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Attempting GMAT again (last attempt was in 2013)

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melguy Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Attempting GMAT again (last attempt was in 2013)

Post Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:03 pm
Hello All

I used to be a regular member of this forum back in 2013. I could not get my target score back then so got enrolled into another Master's program of my choice and got busy with life after.

Yesterday I got a call from the B School I always wanted to join. They called me up as they are offering upto 100% scholarship this year and encouraged me to give it a try. Only condition I am required to sit GMAT again as my score expires in Oct 2016.

I would appreciate if anyone could give me quick tips on where to get started. I understand that Integrated Reasoning has been introduced but does it carries a lot of weight for the B School Admission team? Any other quick tips will be helpful. (P.S I will do my homework but I am just asking for quick tips e.g. if SC is asked any differently than it was back in 2013).

Thanks and again nice to see you all!

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Post Tue Oct 04, 2016 8:22 am
melguy wrote:
Hello All

I used to be a regular member of this forum back in 2013. I could not get my target score back then so got enrolled into another Master's program of my choice and got busy with life after.

Yesterday I got a call from the B School I always wanted to join. They called me up as they are offering upto 100% scholarship this year and encouraged me to give it a try. Only condition I am required to sit GMAT again as my score expires in Oct 2016.

I would appreciate if anyone could give me quick tips on where to get started. I understand that Integrated Reasoning has been introduced but does it carries a lot of weight for the B School Admission team? Any other quick tips will be helpful. (P.S I will do my homework but I am just asking for quick tips e.g. if SC is asked any differently than it was back in 2013).

Thanks and again nice to see you all!
No major changes. (IR was introduced in 2012.) As for the importance of IR, that's a matter of debate, and the weight given to the section likely varies by school. The general consensus is that IR is more important than your AWA score, but not as important as your 200-800 composite score. (Still, that's a pretty broad range of possibilities.)

As for getting started, you'll want your study plan to have three components. 1) Foundation building exercises. 2) Practice exams. 3) Official Practice problems.

#1 Give some free content from prep companies a test drive and see which company's teaching philosophy is most in line with your learning style. (Here's our app with all of our lessons included: https://itunes.apple.com/us/developer/veritas-prep/id307339099

#2 you'll get from both prep companies and mba.com

#3 you can purchase from a number of places (amazon, mba.com, etc.)

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Post Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:28 am
Hi melguy,

You clearly have a really interesting opportunity here. Can you provide a bit more information on the details/deadlines:

1) How soon do you have to take the GMAT? Is there a submission deadline?
2) Is there a particular score requirement that the School is looking for?
3) How did you score when you took the GMAT last time (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores)?

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

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melguy Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Post Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:17 am
Hi Rich

Thanks for your reply. Please see response below

1. My application deadline is Mid January 2017 and I am planning to take the GMAT in Mid December 2016.
2. The school would be happy with a 640-650 (anything more is an added bonus).
3. Back in 2013 when I was preparing I got 630 (or 600+ pretty much always) in VeritasPrep & Manhattan practice tests with Quant ~40 or more and verbal ~30. Sorry don't remember a lot now. But when I went in and sat the real exam i scored

Quant 32
Verbal 28
Total 510 (which led me to give up).

Thanks

Post Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:10 am
Hi melguy,

Based on the current timeline that you've described, you have a little over 2 months to study. While you can certainly do a lot in that time, it will pass by faster than you realize, so you really need to be efficient with your studies.

If it's really been 3 years since you last studied, then we need to get a sense of your current skills. As such, it would be a good idea to take a FULL-LENGTH practice CAT Test; you can download 2 for free from www.mba.com (and they come with some additional practice materials). That score will give us a good sense of your natural strengths and weaknesses and will help provide a basis for comparison as you continue to study. A FULL CAT takes about 4 hours to complete, so make sure that you've set aside enough time to take it in one sitting. Once you have those scores, you should report back here and we can come up with a study plan.

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

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melguy Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Post Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:09 am
Hi Rich

I sat a full test available from the official GMAT site.

Quant 29
Verbal 23
Total 450 Embarassed

I am targeting 630-650 (anything above is a bonus) with test date ~15 Dec 16. Please let me know firstly if it's possible considering last time I touched the GMAT material was back in 2013. Secondly, I would highly appreciate if you could help me with a study plan.

Thanks Smile

Post Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:16 pm
Hi melguy,

This recent practice CAT score is essentially 'in line' with your last Official GMAT score - the decrease in the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores is likely due to the long time period since you were in 'study mode.' Unfortunately, the goal of raising a 450 to a 630+ in just 2 months is probably too difficult to be considered realistic. The farther that you could push back your Test Date, the better - but you will still have to make some significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections - and all of that work will take time. If you could push back your Test Date into January, then that extra study time would be quite helpful.

1) What practice materials do you currently have?
2) How many hours do you think that you could study each week?

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

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melguy Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Post Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:30 pm
Hi Rich

I completely agree. I have been away from the test material for so long that my first question was a very simple one on Isosceles triangle and I could not remember what makes a triangle an isosceles triangle! So I agree that I have a lot of revision to do. Having said that I can push my test date to maximum 12 of Jan 2017.

Currently I have

1. Manhattan all the books. I want to revise all the quant basics with it.
2. GMATPrepNow : Watching all the videos to revise all the quant basics + Quant FlashCards.
3. Material from an independent testing centre based in Bangalore, India.

Thanks

Post Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:32 am
Hi melguy,

Beginning this next round of studies with some review is a good idea. However, you have to be careful about not falling into familiar routines. The way you chose to study last time ended in a 510 - so you can't reasonably expect to study in that same way again and score significantly higher. As such, you'll likely need to choose some new approaches and routines - which will likely involve investing in some new study materials.

Pushing your Test Date back into January is a good idea. From your last post, it was not clear how frequently you were going to be studying. Do you have a plan for which days you'll be studying each week (and the total number of hours per week?)?

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

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melguy Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Post Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:55 pm
Hello Rich

It would be great if you could suggest some new study material.

Sorry I missed on writing my study hours. I will be studying everyday from Mon - Fri three to four hours (1-2 hours in the morning + 1-2 hours in the evening). Sat I will keep for taking mock test and test results I will review on Monday and make an error log. Sunday study break. Repeat the process till Jan unless of course I get some other commitments and have to travel for a day or two.

Thanks again for your valuable input.

Post Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:38 pm
Hi melguy,

I mentioned earlier that starting off with some broad review would be a good idea, but you'll have to get into a more formal Study Plan relatively soon. Considering your score goal, and the timeline that you've described, you would likely benefit a great deal from investing in a GMAT Course of some type (either Guided Self-Study or instructor-led). In that way, you could learn all of the content, Tactics, patterns and little 'secrets' to the GMAT without hoping to 'discover' them all by working through lots of practice questions. Most GMAT Companies offer some type of free materials (practice problems, Trial Accounts, videos, etc.) that you can use to 'test out' a product before you buy it. We have a variety of those resources at our website (www.empowergmat.com). I suggest that you take advantage of all of them then choose the one that best matches your personality, timeline and budget.

If you have any additional questions, then just let me know (and you can feel free to contact me directly).

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

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melguy Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Posted:
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Target GMAT Score:
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Post Sun Oct 30, 2016 2:00 am
Hi Rich

I have a quick update since my last sample exam.

15 Oct 2016 - Official GMAT Test Software 450 Quant 29 Verbal 23

30 Oct 2016 - Official GMAT Test Software 540 Quant 35 Verbal 28

What have I done in the last 15 days :
- Have studied only Book 1 of Manhattan GMAT and 2 Chapters of Manhattan Book 2.
- Read everything from cover to cover and solved all questions provided in text and any OG 12 questions mentioned in the book.
- Made a sincere effort and have kept a detailed error log of even minor mistakes (e.g. where I added instead of subtracted) using which I realized I make careless mistakes frequently.
- Have not read anything in verbal

My study plan for the next 3-4 weeks (to brush up the basics) is

- Complete Manhattan Book #2 Fraction, Decimal and Percent
- Complete Manhattan Book #3 Equations, Inequalities and VICs
- Watch GMATPrepNow videos for Word Translation (which I personally would prefer over Manhattan #4)
- If I get time (Complete Manhattan #5 Geometry)

I have some new study material lined up after that but I want to refresh all the basics first.

I have made a study calendar which I update everyday (Google drive sharing is not working currently so I will update the post as it starts working).

Exam Date is 12 Jan 2017 and target score is 650.

Do you think its possible? Looking forward to your valuable input!

Thanks Smile

Post Sun Oct 30, 2016 4:18 pm
Hi melguy,

The improvement between these two CATs is likely due to the work that you've done to re-familiarize yourself with the proper Exam content. We need to make sure that this round of studying doesn't end with the same type of Official Score that your last round of studies ended in, so I have a few questions about how you took these CATs:

1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
2) Did you take them at home?
3) Did you take them at the same time of day as your Official GMAT?
4) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
5) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE?

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

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melguy Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Post Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:47 pm
Hi Rich

Please see my answers below

1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
I skipped the Essay and IR sections for both the 15 Oct 2016 and 30 Oct 2016 sample test.

2) Did you take them at home?
Yes, I took the exam at home but tried to simulate all exam conditions including no disturbance, notepad + sketch pen (and not A4 sheets) and 5 mins break.

3) Did you take them at the same time of day as your Official GMAT?
No, 15 Oct 2016 was Saturday and 30 Oct 2016 was Sunday. My official test will be on Thursday 12 Jan 2017.

4) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
I simulated all exam conditions (apart from skipping Essay and IR sections).

5) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE?
I installed this MBA software again. I did see one familiar RC question on American History but it was 800 level question and was out of my league back then and even today. I did not remember any of its answers so I just made the best guess. Apart from that I don't remember seeing any familiar questions.

The difference I did notice between all my last attempts of studying and this one is that I am studying each and every concept in detail and keeping an error log of the smallest mistake. Out of which I have noticed that

- In all my previous real GMAT attempts, under time pressure I just used to black out staring at a question or just randomly guessed after 2-3 mins praying it's the right answer. It was because of low confidence and not enough practice. e.g. many times if A and B are not sufficient I would just pray C is sufficient and click on C. Now I am studying each and every line of the book without skipping any topics to make sure I am confident with the concept and can test all possibilities under time limit.

- In all my previous attempts I also noticed I used to do questions after questions without keeping and error log and going back and looking at what am I doing wrong and why.

- I make a lot of silly mistakes (addition, multiplication etc) which I am working on.

- Verbal Section - I have hit the roof in Verbal section. Whether I study for 1 year or no study at all I almost always score 28 or 29 in Verbal. I seriously need to change how I approach verbal section to improve score in Verbal section (once I revise all the Quant section).

Post Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:35 am
Hi melguy,

The extra information that you've provided is quite useful, as it helps to define some things that you have to IMMEDIATELY change. In real basic terms, you took these CATs in such a way that you were NOT properly training to face the Official GMAT - so you we cannot assume that these results are accurate.

Test Day is a rather specific 'event' - the details are specific and they matter, so you have to train as best as you can for all of them. The more realistic you can make your CATs, the more likely the score results are to be accurate. The more you deviate, the more "inflated" your scores can become - and that's likely what has happened here. By skipping sections, taking the CATs at home, etc., you weren't properly training for the FULL GMAT 'experience.'

Thankfully, this is a relatively easy set of problems to fix, but you have to put in the necessary time and effort to train your brain (and body) for the FULL GMAT. For your next CAT, you really MUST take it in as realistic a way as possible (including taking the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections and taking the CAT away from your home). Once you have that score, you should report back here. I mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: you would likely benefit a great deal by investing in a GMAT Course of some type.

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

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