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## Last 2 weeks: Score Improvement advice needed!

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hifunda Rising GMAT Star
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Last 2 weeks: Score Improvement advice needed! Sat May 05, 2012 1:50 am
Hi all,

I need some tips on how to improve my scores on the mocks which I am going to be taking till another 2 weeks. Looking at atleast a 720. So far, done two tests -

MGMAT 1 650 (Q45, V34)
and
GMATPrep1 620 (Q42, V32). (I took this without adequate preparation/review from last CAT, as I had to deal with a personal problem at home and couldn't really concentrate) I actually found this test more challenging than the MGMAT one though, which I found very surprising.

Regarding my prep so far, I have done the MGMAT guides for Math, SC and RC. I started the Powerscore bible for CR last week, and still trying to finish it. Its a huge book! My main weakness in Verbal is CR clearly, as my accuracy rate is very low. I practise a couple of CR and RC passages each day to keep fresh from the OG. I am pretty confident on SC, though I can still improve by attacking them more methodically on the errors tested.

Weaknesses in Quant include some tough Number properties, Probability/Combinations and some Word Problems. I believe I can improve on those with a through review of Manhattan guides.

Taking my third practice test, the MGMAT CAT2 today. Then, I will continue taking GMATPrep and its retakes. Will post my results here till test day.

Expert suggestions for CR improvement needed!
Thanks!

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hifunda Rising GMAT Star
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Sat May 05, 2012 9:24 am
Took the MGMAT CAT 2 today.
Score: 640 (Q44, V34)

Verbal seems stuck at 32-34. I know maximum work needs to be done on CR and some on RC. SC is better.
How do I improve and go above atleast 38, with so less time available?

hifunda Rising GMAT Star
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Sun May 06, 2012 4:51 am
Guys I need some responses and help from this forum.

sam2304 GMAT Titan
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Test Date:
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Target GMAT Score:
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GMAT Score:
680
Sun May 06, 2012 7:51 am
Take another GMATPrep test as early as possible and see if you can reach your target score. MGMAT SCs are easier compared to GMATPrep SCs or GMAT SCs so don't count on that. You got to learn whatever is possible based on your GMAT Prep test. See how many mistakes you make in each section. Avoid continuous mistakes - first and easiest way to resolve it is to check for your RC performance, if there are no continuous mistakes in RCs then half the problem is solved. You should improve only CR and SC.

For CR, you can use powerscore - even if you cannot go through the entire book learn the most tested concepts or topics whichever you find difficult to solve (check this link for the topics http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2012/05/05/rushing-to-take-the-gmat-before-it-changes). For SC, MGMAT SC is the best. For RC, see thursdays with Ron's videos on MGMAT site and start applying the strategy in OG/GMAT Prep passages. Avoid other test prep material as much as possible and stick to OG/GMAT Prep materials.

Check if you are struggling with inequalities, geometry, word problems, number properties and statistics - These are some of the most tested topics in quant. Probability and combinatorics - learn the basics, it is suffice. If you are making more mistakes in DS than PS then you need to check your DS strategy, you are good in content. To improve your DS follow ADBCE approach, make lot of flash cards, do not try to solve till the last step. Look for what is needed and stop once you have identified them.

Try to identify patterns in question types. You can improve a lot practicing that way. Find the gmat prep question documents and solve them, review them more and try to find some patterns or shortcuts. Hope this helps !!

_________________
Getting defeated is just a temporary notion, giving it up is what makes it permanent.
http://gmatandbeyond.blogspot.in/

hifunda Rising GMAT Star
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Sun May 06, 2012 10:04 am
Thanks sam2304 for the advice on Verbal.

I am planning to take just one last MGMAT CAT this week, and then I will cover 3 more GMATPreps till test day. Not that bad on DS as I am comfortable with the AD/BCE approach.

Quote:
Check if you are struggling with inequalities, geometry, word problems, number properties and statistics - These are some of the most tested topics in quant.
I agree, will definitely focus on them.

Quote:
Try to identify patterns in question types. You can improve a lot practicing that way.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by patterns in question types?
Thanks!

sam2304 GMAT Titan
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Sun May 06, 2012 11:49 am
Patterns are something you should find on your own. If you go through powerscore CR guide, you will find shell game answers, extreme word answers - all these are patterns. These are very generic. Apart from these you can find something on your own and you should do it on your own rather than trying to fit in an answer choice to a known pattern. You should try to learn it from your experience rather than learning it from a book or from someone. If you are excellent at strengthen question, you will probably don't need patterns to work it out. So they are useful only for your weak areas and that can be learnt or identified only by yourself

_________________
Getting defeated is just a temporary notion, giving it up is what makes it permanent.
http://gmatandbeyond.blogspot.in/

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hifunda Rising GMAT Star
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Thu May 10, 2012 5:43 am
Took the third practice test today and am really frustrated with the results:

Score: 620 (Q41, V34)

Obviously, my Quant score has come down and I guessed on many questions to save time for later questions. This must have resulted in a string of wrong answers and pulled the score down.

I'm really at a loss of words about Verbal- I have been getting the same 34 score since my first practise test, there seems to be no improvement. Last week, I revised CR strategies which was my biggest weakness till now, thinking it will add to my score a little, but clearly I am missing something crucial in my verbal preparation. I'd like to add that I still have CR and RC questions left in the OG to complete, which I plan to complete in the next few days.

I also realize I need to more thoroughly revise the most frequently tested topics that are my weakness for Quant, And, from now on - only GMATPrep tests till test day. Enough with the Manhattan CATs...

Does anyone see something obviously wrong in my strategy that I'm somehow missing? Waiting to get some feedback.

I have less than 10 days left!

hifunda Rising GMAT Star
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Wed May 16, 2012 5:23 am
Update: Took GMATPrep 2 today and scored a 620, lower than last time (650 Q-47 and V-31, though I saw a few repeats then).

Q - 46
V - 30

As usual, Quant seems consistent at ~45 but Verbal is really proving to be a pain! (Never increasing.) I still need to completely review the test and will post my mistakes, but what do you guys suggest I do regarding Verbal?

I think I need a confidence boost more than anything else right now.

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lunarpower GMAT Instructor
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Sat May 19, 2012 10:35 pm

to the original poster --
there's not much here to go on; all you've given is a bunch of scores (which, by themselves, don't mean a whole lot) and then the names of some materials with which you're preparing.
in other words, the considerations that are actually essential here -- such as what you've actually been doing to prepare -- are notably absent.
HOW did you study?
WHAT did you do?
HOW did you review?
HOW do you think about the problems when you first encounter them in a test situation?
these are the kinds of things that will actually allow us to dispense meaningful advice.

--

in the meantime, here are a few tips for CR in general.

although you may have “gone through” the existing OG problems, there are still plenty of other things that you can do with them -- some of which are arguably more important, in terms of true understanding, than just going through and “solving” the problems.

here are two things you should be able to do with strengthening, weakening, “evaluate the argument”, and “explain the situation” problems (which, taken together, represent about 75-80% of all the problems in the critical reasoning section):

1/ MAKE ANALOGIES
you should be able to create a new argument, with different topic material, that proceeds in the same sort of way as the existing argument.

for instance, here is an analogy for #43 in OG12:
Both dieting and exercising will help Ron lose body fat. From experience, Ron knows that dietary changes have a greater impact on his body fat levels than do exercise programs. Therefore, if Ron watches his diet extremely closely, he is doing everything he can do to lose body fat.

--> you'll notice that this argument proceeds in the same way as the existing problem #43 (which i'm not allowed to reproduce here).
however, because it is about topics that are a lot closer to the ground, so to speak -- super mundane stuff like losing body fat -- it's probably a lot easier to understand. in fact, it's probably almost impossible for you to read the argument above without immediately thinking, “why not do both?”

the advantage of making analogies, then, is that it helps you become more intuitive about the process. at the end of the day, CR is basically testing real-world human intuition (as opposed to “rules”), so this is a pretty big deal.

the hallmark of problems involving strengthening, weakening, and explaining situations -- just as in the real world -- is that there are lots and lots and lots of ways to strengthen, weaken, or explain something. in other words, there will very rarely be just one way to weaken/strengthen/explain something; instead, in almost all cases, the test writers have simply selected one of many potentially correct answers.

as an example, consider #109 in OG12 critical reasoning. (if you haven't actually solved this problem before, give it a shot before continuing to read.)

the way the correct answer choice works, in that problem, is that it's based on the common-sense principle that people will be less likely to do things if they might get caught. (note that the same principle also makes the problem impossible to solve with “rules”; no one will ever have memorized this principle as a “rule” during any course of study.)
however, that's certainly not the only way to bolster the argument. for instance, the following statement would also strengthen it:
the majority of prank calls made to the fire department are made by teenagers, whose parents monitor their telephone use at home.

if you do these 2 things, you will not only breathe new life into old OG problems, but also reinforce the right mentality for thinking about these problems in the first place (where "the right mentality" means "NOT memorization").

_________________
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He wears white after Labor Day, gets 55% of his calories from protein, and takes standardized tests for fun.

Pueden hacerle preguntas a Ron o en inglés o en español.

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hifunda Rising GMAT Star
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Sat May 19, 2012 10:58 pm
Thanks for those CR tips Ron.

From the last few days, I have gotten better at CR and improved quite a bit in my last test performance. I have my test tomorrow, and based on its outcome, I shall post my results or retake plan, whichever it is!

Thanks once again!

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