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Will retake but don't know how to do better

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Will retake but don't know how to do better  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Oct 2018, 20:49
Hi,

I took the GMAT yesterday and got very frustrated with my score. I got a 690 (Q48 V35), I'm aiming for at least 720 to get into the schools I chose. I studied for around 3 months, and 4-6 hours a day in the last month. I studied all Manhattan Prep books cover to cover TWICE, and finished answering all the questions on the OG guide and both the Verbal and Quantitative Guide. I took 6 GMAT CAT Practice Exams within the last month with scores as follows:

Exam 1: 690 (Q49 V35)
Exam 2: 710 (Q48 V38)
Exam 3: 720 (Q49 V38)
Exam 4: 720 (Q48 V40)
Exam 5: 730 (Q49 V31)
Exam 6: 660 (Q45 V36)

I thought I was doing okay but on my last practice CAT, which I took a day before my GMAT exam, I got a 660 which greatly affected my morale.

Now, I'm planning to retake in a month but I don't know how and where to start. I pretty much made use of all resources available to so I have no idea how to improve my score. But then again, I got higher scores on my practice exams so I don't know what happened.

Would appreciate any feedback or advice from you guys.
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Re: Will retake but don't know how to do better  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Oct 2018, 01:06
dreamcatcher007 wrote:
Hi,

I took the GMAT yesterday and got very frustrated with my score. I got a 690 (Q48 V35), I'm aiming for at least 720 to get into the schools I chose. I studied for around 3 months, and 4-6 hours a day in the last month. I studied all Manhattan Prep books cover to cover TWICE, and finished answering all the questions on the OG guide and both the Verbal and Quantitative Guide. I took 6 GMAT CAT Practice Exams within the last month with scores as follows:

Exam 1: 690 (Q49 V35)
Exam 2: 710 (Q48 V38)
Exam 3: 720 (Q49 V38)
Exam 4: 720 (Q48 V40)
Exam 5: 730 (Q49 V31)
Exam 6: 660 (Q45 V36)

I thought I was doing okay but on my last practice CAT, which I took a day before my GMAT exam, I got a 660 which greatly affected my morale.

Now, I'm planning to retake in a month but I don't know how and where to start. I pretty much made use of all resources available to so I have no idea how to improve my score. But then again, I got higher scores on my practice exams so I don't know what happened.

Would appreciate any feedback or advice from you guys.
This may be frustrating, but your actual score is not very different from your practice test scores, although you are certainly capable of a better score. If anything, I would want to look into exam 5 (Q49 V31 is not 730) to see what happened in those last two practice tests.

Every GMAT (and GMATPrep) score represents a "possible" score, associated with its own confidence interval. That is, although a GMAT score might look very precise, it is not. And this is before accounting for other things like exam day anxiety/pressure, things that the exam cannot take into account.

1. Were these GMATPreps? If yes, had you already seen any of the questions?
2. Try not to take a practice test just before your exam. Use the last few days to relax and conserve your energy (for the actual test).
3. Have faith in yourself. There is every reason to believe that you are already capable of a 730. So think very hard before deciding to make significant alterations to your study patterns. If I were you, I'd look at this more as a situation where a few remaining weaknesses need to be identified and worked on.
4. Keep in mind that the first attempt is usually not the best.
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Re: Will retake but don't know how to do better  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Oct 2018, 01:39
Hi AjiteshArun , thank you so much for your reply. To answer your question, yes, they are all GMATPreps and no, I haven't seen the questions before. I have practically exhausted the MGMAT books and the OG books to the point that I can remember the answers just by reading the questions, so these are no longer an option for me. I am thinking of signing up for a Magoosh Premium which guarantees a 50 point increase, otherwise I will get my money back. Do you think this is a smart decision? Or can you recommend certain resources that you think will help me increase my score? I'll be retaking the GMAT a month from now, hopefully in time for round 2 applications.

Thank you so much.
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Re: Will retake but don't know how to do better  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Oct 2018, 02:01
dreamcatcher007 wrote:
Hi AjiteshArun , thank you so much for your reply. To answer your question, yes, they are all GMATPreps and no, I haven't seen the questions before. I have practically exhausted the MGMAT books and the OG books to the point that I can remember the answers just by reading the questions, so these are no longer an option for me. I am thinking of signing up for a Magoosh Premium which guarantees a 50 point increase, otherwise I will get my money back. Do you think this is a smart decision? Or can you recommend certain resources that you think will help me increase my score? I'll be retaking the GMAT a month from now, hopefully in time for round 2 applications.

Thank you so much.
So you need more practice tests, and you need more practice questions, perhaps as part of a course.

1. Non-official tests can be useful. Just stick with the more reliable providers.
2. Are you sure you've worked through all the official questions? Check whether there are other official questions that you can do (older OGs, question pack 1). Going through GMAT Club itself is a good start. You'll quickly get an idea of how much official material there is.
3. Magoosh should be fine, but I strongly recommend that you find and switch back to official material as you get closer to your exam.
4. Don't go by score guarantees. They are more of a marketing tool than a reflection of a company's belief in its content. But if you do take a decision on the basis of a score guarantee, keep in mind that such guarantees are not unconditional. Read the fine print carefully to understand what you'll need to claim a refund.

Finally, you may want to take GMATPrep 1 and 2 again. Make sure you don't hit reset on those tests, so that option remains open to you.
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Re: Will retake but don't know how to do better  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Oct 2018, 17:51
Hi dreamcatcher007,

First off, a 690/Q48 is a strong score (it's above the 85th percentile overall), so it could be enough to get you into your first-choice School. As such, a retest might not be necessary. Depending on the Schools that you plan to apply to, you would likely find it beneficial to speak with an Admissions Expert about your overall profile. There's a Forum full of those Experts here:

http://gmatclub.com/forum/ask-admission ... tants-124/

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, your 6 CAT score results - along with your Official Score - show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 690 +/- a few points). To earn a significantly higher Score on the Official GMAT, you have to really 'nitpick' your performances (both on your CATs and on the entirety of Test Day). As such, you might 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 you should work on to score higher. If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

In addition, the process of taking (and reviewing) a CAT requires a significant amount of energy and effort - and takes time to 'recover' from. This is one of the reasons why you typically shouldn't take more than 1 CAT per week - and your last CAT should be taken about 1 week before Test Day. By taking 6 CATs over the last month - including 1 right before your Official GMAT - there's a reasonable chance that you experienced some 'burn out' on Test Day. Even if you didn't "feel" tired, both your Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores were at the lower end of your 'range', so the data certainly makes it appear that you were not at your best on Test Day.

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) Do you still have access to this group of CATs (can you go back and review them, question-by-question?)?
2) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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Re: Will retake but don't know how to do better  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Oct 2018, 16:45
I’m sorry to hear how things went with your GMAT. So, let’s look at the good news: Your Q48 and V35 were pretty much in line with the quant and verbal scores from your six practice exams, right? So, listen, 690 IS NOT a total disaster. That being said, assuming you took your practice exams under realistic testing conditions, the results of your official practice tests show that “on a good day,” you are capable of scoring higher than 690. Thus, it’s quite possible that nerves, stress, tiredness, or a combination of all three negatively affected your test-day performance. However, it’s also possible that you have some lingering weaknesses that were exposed on test day.

The best path forward is to is to go through GMAT quant and verbal 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. 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.

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.

You can work on verbal in a similar manner. Let’s say you are reviewing Critical Reasoning. Be sure that you practice a large number of Critical Reasoning questions: Strengthen and Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, find the Conclusion, Must be True, etc. As you go through the questions, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get correct. If you missed a Weaken question, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize what the question was asking? Did you skip over a key detail in an answer choice? Getting GMAT verbal questions right is a matter of what you know, what you see, and what you do. So, any time that you don't get one right, you can seek to identify what you would have had to know in order to get the right answer, what you had to see that you didn't see, and what you could have done differently to arrive at the correct answer.

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.

I realize that you are looking for new materials, so check out the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses.

You also may find my article with more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.
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Re: Will retake but don't know how to do better &nbs [#permalink] 21 Oct 2018, 16:45
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