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# Why am I not improving

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Intern
Joined: 20 Mar 2011
Posts: 2
Why am I not improving [#permalink]

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28 Mar 2011, 06:42
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Hey guys,

I have been lurking around here for quite some time but finally decided to post because I am getting a little frustrated with my recent CAT scores.

I am an economics student and will graduate this summer. Since my GPA is only average and I want to get into a real good graduate program I definitely need a GMAT over 700. My goal is to get 750 points.

I started to prepare in early February part time as I still had some exams in the of Feb and then went fulltime from the 1st of March. Went through the OG, quant and SC 2 times, and also read the MGMAT quant books. After I saw that I was having trouble with Verbal I went through the Verbal Guide. G-Day will be March 7, so I only have one more week to study.

My CAT scores are the following:

GMAT Prep (Q42,V39) - 660 - Middle of Feb. This was after I went through the quant section in the OG.
MGMAT 1 (Q45, V44) - 730 - March 9
MGMAT 2 (Q45,V36) - 670 - March 20
GMAT Prep II (Q47,V37) - 690 - March 22
MGMAT 3 (Q47,V39) - 700 - March 25
MGMAT 4 (Q44, V40) - 700 - March 28

As you can see I have trouble getting over the 700 threshhold. Except for my first MGMAT CAT (730) it's verbal that's weighing me down. I have already improved substantially in SC but noticed that I sometimes lack comprehension in difficult RC and CR questions. This might be because I am not a native speaker.

As for Quant the questions I failed at in the GMAT Prep CATs were really stupid and I think I can slightly improve there. In the MGMAT CATs there are several questions which I could never solve in 2 minutes (permutations, probabilities) and where I also lack some concepts. Because of this I will definitely look up some explanations in the MGMAT guides.

My question now is where I should focus my preparation in order to make the most substantial improvement in the week that I've got left. Quant or Verbal? Is it worth devoting much time to permutation questions ando so on?

Hope you guys can help.

Thanks and best regards,

Chris
Manager
Joined: 05 Nov 2009
Posts: 63
Re: Why am I not improving [#permalink]

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28 Mar 2011, 07:04
Hi Chris,

I think you want to post it here so more people can help you with your problem.
gmat-1/

Anyway since you have tried several of the MGMAT test, you probably want to see the assessment report based on those test and try to check which are your weaknesses and start from there. I can say that the assessment report has really helped me a lot in knowing my weaknesses.
Senior Manager
Joined: 17 Mar 2011
Posts: 449
Location: United States (DC)
Concentration: General Management, Technology
GMAT 1: 760 Q49 V45
GPA: 3.37
WE: Information Technology (Consulting)
Re: Why am I not improving [#permalink]

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28 Mar 2011, 10:49
1
KUDOS
Hm... March 7 was 3 weeks ago, do you mean April 7?

But anyways, a lot of strategies say to solidify your strength the last few days before the exam. I'm not necessarily sure if I buy into that 100%; it may be a good policy if you're happy with your current score range, but if you're trying to raise your score above what you've been getting on practice exams, you'll probably need to spend the last week addressing your weaknesses.
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Joined: 16 Oct 2010
Posts: 7440
Location: Pune, India
Re: Why am I not improving [#permalink]

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28 Mar 2011, 17:30
creeper wrote:
Hey guys,

I have been lurking around here for quite some time but finally decided to post because I am getting a little frustrated with my recent CAT scores.

I am an economics student and will graduate this summer. Since my GPA is only average and I want to get into a real good graduate program I definitely need a GMAT over 700. My goal is to get 750 points.

I started to prepare in early February part time as I still had some exams in the of Feb and then went fulltime from the 1st of March. Went through the OG, quant and SC 2 times, and also read the MGMAT quant books. After I saw that I was having trouble with Verbal I went through the Verbal Guide. G-Day will be March 7, so I only have one more week to study.

My CAT scores are the following:

GMAT Prep (Q42,V39) - 660 - Middle of Feb. This was after I went through the quant section in the OG.
MGMAT 1 (Q45, V44) - 730 - March 9
MGMAT 2 (Q45,V36) - 670 - March 20
GMAT Prep II (Q47,V37) - 690 - March 22
MGMAT 3 (Q47,V39) - 700 - March 25
MGMAT 4 (Q44, V40) - 700 - March 28

As you can see I have trouble getting over the 700 threshhold. Except for my first MGMAT CAT (730) it's verbal that's weighing me down. I have already improved substantially in SC but noticed that I sometimes lack comprehension in difficult RC and CR questions. This might be because I am not a native speaker.

As for Quant the questions I failed at in the GMAT Prep CATs were really stupid and I think I can slightly improve there. In the MGMAT CATs there are several questions which I could never solve in 2 minutes (permutations, probabilities) and where I also lack some concepts. Because of this I will definitely look up some explanations in the MGMAT guides.

My question now is where I should focus my preparation in order to make the most substantial improvement in the week that I've got left. Quant or Verbal? Is it worth devoting much time to permutation questions ando so on?

Hope you guys can help.

Thanks and best regards,

Chris

In Quant, it is easy to go from 35 to 45. Many books will do the trick for you. But going from 45 to 50 is far more difficult. Books can only help you so much with that. You need to concentrate all your energies and try and think like the test maker.. Plus you should be able to recognize the concepts tested in minimum time. Obviously, it can be done (many people do it) but a week isn't enough time for that. In Verbal, going from 38 to 44 isn't easy either, but in my opinion, do-able in a week if you don't really have problems in English. CR is a strategy based section. You should know what kind of a question you are dealing with, what you have to look for and where will you find it etc. If you do this, you may see an immediate jump in the score. Reading RC passage carefully the first time you read it is also important to answer the questions correctly (especially the inference type questions)
But remember, whatever you choose to focus on, make sure you keep practicing both sections regularly.
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Intern
Joined: 20 Mar 2011
Posts: 2
Re: Why am I not improving [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2011, 06:22
Thanks very much for the replies so far.

I looked at all my past mistakes so far and still see quite a lot of room for improvement in a week. By the way I will only be working full time on Thursday and Friday so I plan do devote 10 hours for study every day except for next Wednesday, the day before my exam.

I think what is responsible for my mistakes both in the GMAT Prep and MGMAT Cats is the following:

Lack of concepts - especially for the heavier MGMAT permutation problems and work rate problems combined with geometry and so on I really did not know how to do these in my head.

Lack of concentration/accuracy - with some quant questions I knew the concepts cold but failed at calculating accurately thus giving a wrong answer.

Lack of understanding in the Verbal section - In every fifth text or so I come across I do not get the whole meaning of the passage. This is often the case with complex biochemistry texts (e.g. the text on LSD in the MGMAT Cat). However I think better concentration or pretending that I am interested in these texts might help get at least more questions right than I do now.

As for CR I have a very high accuracy at the easier questions (did not make any errors in the first 60 questions in the OG) but only achieve an accuracy rate of 61% for the 700-800 questions as indicated in the MGMAT assessment report. Any ideas on how to improve in this area? I went through the CR guide by MGMAT but will probably get over some areas again.

My plan for the next few days looks like this:

Read up on the concepts I am struggling with which are:

Permutations/Combinations
Rate Problems
Difficult NP questions
Overlapping Sets
Difficult Percentage Problems

Will be using the MGMAT guides for this and do the corresponding exercices.

Besides I have a list of 50 to 50 OG PS and DS questions that I initially struggeled with. Moreover I will probably do some 100 problems in the OG quant guide.

As for Verbal I do not really know what I should do. I just finished going through the Verbal guide which helped me at SC but for CR I still get 3 out of 10 wrong. I think I'll carefully read the explanations in the VG and work with the GMAT Club Flashcards. Any other suggestions?

Thanks and best regards,
Chris
Senior Manager
Joined: 17 Mar 2011
Posts: 449
Location: United States (DC)
Concentration: General Management, Technology
GMAT 1: 760 Q49 V45
GPA: 3.37
WE: Information Technology (Consulting)
Re: Why am I not improving [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2011, 06:32
Creeper, for the more difficult CR questions, I find it helps significantly to be good at explicitly finding the structure of the argument.

I've posted this in a number of different threads, but I'll post it again (I mean, if I post it enough places, SOMEONE may find it helpful, right? right?! haha)

Practice reading the argument, and for each sentence write out it's purpose and paraphrase it. When you've done this for each sentence, look at the sentences and piece the argument together. When the you've explicitly outlined the argument, it's significantly easier to point out the weaknesses and assumptions on which it relies.

The more you practice it, the more second-nature it will become, and the less time you'll have to spend on the exam.
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GMAT 2: 710 Q48 V38
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Re: Why am I not improving [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2011, 06:36
Are you keeping an error log?
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Re: Why am I not improving [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2011, 09:31
The high difficulty level questions on Sentence correction and Critical Reasoning on the Verbal section are actually layered. That is they'll try to complicate the language and use difficulty constructions which would make a seemingly easy sentence/argument seem difficulty. Your ability to do well on both these areas depends on well are you able to remove the layers and see the core of the sentence. When I had prepared for the first time, I used to actually try understanding each thing in a critical reasoning question without understanding the crux or the core . On my second attempt, I actually started recognizing the "core" more and when I started doing that, there was a natural jump in my accuracy and understanding.
Re: Why am I not improving   [#permalink] 29 Mar 2011, 09:31
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# Why am I not improving

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