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550 GMAT (Q 33 / V 31) - need to add 100 points in 1 month

This topic has 6 member replies
Alfie84 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
03 Dec 2009
4 messages

550 GMAT (Q 33 / V 31) - need to add 100 points in 1 month

Post Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:25 am
Hi guys,

I just completed my first take today and slightly surprised at the 550 score. Given I put so much effort in, I am especially disappointed with my quants score which I considered to be my strongest area. However, I must admit, I just concentrated on the books and didn't complete many actual tests under timed conditions.

I have been using the following material:

Official Guide 12th
GMAT verbal review 2nd edition
GMAT quant review 2nd edition
Prince Review - cracking the GMAT
SC - Manhattan

Is it unrealistic to add 100 points in a month. Do you guys think the material above is sufficient?

Any advice would be much appreciated!!


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mjgoldste Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
23 Dec 2009
19 messages
5 times
Target GMAT Score:
GMAT Score:
Post Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:13 pm

Just wanted to put up a post because you want to retake the test in a month and thus, time is short. Before the response begins in earnest, a couple of questions for you:

1) How long did you spend preparing for the test the first time around?
2) What was the quality and consistency of your study habits?
3) What were your diagnostic scores?
4) Do you have a handle on the basic concepts necessary for GMAT success?
5) Did you actively seek out challenge problems?
6) During the test, were you feeling tired, distracted, disheartened, or in any way not at your 100% best?
7) Did you eat a meal before the test, take the allowed 8-minute breaks, and pace yourself well?
8) Did you leave any questions blank when you finished a section?

And now for some general advice:

1) If you're only going to study for a month, really make that month count. Set yourself a daily schedule TODAY and don't err from it for the next four weeks. Study six days a week, two hours a day, and take a practice test each week from now until test day. Spend the first hour doing practice problems and the second hour going through answers. Make sure you understand why answers are right, why answers are wrong, and why some answers look appealing but are incorrect.

2) Study smart while studying hard: don't just do a ton of studying, check your answers and go to bed. Moreover, make sure you're absorbing information. Build your stamina and make the test a priority; cut down on extra curriculars and stay focused.

3) As far as additional materials, I highly recommend buying into Manhattan GMAT's $75 online test bundle. It includes 6 CATs, 8 problem banks for each of the GMAT question types, one 25-question math challenge problem set, and a math diagnostic to make sure your math skills are up to snuff. Keep at it with the OG's--those are your best bet for a good score. The other big reason I support MGMAT's materials is that their online content comes with answer explanations for every problem and the explanations are clear, comprehensive, and thus incredibly useful.

4) Identify which problems give you trouble. I knew early on when I began my GMAT prep that Data Sufficiency and Critical Reasoning questions were going to give me trouble because I have no sense of logic. So, I doubled down on those and did the best I could. But, more importantly, knowing which questions I had trouble with, I made a huge effort to get the ones I did know how to do correct at every possible opportunity. Spread your focus evenly while accounting for the problem types that give you trouble.

5) I haven't heard anything positive or negative consistently about Princeton Review's books but they seem a little on the not-great side to me. I dunno why but I have the sense that the book always wanted to buddy up to me by using semi-hip language and it always distracted or aggravated me that that was the case.

6) It is very realistic to expect a 100-point jump in a month, but you have to make it happen. If ever you feel like slacking for a night or just taking some time off, remind yourself that your GMAT score is your gateway to graduate school and thus the life you want for yourself. Set goals, stick to them, and work, work, work. And most importantly, don't ever forget why you're studying for the exam. If you got a 550, that means you can score higher with more work. Don't doubt your abilities. Go go go.

7) Make sure your stamina is up to snuff. Don't let the test get the best of you--it's a 3 hour exam at least and that means you've got to be wide awake and alert the whole time. Or, think of yourself as a major league baseball pitcher. You want your last pitch to be as crisp as your first and to do that, you need to practice keeping your focus up day in and day out.

8) And finally, I think you've identified a core problem in that you didn't take many practice exams under timed conditions. You have to get used to spending no more than 3-4 minutes on each problem and more importantly, get used to sustaining that kind of focus over the course of a lengthy, lengthy exam. Do everything under timed constraints. When you're doing problem sets, set a stopwatch to get yourself into the habit of doing problems quickly and efficiently. And when you take practice exams, do so strictly. If you don't finish a section, don't let yourself off the hook--leave the questions blank to teach yourself how to move faster.

Good luck with your studies. If you have questions or comments, I check the boards with some regularity. Do everything you can to achieve your goals and remember, you are the master of your fate on this one.



Thanked by: Alfie84, VicAnn4
Alfie84 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
03 Dec 2009
4 messages
Post Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:24 am
The advice is really helpful. I am definitely going to buy the test bundles. So far, the MGMAT SR has been quite useful especially with the depth of each topic in SR.

I do have to say that Princeton Review is easier to understand but the downside is that the questions are not difficult. It is more of a strategy guide as to how to crack it. I've applied the concepts and it works (sometimes).

I am now motivated again. It's been a week of disheartenment but have now set out what I need to do in one month. The only problem is I can't solely concentrate on the GMAT as there are some MBA applications, I've yet to finish.

Thanks again!!

VicAnn4 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
01 Feb 2010
6 messages
Post Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:29 am
Mike- Thank you so much for this post. Your advice is extremely helpful and motivating.

I’m in a situation simililar to Alfie’s. I took the GMAT Feb. 28th, and was NOT pleased with my score of 530. Like Alfie, I would like to increase my score about 100 points. I had spent two months studying for the test, but in retrospect, I don’t know if I was studying “smart” as you said. Two weeks ago I scheduled a test retake for April 10th and bought all the Manhattan Quant Stratedy books which came with access to the question banks and CAT’s. Best $75 I have ever spent! These books are helping immensely. I have also been more diligent about my studying. The first time around, I would get lazy or try to cramp stuff in late at night when my brain was already fried. This time around, I study at lunch and early in the evening when my mind is fresh. This in itself is making a huge impact. Also, like you said, I’m doing a CAT a week and reviewing ALL problems. I focus on the incorrect answers, but I’m also sure to pay attention to the ones I got correct as well so that I understand WHY they are correct. Anyway, thank you again.

Alfie- Good luck on your retake! I know we will both be able to reach our goal of increasing our scores 100 points. We can do it!!!

vkanwal Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
03 Nov 2009
4 messages
Post Sun Apr 04, 2010 6:01 am
Hi Mike ,
Thank you for such an ispirational post . I took my exam today and scored 530 (Q 45, V 19) .I am highly disappointed at my score Sad .Though it was an outcome of a prep of 1 month that too a lazy prep .And i was aware of my weakness (that i lacked in Verbal part).But could not improve on it much .Please put light on some good material for improving Verbal section .My target is 7**.I was following some free available online .But this time i really want to be concise with the material .So that i can focus on some specific material.
And time which i have for my next exam is (1-1.5 months at the max).

Thnx in advance

rob24601 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
25 Feb 2010
2 messages
Post Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:42 pm
I took the GMAT on February 20 and got a 570. I spent a month going through the Veritas Prep online course and books. I re-took the exam on March 27th and scored a 660. Here is my original post:


I was able to improve my score 90 points in one month. Hopefully this helps. Just keep working hard, and your score will improve!

vkanwal Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
03 Nov 2009
4 messages
Post Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:50 am
Thanx Rob fr a quick response .


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