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What should I do? In Dire Need of Help and Advice!!! [570-610-cntd.]

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New post 20 Feb 2019, 05:31
Hi All,

I have started to prepare for GMAT since September 2018, and I think I made a huge progress since my last take. I can confidently say that I did. The first time I took GMAT was in last month, which is early Jan. 2019. I scored 570 (Q48, V21), I was literally devastated and confused, because I studied a lot and thought I could nail it. However, GMAT proved me wrong. After a few days, I talked to my tutor, and she took a look at my ESR. My ESR indicates that there were areas that need huge improvement work. My CR was a mess, so were my RC inference and SC communication.
I prepared for the test for the last twenty days since Feburary 1st., I think I made some progress, especially in CR. However, when I was writing the exam today I found that I couldn't concentrate because of stress, and all I could think of was what if I couldn't get my aimed score 700+... and thinking about the bad outcome, I didn't do well in Quant. There were couple of challenging questions in Quant section took me really long to solve... at last I found the time left for the other questions were very limited. In verbal section, I slowed my pace, because I knew I had to do well in the first 20 questions. I can tell this plan worked, but my scores are still not keeping up... this time I scored 610 (Q47, V27), which is far below my target score...

I have been reading a lot of inspirational stories on the forum, I am in despair! and in dire need of help!!! Please share with me some valuable advice, what should I do? How should I improve in Verbal section? :cry: :please :please :please Only thing I know is I can't give up now!
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Re: What should I do? In Dire Need of Help and Advice!!! [570-610-cntd.]  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2019, 13:35
Only thing which encouraged me to respond you is your last line of your message - "Only thing I know is I can't give up now! "

That's the spirit of a warrior , and as per my understanding we need to be a warrior to get the result in our favor ..
Now looks like you were so focused in the end result that you bluntly ignored the learning part here .

Just be honest to yourself and ask these questions -
1. Did your ever scored more than 700 in the mock ? If ans is NO, then my dear friend miracle only happens in dreams .
If your answer is Yes , then how consistent and what are the source of those mock exams ?

2. Did you attempt majority of questions confidently during preparation ? Reason I asked this question , since most of the time we are so obsessed about the results that we forget that the probability of getting any question right with just the guess work is 20 % , which is more than sufficient to put us in our own utopia .

Just my 2 cents of advice ..
Be calm and be realistic towards yourself... drowning yourself in the despair will not take you anywhere.
Be ruthless towards your shortcoming and get the success ...
Nothing comes easy ! Neither do i want !!
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New post 20 Feb 2019, 14:07
The fact that you have given 2 attempts tells me that you are really serious about the exam. I can relate to you as stress has been one of the factors which screwed several important examinations in my life. So here are a couple of pointers which helped me out big time. I hope they will be useful for you too :

1. Keep practicing.But not just by mechanically solving questions. Remember smart work and not hard work is what counts. I would suggest you to go ahead and purchase packs of mock GMAT exams of varying difficulties. For instance, you can combine GMAC official mock exams with MGMAT CATS. Treat each mock exam as if you are actually giving the GMAT. Time yourself and set a target score. This will eliminate all the unpredictable variables on exam day. When you give around 10-15 mocks, you will have gone through a variety of scenarios - scenarios where you got tough questions, those where your time management was a little awry and when you finally sit for the GMAT you will be completely confident, thinking that there is nothing new that the exam can throw at you now.

2. It seems that your quant is stronger than verbal. So how about aiming to get a 51 there itself. Do not let even a single question go by. It won’t take much time and effort given that you have a solid foundation. Just a little more care while solving questions to avoid careless errors.

3. For verbal now, go through all the questions you have done so far and re-attempt all the ones you initially got wrong. As you do that, you might see a trend of questions you attempt incorrectly.

4. Finally, do not rush into your next attempt. Take your time but stay focused. Forget all the what-if questions in your mind. Do not think along the lines of ‘what if I don’t score xxx marks’. Just keep working. Things will work themselves out and your hard work will be rewarded for sure.

Now go get that dream score. All the best !

Cheers :)

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Re: What should I do? In Dire Need of Help and Advice!!! [570-610-cntd.]  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2019, 22:50
Hi Appler,

Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

1) Did you have a typical study routine over the last few months? How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used so far?
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs/mocks (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?

4) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
5) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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 (and what you should work on to score higher). Since you have purchased the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you. You can feel free to PM or email it directly to me.

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Re: What should I do? In Dire Need of Help and Advice!!! [570-610-cntd.]  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Feb 2019, 21:18
Appler wrote:
I prepared for the test for the last twenty days since Feburary 1st.
Are you saying that you managed to go from a 570 to a 610 in 20 days? That's actually quite good. Give yourself a little more time if you are looking for an even higher score.
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Re: What should I do? In Dire Need of Help and Advice!!! [570-610-cntd.]  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Feb 2019, 14:43
Hi Appler,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. I think the main issue here is that despite studying pretty hard and working with a tutor, your verbal score seems to have hit a ceiling, right? Since you need to make a major improvement in verbal to hit your 700+ goal score, rather than trying to develop a micro-plan based on your ESR, you really need to spend time improving in ALL ASPECTS of verbal. So, make sure that you are following a linear and structured study plan that allows you to individually learn each verbal topic, starting with the foundations before moving to more advanced concepts. By studying in such a way, you can ensure that you methodically improve your verbal skills and leave no stone unturned.

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, 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 Economist, 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, first and foremost, you MUST know your grammar rules. Let's be clear, though: GMAT Sentence Correction is not just a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning grammar rules is so that you can determine what sentences convey and whether sentences are well-constructed. In fact, in many cases, incorrect answers to Sentence Correction questions are grammatically flawless. Thus, often your task is to use your knowledge of grammar rules to determine which answer choice creates the most logical sentence meaning and structure.

This determination of whether sentences are well-constructed and logical is the second aspect of finding correct answers to Sentence Correction questions, what you see. To develop this skill, you probably have to slow way down. You won't develop this skill by spending under two minutes per question. For a while, anyway, you have to spend time with each question, maybe even ten or fifteen minutes on one question sometimes, analyzing every answer choice until you see the details that you have to see in order to choose the correct answer. As you go through the answer choices, consider the meaning conveyed by each version of the sentence. Does the meaning make sense? Even if you can tell what the version is SUPPOSED to convey, does the version really convey that meaning? Is there a verb to go with the subject? Do all pronouns clearly refer to nouns? By slowing way down and looking for these details, you learn to see what you have to see in order to clearly understand which answer to a Sentence Correction question is correct.

There is only one correct answer to any Sentence Correction question, there are clear reasons why that choice is correct and the others are not, and those reasons are not that the correct version simply "sounds right." In fact, the correct version often sounds a little off at first. That correct answers may sound a little off is not surprising. If the correct answer were always the one 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 logical meanings. 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 be determined to see the differences and figure out the precise reasons that one choice is correct.

To improve what you do when you answer Sentence Correction questions, seek to become aware of how you are going about answering them. Are you being careful and looking for logic and details, or are you quickly eliminating choices that sound a little off and then choosing the best of the rest? If you choose an incorrect answer, consider what you did that resulted in your arriving at that answer and what you could do differently in order to arrive at correct answers more consistently. Furthermore, see how many questions you can get correct in a row as you practice. If you break your streak by missing one, consider what you could have done differently to extend your streak.

As with your Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension regimens, after learning a particular Sentence Correction topic, engage in focused practice with 30 questions or more that involve that topic. As your skills improve, you will then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple Sentence Correction 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 11 Mar 2019, 05:59
Hi Appler,

I understand you have put in a lot of effort in preparing for GMAT. What you need to identify is if the efforts were in the right direction. The good thing is you have not given up and are determined to get to your target score.

Instead of thinking of GMAT as a black box where you hope or worry about a certain score it is better to know precisely how to get to your desired score. And, it is very much possible. This can be done through a milestone driven approach.

What is a milestone driven approach?

Milestones are the targets in each sub-section i.e., the targets in each of SC, CR and RC, that will lead to your overall verbal score and eventually your overall target score. To identify these milestones, you can use the Personalized Study Planner. It will tell,
    1. Where to spend the time to improve your score
    2. How much time to spend in each area
    3. A clear path to reach your target score (set the milestones)

A sample plan from 610 to 700 would look like this. As you have a more precise inputs from your ESR you can refine the plan. Learn how you can refine the plan using your inputs.



The focus no longer remains on solving as many questions as possible from these sub-sections, but on building the right skills to reach the targets.

Way Forward

In Quant section despite having exam anxiety you got a decent score. Improving from here on will not be difficult. The exam anxiety that you faced can also be tackled. This article will help you understand how - GMAT Anxiety.

In Verbal, you need to focus on how you are solving each question, how confidently you are applying the processes or concepts. Unless you have clarity of understanding your scores will fluctuate.

To gain clarity, first find out the weak areas - the topics or question types that you are not comfortable with. To get such precise feedback you can use the Scholaranium platform.

    • Take a Quant Ability Quiz or Verbal Ability Quiz depending on the area you choose to focus
    • Analyse the Skill Data section to identify the weak areas. You will get insights regarding your timing, accuracy, topic faltered on etc. as shown below.
    • Improve upon the weak areas to hit your target score.


You can also analyse the mock tests/practice questions that you have taken so far. Learn how to analyse GMAT mock tests to course correct effectively.

Get Started

I am sharing a few free resources below to help you with the prep. You can get access to a lot more of these videos and practice questions once you sign up for the Free Trial.

Enhance your Application Skills

To make the practice more effective learn the right processes that will help you score high consistently. To do so you can attend the free CR session – Pre-thinking for Assumptions and Algebra Webinar this weekend. Learn through live interaction with the top-rated experts.

If you need further help with your preparation feel free to reach out to us at

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What should I do? In Dire Need of Help and Advice!!! [570-610-cntd.]   [#permalink] 11 Mar 2019, 05:59
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