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From 45/45/46 in Quant to 41/41

This topic has 7 expert replies and 5 member replies
jaiyeolab Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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Posted:
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From 45/45/46 in Quant to 41/41

Post Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:43 am
Elapsed Time: 00:00
  • Lap #[LAPCOUNT] ([LAPTIME])
    Hi All,

    I plan to apply to schools in round 2 and have spent the last 3 months preparing for the GMAT, so that I can achieve the score I want before the end of November. I initially prepared using EmpowerGMAT and got a great understanding of how the exam as a whole worked. After using Empower for about 6 weeks, my practice score went from 650(Q44, V35--gmac exam) to 680 (Q46 V37 gmac exam) & 680 (Q45 V37 manhattan exam) . I decided to begin using all the Manhattan GMAT material and signed up for a Manhattan GMAT in-person class. I started my Manhattan class 6 weeks ago, and it has been great. For the first time, I feel like I actually have a clear understanding of all the topics and strategies.

    Right before I started my Manhattan class, I read all the Manhattan books and took another Manhattan CAT. I scored 670 (Q41 V40 lower than my previous 2 CATs). After spending another 6 weeks on the Manhattan syllabus and feeling even stronger, I took another Manhattan CAT yesterday and while taking the exam I felt for the first time like I might break 700. However, at the end I discovered that I scored a 670 again with the exact same score in verbal and quant as the last time (41 and 40 respectively). The only good news this time is that I seemed to get far fewer verbal questions wrong 8 this time versus 13 last time, so perhaps I made a slight improvement in my verbal.

    My worry is that now that I feel good about my quant and my ability to solve problems the right way, my quant score seems to have fallen. Any chance someone has experienced something like this before? Considering that I am not applying until January, I want to take the GMAT how ever many times it takes me to get my goal score of 740. I will be taking it on September 18th for the first time, and I am hoping that I can lift my quant to a 47 by then, considering that I was at a 45 before I started using the Manhattan material. I attach my score summary from my CAT yesterday incase anyone has any insight based on what they see. Do you think I should focus heavily on the weak subjects in the attached summary? I am still waiting on feedback from Manhattan GMAT people, but I would love to hear from other experts on here as I am really unhappy to have worked so hard but to be seeing a worsening of performance. Thanks a lot in advance.

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    Post Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:01 pm
    Hi jaiyeolab,

    The scoring algorithm on the Official GMAT is far more complicated than most people realize. Since that algorithm is proprietary, no GMAT company has an exact match for it, thus CAT scores can vary a bit based on the 'biases' involved in their respective designs. It's possible that you currently have the skills to score 700+ right now, but you just haven't received the proper 'confirmation' yet. Scoring a 740+ will require a really high degree of 'precision', meaning that you cannot afford to get questions wrong because of silly/little mistakes. When you review your CATs, you have to be detail-oriented about WHY you got questions wrong (how many of those questions were 'gettable'? Because you have to correctly answer all of those to hit that type of overall score).

    Have you taken all 6 of the Official GMAC CATs yet? If you haven't, then you might want to take one of those next - and take it in a realistic fashion (take the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections, take it away from your home, at the same time of day as when you'll take the Official GMAT, etc.). Barring that option, you might consider taking a different 'brand' of CAT (from Kaplan or Veritas) to see how those results might differ.

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

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    jaiyeolab Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:30 pm
    Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com wrote:
    Hi jaiyeolab,

    Rich, thank you very much. I appreciate the note.

    I have only taken 2 of the GMAC CATs so far; I will purchase the remaining 4 and plan to take one of them next.

    You're right, as usual. I reviewed each question again today, and discovered that a silly mistake cost me in every Number Property and FDP question. I would typically get those questions right, but I spent a lot of time on Algebra and Word Problems before my most recent CAT. I was only reviewing my FDP and Number Property notes as opposed to doing actual problems, and I believe that is what cost me. Fundamentals that shouldn't have slipped by me, did.

    I plan to spend time this week doing timed sets of all topics and reviewing all my notes, allocating more time to FDP, Number Properties, Geometry and Assumption Critical Reasoning Questions. I will then take a GMAC CAT next week Monday in a realistic setting. Please let me know if you think that this makes/doesn't make sense.

    Thanks again

    Post Tue Aug 15, 2017 3:15 pm
    Hi jaiyeolab,

    Your study plan for the next week sounds fine. Based on what you described, you might want to think more in terms of your Tactics/approach to questions instead of how well you might have facts 'memorized.' Number Property questions can all be beaten by TESTing VALUES (you just have to do the necessary work on your pad and be thorough with your TEST cases). That's more about the 'process' of solving the question and less about memorizing a bunch of Number Property rules/notes.

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

    _________________
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    GMAT/MBA Expert

    Post Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:06 pm
    I'll second that: don't think of the GMAT as a test of rules. For almost everyone, the GMAT is the first exposure to real mathematical thinking, which isn't about memorizing and repeating a bunch of formulas you were given in class, but actually solving problems in novel and creative ways without necessarily having ever seen anything quite like them. That's one of the reasons the test isn't flashcardable: most of the problems force you to think and puzzle something out.

    The good news is that this actually exempts you from a lot of dull, rote, rule-drilling! You can try your own numbers, hunt for patterns and properties, and (ideally) learn how to derive these 'rules' (they really aren't rules, rules are somewhat arbitrary and math is mostly not) for yourself.

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    jaiyeolab Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:38 am
    Just to share a quick update. I took your feedback to heart and since the middle of last month my Quant mentality has flipped completely. I have focussed all my effort on being able to think logically and to apply strategy to each quant question as opposed to rehashing formulas or sticking to one known approach to each question type. I have basically allowed myself to think more flexibly through each question, and have tried to be very disciplined about writing everything down as I work through each question. The result of this has been positive. Rich has been telling me to think this way for months, but I have finally understood why and how to apply this thinking in practice, and it seems to paying dividends.

    I bought a new GMAC CAT Pack and took another GMAC CAT today and for the first time I scored over 700.

    Quant: 47
    Verbal: 42
    Total: 730

    I plan to continue to follow this pattern over the next 2 weeks before my first GMAT on the 18th. I will keep you updated as i move along and will let you know if I have additional questions. Still a lot of work to do, but I am definitely less miserable.

    Thank you

    Post Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:43 am
    First of all, Sept 18 is my birthday, so I think it's a very lucky day to take the GMAT! Wink

    I couldn't agree with Matt & Rich more - the GMAT is a logic test, not a math test. I'm so glad you're starting to frame your thinking that way!

    Glancing at your assessment report, I notice 2 things:

    1. your DS accuracy is significantly below your PS accuracy. That might indicate that you're not approaching these problems correctly yet. You might still be focusing on solving (as in PS) rather than on the underlying structure of the DS question.

    Here are some helpful resources to reframe your DS approach:

    - read the articles cited here: http://www.beatthegmat.com/help-focusing-last-3-weeks-of-study-t289200.html#766162
    and here: http://www.beatthegmat.com/how-do-i-make-d-s-questions-click-t281564.html#737862

    - re-watch the DS methods Interact lesson in your Mprep Student Center: https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/studentcenter/interact/1quant/

    - practice extra DS in the OG - go through the DS section and do random timed sets. You can also use the practice questions in GMATPrep.

    2. Number Properties is your weakest link, as others have noted. These questions are more about unpacking the underlying logic than simply applying a rule formulaically.

    - Make flashcards to help you quickly translate the GMAT code: https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2015/09/16/the-gmats-not-a-math-test-its-a-foreign-language-test/

    Be sure to sign up for the Manhattan Prep Post-Course Assessment as soon as possible. It's a free tutoring session with one of our instructors - we help you to analyze your data and come up with a specific game plan for what to do each week until test day.

    Good luck!

    _________________


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    Manhattan Prep GMAT & GRE instructor
    EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education
    Harvard Graduate School of Education


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    jaiyeolab Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:33 am
    I hope you are all well. I just took my final practice test before my exam this coming Monday. I scored a 720 this time -- 45 in Quant, 44 in verbal.

    Weirdly, I scored 13 quant questions wrong this time vs 14 wrong the last time, but I only earned a 45 this time vs 47 the last time. Conversely, I got 8 verbal questions wrong last time and scored a 42, but only 3 wrong this time and scored a 44. It seems the margin for error in verbal is very slim.

    Regardless, if you happen to have some last minute thoughts as I go into the final few days of my preparation, I'd truly appreciate it. Thanks as always

    Post Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:56 pm
    The number of questions that you get wrong is not the primary determinant of your score - it's which ones you get wrong. Getting easy ones wrong hurts your score more than getting hard ones wrong, and getting strings of wrong answers in a row hurts more than alternating wrong-right-wrong.

    Don't focus at all on counting the number wrong. Instead, deeply analyze every question, and make sure you know why you're getting those ones wrong.

    Here's how to approach the last week until your test:
    http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2016/09/14/how-to-make-the-most-of-your-final-7-days-before-the-gmat-part-1

    _________________


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    EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education
    Harvard Graduate School of Education


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    jaiyeolab Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:08 pm
    Happy birthday ceilidh.erickson! Hope it has been great.

    I took the GMAT today and did not hit my goal score. However, I am content with my score and grateful for all your help. I am still contemplating whether to re-take the exam, considering my goals and the other parts of my application. i'd love to hear if you happen to have any opinions on this matter. Thanks again for everything

    Verbal: 40
    Quant: 48
    Total: 710

    Post Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:13 pm
    Thank you! That's sweet of you to remember.

    And CONGRATULATIONS!! A 710 is a great score.

    All else being equal, it's good to strive to be at or above your target school's average/median. For top 10 schools, that's 720-730. However, 10-20pts away means that you're within the margin of error and a strong contender. Without knowing all of the other aspects of your application, I can't say whether you should aim higher or whether you're already a strong applicant.

    My advice: do a free 30-min consultation with mbaMission. They're the firm that I've worked with most, and I recommend them highly: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/?display=mba-admissions

    You can also cross-reference that with free consultations from other consulting firms (just be wary of any that try to up-sell you).

    Because you're already within the margin of error (generally understood to be +/- 20pts) of a 730, I'd say you should probably just retake it. There's already a decent chance that you could get that score without significantly more studying. If you get a 710 again, then just let it go. But might as well give it one more shot to see if you can boost it up a bit!

    If the thought of even a few more weeks of time investment / mental energy investment / test fee investment makes you cringe, though, you could spend that time polishing application essays instead. You're already a contender with a 710.

    Best of luck!

    _________________


    Ceilidh Erickson
    Manhattan Prep GMAT & GRE instructor
    EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education
    Harvard Graduate School of Education


    Manhattan Prep instructors all have 99th+ percentile scores and expert teaching experience.
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    jaiyeolab Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:08 pm
    Thanks so much! I have decided to take it one more time. Working with MGMAT to schedule my PEA. I know I can do better than 40 in Verbal and if I can raise my Quant as well, that is a bonus. Even if I do worse than 710, I need to take this thing one more time and atleast try for better.

    Post Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:40 am
    Exactly! Some schools have indicated that they'd rather see someone take it twice and get a 710 both times - indicating that they are committed to trying their hardest - than someone who takes it just once and gets a 720. Schools value effort as well as results! https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2015/12/04/heres-why-you-should-take-the-gmat-twice/

    The Manhattan Prep Post-Exam Assessment will hopefully help you strategize about how to bump your score up a few points, though. Best of luck!

    _________________


    Ceilidh Erickson
    Manhattan Prep GMAT & GRE instructor
    EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education
    Harvard Graduate School of Education


    Manhattan Prep instructors all have 99th+ percentile scores and expert teaching experience.
    Sign up for a FREE TRIAL, and learn why we have the highest ratings in the GMAT industry!

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