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620 (42-96%,32-26%) Help Improving Quant

This topic has 3 expert replies and 5 member replies
RQGMAT Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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620 (42-96%,32-26%) Help Improving Quant

Post Wed May 25, 2016 3:33 pm
Hey everyone,

I just took the GMAT a couple weeks back, 620 (Q42-96%,V32-26%), and I'm struggling to come up with a plan of how to continue. My target score is a 700+ and I'd like to take the test in a month or so.

I studied for roughly two months in October/November (1-2 hrs/day), took a break until April (I was focusing on finishing the last semester of my undergrad) and then studied for about 3.5 weeks (3 hrs/day) using Magoosh's online resources. Here are the results of my practice exams:


10/24/16 MGMAT 1: 580 (Q39-43%, V31-61%)
11/04/16 MGMAT 2: 610 (Q44-58%, V31-61%)
4/13/16 GMATPrep 1: 630 (Q40-52%, V36-79%) I believe my verbal improved in large part due to regular analysis of WSJ articles in my econ capstone class. Reading really does work!
4/20/16 MGMAT 3: 620 (Q40-47%, V35-76%)
4/27/16 MGMAT 4: 620 (Q39-43%, V36-81%)
4/30/16 MGMAT 5: --- (Q41-49%,---) Only took quant in effort to work on timing
5/2/16 GMATPrep 2: --- (Q39-48%,---) Only took quant in effort to work on timing
5/4/16 GMAT: 620 (Q32-26%,V42-96%)

I'm not sure what happened on test day but I choked on the quant and crushed the verbal. I've been building myself a lot of pressure around schools I'd like to go to and I think that plays a role.

Apart from that, I had a sad realization when I went back and analyzed my quant scores that I haven't improved over the entire course of my study. I'm definitely doing something wrong!

My typical study session is about 50% videos reviewing the basics and then practice questions followed by reviewing those I missed. Since I've been studying for about three months with no real quant improvement, I figure I need to reach out for some study plan help. Thanks in advance for the recommendations!

RQGMAT



Last edited by RQGMAT on Thu May 26, 2016 8:26 am; edited 2 times in total

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Post Wed May 25, 2016 6:01 pm
Hi RQGMAT,

To start, a 620 is actually a decent score (the average score on the Official GMAT hovers around 540-550 most years). Depending on the Schools/Programs that you plan to apply to, this score might be enough to help you get in (assuming you have a strong-enough overall profile).

That having been said, I'm hoping that you can clarify some points you made in your post and answer a few additional questions:

1) On the Official GMAT, did you score Q42/V32 or Q32/V42?
2) Your score goal is 700+, but you never scored close to that on your CATs, so why didn't you push back your Test Date so that you could continue to study?

3) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
4) Which Schools are you planning to apply to?

Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level. Many Test Takers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent study time before they hit their 'peak' scores. Considering the 'time off' and short re-study period, you likely just haven't put in enough time and effort yet to have scored higher.

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

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RQGMAT Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
25 May 2016
Posted:
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Post Thu May 26, 2016 8:21 am
Rich,

Thanks for the prompt reply, I really appreciate it.

Here are the answers to your questions:

1) I updated my post to clarify the Q/V scores, sorry about that. My Official GMAT was 620, Q32/V42.

2) Great question. I had already pushed back my test date once and decided/was advised to just go through with it to get out jitters and have the full experience. I most definitely won't be taking the Official test again until my practice tests are in the right range. Hopefully that wasn't a shot in the foot!

3) I plan to go to business school in the next 3-5 years but I've been hoping to get the test done before I start my job out of undergrad in about a month. I'm seeing that this probably won't be a possibility and that I need to be more patient and consistent.

4) My target programs are HBS and Booth. I had a strong undergrad GPA in financial economics, had some good experiences during my undergrad and will be heading to a rotational leadership program to start my career.

Hope that brings some clarity!

RQGMAT

Post Thu May 26, 2016 9:03 am
Hi RQGMAT,

A V42 on the Official GMAT is an outstanding performance in that section; if you can continue to score at such a high level, then I think that you have a very good chance at scoring 700+ on the Test. Right now, the bulk of the missing points that you're looking for are going to be found in the Quant section (and if you're going to be applying to highly-competitive Schools such as Harvard, then you're going to need to make some significant improvements to your Quant Scaled Score).

I have a few questions about how you handled the Quant section on the Official GMAT:

1) Did you have to rush through questions at the end of the Quant section (and if so, then how many?)?
2) How comfortable are you 'doing math'? Do you know the formulas/rules/etc.? Can you do calculations by hand without too much trouble?
3) How did the Quant section "feel" to you? Did it seem hard? Were there questions that just didn't make sense to you?

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

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Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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RQGMAT Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
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Posted:
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Post Thu May 26, 2016 7:40 pm
Rich,

Thanks again for replying. Here are the answers to your questions:

1)I saw that I was about 5 min behind target time about halfway through the test and began to get anxious and started guessing. I think I then got into a downward spiral of mental block and guesses... In the last couple days I've done a thorough analysis of my MGMAT practice tests and have found that I have a knack for taking over 3 min (sometimes into the 4 and 5 range :/) on quite a few questions toward the beginning of the test and then I end up tyring to play catch up--I'll be working on that.

2)I'm comfortable with college algebra and calc 1 level math, but that in many cases doesn't require problem solving, it requires memorization. I think I need to develop more number sense and a better ability to use specific problem type strategies. I also struggle with looking more than one step ahead in the Q problems, I think that's holding me back as well. In my MGMAT's I'm missing a lot of exponent/root problems, combinatorics, and divisibility and primes. I also tend to take a very long time on word problems, especially rates and work.

3)It seemed hard at the beginning, but then toward the end I knew I'd done poorly because the questions the test was asking were very simple. I think the main reason for the Q32 on the Official GMAT Vs the normal 38-41 I get in practice was just the mental game. However, I'd like to get into the 46+ range on Q and will need some significant work. Just want to make sure I'm not spinning my wheels with my practice routine.

RQMGMAT

Marty Murray Legendary Member
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Post Thu May 26, 2016 9:49 pm
RQGMAT wrote:
I'd like to get into the 46+ range on Q and will need some significant work. Just want to make sure I'm not spinning my wheels with my practice routine.
While your routine has probably been good for familiarizing yourself with various aspects of GMAT quant, I think that at this point continuing in that way would in fact be "spinning your wheels."

As you said, you are comfortable with handling math that requires memorization. Rocking GMAT quant takes something different from that. It takes more of a math hacking mentality. One of the best sayings that I have heard goes something like, "People who score in the 600's are concerned with how to handle the questions. People who score in the 700's are concerned with how to get to the answers."

So to some degree what you have accomplished so far is more along the lines of learning how to handle questions than it is about becoming good at getting to answers. Now that you are familiar with GMAT quant, you have to get better at applying what you know to getting answers. You need to take a "do whatever it takes" attitude toward getting answers to GMAT quant questions, you need to develop skill in hacking your way to answers, and you are not really going to develop much more of that skill by watching videos. You have to learn to play the game by playing the game, hard.

Going forward, when you do practice questions, take as long as you have to in order to get the answers. I have a rule, that I break occasionally but not usually. I am allowed to look at an explanation only after I have found the answer to a question. The whole idea is to train yourself to find ways to get answers. While explanations can be useful sources of ideas, there won't be any explanations on the test. So you have to train yourself to be a hacker.

The fact that you are having trouble with questions in the Exponents category, questions that are not math heavy but tricky, shows that much of what you have to work on is not really about math any more, but more about seeing what you have to see and not getting tricked. You won't develop that vision by watching more videos. You will develop it by doing practice questions, topic by topic, slowly and carefully, seeking to achieve a high hit rate.

As you go through each topic, seek to become pretty much an expert at getting answers to questions of that type before you move onto the next topic. Do practice questions, learn more about how to answer questions of that type, and do more questions. Once you are great at getting answers to quant questions of most types, you will totally dominate GMAT quant.

One resource that has many categorized quant questions is the question bank here, http://bellcurves.com, which you can access by going to the GMAT area and setting up a free practice account.

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Marty Murray
GMAT Coach
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http://infinitemindprep.com/
In Person in the New York Area and Online Worldwide

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Post Thu May 26, 2016 9:58 pm
Hi RQGMAT,

With a Q32, you would have made some 'math mistakes' throughout the section and you missed out on lots of 'strategy'-based points (including a bunch of DS questions). Some of that was likely due to the pacing issue you faced, which means that you have to learn to 'see' (and respond to) the Quant section in a different way.

Based on everything that you've described, I think that you would find the EMPOWERgmat Quant Score Booster to be quite helpful. Most of our clients complete that Study Plan in under a month, so the time commitment wouldn't be too intense. Given your score goal (Q46+), you shouldn't rush through that routine though. You will have to absorb the content and Tactics to score at that higher level. 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.

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

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Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Thanked by: RQGMAT
RQGMAT Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
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Posted:
5 messages
Post Tue May 31, 2016 8:02 am
Marty Murray wrote:
Going forward, when you do practice questions, take as long as you have to in order to get the answers. I have a rule, that I break occasionally but not usually. I am allowed to look at an explanation only after I have found the answer to a question. The whole idea is to train yourself to find ways to get answers. While explanations can be useful sources of ideas, there won't be any explanations on the test. So you have to train yourself to be a hacker.
Thanks, Marty. This is great advice. I'll move forward with more of this mentality because I think you're totally right, my mindset thus far has been very operational as a try to think back on the steps I've learned to solve a problem rather than just getting the answer.

Best,
RQGMAT

RQGMAT Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
25 May 2016
Posted:
5 messages
Post Tue May 31, 2016 8:05 am
Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com wrote:
Based on everything that you've described, I think that you would find the EMPOWERgmat Quant Score Booster to be quite helpful. Most of our clients complete that Study Plan in under a month, so the time commitment wouldn't be too intense. Given your score goal (Q46+), you shouldn't rush through that routine though. You will have to absorb the content and Tactics to score at that higher level. 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.
Rich
Thanks, Rich. Really appreciate the advice and the link to more resources--I'll definitely check out empowergmat.com.

Best,
RQGMAT

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