How long have you studied? How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used so far?
3) 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)?

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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New post 21 Sep 2019, 04:40
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi BestWich,

For Round 1 applications, you really need an amazing OVERALL application (not just a competitive GMAT Score), since Business Schools have no reason to give away any of their 'spots' to an 'average' applicant during Round 1.

Before I can offer you any additional advice for your studies, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying:

1) How long have you studied? How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used so far?
3) 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)?

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.

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


Hi Rich,

To answer your questions:

1) How long have you studied? How many hours do you typically study each week?
- I have been studying for 4 months. Typically 8-10 hours per week. Some week fewer and some week more.
- I divide my study plan into 2 parts. 1) Weekdays: 3-4 days a week with 1.5 hours of study 2) Weekend: 3-4 hours depending on how busy I am.

2) What study materials have you used so far?
- I have studied all Manhattan prep latest edition
- All OG questions 2017
- A lot more questions from GMATclub forums
- CR powerscore
*For Verbal I mostly skims through both Manhattan and powerscore book, and focus much more on the practice questions, especially ones on GMAT club forum, and rely on other peoples' answer and explanation to learn the concept (Not sure if this is the best way to do it)

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)?
-1st CAT May (450 Q36 V16)
-2nd CAT Aug 20th (540 Q44 v20)
-3rd CAT Manhattan Sept 7th (580 Q40 V30)
-GMAT Sept 20th (540 Q46 V 22)

Is there anything additional information you would like me to provide?

I spent quite a lot more time and effort on quant than Verbal which explains my low Verbal score.

Thank you so much in advance
Best
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New post 21 Sep 2019, 12:22
Hi BestWich,

To start, you mentioned a couple of aspects to your studies that likely limited your improvement. First, it sounds as if you were focused on working through lots of practice questions - without developing the necessarily skills to score at a much higher level in the Quant and Verbal sections. If you were simply continuing to answer questions in the same ways, then that would explain why your CAT Scores leveled off. Second, studying just 8-10 hours a week is a relatively low amount of study time (many GMATers spend 15-20 hours a week - essentially double what you were spending - on their studies). Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level. However, you will almost certainly have to invest more time - AND spend that time learning and practicing the proper Tactics - to earn a much higher GMAT Score.

Raising a 560 to the point that you can consistently score 650+ 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.

1) Back in May, you mentioned that your Score Goal was 700+ and that you wanted to apply before October 31st. Have you considered any changes to your application plans?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 21 Sep 2019, 18:27
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi BestWich,

To start, you mentioned a couple of aspects to your studies that likely limited your improvement. First, it sounds as if you were focused on working through lots of practice questions - without developing the necessarily skills to score at a much higher level in the Quant and Verbal sections. If you were simply continuing to answer questions in the same ways, then that would explain why your CAT Scores leveled off. Second, studying just 8-10 hours a week is a relatively low amount of study time (many GMATers spend 15-20 hours a week - essentially double what you were spending - on their studies). Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level. However, you will almost certainly have to invest more time - AND spend that time learning and practicing the proper Tactics - to earn a much higher GMAT Score.

Raising a 560 to the point that you can consistently score 650+ 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.

1) Back in May, you mentioned that your Score Goal was 700+ and that you wanted to apply before October 31st. Have you considered any changes to your application plans?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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


Thank for a constructive feedback Rich.

Yes, I can definitely study up to 15-20 hours a week for the next 2 - 2.5 months. Like you mentioned, I was too focused on practice questions and spent too little time on learning material. I need to change up my approach.

To answer your questions:
1) I have considered changing my application plan from 1st round to 2nd round. Planning to finish GMAT before December to i can prepare application and apply round 2 in January
2) I can do up to 15-20 hours. Two hours per day on a weekday and 10-12 hours total on weekend. In fact, this is the amount of time I spent studying on my last month before the exam. (Really should have done this since the beginning)

Any recommendation on what material I should tackle first? I now plan to re-read CR power Score again then follow up Manhattan SC.

Thank you and have a good day,
Best
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New post 22 Sep 2019, 13:11
Hi BestWich,

Reviewing prior study materials can certainly be beneficial - but it's not clear how that would help you to change 'your way' of approaching the GMAT. Based on everything that you’ve described, I think that you would find the EMPOWERgmat Total Score Booster to be quite helpful. Most of our clients complete that Study Plan in under 2 months, so the time commitment wouldn't be that bad. We have a variety of free resources on our site (www.empowergmat.com), so you can 'test out' the Course before setting up an Account.

If you have any additional questions, then you can feel free to contact me directly.

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New post 22 Sep 2019, 17:52
1
Hi BestWich,

Since you scored 560 with V22, I think it’s going to be a pretty tall order to improve your verbal score to 35+ in just one month. Thus, I’d give yourself more time to study, take the GMAT at a later date, and apply second round.

Regarding how to improve your verbal skills (and thus your verbal score), moving forward, you may consider following a linear study plan that allows you to learn each verbal topic individually and then practice each topic until you’ve gained mastery. Let me expand on this idea further.

For example, 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.

Regarding quant, to improve from Q46,you need to go through GMAT quant carefully to find your exact weaknesses, fill gaps in your knowledge, and strengthen your skills. The overall process will be to learn all about how to answer question types with which you currently aren't very comfortable and do dozens of practice questions category by category, basically driving up your score point by point.

For example, if you find that you are not strong in answering Number Properties questions, then carefully review the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions and practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. 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. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

Each time you strengthen your understanding of a topic and your skill in answering questions of a particular type, you increase your odds of hitting your score goal. You know that there are types of questions that you are happy to see and types that you would rather not see, and types of questions that you take a long time to answer correctly. Learn to more effectively answer the types of questions that you would rather not see, and make them into your favorite types. Learn to correctly answer in two minutes or less questions that you currently take five minutes to answer. By finding, say, a dozen weaker quant areas and turning them into strong areas, you will make great progress toward hitting your quant score goal. If a dozen areas turn out not to be enough, strengthen some more areas.

If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out.

Good luck!
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Re: Want to improve from 560 to 650 (especially Verbal)  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Sep 2019, 16:42
ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
Hi BestWich,

Since you scored 560 with V22, I think it’s going to be a pretty tall order to improve your verbal score to 35+ in just one month. Thus, I’d give yourself more time to study, take the GMAT at a later date, and apply second round.

Regarding how to improve your verbal skills (and thus your verbal score), moving forward, you may consider following a linear study plan that allows you to learn each verbal topic individually and then practice each topic until you’ve gained mastery. Let me expand on this idea further.

For example, 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.

Regarding quant, to improve from Q46,you need to go through GMAT quant carefully to find your exact weaknesses, fill gaps in your knowledge, and strengthen your skills. The overall process will be to learn all about how to answer question types with which you currently aren't very comfortable and do dozens of practice questions category by category, basically driving up your score point by point.

For example, if you find that you are not strong in answering Number Properties questions, then carefully review the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions and practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. 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. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

Each time you strengthen your understanding of a topic and your skill in answering questions of a particular type, you increase your odds of hitting your score goal. You know that there are types of questions that you are happy to see and types that you would rather not see, and types of questions that you take a long time to answer correctly. Learn to more effectively answer the types of questions that you would rather not see, and make them into your favorite types. Learn to correctly answer in two minutes or less questions that you currently take five minutes to answer. By finding, say, a dozen weaker quant areas and turning them into strong areas, you will make great progress toward hitting your quant score goal. If a dozen areas turn out not to be enough, strengthen some more areas.

If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out.

Good luck!


Hi Scott,

Thanks for your advice, those are very good points. I certainly need to change up my study method.

For Quant, I notice that more than 30-40% of the questions on CAT and GMAT are number properties, and this is the topic that I am so-so at(getting around 70% of the questions right. Thus for me to improve my Quant, Should I focus on number properties? I believe it would give me the biggest improvement since this topic appear more than others. Or should i focus on the less commonly tested topic as well, given that I have limited time to study.

Thanks for your feedback.
Have a good day,
Best
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Re: Want to improve from 560 to 650 (especially Verbal)  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Sep 2019, 16:48
BestWich wrote:
Hi Scott,

Thanks for your advice, those are very good points. I certainly need to change up my study method.

For Quant, I notice that more than 30-40% of the questions on CAT and GMAT are number properties, and this is the topic that I am so-so at(getting around 70% of the questions right. Thus for me to improve my Quant, Should I focus on number properties? I believe it would give me the biggest improvement since this topic appear more than others. Or should i focus on the less commonly tested topic as well, given that I have limited time to study.

Thanks for your feedback.
Have a good day,
Best


Honestly, I think that you likely have more weaknesses than just Number Properties. Thus, I recommend that you do a deep dive into all GMAT quant topics in order to find and fix all of your weak areas.
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Re: Want to improve from 560 to 650 (especially Verbal)   [#permalink] 25 Sep 2019, 16:48
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