Retaking the GMAT

by on March 14th, 2010

StudyingIt’s common to take the GMAT twice; some have gone as far as retaking the test three or four times! At the end of the day, we all have the same reason for retaking this test: to get a higher score. Perhaps you need a higher GMAT score to compensate for a weak area on your business school application. Or maybe you wish to strengthen your performance on one section of the GMAT to indicate competency to MBA adcoms.

So what is the best strategy for retaking the GMAT? Before answering this question, it is important to assess your options.

Should I Retake?

There are several cases where retaking is definitely to your advantage. These situations can involve elements that are out of your control, or events that happen on your test day. If you are sick, dealing with a personal or family issue, or taking the GMAT in less than perfect conditions (I’ve heard many stories of people underperforming because of construction work that disrupted their ability to focus), then a retake may be advisable. These external factors may have had some impact on your low score, especially if your practice tests indicated a higher performance level.

If external factors affected your GMAT score, then retaking is a no-brainer. But there are other situations in which the decision to retake is not that easy to make. In contrast to the scenarios described above, these instances relate to elements that are more or less under your control: the quality of your study plan and of the materials you’ve used, test day anxiety, and so forth. For example, if you didn’t prep with the Official Guide for GMAT Review, you should probably consider a retake and focus your studies on this critical book.

On the other hand, if you’ve studied diligently for the past few months and have used the best materials available, then you may want to move on from your GMAT and focus on improving other aspects of your application. The same holds true for students who retake the test over and over again: unless you are consistently improving your scores, then you may have hit a plateau in your performance. Remember: taking the test more than three times may be a red flag for some admissions committees for the simple reason that a strong applicant should demonstrate good judgment in investing in other parts of her application package instead of obsessing over a single element.

All that said, if you’ve made the decision to retake the GMAT, it’s time to diagnose what went wrong in your first attempt and remedy any problems. In the following sections, I break down some of the most common mistakes students make in their initial GMAT prep.

Common Mistake #1: Wrong Materials

Many people have problems on their GMAT because they have studied with the wrong books.  You must have the right GMAT books for your GMAT prep—period.  Here are my recommendations:

Depending on what you already have, you should come up with a shopping list to complement your strengths and target your weaknesses.

Besides the books mentioned above, do not forget to download the free GMATPrep software from MBA.com. This software contains the two best GMAT practice tests available.

Common Mistake #2: Wrong Study Plan

Consider the following scenario: math has always been your strength. When you started studying for the GMAT, you enjoyed solving math problems a lot. As a result, you were biased in spending more time on math prep than on verbal prep. Consequently on your test day, your verbal score was well below your math score, resulting in a poor overall GMAT score.

The problem here is easy to spot: when you are preparing for the GMAT, you need to ignore your preferences and invest more time in your weaknesses—even if they include subjects you do not enjoy. Targeting your weaknesses should be your top priority; fortifying your strengths should come second.  Here are some suggested study plans.

Another common mistake is not being consistent in your prep. When you’ve decided to take the GMAT, you need to devise a solid plan from the start and stick to it. Procrastination and intermittent study translate into poor test performance. Inconsistent study will prevent you from learning GMAT concepts effectively. This is why a realistic, personalized plan that fits into your daily routine is the best way to go about preparing for the GMAT. If you follow this advice for your retake, I guarantee you’ll get better results.

I would also advise test takers to be “optimistically conservative” when setting their target scores. No matter how good your study plan may be, sometimes it’s just not enough. For instance, hoping for a 200-point increase in less than a month of prep is unrealistic.

Common Mistake #3: Dealing with Timing/Anxiety Issues

You’ll often hear GMAT experts mention that almost any student can solve all the questions on the GMAT if she is given enough time. However, one of the reasons why this test is so difficult is that you are under a pretty severe time constraint. In your retake study plan, be sure to emphasize test pacing. This is important to master because the penalty for not finishing a section on the GMAT is severe. You can check out a few tips regarding pacing here.

Related to test pacing is stress management. Poor time management will often lead to stress on the GMAT, which will seriously affect you ability to answer all the questions. To remedy your stress management issues, be sure to practice under simulated conditions so that you’ll get used to performing under pressure. It’s also worth mentioning that a lot of people feel more comfortable on their retake because they have already gone through the whole process once and thus are more familiar with the testing conditions.

A method that I’ve personally tested when feeling anxious is taking a few seconds to “talk yourself into” ignoring the stress and trying your best under the circumstances. Accepting the situation really helps boost your morale. You can also find some useful hints regarding stress control here.

Final Thoughts

These three mistakes are among the most commonly reported by test takers (that I’ve seen), but this list is not nearly exhaustive. No matter your reasons for retaking the GMAT, be sure to do a full review of your initial GMAT strategy. Examine your errors and target your weak concepts. If you find it hard to do this on your own, remember that you can always ask for help in the Beat The GMAT community.

272 comments

  • Thank you Dana ! I appreciate your notes

    I am the GMAT retaker, the third time on next several months !

    I had done all the questions in OG, therefore i can answer all of them when reviewed the OG for the test.
    As you suggested, i crack CR and RC in LSAT !!
    Anymore suggestion ?? My latest score is 580. So awful i am longing for 700+

    • Hi nane,

      One thing which could be deciding is finishing the exam in the specified time limit. Please make sure you have taken care of the same

  • Other sources of official materials are the two supplemental guides - the green one and the blue one. They'll pop up in the first page of search on amazon.com and you can also see them reviewed in our book section.

    • Hi Dana, 

      I took my GMAT exam twice and i got the same score (460) on both of the exam which you can probably imagine was very upsetting for me. I took Manhattan GMAT Classes, completed OG 13 problems and also followed a steady GMAT Study plan. 

      The weird thing was I took 5 practice exam prior to my second exam date and i got around 550 in all my practice exam. could you please advice as to where i might be going wrong and what i could be doing differently? Is there anything more I can do?

      any advice would be really helpful 
      Thanks,
      Nane

    • It's hard to say what you are doing wrong, given the limited information you can convey in a comment. However, you are using all the right books, so the thing that's wrong is probably your approach to study. In such a case, a tutor would be most recommended to figure out what's missing from your study. However, here are a few hints:
      - do you take notes when you study or do you just read/browse books?
      - do you keep an error log and review questions later on?
      - do you read all the solutions to questions and understand why an answer is right or wrong?
      - have you tailored your study based on your weaknesses following a diagnostic test?
      Good luck!

  • Common Mistake #2: Wrong Study Plan = Really fits on Me....
    i Need to be consistent in my prep and cling to the study Plan..

    Dana i Must say your Reviews of book and Notes are very effective...

    Thanks

  • I'm glad you like them! Their purpose is to help you!

    All the best for your test! :)

  • Hi Dana,
    I gave GMAT about a month ago, and i scored a dismal 430 after studying for almost 9 months.
    I was extremely disappointed, but instead of dwelling on this score, i decided to review my preparation strategy before i take the exam.
    These were my observation
    1. I wasn't consistent in studying for the exam, i sometimes take a week/month off and start all over again
    2. I dragged my studying for too long
    3. I did not use the right study material, used OG 10 instead of OG 12
    4. I did not try to understand the strategy to solving the quant and verbal question
    5. I did not believe my score when i use the two GMAT prep, i thought the software must be having problems
    Because i did well in MGMAT preps (>500), GMAT prep SW (<500)

    I have decided to study for 3/4 month beginning in April
    2. I created a weekly study plan that i must follow; 22hr/wk study, while working 40hr/wk
    3. Bought CR, SC bibles; also bought OG 12 and OG verbal/math review book
    4. Bought English Grammar for dummies
    5. Will create flash cards, write notes when necessary
    6. Will read books to improve my comprehension skills
    7. Time myself for attempting every problem, also understand why i got a question wrong/right
    8. Ultimately, PRAY TO GOD FOR WISDOM

    What do you think?

    • Hi JohnJ - I am browsing through old posts and found yours very appealing to my last GMAT experience (April 2011). Wondering how did you do after the new strategy? Thanks for the update.

  • :) I think that you're on the road to success, but you need to arm yourself with a strategy guide for quant as well. The Manhattan GMAT guides are rumored to be the most complete (haven't reviewed them quite yet, but will do so soon) and they also reference the official guides for practice. You could also get the Kaplan Math Workbook - it's reviewed in the Book Reviews section, Resources tab.

    I believe that if you stick to the plan, you'll be just fine. No procrastinating and inconsistent study though!

    Keep us posted and break a leg!

  • Hi Dana

    I really liked your information. I studied for 3 months and got a dismal 480. I was really dejected and took me a couple of months to come out of the trauma. But I have overcome that fact now and have analysed the following issues that I faced due to which I messed up:

    1) Long Breaks in my study session
    2) The right Material was used, but not effectively. i.e. I did not spend time on identifying the question area in both quant and verbal and that harmed me as I could not identify specific areas where I was going wrong. e.g. Main topic question on the RC and Verb Tense on the SC.
    3) Timed study intervals were never done. I know if I spend 1 hr on an RC, ill easily master it. The challenge is to do it in under 10 mins.

    Hopefully following BTG should help in solving specific areas. Please advise the best ways to study and how I should use BTG effectively.
    I am taking the Princeton Review study program in India:
    1) Princeton Review Manual just to cover the broad topics and basic techniques
    2) OG 12th and 10th edition plus the Verbal and Math Review Books
    3) Manhattan Review Verbal and Quant Books
    4) Supplementary material given by the prep course.
    5) Specific areas where I go wrong, I am using the books of Manhattan GMAT.

    I have been taking the Princeton Review course and am near the end. I have been following their plans. I will be taking a sample test at the end of this week to get an understanding of where I stand. I want to give my GMAT by April End/May first week.

    Do advise.

    Thanks,
    Anirudh

  • It's good that you've decided to start your prep with the Princeton Review, since it is a bit easier than other books. I don't know anything about the Manhattan Review books, this is a different company from Manhattan GMAT... I hope that you know the difference... Manhattan GMAT is a bit more reputable than Manhattan Review, but since I have never ever laid eyes on any book from Manhattan Review, I do not know if their materials are better for the test or not.
    Other than that, using the OGs is a really good idea - but be careful, since the Verbal and Math Review books are actually 100% drawn from the 10th edition, so there will be a significant overlap between your materials.
    The basic principle in prep would be to spend more time on your weaknesses (I suspect they're strongly related to verbal) and less on your strengths. My advice would be for you to check out our GMAT Study Plans in the Resources tab at the top of the forum. The study plans at the bottom of that page were created by me. You should use them to create your own plan for battle!

    • Hi Dana
      Thanks for the speedy reply. Yes, I have been going through the various study plan options. As I have a timeline of a month-month and a half, I am looking at various ways of incorporating all the study concepts and materials in the next 2 weeks. As I have taken a break from work, I have more time on my hand to cover more things.

      I face a lot of issues majorly in identifying question types, which is what I feel has caused my downfall. I know a question when I see it, but identifying the specific topic and question type is the challenge I am going to have to work around. As per your advice then, I shall focus majorly on OG 12th, then cover the OG Verbal and Math Review, and then if time permits, go to the 10th edition.

      The material of Manhattan Review is pretty good. Their concepts are crisp and clear, and their approach to the question sections is good. Yes, Manhattan GMAT is different, and I have liked some of the material that I have used from them.

      I am going to sit and solve the entire OG in one go, and spend time identifying the problems, the question types and my weak areas on both the Quant and Verbal Sections.

      Do let me know the best way to use the forums, as it is a bit confusing with an information overload to start off with.

      Thanks for the help!

      Regards,
      Anirudh

  • IMHO, you should probably identify your weak areas, do a concept review from the strategy guides that you have and then work your way through the OGs. This is because simply going through official material without a solid conceptual base means that you're practicing disparately, since the problems in the guides are not arrange according to subjects tested. You'll end up practicing one problem from geometry, one for number properties and so on, not properly focusing on any subject in particular.
    These forums are an awesome resource. You can post questions in the GMAT Math and Verbal forums and have them answered by experts - but make sure to do a quick search before you post, since some questions have already been answered. You can post any strategy-related questions in the GMAT strategy area and people will respond with their suggestions.
    You'll also find tons of great material in the Resources tab - just take a look and you'll see! I also advise you to download Eric's free flashcards, they're a sticky post in the GMAT Strategy forum.

    • Hi Dana,

      Thanks for the really speedy responses. It really feels good to have a network here where I can find and sort my doubts from people across the globe.

      I am going to focus first on getting my concepts correct, and then on a divisive way solve questions from the OG on a topic by topic division which I have. i.e. I have the division of whether a question is from a particular topic in sentence correction or on the quant section.

      Also, I am going to be using all the Manhattan GMAT strategy guides to get a clearer understanding of each question type and solve all the questions I can from there.

      Thanks for your support and will keep bugging you along the way!

      Regards
      Anirudh

  • Hi Dana,

    Please answer my query regarding the time crunch I faced during my Gmat Exam.

    When I gave my gmat, I faced a time shortage during my Maths Section .As I was answering the qns I found my 5th question of Maths Section to be particularly tough.So I devoted some time to this particular question .This damaged my time remaining for other qns.I guess I spend more than 5 min on that particular qn.So I need advice regarding the time management.As the question is part of first 10 Qn, I need to try to get all of them correct .When exactly must I stop trying to solve the question and guess and move on as 5th qn is very crucial to my score.

    Secondly, I might face the same situation during the 20th Qn in Maths Section .How much time do u need to devote before guessing an answer.

    Please also advice on how an correct answer(Both at Beginning and End of Exam) affects my overall score.At what stage of the test , I can actually make a guess .

    Thanks.
    Rohit

  • I completely agree with what you said. Cause all You mentioned have happened to me. I got 510 on my actual test and 5.5 on writing section. Finally I realized that I made the same mistakes as You mentioned. Thanks. I have made my conclusion and I am on my way to retake it. But the only problem is I certainly got bored with GMAT preparation.

  • @rohit gulati: Don't make the mistake of considering the first 10 questions more important than the rest. See an explanation of this here:
    http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2009/11/04/what-we-heard-from-the-makers-of-the-gmat
    IMHO, it's best to just guess if more than 1 min 30 secs pass and you cannot see any type of solution to the problem. You'll be able to better use the time for other questions.
    @Baha: well the best of luck to you!

  • Hi Dana

    Thanks for the reply.

    In this forum, several questions are posted for both Verbal and Maths Section.Several people offer their own opinion for the solution of any given problem.Sometimes it becomes difficult to identify the correct option.Also,In some posts an expert replies to give a solution .

    How to identify a correct answer for the problem posted on this forum in such situations.

    Please reply .

    Regards,
    Rohit

  • Most of the time, people either post an original answer (OA) or there is some sort of majority in the answers. Of course, if an expert answers it, then it's highly likely that he got it right.

  • Hello,

    I am not a native english speaker. I am from Brazil and I have been in USA for one year. I took my GMAT test last week and I got 300. =/ I want to retake my test on August and I need 650+.
    I didn't follow a study plan as I needed to follow. I used to study 4 hours per day weekdays using the OG and some Kaplan test and quizes but I wasn't regular with my study. I took the GMAT test prep before the test and I got 480. I have such a hard time with CR and also with timing.
    Does some know what I should do to improve my score??
    Should I take classes in a prep course? Which one would be better for me to take?
    Dana,
    Thank you so much for your tips they are really helpful!

    Please, help me!

    Mariana D.

  • Hey there,

    I think taking a course or some tutoring hours might be good for you. A 300 is a bit on the low side and getting a 350+ point improvement will take some consistent effort. But it's doable!

    If Kaplan did not work for you, try buying the entire Manhattan GMAT set of 8 (red books with a small g on the cover). They're pretty thorough! However, I will reiterate the fact that you might need some expert advice on this one. It might be easier for you to get professional help than to struggle on your own.

    Also, the PowerScore Critical Reasoning Bible is as complete as it gets on CR. The Manhattan GMAT CR book is also pretty OK, though not as packed with info. I think buying one or the other is largely the same thing, though.
    Since your practice test was 480 at home, I also suspect you need some help managing timing and stress. If that's the case, just browse through the articles in this site. They're really good on stress/time issues! Just search for keywords and you'll find them!

    • Thank you Dana!
      I will work hard!!

      Bests,

      Mariana

  • Hi Dana! I've discovered your reviews yesterday and they are so helpful that I am really really disappointed not to have find them before taking my first GMAT...

    So, let me explain my case in few words (<300 I swear !) :
    I have applied for an MBA in hospitality management in France in the 2nd top business school (ESSEC). My interviews went very good and I've been accepted into the program assuming that I get a 500 at the GMAT before the 1st of June. I've then decided to take it after a 1-month preparation (test day on the 27th of April) to be able to retake it in case I fail.
    I've worked on it with the Barron's guide first and then I bought the KAPLAN Math review and the KAPLAN Verbal foundation for the last 3 weeks before the test. I used to work around 3-4hrs a day on average. Sometimes more, Sometimes less. Unfortunately, I think I haven't done it with the good techniques.
    Before starting I took the the practice test on MBA.COM and I had 270/800 !!! I went like OMG I will really really need lotsssss of work. So I've spend almost all my time working on Math problems and didn't pay attention for the Verbal part thinking that with an average English level and lots of concentration you can easily get a good score. VERY BAD thought ! 2 days before the exam I took the 2nd practice test on MBA.COM and get 410 (I wasn't at 100% in verbal as I thought I've done bad on my Math, so I gave up.)
    27th of April, test day, I was confident and according to me well prepared. It was my last step before getting in my B-school. results? 390 with 32 in Q and 13 in V ...
    I called the school and they gave me the chance to retake it before the beginning of July... (lucky me huh? :) ) My question is: Is the KAPLAN online course really helpful or it is a waste of money ?

    Thanks so much for your help and sorry for this loooong post !

    Best,

    Christophe.

  • I am not sure if my comment came up when I posted it so I re-post it now. (sorry if it come up twice.)

    Hi Dana! I've discovered your reviews yesterday and they are just great! I am disappointed not to have find them before taking the GMAT !

    So, let me explain my case in few words.
    I have applied for an MBA in hospitality management in France in the 2nd top business school (ESSEC). My interviews went very good and I've been accepted into the program assuming that I get a 500 at the GMAT before the 1st of June. I've then decided to take it after a 1-month preparation (test day on the 27th of April) to be able to retake it in case I fail.
    I've worked on it with the Barron's guide first and then I bought the KAPLAN Math review for the last 3 weeks before the test. I used to work around 3-4hrs a day on average. Sometimes more, Sometimes less. Unfortunately, I think I haven't done it with the good techniques.
    Before starting I took the the practice test on MBA.COM and I had 270/800 !!! I went like OMG I really really need lotsssss of work. So I've spend almost all my time working on Math problems and didn't pay attention for the Verbal part thinking that with an average english level and lots of concentration you can easily get a good score. VERY BAD tought ! 2 days before the exam I took the 2nd practice test on MBA.COM and get 410 (I wasn't at 100% in verbal as I tought I've done bad on my Math.)
    27th of April, test day, I was confident and according to me well prepared. It was my last step before getting in my B-school. results? 390 with 32 in Q and 13 in V ...
    I called the school and they gave me the chance to retake it before the beginning of July... (lucky me huh? :) ) My question is: Is the KAPLAN online course really helpful or it is a waste of money ?

    Thanks so much for your help and sorry for this loooong post !

    Best,

    Christophe.

  • Hmmm... Well, it's clear that you really need to work on verbal... So you basically have two months to improve your score by 110 points, which is certainly doable. This especially since you managed to improve by 120 points while working on your own in three weeks and partially with Barrons (that is a waste of time, IMHO).
    So you have two options:
    1. Self study and you buy the following:
    - Official Guide to the GMAT 12th edition
    - PowerScore CR Bible
    - Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction guide
    - some one or two guides from Manhattan on the quant side, since I assume you've already gone through the Kaplan Math Workbook (and since Barrons is not useful, I suspect a lot of your score increase is owed to this book). I'd recommend the Number Properties and Word Translations books
    2. Take a course. I've so far been asked to review three courses (Kaplan, Veritas and Knewton), but I've only gone for a couple of sessions and not the full-length courses. However, at the rate of your improvement, I'd say that whichever course you choose, you will likely hit your target score.
    To be honest though, I suspect that you can do things on your own just as well. If you had a 120-point improvement in 3 weeks, then, using the right stuff, you can go even higher in two months. So taking a course is completely up to you right now: do you want some more structure to your studies or do you feel that you've been doing OK on your own?
    Well good luck then and let us know how you do!

    • Hi Dana! Thanks for the quick answer !

      I completely agree regarding the Barron's ! this book is awful ! Kaplan Math review is very good, it helped me a lot getting back all the basics and I wasn't that good in Math !!! I also have the Kaplan Verbal foundations, but doing grammar is annoying !

      The thing that I've liked when reading the KAPLAN online courses description is especially the fact that you get 8 CAT with a complete analysis of the results online. You get a percentage on each type of question PS,DS,CR,SC & RC but also if it's Ratio problems, probabilities etc... and some techniques regarding the kind of the question. But I saw on Beatthegmat that there is lots of videos and tips... so I don't know ! Because 800€ (1000$) just to get CAT's seems expensive.

      What about the books that they provide with the courses?
      Do you really think I can get more than 500 on my own ? Because as is my 2nd GMAT and the B-school already know my score, I would prefer being near 600 than just 500.

      Thank you ! :)

      Christophe.

  • Focusing on the CATs is a common mistake test takers make. CATs are important, but they won't teach you the concepts that you need to master. The roles of a CAT are the following:
    - estimating your current level
    - discovering any weaknesses you might have under timed conditions
    - building up stamina so that you can last for the whole 3 1/2 + hours of the experience
    - pacing and timing yourself right
    As you can see, you don't really learn much from a theoretical point of view and that is, for the moment, more important to you. If I were you, I'd focus on going through the concepts and understanding them well and do at most one CAT per week.
    If the sole reason why you want to pay the money is to have access to CATs, then you're taking the wrong approach. You can get a lot more CATs with just a fraction of the cos:
    - buy the Kaplan Live Online program, it grants access to 6 online CATs - cost: $42
    - buy any of the Manhattan GMAT guides, they contain codes to access another 6 CATs (the Manhattan CATs are also considered to be among the more accurate in the industry, supposedly only second best to the tests on mba.com) - cost of one guide (although you should probably buy more than just one): $18
    Including the cost of shipping and handling from amazon.com, your bill will be smaller than $100 for 12 CATs. Feel free to donate the remaining $900 to me, since I helped you save that much! :)

  • Hahahahaha! Good point ! Allright. So you think that I don't need the courses and that all the tools that Kaplan provide (strategy taking books, tips etc...) are easily accessible on different forums and other books?
    However, if I choose to take the online course, will I have to buy other books that the one provided by Kaplan?
    Thank you !

  • Well it's not that easy, actually... As I've mentioned above, you do need a course if you feel you tend to procrastinate or if you learn better with a teacher than on your own.
    Kaplan does provide some videos on our website, but it's just "the tip of the iceberg" in terms of what they have to offer - and it's only natural for it to be so, since they would not be one of the biggest companies in the test prep industry if they just gave out everything they develop for free!
    Now, given that you've increased your score by 120 points on your own in three weeks and using less-than-perfect resources, I think you can do it without a course. For this, you'll need to buy the right set of book though:
    - the Official Guide 12th ed: a must have!!!
    - PowerScore Critical Reasoning Bible if you're having trouble with CR
    - out of the set of 8 Manhattan GMAT guides, three are particularly useful (I've reviewed them recently and gave five stars to these 3): Sentence Correction (the gold standard on GMAT grammar), Number Properties and Word Problems.
    Buying the Manhattan guides grants access to 6 CATs. You can also retake the two tests from mba.com and see very few repeats, so that gives you a total of 8 CATs, which is enough, I believe.
    You should buy the Kaplan Live Online program only if you really really want more CATs, since the math review part of this book has a significant overlap (100% in terms of theory and considerably less practice) with the Kaplan Math Workbook that you say you've already completed.
    Now, I cannot guarantee anything regarding your score since I only know you from three comments, but here is my reasoning:
    - you've used a book that is really not good
    - you've only studied for three weeks
    - you still managed to pull off an 120-point increase
    Given these, if you:
    - study for two months at the same pace as before
    - use all the books I mentioned above (which btw got 5 stars on my reviews - you can check some out at the Resources tab - GMAT Book Recommendations; not all the Manhattan reviews are up yet though)
    - give 2/3 of your time to verbal since it is currently your weakness
    Then, from my experience, you do stand a good chance of getting the score you want. But, as I've said, don't sue me if you don't! Oh and btw, I do accept checks for those $900! :)

  • Thank you so much Dana, I'll keep you posted about my decision and I'll take the week end to think about it !
    Christophe.

  • Hi Dana,

    I took some free classes from the Kaplan and from Knewton online prep course but I couldn't decide which one is better to me. Since you have more experience than me, I would like to know which of these courses do you think is best rated. What are the difference between them?

    Thank you so much! :)

    Mariana

  • Whoa this is not an easy question... I've actually had the chance to look over three course offerings:
    http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2010/04/19/course-review-veritas-prep-live-online

    http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2010/03/04/course-review-the-knewton-online-gmat-prep-course

    http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2010/01/29/course-review-2010-kaplan-gmat-course

    As you will see by reading these three reviews, my exposure to the materials that these three companies provide was limited. Here are a few takeaways:
    - all are online, but Kaplan and Veritas also offer in person classes
    - if you need to go for an online course but spending too much time in front of the computer annoys you, then you should probably go for Veritas, because they offer the hard copy guides. Veritas offers the most complex online classroom platform and the most hours
    - Kaplan is more about interaction with fellow students and your teacher; they also use the Official Guide for their prep, which is a plus. You can also simulate the test day experience with their "Official Test Day Experience"
    - Knewton is all about adaptive learning - they base their system on that one. They also offer the most generous money back guarantee

    So my main point is that I honestly cannot say for sure which course is better for you. I'd say go with your gut feeling on this one, though. Pick the class that you felt most comfortable in, it does matter a whole lot what your personal perception was. If you did not connect to a certain teacher, then forget about it - you're going to struggle through learning and that's not good.

  • I am a new member to this forum and when I read the comments I felt right at home. I study the GMAT about for three months. During those months I also took a course; however when I took my exam the result was shocking. My score was very low meaning low 400s. I need to score at least 560. At first I thought the English part will be no problem to me, but I was wrong big time. So I have to retake the exam. My plan is to start school this coming fall and the school that I want to go told I have until 6/15/20. So as you can see I need help. Before I took the exam I study from OG, Kaplan math review and Princeton review book. After the exam I bought Manhattan SC and CR, I have not started studding yet. I am still recovering from last week's disappointment . I am open to any recommendation. Math and SC are my weakest area.
    Thank you

  • Well the two resources you've mentioned are pretty good for verbal. For quant, you can also try some of the Manhattan guides. The best in the lot are Number Properties and Word Problems.
    And don't give up! I know you may be disappointed, but if you invest enough time in verbal you might just get the results you want! Move on from the 400+ and motivate yourself to study harder and smarter this time around!

  • Hello Dana,
    I cannt believe you can always reply to every single question here, you get paid for this? :)

    Of course best advice to take is from someone who was in same position.

    I took my GMAT today and i scored 570 (Q47, V22), this was very disappointing to me as i aimed 650+. Math is not a problem to me as i have an engineering degree yet Verbal is my obstacle as im non-native. Although i can read, write and speak english i find RC is very hard. How can i enhance this in upcoming 1 month before i have to retake GMAT? I do have the hard copy of OG12(all 3 books) and some other books as softcopy.
    Thanks and looking forward to hearing back from you soon.

  • Haha don't worry about me getting paid...

    Well it's clear to me that your biggest weakness is verbal. The following books might help:
    - Manhattan SC guide
    - PowerScore CR Bible
    - Kaplan Verbal Workbook

    I'd say that for your retake you really need to focus on verbal and only practice a bit for quant. Reading skills are best improved if you make reading in English a habit: grab a newspaper every day and read through it, check out science sites and browse... It's one of the "softer" skills the GMAT takes and unfortunately there's no quick fix. The Kaplan book was pretty good in summarizing a strategy, though...

    • Hello Dana,
      Thanks for your reply, how much time do you think is enough to develop Verbal skills? in hours.
      Also timing and pace in the exam, as i had to guess last 2 Q and i think last 5 Verbal.
      Also i have a question about Manhattan SC guide, I already used it in my preperation and i understood everything in it and solved all OG SC but in the exam i still have no clue what to do in some SC questions.
      CR, in the exam i think i didnt miss many questions, but i had to guess last 2 in after time was almost over at the end of the exam.
      my main problem is RC, any strategies to slove even half of exam questions right? :)
      Thanks
      Soliman

  • The amount of time you need is... debatable. The quantity of study is not as relevant as the quality. Most people study for the GMAT something like 2 hours on weekdays and 5-6 hours in weekends. This time does not include the time you spend reading stuff in English. But of course this all depends on what you do in these hours: if you stare at the ceiling it's not going to help!
    Pacing is a matter of practice. Always time your practice! SC should take around 1 min, CR around 1 min and a half and RC passages (as a whole, since you only read passages once) should take around 7-8 minutes depending on the number of questions. We here at BTG have a built in timer in the forums so you can use that one for practice! An important tip would be to not waste too much time with a single question. If more than a minute passes and you're not able to eliminate more than two answer choices in CR, then make an educated guess and move on.
    The MGMAT SC guide is pretty dense... Note taking is a must while you read this book. If however you have tried taking notes but the SC tips from MGMAT are just not your cup of tea, you could try the PowerScore SC Bible. I haven't reviewed it yet, but it's pretty good and has a different style (one that might better appeal to you) than the MGMAT guide.
    As I've told you, RC is not something you learn overnight. The RC strategy section in the Kaplan Verbal Workbook is a pretty good summary of the strategy I used for myself. I was particularly interested in following the flow of ideas by using connectors, i.e. words such as: because, since, therefore, moreover, first, second, consequently etc... These words signal that a new idea is heading your way + the relation between that idea and the rest of the passage.

  • Hi Dana

    Just went thru your post and would like to thank you for the wonderful insight. well i m neha patni, engineer by profession. i have 5+ years work experience (3 1/2 yrs in India and more than 1 1/2 yr in sri lanka). I wrote the GMAT Last year in Nov. but in spite of good scores in GMAT Prep and 800score tests (range from 650-700), I scored only 600 (Q44V29). To apply in any good Indian college i need a score of 680 anfd hence I am planning to retake the GMAT in mid july. After the nov test. i have been on and off in my preparation for GMAT, in fact i took long breaks between the preparation. The reason is that I have done OG 10, 11, 12, OG Verbal 2-3 times. I have completed Powerscore CR Bible, Kaplan 800 Verbal and Quant and manhatton SC guide. i have improved my verbal by these resources, but 2-3 days back I wrote princeton online diagonstic test, i scored 590 (Q39V33). The details are
    Verbal
    CR- 9C3W
    RC-7C7W
    SC-12C3W
    Quant
    PS-16C6W
    DS-11C4R
    I m very confused as to how to kick start the GMAT prep, so that i can get a score of 700+. Can you help me with a study plan suitable for 1 1/2 month. I can devote 2-3 hrs. on weekdays and 6-7 hrs on weekends. As regard the essays are concerned, i m lagging there as well, as I haven't written any since the last GMAT. One more thing, i have noticed that i usually complete all timed tests 10-15 min before the actual alloted time.

    Looking forward to your valued suggestions.

  • Hmmm... For quant, you should probably buy the five Manhattan GMAT guides - they're pretty thorough and should help you take your quant up from 44 to 49+.
    SC seems to be your greatest strength and CR your greatest weakness. It's clear to me that you need to read stuff in English every single day to help you with your understanding of this language - since you're a non native speaker (such as myself), you will have to overcome this extra hurdle. Re-read the CR bible and take notes! Always take notes!
    The timing thing is also an issue. I remember I used to do this as well: finishing with a lot of time to spare. It's no good, because you tend to be careless if you just breeze through them. After I noticed this pattern for myself, I made the conscious effort to slow down and maybe spend some more time analyzing especially those questions that I knew were a weakness for me (it was CR). On test day, I had only a minute to spare on each section and that was the best!

    • Hi Dana

      Thanks for the info. I will go thru the suggested Manhattan guides for quant. But reg. Verbal, I am unable to understand my status. Yesterday I wrote GMAT Prep Test and scored 690. and can you believe it, I did 8 wrong in verbal (6W in SC and 2W in RC, CR all correct). My maths score was 45. Usually when i practise my SC, usually i get 75-80% correct answers. But do you think, if i work on the mentioned schedule, would i be able to bridge the gap of 100 (from 600 to 700+)?

      Any other suggestions???

  • Hi dana

    I agree with your timing thing. I believe that I spoiled my last GMAT also because of carelessness. i finished well before the time and was confident...i think may be overconfident and landed with such a low score. but yesterday while writing my GMAT Prep, I took extra care and finished just on time.

    Thanks for the insight...

  • It may be a problem of concentration during the exam... Try to calm yourself down if you are feeling nervous, even if it means losing 2-3 minutes; it's much better for your score.
    Yes, I think that it is possible to bridge the gap in the time you have, but no slacking off! One month and a half is not that much!

    • Hi Dana

      As per your advice, i went through Powerscore critical reasoning bible again and also finished manhattan SC guide....i have noticed that my SC accuracy ranges between 75-80% and in CR sometimes I do extraordinarliy well...but sometimes i goof up the whole thing. I have taken GMAT Appointment on 3rd august, 2010. Can you please suggest a good study plan so that i can achieve my target score of 700+...

  • If you feel that the theoretical background is strong enough, it might be time for some practice using official material (OG 12 or the verbal supplement) or other good quality questions. However, from what you're saying, there's still room for improvement on the conceptual side of things, especially in SC. Some grammar rules worth revisiting, so you could reread the parts of the MGMAT guide that address the questions you have trouble with the most, possibly with note taking or flashcards for reinforcing these concepts.
    For CR, things might be a bit different, with a stronger focus on practice. After I read the CR Bible, I tried doing as many practice questions as possible. This could work for you as well. The occasional 'goof up' is probably a sign that you do have a pretty good theoretical framework (or maybe just need to lightly brush up on certain question types, such as assumption or weaken or some other type) but have yet to grasp the whole range of subtleties in CR. Use mainly official material for this practice, there's nothing like it in CR.

    • hi dana....now the days are approaching for the final exam....i have just gone thru the CR Bible and SC MG Guides....after that i practised the kaplan 800 questions...still getting the same accuracy 75-80% percent...i have not practised my essays also...suggest something for 10 days....please....

  • Hi Dana,

    Good to see you helping people around :)

    I have 680 under my belt .. But I need 720+ to get through the B schools I aspire to study in ..

    Is there any GMAT forums or group of people who study together etc ?
    I need this for motivation .. I need 720+ but dont have the heart to retake GMAT .. :(

    Will appreciate any help

    Warm Regards
    Anmol

  • Well you can always try our forums: http://www.beatthegmat.com/forums or you can set up meetings through the Meetup widget at the right of the page.

  • Thx Dana,

    I have started a Meetup in Canberra , Australia . Now waiting for participation.

    any tips on how to get motivated ??

    • Hi Diana

      As I have talked to you before . I need one more advice regarding the retaking .

      Can you please suggest how should I restart again and motivate myself for the same stuff which I have studied a lot :(

      Thanks a lot for your help

  • Before you restart learning, take a few days off - something like a week at most. Relax and reassess your goals. It's all about your goals: you need to truly want and MBA and be convinced it will be a good thing for your career and life. As long as it's only this test standing between you and your dreams, then nothing can hold you back from beating it!

    • Hi Dana,

      Just took my GMAT and totally devastated.Have been scoring in mid 600 in all gmatprep and manhattan tests.And score in less than 600 in final GMAT. Please advise me some strategies to retake the test. As I have done all the OG material and Kaplan, I am not sure how to start my preparation again.This is really depressing. I have been preparing since March and studying diligently.Even though I got so nervous in exam and could not concentrate on the exam fully.Please advise what would be good preparation material to retake the test.

      Cheers:(
      Prac

    • Hi prac...just read ur post....i also encountered the same issue when i wrote GMAT for the first time...now i m again planning to write the gmat in august and have been working on brushing my CR and RC skills...wud suggest that u read the CR Bible and practise a lot of questions after that....even for RC, the CR Bible is a great help when answering general questions such as primary purpose or main point... for SC go thru Manhattan SC becuase it will brush up ur basics...GMAT is all about balancing Speed and accuracy and that is where i fumbled....just to finish up on time...i was not careful i suppose...600 score is not bad and bridging the gap to reach 700+ is not difficult...just practise and lots of practise will help you achieve ur dream score...

  • It could be that your nerves got the better of you. Luckily, we have quite a few articles you could read about stress management: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/stress-management

    You could try some books from MGMAT (SC, Number Properties and Word Translations are really good) or PowerScore (the CR Bible is one of the best), depending on your weaknesses.

    • Thanks Dana. I think my RC is my weak point. I still don't know the reason for the low mark in Verbal section since I was doing reasonably well in all my tests earlier.

      Any other books for RC and CR (I have done the CR bible). Also, if I do all the questions that I have seen before, I don't know how well would that serve me in the next attempt since I would know most of the answers anyway. Thoughts?

  • A low hit rate in RC is usually a sign that you can improve on your general knowledge of English, which can be achieved by reading materials in English.

    A close second to the CR Bible would be the CR guide from MGMAT. You can also try the RC book from Veritas Prep, I've recently reviewed it:
    http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2010/07/06/veritas-prep-reading-comprehension-book-review

    Redoing some OG questions might be a good idea, though. You might want to try it for a few questions, since the GMAT will often test similar (but not the same) patterns. If you feel like you remember every answer though, you should try some other resources for practice.

  • @neha: You should probably remember that not all practice is the same. Comparing your hit rate from MGMAT with your hit rate from Kaplan, for instance, is probably prone to misinterpretation simply because different companies have different styles.
    I'd say use whatever official resources you have for your final days and do some review of the materials you've already gone through.
    Depending on the strength of your writing in English, you may want to take between one and three days to prepare for that section. I believe Kaplan general guides contain some info about this section.

    • hi Dana

      today i wrote one of the GMAT prep test (which i downloaded again) and scored a dismal 650. earlier when i wrote a similar test (with 5-6 questions repetitive) i got 680. i have made 7 mistakes in SC, 5 in CR and 3 in RC. I m very much disappointed and wonder that whether i would be able to achieve my desired score. now there are only 7 days to go. 1 question in SC which i made wrong was in OG-12 and i did it write while practising. suggest what should be my approach now. should i postpone the test but i wonder if that would really help because i have practised so much read a lot of reading material? i m very depressed, please help. i want to write the exam on the scheduled date. :)

  • @neha

    Can you please suggest how did you start preparing again fir rc and cr.

    Please let me know . You advice would be really helpful.

    Prac

  • @Prac: I know it seems daunting, especially since it did not work as you planned the previous time. However, we have a ton of articles about retakes: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/retake

    I'd say take a few days off before you start re-studying, it helps you relax and take your mind of the test for a while. I can't remember in which article I read that, at the end of the day, the GMAT is just one small hurdle in your quest for business school. Try reminding yourself why you're really studying for this test: you want to go to the best business school, live the experience of being in the same classroom as the best and brightest of your generation and ultimately going out there and crafting a better life for yourself and others!

  • Thanks Diana for all your help

  • @neha: Postponing the exam is entirely up to you. You see, you need to realize that, if you score a 650 with a few repeats, then on test day your score will be around that value. I'm not saying it can't be your target of 680, since the GMAT was designed with a 30-point confidence interval. However, it might be the other way around, i.e. 30 points in minus...
    I've heard people say that you need to score at or above your target score at least two-three times before being confident enough that you will get that score on test day. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but it does make a valid point: you can't really expect too much more on the GMAT than what you have been scoring so far.
    Right now the appropriate thing to do is to review what you've done up until now, particularly official material. I see SC is still pretty much a weakness, so you might want to work on it a bit more than the rest.

  • Hi Dana,

    I need advice specifically for Rc Section.I am not improving my RC score .Accuracy is too low.Please guide.

    Thanks.

    Best Regards,
    Rohit Gulati

  • HI Dana,

    i'm new on this website, and i know this website just a coupe of day after i took my GMAT test. i'm graduate from Computer Science Bachelor, and seeking to MBA.

    my Test were obviously bad, i got 380 ( 32Q and 12 V as for AWA still not get the score yet). as the matter of fact, i study for 3 weeks before took the test (because my parents as me to hurry up), so i study every day from about 9 AM till about 7 PM. my source of study GMAT only the GMAT prep that i download from the GMAT official. i study every day, learning it. at first time i took the Test 1 (on the GMAT prep programs), i got 24Q and 18V, i just tought it's because first time i took the practice, but after i study again, my score change became 25Q, 16V and then 29Q 14V. i just wondering... what happend with my score? why my Quantitative were slowly going up but my Verbal wend down and sinking...

    the problem is i just realize that my RC were not using any method as other GMAT takers use, what i use were just scamming the all passage and went blank after reading the Questions.

    and for CS i using my good listening and try to paste each of the answerd, and think were it's right or wrong.

    for the AWA, i write it with points of my thinking and some examples, not with a long sentence. Is't right or wrong to do it?

    and i wanna to take the re-test a few weeks after the AWA score were send to me. so can u suggest me some good methods but less expense?

    Thanks.

  • Hi Alwi,

    So sorry you didn't get your target score! However, I will say this after reading your post: there are no shortcuts and you will have to spend quite a bit of money to get the score you want... I don't want you to think I'm being mean or evil, but you need to know that your knowledge of English could be improved. You need to work on that as well as on other skills tested on the GMAT. Using GMATprep is good, but you need books to teach you the full strategy and theory behind GMAT problems. I suggest you buy the Manhattan GMAT set of 8 guides and the Official Guides for the GMAT (another 3 books).

    For some free stuff, check out the GMAT/MBA resource directory: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/resources

  • Hi Dana,

    I recently took the GMAT for the first time and scored a 650. I took a full Veritas Prep course and studied for a couple months before that. The area I need improvement in is quant (I got a 40). I'm pretty settled on retaking the test with the goal of increasing my score by a minimum of 30 points. At the same time, I want to make sure I do increase my score, and I'm afraid that since I've already taken a prep class (and completed many practice tests), there's not much else I can learn. I bought the Official Guide, but haven't looked at that yet. Do you think there is valuable material out there that could help me improve my score? Maybe a fresh strategy would help? My timeline would be one month of studying before retaking. Please let me know of any thoughts you may have. Thank you!

  • I scored 650 (Quant 49; Verbal 30). Though I know it doesn't really reflect my skills, I have decided not to retake. Rather than wasting time and money, I have decided to focus my productive time on Application process.

    • I hear you, and I'm debating about the same thing. But I'm applying to all top schools, and 650 is a borderline score. It's a tough decision about how to allocate time and resources. You have to wonder just how much of a difference an improved score would make (assuming the rest of the application is strong).

    • Folks,
      I am reconsidering my decision and have finally decided to retake actually, though I might miss the deadlines. Feeling good !!

      http://gmat4mba.blogspot.com/2010/09/not-giving-up.html

      Cheers,
      Ashok

  • @mba2013: I certainly agree that the decision to retake is a hard one. It will take time and dedication to redo this exam, but it all depends on your profile (you can post it in the Ask and MBA Admissions Consultant section for some expert feedback) and your target schools.
    Now, what's the most striking thing for me is that you did not use the OG. There's a general consensus that you should definitely use this book for practice since it contains real, retired GMAT questions. Even if the Veritas course provided solid theoretical background, you should still practice using the OG. In case you're not 100% sure of your quant strategy though, there are other resources you can use as well, such as the MGMAT set of 5 quant guides.

    • Thanks for your quick response. I will most likely re-take the test and use alternate study material this time.

  • Rereading old passages is meaningless. Even rereading destroy your reading capacity. Remember read new passages or new text. That is why many persons recommend that students read newspaper and gmat like passage, high-level text. Restudy of SC and CR is in the same problem. Logic is tested on GMAT. More exactly, GMAT test our reaction to logic. We loose this ability when we redo old questions.

    For math section, restudying the old questions dose not harm when you have over 1000 questions.

  • Hi Dana, I have taken GMAT thrice with a score of 640(Q=49,V=27), 650 (Q=50,V=29) and 660 (Q=49, V= 31)
    I am really looking for a 700+ score. I have studied OG12 and two supplements, and all the Manhattan Verbal books. Wanted to take your advise as to whether I should take GMAT again next month and how should I go about my prep. I had also taken test series of Manhattan. ( was scoring from 660-730) and Princeton (650-690). GMAT Prep 1 (720) but Gmat Prep 2 (650)

    • Hi SP,

      Because you are really looking for 700+ score, you must go ahead and retake. However, you must analyze in a profound way, what is it that is not allowing you to boost your score? As per your score history, I see that you have been almost consistent in your approach and your concepts. So it must be the case that wither you are somewhere wrong in your approach while taking the exam OR you are not full aware of the concepts tested on the exam OR both.

      On other hand, I would also suggest you to apply to b-schools of your choice and some safe b-schools with a score of 660 on GMAT. 660 is a great score indeed!!

      Moreover, I am in the same boat as you. So I enrolled into Knewton's online GMAT class. You get $100 discount if you enroll.
      Here's the link: http://knewton.tellapal.com/a/clk/nS1YS

    • Thanks Ashok, But do you really think that an online class might be beneficial? First, I want a custom package with focus only on verbal and second I want to give a try at most in 1 month. Also, my pract tests have a better performance than the actual gmat test. So, I really fail to understand where the prob lies. I have done Manhattan SC.CR,RC thrice now and know almost all concepts mentioned in the bk.

    • Hi SP,
      Your recent verbal score is 31, which means that you are a very good test taker. I guess you just need to pick up a right tool/book/mentor on areas you are struggling. The best mentor can be YOU yourself. Manhattan SC,CR and RC are very good material and I appreciate the fact that you did them thrice but they are not the exhaustive material for the verbal part of GMAT. I am unsure to say whether online class or a custom package will suit you. In just 1 month, you should re-do well-representative stuff like OGs, GMATPrep and also analyze all the mistakes in all your practice CATs.

  • @SP: Your score shows improvement in verbal, but only slightly. My reasoning is that you need to think long and hard about retaking the GMAT a fourth time, especially since you've had such a consistent set of scores. So my advice to you would be:
    - give yourself at least a month and a half to prepare
    - try using some other resources (which approach the GMAT differently from MGMAT) such as the PowerScore CR & SC Bibles and the Veritas Prep RC book
    The idea is not to use the exact same strategies you've used before because it seems they are not yielding the desired results.
    A course might be worth it, but as you've pointed out, you need more help on verbal than on quant whereas most courses allot equal amounts of time to both. It's up to you if you believe you need a course right now, but my opinion is that you don't: having taken the test three times already, then you are quite familiar with it and will be seeing a lot of repetition in the course. One better option would be to go for a verbal tutor (if you can afford it).
    One last thought: re-taking the GMAT for the fourth time should definitely be your very last time. Some would even argue that three times is about enough. More than that and you are signaling that you'd rather spend time on a test than on something else which could improve your chances. So unless you're 100% sure you can get a good score increase, then you should not retake. I know this may not be what you want to hear, but it's for your own good!
    Good luck whatever you decide and don't forget that the GMAT is only a part of the application process!

    • Hi Dana, Thanks for your reply. I defn get your point that retaking the exam w/o being sure that I would increase my score sends a wrong signal. However, how should I be 100% sure that I will get good marks. I was even scoring in a few tests above 700 but gave a dismal performance in gmat.

  • It's hard to say because there is no such thing as a sure win... I'd say you need to score above 700 in at least three consecutive tests. Note that tests in which you see repeat questions should be taken into account: if you see a bunch of repeats, then your true score is probably lower.

    • That's really a good takeaway - Scores of last three consecutive tests are probably the best indicators!!

  • Hi Dana and Ashok, Thanks again for your suggestions. Also, I am thinking to start preparing my essays so that I am prepared for the round 2 deadline...However, I was debating on whether to re-take the GMAT befor R2. Two things... One if you would recommend any good personal Verbal tutor. Second, I did some R&D over Knewton's online course and got good reviews. Dana, once again do you think I should speak to them and think about enrolling in it. I dont want to take a tutor who is not good enough.. A course is taken by many people and I believe would atleast ensure a good standard.

    • @SP, I highly recommend you to enroll with Knewton's online course. The most important reason being Knewton offers you money back guarantee which no other test prep company offers. Knewton offers a solid 50-point increment guarantee. So there are two scenarios basically to look at:

      1) You score =710 in the re-take and you don't get money-back.

      In any scenario, you will have a win-win situation.

      Now regarding R2 deadlines, I think you should give it a shot. When you have a 700+ score, you can happily and proudly submit that.

      Just note that when you enroll, use the below link because you get 100$ discount and I get 50$ refund.(just wanted to be honest with you). Hope that helps!!

      http://knewton.tellapal.com/a/clk/nS1YS

  • Sorry SP, but I don't know any good verbal tutors... Unfortunately you'll have to investigate this on your own, depending on your location. Taking the Knewton course is an option, but I feel that you'd get more out of finding a verbal tutor. As I've said, courses are designed to cater to a general audience and more often than not, this means the audience who has not taken the test before. You will undoubtedly see stuff you're already familiar with. Your time would be better spent with a tutor that would work on your exact weaknesses, but if you cannot find anyone then go for a course.

  • @SP, I highly recommend you to enroll with Knewton's online course. The most important reason being Knewton offers you money back guarantee which no other test prep company offers. Knewton offers a solid 50-point increment guarantee. So there are two scenarios basically to look at:

    1) You score less than 710 in the re-take and you get full money-back.

    2) You score greater than 700 in the re-take and you don't get money-back.

    In any case, you will have a win-win situation.

    Now regarding R2 deadlines, I think you should give it a shot. When you have a 700+ score, you can happily and proudly submit that.

    Just note that when you enroll, use the below link because you get 100$ discount and I get 50$ refund.(just wanted to be honest with you). Hope that helps!!

    http://knewton.tellapal.com/a/clk/nS1YS

  • Hi

    I recently gave my gmat. I scored a 560 with 44 in maths and 23 in english. I did the princeton guide, kaplan 800, kaplan verbal and og. studied only for a month. During the practice tests i had been scoring consistently in maths but english score stayed between 20-30. I need a 700+ to get in to the B-school I have shortlisted. I am giving my next attempt on 15th december. People are suggesting me to take kaplan verbal classes.

    What do u suggest???

  • Your verbal score is indeed on the low side, but the decision to take a course is also tricky. It will be much more expensive to do that then say buying a lot of good books (Manhattan GMAT SC and RC, PowerScore CR Bible, Veritas Prep RC book) and working on them. It depends on how well you work on your own, if you can stay motivated or not. If you're having trouble with that, a course might be the right thing because it keeps you busy with homework and deadlines.

  • Hey Dana! I am going to plan to retake my exam, I scored a 440 after 2 months of studying. I have the OG11thEdition and the Green Quantitative Book. My focus was on the Quantitative, that was all I studied.
    When I first took a practice exam, I scored about 5/37 in the math, about 75% on verbal. So I decided to purchase the Kaplan Math Foundations and worked through the entire book which helped me with remembering key foundations. I continued focusing solely on Problem Solving...I took two practice exams and score 480 on both. My math went up but verbal dropped to about 60% right on all the questions. The day of the exam came and I BOMBED on the MATH! Ranked in the 10th percentile. I am not too sure what problems I got wrong DS or PS but I was so disappointed.
    I am unemployed so I cannot afford Prep classes but want to give the GMAT another try in 2 months. How can I teach myself how to pass on the MATH section....I just dont know where to start!

  • You still need to work on quant the most. You should probably consider investing in the Manhattan GMAT set of 5 quant guides, they're as complete as it gets on that side. They should take you to a higher score, although you will have to work really hard for it!

  • Hi dana,
    Thanks for the inspiration. My position is very critical - let me explain.

    I'm a 1st year phd student in Economics at Simon fraser university, Canada. I'm planning to move to Business schools for a phd in finance. I took the GMAT once last week when I was dealing with extreme pressure by my PhD studies. I took merely 10 days preparation, solved 50% of the offcial guideand sat for 5-6 mock tests.

    My poor part is english as I'm not a native speaker. I tried to improve, but I don't know what went wrong as I'm not that bad in english!!! I got ony 46% in english while got 6 in AWA. I got exactly 600 in my GMAT. My grades and othe recommendations are outstandng so far. I have 3-4 papers of high quality, but some people are telling me that I should reconsider taking GMAT again.

    My concern is that If i retake and my score is 650, then is ti confirm to the schools that my level is 600+. I need somewhat like 680+ with only 10 days of preparation, otherwise it would be better not to take the exam.

    What can u suggest me for these 10 days? Is it cpossible to increase the marks to 80+ marks with only 10 days of prep? what should I do?

  • Wow, 10 days... That's a really short time span. I need to be honest with you: not sure it can be done. You need to stop taking practice tests and focus on the content. Buy the Manhattan GMAT SC guide and the KAplan Verbal Workbook and work on those! They should provide the minimal theoretical background for the test. Other than that, try to practice using the Official Guide.

  • Hi Dana, I 'm planning to retake the GMAT after I scored 500 (Q:43 , V:17) two weeks ago. I started to prepare for the GMAT in April when I joined a GMAT course in my country, the course lasted for 4 month and I after that I had to study by myself.

    I took me some month to feel confident to take the GMAT because after the course I still wasn't good enough in verval section, so I used Princeton Review and Verval Foundations (KAPLAN) books to understand better this section. As you may notice english is not my first language, and verval is my great weakness.

    Before taking the GMAT, I took some CAT and these were my scores:
    Test 1 (Q: 40 ; V:28) 0800 Score
    Test 2 (Q: 46 ; V:32) 0800 Score
    Test 3 (Q: 48 ; V:38) 0800 Score
    Test 4 (Q: 53 ; V:34) 0800 Score
    Test 5 (V: 35) only verval 0800 Score
    Test 6 530 (Q: 42 ; V: 20) GMAT Prep from MBA.com
    Test 7 640 (Q: 49 ; V: 28) GMAT Prep from MBA.com
    Test 8 600 (Q: 48 ; V: 25) GMAT Prep from MBA.com
    Test 9 540 (Q: 42 ; V: 23) GMAT Prep from MBA.com
    Test 10 650 (Q: 49 ; V: 29) GMAT Prep from MBA.com
    As you can see I am fine in Math (maybe 'cause of my background as Mechanical Engineer), but (again) I am weak at verval.

    For this second time, I am planning to focus my preparation 80% on verval section and to do so, I have bought the RC of Manhatan and Original Review. Finally my idea is taking the GMAT for second time on January 15th and I hope to get 650 or more.

    I would like to hear your comments or suggests. Thanks in advance
    Martin

  • Hi Martin,

    Indeed, you need to work on the verbal section a lot. Here are some suggestions about books:
    - Manhattan GMAT SC and RC guides
    - PowerScore CR Bible

    You also need to read stuff in English every day. Unless you spend about 30 mins per day working on your English skills, you won't manage to get a good score. I suggest reading stuff such as The Economist, WSJ or the likes. They're also pretty good about keeping you informed. Good luck!

  • I have a GMAT Score of 620 , Quant-44 & Verbal 33.
    What universities do I have a chance of getting into?
    Exp: 4 years of which 2 years have as Fellowship with an NGO working for education

  • Hi Rahul,

    I'm not an admissions expert, unfortunately, so you may want to post this question in the "Ask an Admissions Consultant" section of our forums.

  • Hi Dana,

    Thank you for this post! I'm working to improve my GMAT score for PhD applications. I took the test back in May 2007 and scored well enough for the MBA program to which I was applying.

    For doctoral studies, I'm shooting for a GMAT score of 700+. Some of the programs I'm researching look for GMATs of 720+ for their PhD candidates.

    After some significant prep over the past 6 weeks, I took the test this morning and scored a 680, with a 40Q, 42V. Happy with the verbal score, but fairly disappointed about the quant score, especially after devoting so much study time to that area..

    Would you recommend taking the test a third time? How would it appear if I re-take for a third time & I don't raise the Q score that much?

    Thanks!

  • Well that's a good question. Is you PhD based heavily on quant? If so, you might be required to retake. 680 is not a bad score at all, but the quant score is on the low side. One thing you can do is reach out to the admissions committee directly and ask them what they think. In the end, you did take an MBA, which means you already have a pretty solid graduate track.
    On the other hand, if your PhD is based around quant, you might want to consider taking the test again. I recommend the Manhattan GMAT set of 5 quant guides for your prep. They + the OG 12 should be enough for your prep.

  • Hi Dana,

    I have my GMAT in the coming week. This will be my second attempt (scored a 570 last time - just one of those terrible days!) I've been scoring fairly well in the 680-750 range in my practice tests (GMAT Prep, MGMAT) but my main problem area seems to be RC. I was doing just fine with almost 70-80% accuracy initially but something's gone wrong now and my accuracy is down to 50%. Cant figure out what to do especially since my exam is less than a week away. Any suggestions? Also, just to understand this better, approximately how many verbal questions can u afford to get wrong to get a score in the last 30s?
    Thank you!

  • Are you consistently hitting 70-80% or 50%? Maybe the 50% is due to something else, like being very tired. If it happens a lot more often, then it would indeed be cause for concern, but you also need to consider the case when this is just an outlier. In case you are consistently hitting 50%, there isn't much you can do in the last week before your test. However, I once did a video presentation about science RC passages and I feel like much of the stuff I said there also apply to RC in general. Maybe you can check it out, it has some of my favorite tips: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2010/08/25/gmat-science-reading-comprehension

  • I got a 700 in my first attempt, 75 percentile in math and 89 percentile in verbal. I knew that i got the math section a bit messed up because of poor timing.I wanted a 730 or a 740. So i retook the test 2 months later and actually completed the math portion 5 minutes before time. But I got the exact same scores in both the sections. Im clueless as to how this happened.

  • I got a 700 in my first attempt, 75 percentile (46) in quants and 89 percentile (40)in verbal. I knew that i got the math section a bit messed up because of poor timing.I wanted a 730 or a 740. So i retook the test 2 months later and actually completed the quants portion 5 minutes before time. But I got the exact same scores in both the sections. Im clueless as to how this happened.

  • The amount of time you have left at the end of the section is not indicative of your performance. Ideally, you want to pace yourself just right, i.e. finish in the 75 minutes you have for the quant section. Maybe you need a fresh approach to boost your score. Whatever you did and whichever materials you used for your first two tries clearly cannot make you pass a 700, so you should change your strategy dramatically for your third try (if you plan on taking the test again, that is).

  • Hi Dana,

    I recently took the GMAT and scored a 680 Q44 V40. I began studying in September and completed the Manhattan 9 week course. I am contemplating re-taking for various reasons. One is that my Quant score for the last month has been consistently higher. My practice CATs were:

    9/5/10 MGMAT Q40 V38 650
    10/21/10 MGMAT Q43 V31 600
    11/5/10 MGMAT Q46 V32 640
    11/16/10 MGMAT Q48 V40 720

    11/30/10 GMAT PREP 1 Q49 V35 690
    12/2/10 GMAT PREP 2 Q48 V44 740

    I am applying to various master in finance programs. (LSE, Vanderbilt, HEC Paris, Oxford, IE Business School) Two of the programs (HEC Paris and Oxford) have their R2 deadline on January 14th. Their avg. GMAT is 690 and 730. Essentially if I re-took the test, I'd be bumping myself into R3, which I know is highly competitive. However, my low Quant score will place me at a disadvantage without a re-take. The other three are either rolling admission or their R2 is due in late January-early March. My applications are complete with the exception of my personal statement, which I have not started.

    Also, if I do not get into to a program that I like, I want to continue to work and apply for a top 10 MBA later on.

    With that said, do you recommend a re-take, and if you do, what strategy do you recommend? As of now, I feel that I have exhausted my current resources (MGMAT guides, OG 12, Quant OG 2, Verbal OG 2, and PowerScore CR). My RC and CR abilities are strong and do not need to be heavily worked upon.

    Knewton appears attractive because of the 50 point guarantee and the ability to complete within a month. At the same time, I realize that this course may not be geared toward non-first time test takers.

    Thanks!

  • Let me ask you this: where did you do your undergrad studies and how good was your GPA? If you did your undergrad at a relatively well known school and got a GPA over 3.8, then you could take a chance and apply with your current GMAT score. However, here's the catch: masters in finance adcoms are usually interested more in the stats than the story, which is the other way around for MBA adcoms. As such, a good GMAT score is definitely going to get you there (it got me into HEC easily and Amsterdam Business School, where I'm currently studying with a 90% scholarship) and your quant score does matter quite a bit. For Oxford, this matters even more than for HEC.
    As far as I remember though, you could send your GMAT score a bit later to all schools. I for one did not have all my recommendations on the deadline but they were OK with me sending it a couple of days later. If you think you can do it, then retake by January 14th BUT ask them first. Send them an email, they reply pretty quickly.
    As for your resources: it does feel like you've gone through a lot of them. I feel like revision is more or less what you need right now and not necessarily a course. The Knewton course (as well as the majority of courses I'm familiar with) cater to people who have not yet taken the test, which means you'll sometimes see stuff you already know. Maybe a tutor would be a better option? He/she can tailor your time together to match your weaknesses.
    Good luck!

  • Thanks for your help and insight! I did my undergrad at University of San Diego, its #28 for undergrad business. I graduated with two degrees (Finance and International Relations), a 3.5 GPA and strong extracurriculars (student body president and vice president).

    I'll contact the schools and to see what they say about receiving scores a few days late.

  • Hi Dana. I got the worst score ever. I have appeared 3 times on gmat and my scores have been the same. The first two times I took my actual exams I didnt study at all and scored.

    test1: 330
    test 2: 230

    After a year, I decided to take classes at manhattan gmat and get some insight. After taking 9 study session and studying for over 6 months. I used only Mgmt books and OG books.Even when i was taking my practice test I would score in 440. Finally i got tired of the hopelessness and I took my final test.My scores were

    test3: 350. (q 22, V 16)

    I am wondering if there ever chance of improvement? or I should give up on mba.

    Thanks

  • I think your scores indicates a deeper problem. I feel like if you're consistently scoring in this range, you need to think about hiring a tutor who can spend his/her time taking you from the top to bottom. There must be a problem with the fundamentals somewhere, I believe.
    I don't think you should give up on an MBA, but you need to think long and hard about a retake, because taking the test 3 times is usually the recommended amount. More than that (which will be your case) will be frowned upon unless you have a good improvement.
    Best of luck!

    • unfortunately its a little hard to afford a private tutoring.

  • Hi Dana. I also got the worst score ever. I actually studied consistently for 8weeks and got 480. I have finally gotten over my shock and decided to write again, kindly advise me the best approach, my quants and verbal was bad on the test day, even though i have more strength in the quants. On the test day, nothing worked for me.

    I actually have the OG12 and used the gmat prep CD and the 800score.com. I'm targetting for a 700, but it seems a sharp rise does not always happen. During my prep, I was scoring over 600.
    Whats the best approach for a re-take. I am so confused now.
    Thanks

  • With a 480, getting to a 700 will not be easy, but it can be done. I suggest using the entire Manhattan GMAT set of 8 books to help you in all your weak areas. Other than that, you may want to look into working with a tutor for a few hours to target your weakest areas.
    Good luck!

    • Dana,

      Thank you for a very detailed explanation. Common Mistake #2 fits me to a tee! I enjoyed studying the math but hated the verbal as I am a very technical person.

      I recently took the GMAT and scored a 550 (Q40, V25) indicative of my study plan. I sincerely believe that the GMAT is simply a reflection of one's study habits, therefore I am looking for a plan for the next 4 weeks to improve my score to a 650.

      I have the following study materials:
      1) OG 12th ed
      2) MGMAT Num Properties, Word Translations, SC and CR
      3) PowerScore CR Bible
      4) Access to Kaplan's Online material as I took the class a few months ago

      How can I devise a plan to increase my score 100+ to a 650+. My weaknesses are in SC and CR. Please advise.

  • Your verbal could use the most work. You should probably spend most of the time on that part of the test, although your quant score could also be improved. Have you gone through all the books you have carefully? If not, revise them - you have some pretty solid material to work with. Also, I'd recommend not spending that much time on the MGMAT CR book but rather focusing on the PowerScore CR Bible.

    • Dana, thanks for the reply. I plan to utilize your 1 month study plan listed within the Self Study section of BTG.com. Do you think it will be sufficient enough to raise my score 100 pts?

  • It's hard to say given that I don't have a lot of information about your study habits, the daily routine you have planned etc. However, I do feel like in general, a month is a fairly limited amount of time if you're shooting for a 100-point improvement. Depending on how much time/attention you plan to give to prep, it may just work! I would advise around 3 hours a day and double it for weekends.

    • Dana, my apologies for leaving out the details. Let me give you an idea of how I intend on studying.

      I work from 9-5 and have ample time after work to study 3 hours each day and about 6 on sat and sun.

      I plan to utilize your 1 month study plan as follows:
      **1st two weeks I intend on using my Kaplan online material, completing all of the exercises and OG12 related problems assigned

      **2nd two weeks focus on SC and CR using the MGMAT SC book and the PowerScore CR Bible, completing all OG12 problems.

      I still don't have a sure fire plan for my verbal study plan. Should I consider a different approach for verbal?

  • Your plan makes sense. For verbal, your resources are the best in their respective fields, so this should work well!

  • Here I am preparing for my 3rd... and surely final time around. I wrote Monday and improved my score from the first time around (350) where I was very ill and could not concentrate. Monday's score 470 still seriously struggling with math. Although consistently scoring high 500's on prep tests. I am worried its nerves... and if it is how am I going to improve that!?!

    So here's my plan, Taking the holidays off! I need to regroup and get positive again... I am feeling defeated.

    Retake my Kaplan course... Great course I need focus on their strategies more. I tend to forget all about them when under the time issues.

    As I was focussing on a balanced approach, as to not lose my verbal abilities, in addition to the math, while I still think this is a good idea, I will definitely focus more on the math. I know the formulas and memorization but I need to focus on understanding what strategy and formula to use for each math question.

    Lastly I will create another reasonable/attainable study schedule. Working full time I need to be realistic. I like to think I can complete more than I really can.

    Any other suggestions would be really appreciated.

  • I totally understand why you'd want to take some time off before you start studying again, so enjoy the holidays! :)
    If you feel like stress is an issue, try reading some of our awesome articles on the topic: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/category/stress-management
    With regards to how you'd structure your study plan, I advise you to spend more time on your weaknesses than your strengths, no matter what these may be.

  • I am thinking if I should take GMAT the 4th time.
    I aim at the top 10 B-schools.

    Here's the situation.
    I took GMAT twice during my senior school because I applied to the 2+2 Program. I got 640 the first time (preped for 3 days) and 710 (Q50; V37) the second time (studied for 1.5 week)

    I didn't get into 2+2, so I plan to reapply to b-schools again, not now, but 2 years later. But I am taking GMAT now as I am not that busy with work yet.

    Today I got a 700 (Q47; V39), after 1 full week of study.

    My aim is to get 720+ so that my score can be above the average of most Top 10 b-schools.

    I do plan to take the GMAT again, but after reading your post, I am in doubt, as you said taking the test more than 3 times might be a red flag for admission committees.

    My undergrad GPA is 4.0 though...

    But then I heard from a HBS alum that their GMAT cut-off point is 720 for Chinese (i am chinese btw)....

    Well this time, if I were really to take it...I would def. study for at least 3 months........I can't afford a lower score again.
    I could only blame myself for not studying hard enough for the previous tests.....

    So I am really clueless....should I retake the GMAT for the 4th time???
    ARGH!!!! Your insight will be EXTREMELY HELPFUL!!!!

  • I don't think there's a cutoff point for any nationality, to start with. Now, your situation is pretty unique so let me just say that you can take the GMAT a fourth time, but you need to make sure you get a really good score, I'd say 730+. If you're confident you can hit that, then do it. If not, just go with the scores you already have. Good luck!

  • Hi DanaJ

    It is good to follow your study plan - I wish i could have visited this section earlier as yesterday i took the GMAT and scored very poorly 550- scrumbelled in Verbal a lot as i devoted significant amount of time on Quantitative. I spend about 1 week in studying the material (over a period of 1 month).

    I would appreciate your advise to get to 700 score - i plan to retake my GMAT after 3 months from today- Since i am working professional, so it is not possible to study full time unlike recent college grads.

    I have OG, Manhattan GMAT and OG supplement guides to study. I would appreciate your advice and valuable suggestions to improve my score.

  • I feel like the resources you're already using are probably enough for you to get your target score. However, it's going to take more than a month to go through them all properly - it's more a question of approach if anything. You may also be interested in the 60-day study guide to help you prepare: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/gmat-guide Other than that, I'd need more specific details before making any other of recommendation.

    • I registered for 60 day study guide in order to prepare myself better. Let me know what additional details you would need, to provide additional recommendation?

  • How many hours did you study exactly? Did you browse through all the books you had or just a couple? Did you keep an error log? These are all questions you need to consider in tailoring your study regime.

  • Hi Dana,

    Let me be very honest with you as I am seriously considering to retake GMAT but my previous scores are just too discouraging.

    I have taken GMAT thrice but I cancelled the score on my third attempt.

    First Attempt : 660
    Second Attempt: 680
    Third Attempt : Results Cancelled.

    I don't want to give any reasons for my low performance but too be frank my work is very hectic. It is very difficult for me to study regularly.

    I am aiming at 740. But I am really not sure how to plan.

    Quant has been a strong area but I am prone to a lot of silly mistakes. On my second attempt I messed up a question for which I calculated the LCM of 8 and 6 as 48 :( . This question took over 5 mins of my time as my answer was not matching any of the options.

    My weak area is verbal. I have scored 35 in last attempt. Please advise on how to improve on this section.

    I can manage 2 hours on a weekday and about 4 hours on weekends.
    But it is difficult to manage time if I am travelling.

    The problem that I am facing is that I am lacking motivation to start again.

    Please help.

    Thanks, Praneet

  • Hey a 680 is a pretty good score! No reason to be too hard on yourself. You can definitely improve your verbal score and the best way to do this is to have the right resources. You have not mentioned which books you've been using so far, so let me make a couple of recommendations:
    - Manhattan GMAT SC guide
    - PowerScore CR Bible
    - pretty much any RC book out there, although it depends on what you need (for more practice, use Veritas; for more theory, use Manhattan GMAT)
    Also, please note that when you get stuck on a question on the GMAT, try not to waste too much time with it. If it looks unsolvable, then you're probably going to end up answering it incorrectly anyway so you're better off guessing anyway. I myself guessed on test day in a quant question and got a pretty good score!

  • Thanks for the response Dana. I feel better now. Thanks again.

    The books I have are:
    - OG 12th and 11th edition.
    - Kaplan GMAT Premier 2010 - 2011 edition.
    - Manhattan CR Guide.

    I will purchase the books that you have mentioned. I will go with Veritas as I need more practice.

    What do you have to say about SC1000? Can I practice them?

    I will keep writing to you for any help/guidance that I may need during the course of my preparation.

    Thanks, Praneet

  • The SC1000 document is not very reliable. The source of these questions is unknown and their quality is sometimes debatable. Unless you completely run out of practice, then I say don't use it.

  • Ok; thanks for the response again.

    So I will use the following resources for my preparation.
    - OG 11/12
    - Kaplan
    - Manhattan SC & CR
    - CR Bibile
    - Veritas.

    Is it fine?

  • I think that pretty much covers it! Unless you need more help with math, in which case you may also want to look into some of the corresponding Manhattan books.

  • Hi! I took the Gmat yesterday and I've scored 410 with a score of 32 on the math section (percentile 32) and a score of 16 in the verbal section (percentile 10). What do these results mean? How can i evaluat them?
    I've studied deeply the princeton review and a bit of the Official Guide 12.
    From the results, my problem is the verbal section, because of i'm italian and often i need a bit more time to understand the passages proposed in the verbal section. What's your advice? thanks!!!

  • Hey Anna,
    What's your target score? You need help in both sections. While you're doing better in math than in verbal, your math is also fairly weak. The two books that you mentioned are not enough for your prep. Depending on your target score, you'll have to invest more time/money in other books too.
    I always advise non-native speakers to try and read something in English every day. Just give yourself half an hour to read through stuff from sciencedirect.com, ft.com or any other site that contains high quality written material. This should really help you with your comprehension of passages! Unfortunately there are no real shortcuts on this one, since vocabulary is built through time and exercise.

    • My target was 650... but the dead line for the b-school that i prefer is over. I've to take thier test the next April.
      However, I want to retake the Gmat, because it is good for my career to have a good Gmat score, maybe if it lasts only 5 years). I thought to retake it in the next three or four months...i've to decide.
      Thanks for your advices!

  • Well getting to a 650 is going to require some work... Depending on how much time you can spare, I recommend the following books:
    - Manhattan GMAT set of 5 quant guides
    - PowerScore CR Bible
    - Manhattan GMAT SC guide
    - Veritas Prep RC guide
    To be honest, I don;t feel like the Princeton Review book is very complete. You can check out some book reviews I've written and decide for yourself as well: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/books
    You can also sign up for our daily study guide: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/gmat-guide
    Good luck!

  • Hi Dana,

    I've faced off with the GMAT twice so far, my stats are as below.
    Aug 2009 - 660 (Verbal - 32, 63% Quant - 48, 82%)
    Aug 2010 - 690 (Verbal - 41, 92%, Quant - 43, 65%)

    I've been wait-listed at 2 of the top 15 US Schools on account of my low GMAT and apparently because of my low quant score in my latest attempt.

    I've used the OG, Verbal & Quant Review, PowerScore CR Bible as well as all the MGMAT books. My second attempt preparation inclined more towards Verbal than Quant and this is why I think my quant went awry. I struggled with time management in the quant section and probably did not spend enough time with the advanced sections on the MGMAT guides.

    I write to you for guidance on additional material or suggestions I could use to prep up my quant score and help me get through problems faster? Also, I hope to avoid the see-saw effect and maintain my high verbal score in my third attempt.

    I am looking at about 2 months preparation and my target score is 740 and above. Let me know what you think? I’ve been following your responses so far and your inputs are greatly appreciated.

    Regards,
    AB

  • First off, congrats on being waitlisted at two top schools! Your situation is quite unique. I feel like the material you have used up to now is pretty awesome, which is why you might be interested in just reviewing it. Especially on the theoretical side of things, you can definitely do no wrong with simply reviewing the MGMAT guides. It's a bit different with practice though. Some people can redo questions and still learn a lot (and you should definitely review at least some of the more difficult OG problems), but others might not feel the same way. I for one could never review CR questions because CR is my obsession, so I'd remember the answers all the time! Practicing stuff I had already done didn't help.
    What you can do is invest in some other practice resources. There are some books out there that might be what you're looking for. Veritas launched a series of books last year and depending on your weaknesses, you can buy a few. They tend to focus more on practice than on theory (unlike MGMAT books), which is what you need at this point. There's also the Kaplan Workbooks (see some reviews here: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/books), but they don't contain that much challenging material. You can also consider using our the Beat The GMAT Practice Questions. In the end, it's up to you to decide, since you need to invest in the resources that tackle your weaknesses the most.

    • Hi Dana,

      Hope you’re doing well. This is more of a follow-up to your response to my post seeking advice on GMAT re-take prep material. I have completed revision of all the MGMAT books and am now ready for some intensive practice.

      From a quant perspective, I plan to re-do the last 150 OG12 problems, this time reviewing the solutions using the Manhattan OG companion. I realize my weaknesses include Number Properties (divisibility), combo/probability & stats – so I am seeking additional practice here, but given the limited time I have, I am struggling to decide between solving problems on the Veritas books and the BTG practice problems. I intend to re-take my GMAT by the end of May 2011.

      From a verbal perspective, I agree I could remember solutions to a few CRs on OG12 (it’s been 8months since I last attempted OG12), so was wondering what would be the best practice material here to supplement the OG12 problems. How would you rate level the BTG practice Verbal problems section compared to OG?

      Lastly, on practice tests – I have already taken all 6 MGMAT tests & taken the GMATprep twice over (4 tests by resetting the logs). Do you see any value in re-taking the 6 MGMAT tests? I do consider them a decent indicator of my GMAT performance. Or could you recommend any similar practice test?

      As always, your valuable inputs are greatly appreciated.

      Regards,
      AB

  • Hi Dana,
    I am a doctor from India and have graduated 10 years ago. I gave my GMAT in Nov 2010 after 2 and a half months of self study using only Princeton Review's Cracking the GMAT and GMAC's OG and OG Quant Review (Green). I got 590 (q 37, v 34) in GMAT prep test 1; 680 (q47, v38) on repeat of the GMAT prep test 1 after a month; 650 (q45, v36) on Princeton and 640 (q47, v 32) in the GMAT prep test 2.
    Finally in the GMAT, I got 610 (q46, v28) AWA - 5.0, which was quite disappointing.

    After reading your articles, I think my mistakes were:
    1. Concentrating more on quant - my strength, rather than on verbal - my mistake. I did this primarily because inspite of going through examples on verbal from OG, I felt I was not improving - especially SC and to some extent RC and CR.
    2. I did not give enough practice tests.
    3. Possibly I did not use other excellent study material as you have elucidated (except OG)

    Now I am planning to retake GMAT in July and my target is 670 - 720 score. (720 preferable - at worst 670 might work). As from my experience I can say that I can put in about 2 - 3 hours Mon - Sat and maybe 4 - 6 hours on Sun.

    My query to you is whether I should go about with self-study, classroom course locally in India (no reputed, professionally run classes in my city) or online class such as from MGMAT. Since this will most probably be my last attempt at GMAT, I fear about the possibility of not getting a good score and have started evaluating online courses though they are very costly. I mainly need help in tough quant questions but more importantly some magic in understanding verbal strategies.

    Regards,
    JC.

  • This is not an easy decision to make... Here's how I see it: with some good quality verbal materials (PowerScore CR Bible, Manhattan GMAT SC book and potentially an RC guide), you could maybe improve on your own. There's no guarantee, unfortunately. If you feel you have enough discipline to self study, then this could work. However, if you feel the need for professional help, then a course might be what you should go for. I wouldn't invest too much time or resources in a course by a no-name company, cause at times their strategies and tips might even lower your performance.
    Here's something else you can do: you could try self study and take the GMAT a second time. If it doesn't go as planned, you can enroll in a course. This means however that there could be a significant investment of time and money on your part, so it's up to you.

  • @AB: There's still quite a bit of time for you to practice. I'd say the BTG practice questions are really good on the quant side, but the Veritas books are OK as well... Remember: the Veritas books also contain some theoretical review, so if you're having doubts about that after going through the MGMAT guides, then the book might be better for you. If you feel you've covered enough theory, then go for the BTG practice questions.
    For verbal: it's really really hard to mimic the GMAT style in verbal. I personally really like the RC questions in the BTG practice questions, but the CR is a little bit different - to be honest, all CR questions that are not from official sources are a bit different! Only LSAT questions come close to the original structure of the GMAT CR questions. Here are a couple of sets: http://www.beatthegmat.com/suggested-lsat-material-cr-rc-t44191.html This is difficult stuff though, so don't get discouraged if you feel it's hard! The thing is, the BTG practice questions have the added benefit of you buying only one thing, whereas it may be more complicated with selecting books... Veritas CR is pretty decent, but they split the stuff in two books and it's quite pricey to pay for both. Maybe the PowerScore CR book would be better? I personally really liked that book and I credit it with much of my score improvement.
    As you've probably noticed by now, I haven't really mentioned anything about SC. That's because it was and still is the thing I disliked the most about the test... But if you've used the MGMAT book right, you should be fine with a bit of review practice from the OG!
    Tests... Hmm... The MGMAT tests are indeed a good indicator of your score and you could try to retake them, but as far as I can remember they run out of tough practice questions a bit too early on, so you might get a slightly inflated score from the third test onwards. Veritas also offers a free practice test, maybe you can check that out?

    • Hi Dina,

      Thanks so much for your prompt response. Given your responses, I think I will stick to my plan of re-doing the last 150 problems from OG12 (this time review them with the Manhattan OG Companion) and then resort to BTG for more practice. For verbal, I have thoroughly reviewed the Power Score CR book and that's a key reason my verbal skyrocketed in my second GMAT! In fact, verbal was not a problem in my last attempt and given the dearth of good resources I guess I have to stick to OG12 and will probably take a look at the LSAT books you mentioned. My main concern is now to look for more tests like the MGMAT, gosh why do they not have enough GMAT like tests!!!

      Thanks again for all your inputs, greatly appreciated!

      Regards,
      AB

  • Hi dana,
     Thanks for the amazing post. It's really self healing for people like me. I gave my GMAT exam today and scored a meager 640.
    I plan to apply to schools having average GMAT score of 720+. So I am planning to retake the exam. Few analysis that I made from my preparation:

    1) unscheduled breaks from my study plan of week or days due to official work, or watching sports etc.
    2) Scored 49 in Quant where I was expecting a perfect 51. So, lacking somehwhere which I am not sure of.
    3) Scored 28 in Verbal where i am pretty sure I got my SC and most of Rc's wrong. not sure about correct percentage of CR's.
    4) Anxiety level during exam was highest in verbal section.  was it because of the stamina getting drained by the time verbal came or because I got tensed readily after seeing 1st question.
    5) I refereed correct material for study namely: OG12, Verbal review guide, and manhattan SC guide. As I was mainly lacking on Verbal part practiced more on that. But still during exam I was mostly guessing the questions rather than being totally sure of answers? What can I do for that.
    6) Now when I am planning to retake GMAT what all materials should I use since I have already studies OG and Manhattan for more than two time.
    7) Also if I plan to schedule GMAT in 2months time, as I want a break and start afresh after a month my preparation will that affect my chances of getting in B school.
    8) How to improve RC skills as reading and understanding a passage in 1 Hour time is fine, but doing it in 5-10 mins that too under exam pressure has hampered my RC accuracy.

    I will be highly obliged for your valuable advice.

      

  • 5) I'm not sure why you felt you were guessing. To me this is a sign that you might not have studied properly. Here's an example of what I do sometimes when solving economics/finance problems. I try to solve it but don't put too much heart into it and kind of declare myself stuck easily. Then I check the answer and go like: "Oh now I understand this! It's not that hard!"But the thing is, you need to sweat over a problem to truly understand it. Don't just breeze over the answers and don't just go through the theoretical part. The proper approach is to sit in front of the book and analyze it really well before you make a pick and only then go to the answers!
    6) First off, decide if you've used the stuff properly, as highlighted above. Second, you can try some other resources, such as the OG verbal book or the PowerScore SC Bible. You can find more recommendations here: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/books
    8 ) RC skills are sadly not built overnight. It takes a bit of practice, especially since I suspect you're a non native speaker like myself. I often recommend that you just spend time reading stuff, like the Economist or WSJ or sciencedaily or even Wikipedia. My friends have complimented me on my reading speed and honestly, there's no other reason for it other than the fact that I tend to get lost reading about stuff on Wikipedia, from European royalty to various syndromes.

    • Thanks a lot Dana.

      I shall take care of all these parameters in my new study plan. Couple of more questions:

      1) Scheduling a date 2 months after the initial test present a bad picture to adcom while applying?
      2) Is it realistic to move from 640 to 760 score in a 2months time. considering the fact that I shall be starting my study in later half of June. I am targetting now to score 760.
      3) Also are coaching classes solution to misery in verbal section or they won't be of much help?

  • 1) I don't see why. As long as you improve, you can schedule your test whenever!
    2) I'm not entirely sure I get your timeline. Do you mean you'll be studying two full months before the test or only a little bit? You could get from a 640 to a 760 in two months, but I doubt it can be done in less. If you spend the first month ignoring study, then it isn't be feasible to get to your target score.
    3) That really depends on the tutor, to be honest. It is a bit harder to improve in verbal than in quant, because verbal is a soft skill. However, it is not impossible with the right person who can teach you what you need to know. I think it can definitely help, provided you get an instructor who know what he/she is doing!

  • Hello,

    I will be taking the GMAT in 7 months. So far the material that I have: 

    -Manhattan GMAT Set of 8 Strategy Guides, Fourth Edition
    -The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 12th Edition
    -The PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible
    -I will also download the two tests from GMAT website. 

    Strategy:

    -Two to three hours each day
    -Concentrate more on verbal and analytical writing section (English is my second language)

    Any advice would be grateful. 

    Thank you

  • Hey Jack,
    I can only say you have the best of the best books right there. Just be careful not to burn out in seven months, though! I'm not sure you would need that much. In case you feel prepared in two-three months, I see no reason for you not to take the test a bit earlier. Good luck!

  • Hi Dana, I need to retake the GMAT and I'm in need of some advice in regards to my study plan. I began my preparation for the GMAT back in October (2010) when I signed up for Kaplan's Math Refresher course. The next action step I took was the Kaplan GMAT Advantage class (on-site). After completion of this course I spent the next 1.5 months doing nothing but drill work. My drill work consisted of 2 days of quant followed by 2 days of Verbal. I studied between 1-2 hours per night during the week and on the weekends I put in between 6 and 8 hours per day. My weekends consisted mostly of taking/reviewing CATs. My practice initial CAT was a 370 and by the time I was scheduled to take the actual GMAT I was consistently around a 580. However, I peaked right around 2 weeks prior to the actual GMAT. I was suddenly overburdened at work and I didn't allow enough time for my body to rest and when test day came I was absolutely brain fried. I should have just rescheduled my test date, but i decided to "push through it". Midway through the quant section I realized that I just didn't have "it" so I guessed on the remaining questions and canceled my score. I rescheduled my test for the following month and started to really focus on the some of the basics that were really affecting my score (i.e. understanding the CR and RC question types). Also, I really struggled with the noise of the key strokes in the testing center so I started practicing at the library rather than my quiet office. I adjusted my study schedule to alternate on a daily basis between Quant and Verbal (rather than 2 days on/off as I did in preparation for the 1st test). Also, I focused only on the OG for my drill work (during the first go around I performed quite a bit of the kaplan practice problems). My CAT scores were still averaging around 580 as they were before the 1st test, but I was growing more confident as I was getting stronger in my understanding of the test. When test day came around, I was not encountering feelings of anxiety and I was feeling confident (my goal was a 600), but for whatever reason I did horibble (430). I felt like I quant questions were like nothing I had experienced during my practice work.
    I had to retake the test 31 days after this debacle as I was not down to the final fall application deadline for my school of choice. I took a step back and tried to find flaws in my game (this is also when I came across this website). At this point I added in my error. Secondly, I realized that my timing was an issue so I started timing every drill problem that I did. I realized that I need to improve on SC so I printed the flash cards of this site and worked on those (and i improved significantly on all my practice problems and CATs). I remember that the resolution on the computer at the testing center threw me off so I changed it on my work computer so I would be more comfortable. However, after taking all of these steps I wound up getting a 460. I'm not past the deadline for the fall so I need to turn my attention towards next spring. With that being said, I would like to retake in 3 months and put this behind me. I really could use some advice in putting together a study plan. I added a lot of detail, but I figure this would help you in understanding where I'm at with the process.
    Thanks, Rob

  • Hi Rob,
    I see a few problems you're facing with your test prep. Let's take them one by one!
    1. What really struck me is that you mentioned you used to spend your weekends taking and reviewing CATs. This is not the best strategy. CATs are useful in figuring out your timing/pacing and your overall level, but they don't help with much else. Don't take more than one CAT per week! Ideally you'd take one every two weeks. Instead focus on absorbing as much theory as possible and then putting it into practice with drills. You see, you need to work on one topic at a time. For instance, you review circles and then you do like 10 problems on that. A CAT is a collection of problems, each very different from the other. It's a sort of mix of stuff, so you don't really get too deep into one type of question or the other.
    2. I don't think it matters as much if you alternate your study for quant/verbal for 1 day vs. 2 days. I feel like the quality of study is much more important. Some people will study for quant for two weeks and then move to verbal for two weeks, others will go for alternate days on quant and verbal. I can't say there's a one-size-fits-all sort of approach, simply because some of us get bored easily if we tackle the same thing, while some of us feel more comfortable if we "tick" and certain topic on the list.
    3. So far you haven't given yourself enough time in between retakes. You can't retake in one month and expect to jump 150+ points! It's just not feasible to expect that, especially given that you are working. It takes time to get such score improvements. I'm really glad that you've decided to give yourself three months before your next try, this should be enough time to work on the test properly.
    4. You're not very specific about your weak/strong areas. I get the feeling that you have not been using an error log, which is an... error. Really, we make the mistake of not tracking what we're bad/good at! I myself made this mistake. I had the impression that I was really weak in CR and focused on it. By test day, I was really good at CR, but I had totally neglected SC! In fact, SC had been at least just as bad as CR for me from the beginning, but I just ignored it... Which is why I got a 47 verbal instead of a higher score. If I ever decide to retake the exam, SC would be my no. 1 priority! :) Anyway, the moral of the story is: keep an error log. We have some here on BTG: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/gmat-error-log but you can build your own as well!
    5. You've mentioned just a few resources so far: Kaplan, OG, our flashcards... These are all good books, but you can do even better with a slightly different set of stuff. For instance, for quant, you could buy the Manhattan GMAT set of 5 quant guides (although in your case the Fractions and Ratios one would probably be less useful, so make it 4 guides), the Manhattan GMAT SC guide and the PowerScore CR Bible. You could also probably use the supplemental official guides for quant and verbal for some more practice! Of course, this is a pretty hefty list, but you can pick and choose which books you'd like. Here are some more reviews written by yours truly: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/books
    6. There isn't that much I can recommend for a study plan given that I don't know too many details (i.e. your weaknesses), but here are some thoughts:
    - practice using an error log and a timer
    - give yourself enough time
    - take CATs, but not that often
    - use the good books!
    Hope this helps!

    • Dana, Thanks for the response! I'm going to look into the additional resources that you mentioned! Rob

  • Hi Dana,
    I have follow up question for you after your previous post. For starters, I had spent 6 months preparing for the GMAT prior to my low score, so I dedided to give myself a month off before getting back to studying. As I mentioned in the previous post, I am going to give myself 3 months of preparation before retaking the test. My question relates to the use of the OG. During my previous preparation, I the breakout of the various question types that Kaplan had provided me. In other words, I would focus on a single type of question when working on the quant section. Do you recommend this approach or would I be better served if I attacked the questions in a sequential order? Thanks for providing the link to book review that you wrote. I put together my "wish list" of materials that I will be adding to my repetoire!
    Thanks,
    Rob

  • I think you should do each question by topic and not necessarily in the order they appear in the OG. There's a simple reason for this: you get better at a thing if you do practice for it at once. The OG is a mix of practice with no real clear structure. Practicing one question for circles and then moving to squares and then switching to absolute value won't really help you learn any of these topics properly. Instead, focus on mastering each at a time!

  • Hi Dana,
    Verbal has been my strength (on the GRE I received 99th percentile score) but I have underperformed on GMAT with a 36 and a 34 in Oct 2010 with a 4.5 and 4 on analytical writing. My quant has been consistent at 47 and 46. I know my problems relate to 2 and esp 3 (anxiety, too much pressure on self, pacing/timing) you outlined in your post.
    1. To score 700+, would it be sufficient if I were to maintain my quant score and focus more on the verbal?
    2. Both times, I relied on OG and the verbal and quant review. Do you think it would be better to refer to other books as well?
    3. Would love the energy and enthusiasm of a "Beat the GMAT" team. Can I form one on the forums? Basically, we plan, prepare/track error log and keep everyone positive, motivated and eventually successful.

  • GRE verbal is quite different from GMAT verbal (well, except for the reading comp part), so don't be entirely surprised if your score from one test does not mirror your performance on the other.
    1. Yes, I think you can score a 700+ if you improve your verbal and keep your quant constant, but I wouldn't neglect that! Quant is still half this test!
    2. Unfortunately, the books you used are most definitely not enough. The OGs are awesome for practice, but they don't teach you the theory that's behind it all. I think it's more important to learn the theory first and do the practice later, so I advise you to pick up a couple of strategy/theory books. You can find more info in our book reviews section: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/books
    3. Go right ahead! The community has always been supportive!

  • Study Group in Sydney..

    Hey Dana,

    I am retaking GMAT. I studied alone and got a score of 680. I need >720.
    Are u aware of Study grup sites ? .. I want to join a Study group in Sydney, Australia.

    Thank you :)

  • Sorry but I don't know of any study groups in Sydney. However, we do have a widget in the forums (look for it on the right side of the screen) called MeetUp, where you can create such an event yourself!

  • Hi, I had taken the gmat last year in early Nov.. started prep in mid sept 2010... got a terrible score of 570... hoping to make it better, took it again after a month.. got a little lower than that... devastated... now.. i wanna take it 3 months from now..fully prepared.. plz suggest
    Thanks!

  • I think you need to spend more then a month to get a proper improvement in score. My guess is that you need at least 2 months, with the right resources. Please see the post above for some recommendations on which books to use. Don't hurry through them, take your time and digest all information properly.

    • Dear Dana, Thank you very much for replying! I've taken the GMAT twice, got 2 horrible scores- taken in less time gaps. I had never joined any forums earlier, so this is my first time here... I do not want to make any mistake Dana. I scored a 50 in quant but facing a lot a problem with verbal because of which my score is dropping. Please suggest me a schedule. I have to score above 700... willing to put in any effort... Below mentioned are the materials in hand.
      Materials in hand: OG 10, 11 & 12th edition, Manhattan Gmat set of 8 Strategy guides-4th edition, CR Bible.
      I would be very grateful if you could suggest me any other materials in addition to or in place of the above mentioned.
      And most importantly, I'd be super glad if u could please help me draft a study plan (im guessing this is whr im running out of luck)... got 2 months in hand from now... I'm sry if im asking for too much...
      Hoping for something in the affirmative...
      Thanks in advance!!

  • I think the resources you've listed should be enough to get you a really good score. I feel like you should focus about 80% of the time on verbal and just review quant a little bit (you could also just use the Number Properties and Word Translations books from MGMAT instead of the entire 5 quant set, it should be enough given that you're already at 50).
    It's hard to draft a study plan not knowing what your particular habits are. Unfortunately, I don't have enough time at the moment to discuss your situation in detail via private messages (I need to hand in my masters thesis soon), but here are some good study plans you can check out: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/how-to-get-a-700-on-the-gmat

  • Thank you for taking the time in assisting me! I really appreciate it... All the best for the thesis :)

  • Gave the GMAT today. It was my first attempt at GMAT. I prepared for two-three weeks, but studied only for verbal. My preparation comprised of SC,CR,RC questions from the GMAT OG12 and GMAT Verbal Review 2nd edition. Moreover, I read the Manhattan GMAT sentence correction (4th edition) once. I had only given the GMAT prep tests, and scored a 690 V32 Q49 and a 700 V34Q48 on them. 
    official GMAT score today Score: 700 V32 Q51 
    Very disappointed with my score.  Although, the AWA section went well and I finished the quantitative section with more than 30 minutes in hand, the Verbal section was a big disaster. Verbal score proved to be a dealbraker for me. I attempted all the questions in the verbal section without any guessing. Moreover, I expected better score in quantitative section too, as I had answered all the questions correctly. I had a target of 760 or above in mind. I guess, my preparations were not according to my targets. 
    The Verbal section is a big concern for me now. Even though, I had studied the Official guide, verbal review and the Manhattan SCguide, still I found myself helpless in the examination hall. I was not able to apply the techniques I had learnt. The problem, is that even after learning some techniques during preparation, I was like totally clueless in the exam hall, as if, I hadn't prepared at all. Rather than solving questions methodically, I was just trying to solve them by how they sound (Does the option sound right or wrong.) 
    In most of the verbal questions (around 70-75%), I was stuck with two options at the end, and was finding it very very difficult to eliminate any one of them. Even while preparing I took around 3-4 minutes (SC), 2-3 minutes(RC) and 5-6 minutes (CR) per difficult question while trying to solve them methodically. I have decided that I will give the exam again in three-four months time. Now, I think, I need to learn how to solve Verbal section questions technically or methodically within 90 seconds. Please guide me about how can I learn this and what all resources can be useful to build a methodical/ technical approach towards verbal section questions. 

  • Hi Dana
    First of all, I haven't seen anyone ever reply with so much consistency to their post for over a year now. From many GMAT test takers I know, thanks a ton !
    Now, I took the GMAT and scored a 690(Q50,V32,AWA 5.5). It is probably an appli-able score but I know I can and I want to do better. I tried doing things on my own but I have a 6 day full time commanding work and it is becoming difficult. My improvement has halted. I have been scoring on the same levels - 49 to 50 - in quant. However, for verbal I want to increase my score by 8-10 points.
    Consdering my work, I think I should take an online course. What do you suggest - Knewton / Kaplan? I know you have been asked the same question a number of times but my point here is - should I go for a course with more interaction (Kaplan) or one where I get a money back guarantee (hoping I do not have to avail it !)

    Thanks a lot

    Rezinka

  • @ S J: Don't be so hard on yourself! 700 is a really good score FYI, your quant score is the maximum you can ever get, so there's really no way you could score higher on that section.
    700 is within the range of most top b schools. Unless you are part of an over represented demographic (investment banker, Indian IT male) or are targeting super competitive schools, then I wouldn't jump in to retaking the GMAT unless you're sure this won't take away from other elements of your application.
    That being said, seen as how you appear to have made up your mind about a retake, I'll offer some advice. First off, you mention that you've read the SC guide once. This is not the kind of book that you just read once, this is the kind of book that you review using your pen and paper at hand, making notes and flashcards. It's no surprise to me that on test day, you found yourself answering questions by ear, since you actually didn't absorb all the information properly. Your CR and RC probably also need some tweaking, so I advise you to buy the following books:
    - PowerScore CR Bible
    - Veritas Prep RC book or MGMAT RC guide
    As for getting stuck between two options, there isn't one clear cut approach to this, but here's an article I really liked about the topic; http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2010/07/25/down-to-two-what-to-do
    Good luck!

  • @Rezinka: Haha, I get email notifications with every post, so I am compelled to reply :)
    Unfortunately, I can't make a super clear recommendation. While I've sampled most companies' prep courses (sat in on a couple of sessions), I haven't taken the full courses. It's also a matter of instructor. The instructor makes or breaks the class, so be sure to go for one who has plenty of experience and good reviews.
    You should probably check out the reviews here for more information: http://reviews.beatthegmat.com/online-gmat-courses
    That being said, I've heard people say good things (and a couple of not so good things, like issues with sound or scoring algorithm on their CATs) about Knewton, but I haven't heard that much feedback (good or bad) on Kaplan's online offering. I think you should sit in on a session of each course and decide for yourself which instructor fits you best.

  • Hi Dana

    Just scheduled my test for September 3. I've decided to forego the costs for the courses and do it on my own. I had begun preparing using RC99 and SC and CR from BTG forums. However, I wasn't really satisfied with the latter 2 as the answers are often debatable.

    I need improvement in all 3 areas of Verbal. What sources should I use? More importantly, how should I structure my studies? I have full time work and am beginning my applications from today. And, I do not want to burn out by test day.

    Again, thanks a lot !

    Rezinka

  • I think it will definitely take more than that to get a good score. In case you're sure you don't need any help with quant, try the following books for verbal:
    - Official Guide 12th ed. for practice
    - Manhattan GMAT SC guide
    - PowerScore CR Bible
    - Veritas Prep RC book or Manhattan GMAT RC guide
    It isn't easy to structure your studies when you're working full time, but my recommendation is to try and work on the test 2 hours per day during the week and 6 hours on weekends. That's the standard approach for many. You should begin working on the part which you feel least comfortable with!

  • Thanks Dana

    Will try this and llet you know the result in a month !

  • HI Dana,

     I am planning to write my GMAT exam after 2 months. I want to prepare with Manhattan 8 Strategy set and OG. I can spend 5 hrs/day. Please let me know If have chosen right study material and study Plan.

    Awaiting for your response.

    Thanks
    Rashmi 

  • I think your materials should be enough!

    • Thanx Dana. Please also suggest me that what is the ideal preparation time for GMAT with 8 Books Manhattan & OG, if I devote 3 hrs/day in weekdays & 6 hrs in weekend.

  • Hmm, well it depends on your pace, but I guess that should be enough. Most people can't afford to spend more than 2-3 hours a day during the workweek anyway.

  • Hi Dana,

    Took GMAT twice and got the same score 500, 1st (q39,v21) and 2nd (q36,v22). I spent 3 months and only used OG 12th edition and the GMAT Prep software for the first exam. For the second exam, I spent 3 months and concentrated in Manhattan GMAT SC guide & RC guide, PowerScore CR Bible, and the OG quant and verbal reviews. Before the second attempt, I review the materials once, but i felt I did ok with the problems in both of the OG quant and verbal reviews. However, there is no improvement on the acutal score... Do you think it is possible to get 600+ if I add in a few of Manhattan's quant reviews and retake around Nov? or the chance is low based on these consistent scores?

    Thank you very much

  • You do seem to have very consistent scores, which makes me wonder whether or not you're using the materials right. Studying for the GMAT is done with a pen and paper in hand, taking notes and really giving it your best to solve a problem before you check out the answer.
    Here's my advice: definitely go for the resources you mention and take several (maybe 3-4?) practice tests before you go for the actual test. If you don't see scores above 630 in at least 2 of these tests (preferably the ones right before your actual exam), then consider getting some extra help like tutoring or a course. Sometimes that's needed to put you on the right track.

    • Thank you Dana for your advice. I've been thinking about my study pattern and evaluating what went wrong. I tend to spend 1-2 weeks on each book. I do the problems after each topic if the study guide has references to the OG and finish the rest of OG verbal review after all the study guides are reviewed. And I always time myself and review the answers. I take note mostly in the RC section while I'm studying, but not so much on SC and CR because i feel there will be too much to note, almost copying the whole thing. I'm guessing I might have forgotten most of the material I studied earlier by the time I finished all the guides and I really need to note everything even copying alot from the guide to get a firm understanding of the material.
      Do you think I need all 5 MGMAT quant guides and also the foundation of verbal?

  • Yup, go for all the 5 quant guides. I'm not entirely sure you need the Foundations of Verbal book too, but if you're a non native speaker, then give that a try as well.

  • Hi Dana

    As promised, I am back in a month. I did all 3 books you recommended and I did raise my score. Here's my brief:
    http://www.beatthegmat.com/690-720-in-15-days-exactly-t90424.html#402763

    I just want to say:
    Thanks-a-million-ton-Dana

    You rock !!

  • Hi Dana - I posted a comment on this thread a few months back after 2 unsuccessful attempts at the GMAT. Prior to my 2 attempts, I had taken the Kaplan on-site prep class and I was using the OG to drill. I was averaging around 600 on my CAT's, but when it came to the "real deal" I ended up scoring in the low-mid 400's both times. Per your advice, I've supplemented my study regimen with the MGMAT books. My job is very time demanding, but I still hit the books for 2 hours/day and 4-6 hours/day on both Saturday and Sunday. I set up an initial study schedule (3 months long) that had me taking the test on 10/1. However, while going through the MGMAT books, I've discovered quite a few flaws in my game and it seems like it takes forever to get through the MGMAT books. For example, the Word Translation book has taken me around 4 weeks to get through. To give you a little background, I didn't have a quant intensive track in school (i.e. I'm not an engineer) but I've always been above average when it came to my math courses. To make a long story short, I've always been fairly strong at math but my slow go through these books are a bit of a concern. Is there a certain amount of time of I should be spending on these books before I'm starting to go overboard, or is it more of an individual thing? On the bright side, as I go through the OG problems that relate to each section in these books, I'm getting the vast majority of the problems correct and more importantly, I'm starting to really understand what the questions are asking for so I can get to a solution faster. Additionally, I designed my study plan to go through all of these books (and the Powerscore CR book) and then I was going to spend 1 month dedicated to drilling on problems. I haven't started taking my CAT's again as I planned to start taking them about 2 weeks prior to my 1 month of drilling (giving me 6 weeks of CAT's prior to my examination date). Would you mind sharing your thoughts in regards to whether or not you agree with the logic behind my study plan. I know I'm going to succeed on this test, but i want to want to make sure that the 3rd attempt is the final attempt so I'm asking for your feedback in case you think I should make some adjustments to my study plan. Finally, to give you feedback on my original scores, I was equally as bad in both sections (I wasn't booming in one area while flopping in the other). And, on my previous CAT's (when I was averaging in the 600 range) I usually flip flopped week by week with quant scoring high and verbal low and vice versa. thanks! Rob

  • Hey Rob, your plan seems solid to me. Don't worry if it takes a while to go through the books, it's best that you spend more time on things and really get them rather than spend too little and get nothing out of it. You're also busy with work, so it makes sense that it would take you a few more weeks than normal.
    One thing I wanted to point out though: to me, a full month dedicated to CATs and practice seems a bit much, especially since you're already practicing as you go through books. In general, I tell people to avoid putting too much time in CATs: they're useful to track your progress, identify weak spots and determine your timing, but they won't necessarily teach you anything new and they're mentally draining. I don't know how many tests you plan to take each week, but I recommend no more than one or two.
    It's much better to use practice to reinforce those concepts in that final month, but at the same time I'm wondering if you're not setting yourself up for forgetting some things as time goes by. I guess you need to balance out the benefits of more practice (if you have any questions left, too!) and risking forgetting something you worked on two months ago.

  • Hi Dana,

    I plan to take my Gmat on Oct. 24th(Today is 4th) I recently took Gmat Prep 1 & got 560. Q42 & V26. Do you think its unrealistic to think that by 24th I can get close to 700? It seems from this test & some previous ones (MGMAT CATS) I have gotten 600 on one of the MGMATs. I am consistently getting Q40+ but verbal near upper 30s and high 20s. My verbal is def. a weakness. Can you provide any suggestions? Any comments on the study plans? I work full-time & spend at least 2-3 hrs a day if not more & more on weekends. Please advise. Thank you!

  • Hi Dana,

    I retook my GMAt a week back and scored 680 . Surprisingly this score was exactly similar to score of an earlier attempt (680). My prep test scores were Kaplan (640), Princeton (700,720) and GMAT Prep (700,730). I was expecting a score of at least 720.

    During the exam I did not feel anxiety except for few moments, in which time was running out .. I dont know wat to do now .. I require a better score to apply to schools 'm aspiring for .. Should I retake GMAT ? .. if yes then how to figure out wat went wrong ? .. wat to study ??

  • @Runal, I think it is possible to get to a 700 by Oct 24, but to be honest it is fairly unlikely. It just takes time to improve, especially in verbal. I would strongly advise you to focus mostly on the areas that are causing you trouble. Also, drop the practice tests and go back to theory! CATs don't teach you much, they just help with pacing and gauging your level. Here are some of my favorite books for verbal:
    - Manhattan GMAT SC
    - PowerScore CR Bible
    - Veritas Prep RC book

    • Thanks for your reply Dana! When you say 'go back to theory' means learn & read up on the concepts again instead of doing practice problems & tests. Also, fyi, I been reading Manhattan SC, CR & RC for my Verbal Preps.

    • Runal, yes! practice problems are OK if you're good with theory but practice tests aren't that good. They don't teach you that much!

  • @Confused_but_Determined, your score is actually within the range of what would be considered normal given your practice test scores. To bump it higher, I suggest using a different approach to studying this time around. Not sure what you did the first and second times, but it was obviously not enough to get you to your target score. I say go back to square one, evaluate the materials you've used and your approach to studying and them re-start again. Give yourself at least a month before you retake the test, to make sure you've had enough time to prepare.

  • @kyonbatau: First of all, please control your language. I will most definitely delete your next comment if I see you using the same language. You can of course say that you disagree and explain your reasons behind it, but I won't tolerate insults.
    Second, I am not saying that the test itself will give you a lower score if you retake it a second/third/fourth time. You can take the GMAT as many times as you like (well, at most 5 times a year, that is), and the scoring algorithm will not penalize you for that. I'm only saying that the Admissions Committee will be put off by you taking the test so many times. There's a simple reasoning behind this: if you've taken the test 3 times without much improvement, why would you take it a fourth and fifth time, spending hours and hours to prep, when the GMAT is just one of the many elements of an application? If you've hit a plateau, why would you spend your time studying for something you're not good at (not because you're stupid, mind you, but because you may be a less than perfect test taker, nerves get the best of you etc.) instead of doing something to strengthen your application in other areas, such as volunteering or taking on extra responsibilities at work or going for some Statistics classes at your local college? That's what I would ask myself if I were a member of the AdCom: why would this applicant repeatedly hit the wall instead of going off and doing something more productive? It must mean that s/he is not that good at prioritizing things, which is why I will consider dinging him.
    By the way, this is not something I said, it's something that Admissions Consultants have been saying for years.

  • Dear DanaJ,
    Your responses to others are awesome...plz help me in overcoming my problem....
    I used to score 700+ range in my model exams...In Gprep2 i scored 740(2nd attempt without any review of the first attempt)...But I failed terribly in actual exam... My biggest problem was stamina...I used to smoke in the intervals during my model exams....and on the exam day(OCT-10th,yesterday).,since i was not allowed to smoke,I could not concentrate at all....i was just staring the screen but finally called my score...Could u plz tell me hw to concentrate better for 4 hrs? Moreover,I have decided to quit my smoking habit as soon as possible and excercise regularly.....

  • I'm definitely for quitting smoking, that would probably help you ease the anxiety you feel during the test. Unfortunately though, I can't help that much besides support your plan of quitting. I've never had anxiety issues with an exam myself, I just sat in front of the screen and it was me vs. the test. Here are some articles on the topic though: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/category/tags/gmat-test-day/stress-management-gmat-test-day
    I think you need to try to practice realistically. Next time you take a test, don't smoke at all during the breaks! I think it will also be better if you know what to expect on your next go.

  • @kyonbatau: Yes, you're right, I have deleted your comments. Frankly I see no reason why I should spend any more time explaining what I mean to someone who insults me and has some of the poorest grammar and spelling I've seen on our forums.
    You can either take my advice or leave it, it's your choice. If I were you though, I'd do a bit more research before I start my application.

  • Dear Danaj,Thanks a lot for your swift response.You were incredibly fast....I have one more question.I have exhausted all my practice exams...I bought manhaatan gmat exams...but i took those twice....+Gprep also nw does not tell my score properly....so , which is the next gud practice exams i can buy? Knewton or veritas or something else?(I'v heard that Kaplan scoring system is littele different from the actual exam)...after seeing the score( with no smoke in the breaks :( ) ,I will decide about when to retake the actual exam.....Plz suggest...

  • I think you can check out the Veritas Prep tests. If you buy a book from their online store (but only their online store), they give you access to their practice tests! Kaplan is OK too, but I didn't always feel that good about some of the quant and CR in those tests.

  • Hello DanaJ,
    I tok my exam yesterday and I was consistently getting a score of around 650 (average) on GMAC,MGMAT sample tests, But in exam i scored 540 Q47V19. I screwed up the verbal. I found the SC very tough (there were tons of words that i heard the first time and had no clue on their meanings) which use to be my strong point so screwed those up. I have gone through the SC and CR book for MGMAT multiple times but still i have trouble applying the rules on SC.I do the question wrong and then when i look at the answer I am like dah this is the parallism. Any perticular suggestion on how to improve ? or how to study the materia more effectively I want to take GMAT again and I saw your recommendation on the verbal books. I have a question on the MGMAT Foundations on GMAT Verbal, is that recommended by you ? to improve the basics of English being a non native speaker ?
    If i give 4 hours daily consistently do you think i will be good for getting a 740 score in two months ? Its mainly improving verbal I am not able to decide on a strategy how to improve verbal. Please help
    THanks,

  • Reading your post I can't help but wonder if you fit in the classic "non native speaker" crowd. Your English isn't bad at all and I could definitely understand what you're saying if we were talking face to face, but I see some grammar mistakes in your post that make me feel that maybe your knowledge of English isn't as good as it should be, which makes you struggle in verbal. Therefore, first and foremost, I would recommend that you start reading in English at least 30 mins a day. Try reading reliable, high quality sources like WSJ, The Economist, cnn.com. This will not be a waste of your time, I guarantee it! You'll improve your vocabulary in the process as well. You see, not knowing what a word means shouldn't be an issue on the GMAT, because you can usually tell whether it's a noun or a verb or something else, which is really all that matters when it comes to grammar.
    Yes, the Foundations of GMAT Verbal is a good book and you should definitely check it out. I think you'll have to go through the MGMAT SC book again, but this time around I urge you to go at it with a pen and paper at hand and take notes. I think when studying SC, you need to have a list of stuff to check for: parallelism, subject-verb agreement, pronoun issues, idioms and misplaced modifiers cover most of the errors you see in SC. You need to teach yourself to mentally check each point on that list before you select one option or the other.
    In terms of time commitment, I think the amount of time you plan to spend per day is OK, but I can't guarantee you'll get a 740! That has more to do with the quality of your study rather than the quantity. But good luck!

  • Thanks Dana.What has shattered me and makes me wonder if I should give up or continue is the fact that on the first test, without preperations, I scored 540 and the final result after 3 months of studies was again 540.

  • Well, you need to consider the fact that a 540 at home isn't the same as a 540 at the test center. Your nerves might have gotten the best of you on test day! It's also a sign that maybe you're not studying the right way. You need to be more thorough, not just do problems and that's it. The test requires a deeper understanding of concepts.

  • Hello Dana, I've taken the GMAT twice now. the 1st time -540 and the 2nd - 640 with a gap a month. During my practice tests, I usually scored quant - 47 to 50 and verbal - around 35, which made just upto 700. Thus I expected, I'd touch 700 in the actual GMAT. But unfortunately, on the GMAT, my quant score fell to 43 while verbal remained at 35. I still feel I have the potential to crack into the 700+ group but not sure whether to retake the GMAT as bschools might consider my taking the GMAT thrice as an applicant obsessing over a single element in the application.

    Coming to my profile, I'm the University Topper of my University in my undergrad school, with a GPA of 8.5/10. I've been with National Instruments for 2 years and now with BOSCH for a year. 2 years of work experience in software programming (at NI) and 1 year in customer operations (at BOSCH). Can you let me know my prospects in cracking into one of the top 30 bschools?

  • Usually when I see that your actual GMAT score is lower than your practice tests scores, then I conclude there's some timing or stress issue. Did you finish each section on time? If not, you need to do a better job of pacing yourself. I recommend that you time yourself each and every time you practice. Here's an interesting article that was recently published on the topic: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2011/11/07/breaking-down-two-minutes-time-management-within-a-gmat-problem
    Also, not sure what books you've been using, but to boost your quant score I strongly recommend the Number Properties and Word Translations guides from Manhattan GMAT.
    As for your profile, I am not an expert on this. But you could get more qualified help from our consultants: http://www.beatthegmat.com/ask-an-mba-admissions-consultant-f40.html

  • During the prep tests I got 480 and 490 respectively but when I took the gmat today, I only scored 390. Please help me. I've rescheduled another test next month. My aim is to get around 480-550, please help.

  • Not all tests are created equal. If you skipped the AWA while practicing, then that might explain your lower score. However, even more likely than that is that you're having timing or stress issues, so you can't perform as well in an official testing environment. You need to start practicing everything (even sets of random questions) with a timer and make sure you gradually get to the point where you're hitting a question in less than 2 minutes.
    You didn't mention what resources you've used. Given your score, I'd first go through the Foundations of Quant and Verbal by Manhattan GMAT to boost the basics. If there's any time left, then you can try other MGMAT guides that address your weaknesses (for instance, Sentence Correction). You should also try practicing from the Official Guide 12th edition, it's the best resource for questions!

    • Hi Dana,

      I've finished the quan section but did not finished the verbal section, did 37 questions in total for this section as the pen annoying ran out of ink so wasted abt a minute to get a new one. Anyway I'm using official guide 12th ed together with foundation for kaplan as and the princeton gmat refresher manual. My maths skill are pretty basic so that's the area I'm most worried about, particularly the DS questions.
      TIA for ur response.

  • Maybe it's a good idea to work with a tutor for a few hours on your quant skills? If not, I haven't personally checked out the Kaplan foundations book. I know the Manhattan GMAT one is pretty good, but I can't say for that one. Also, the Manhattan GMAT quant guides are pretty solid in general. For DS, Veritas Prep has a nice book you should definitely consider buying!

  • Hi Dana,

    I'm 50 days away from my GMAT and want to maximize my score. Please help me in this regard.

    Brief background:
    I've been taking few practice tests (GMAT Prep 1, Kaplan..) and I observed that while my quant score was pretty good (~44), Verbal was a let down (25-27) as a result my overall score is taking a dip.

    I want to improve my verbal (esp. SC and RC, CR has been pretty good for me). I bought MGMAT SC strategy guide and just started working on it.

    I want to know what are all the books,given my time constraint of 50 days, should I be focusing on?

    Following are my problem areas:
    - Permutations,combinations, and probability 
    - Data Sufficiency (Advanced, I mean the tougher ones)
    - Geometry and Word Probs
    - SC and RC

    Thanks!

  • Stop taking practice tests! They won't help you learn the content. You need to review the theory first and foremost. Nonnative speakers make this mistake quite often: they think they can just practice their way to a high score, but that's not the case. Here are my favorite resources:
    - Manhattan GMAT set of 5 quant guides and their SC guide (though you probably don't need their Fractions guide, it's too basic)
    - PowerScore CR Bible
    - Veritas Prep RC
    - Official guides for practice
    In case you're looking for some Data Sufficiency practice, then try the Veritas Prep DS book! You can also try using our 60-day study guide if you wish :) http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/gmat-guide

    • Thanks a ton Dana for the quick reply :)

      I thought of taking Kaplan Math workbook and Veritas DS since math doesn't seem to let me down as I was scoring 44+ consistently. You still want me to take MGMAT books for Quant? :|

      I took MGMAT SC, for sure i will invest in CR bible and Veritas RC. My fear - Are these books doable within 50 days? And how realistic is my target of 700+ in 50 days?

      Thanks again... Please do reply!

  • The Kaplan Math book is pretty good, but the MGMAT guides are even better (for instance, the Number Properties and Word Translations guides are golden). I think you're better off buying these two books rather than the Kaplan one, because the MGMAT books also have an advanced section and you need that more than just general practice.
    Yes, these books are doable in 50 days, if you give it 2-3 hours a day! You'd need to focus mostly on verbal to hit 700+, but I think that you have enough time to do that.

    • Thanks again Dana. You reinstated my confidence :)

      Yes, I will have to stick to 2-3 hrs a day and more on weekends. Though I already did Kaplan 800 for Math, I didn't feel its sufficient and thought of taking Kaplan Math WB instead, as you said, I will take MGMAT for Math!

      I will give practice tests a break till I get a grip on the Verbal fundamentals!

  • Hi Dana, 
    thanks very much for your information.
    I am considering to take the GMAT in coming months. 
    I will buy the 3 offical  books and just curious whether i shall buy the Kaplan Premier book. will the material in this book cover the 3GMAT .I just want a book with guide on strategy.
    thanks!

  • Yes, you should buy it - the official guides have too little theory in them. The Kaplan book will compensate for that!

  • I have taken the GMATs twice.  The first score I got was around a 460 and the last time i took it I got a 500.  I need a 540 to get into the graduate program but would love a higher score.  I want to take the exam before they change the format which is in about 3 months.  My verbal score was a 27 the first time and a 28 the second time.  My math is a 27 and a 30.  I need a lot of help to improve my score and don't know where to start.  Any help you can give me would be great.  

    Thank you. 

  • I'd recommend starting off with some basics, like the Manhattan GMAT Math and Verbal Foundations book. You can then proceed to more intermediate stuff. If you're aiming for around a 600-650, then use the Kaplan GMAT Math and Verbal books, coupled with practice from the Official Guide 12th edition. If you're aiming for a 650-700 and have a few months for prep, then buy the Manhattan GMAT set of 8 guides and practice using the Official Guide 12th edition. Good luck!

  • Hi Dana,

    A great article on retaking the GMAT, helps a lot.

    I recently gave my GMAT on 29th Feb. I scored a pathetic 570! 

    Q40,V28 
    55, 48 and overall- 54. 

    Well this time I couldn't study much because of a very hectic job. I studied bits everyday for around half hour/one hour for about 15 days and then I took a leave for around 11 days to study. During this time, I studied the following: 

    GMAT OG 12th Edition - I could not do all the questions though. Did the questions which were on the Manhattan 8 books. 

    Manhattan 8 book Series -  I did go through all the books but I could not do much of the Advanced part in the books, but the rest I was pretty much at ease with. 

    Kaplan Math and Verbal Workbooks - I found the questions pretty simple in these books. This gave me a pretty false sense of satisfaction. I found the Math review particularly easy.

    Then just 3 days before the exam, I gave the GMAC preptest and scored a 610(Q32,V37). I was shocked!! Then i panicked and again scrolled through quickly all the manhattan books.. tried to do the advanced part but there was not much time. 

    Then gave the exam again and scored a 580(Q33,V36). That was it. I was so tense that i have no words. On the night of the GMAT too I could sleep only for 2 hours..  

    To be honest, I have not been much of a serious student all my life, and have never taken any exam seriously, but I guess this got to my head.  :(

    I have now rescheduled the GMAT on 10th May, considering the new pattern being introduced in June. 

    Could you please let me know, what books should I consult now... I think I should complete the advanced part in all the Manhattan GMAT books (8 book series).

    Given that I have 2 months for my preparation, is there anything which you think, I can focus on ?

    I used to think always that my Verbal was better than quants, though it proved to be a completely diff story on the D day.

    Waiting for some suggestion.

    Thanks and Cheerz  

    Varun.

  • You may have gone through the MGMAT books, but I do not advise you to tackle the advanced parts just yet. From your scores it's clear to me that while you're not doing too bad, you have yet to nail down some of the basics, so you need to work on that first and foremost. I would strongly advise you to go through these books again and this time with more dedication. You say you're not a very serious student... Well unfortunately you need to change that for this test! Keep an error log, make flashcards with concepts and really spend time understanding why the right answer is right and the wrong answer is wrong. You also seem to have spent too little time on these materials, which again points to an insufficiently deep study regime. Don't just solve a problem and move on, but get the concepts down cold.
    So bottom line: you have all the right resources, but you need to use them properly. In case you can't on your own, maybe it's a good idea to look into a course or hiring a tutor for a few hours.

    • Hey,

      Thanks for the reply.

      What score do you think I can/should target with a 2 month prep now ?

      Thanks again.

      Varun.

  • You could hit a 700 or even higher, but again I think it's completely up to the quality (not quantity) of your prep.

  • Hello Dana,

    Thanks for the excellent post on retaking the GMAT. I am an Indian Female IT professional and have already taken the GMAT three times :-( . I am targeting a college with an average score of 710 - 730 and am working towards it. I really am completely confused as to if I should take the GMAT a fourth time and if my other three attempts would affect my application adversely.

    My first attempt score was 630 (in October 2010), my second attempt score was 610 (in May 2010) and my third attempt score was 670 (in June 2011).

    In my first attempt I had poor study material and did not have proper preparation.

    After this I had prepared well and gave regular mock tests at home. I used the official GMAT prep guide, the Manhattan GMAT prep guide and also the Kaplan 800 score material. I used to score around 730 - 760 in the mocks.

    My second and third attempts were given when I was going through an extremely difficult personal situation. I could not reschedule the exam since it was already too late. I was not able to concentrate on the days of my exam and my results were a complete mess. When I gave my third attempt I was sure I could succeed but during the test I had a mental breakdown.

    I have overcome my personal trauma over the last year and am confident of doing well in the exam. But I would truly need your advice as to whether I should be giving the GMAT one last time and what steps could I take to improve on my scores.

    I have very decent academic results since school right through to college and have a steep 5.5 year professional career progression curve.

    Eagerly awaiting your advice and your suggestions,

    Arani.

  • You list all the good stuff when you talk about your prep: the Official Guide, the Manhattan books... I get the feeling that the issues you're facing are more about stress management than the actual content on the test, so if you do decide to retake, I strongly advise you to use the books you already have and review everything, potentially supplementing it with some fresh practice (you could use the Official Guide supplements or the Veritas books for that).
    Do I think it's worth taking a 4th time? Yes, especially given your personal situation. I don't think schools will hold it against you, but taking it a fifth time might be a bit of a stretch, so you should probably give it your all this time around. Unfortunately your score is rather low for your peer group (Indian, IT professional - but you are a woman, which makes you a little less overrepresented), so most likely a 670 will not be enough to get you into schools that have an average of 710-730.

    • Dana,

      I must thank you immensely for the prompt response. This does boost my confidence about one last attempt. Yes, I did use the best prep materials but my personal situation was terrible during the second and third attempts. I am working towards giving the exam one more time and this time it will have to be my best shot. I shall keep in mind your advice about the review and fresh practice efforts.

      Just one concern though. I understand the next question might be speculative but do you think the ad com officers would reject an application as soon as they see four attempts for the GMAT without reading through the application essays? I understand that there is space provided in application essays to enumerate concerns about a possible weakness in the application.

      Eagerly awaiting your response / suggestions and once again a heartfelt thanks for your advice.

      Arani.

  • Yup, you should definitely use the additional essay to explain why you had to retake the test 4 times. I don't think the adcom wouldn't give you a chance - they'd definitely consider your app!

    • Dana,

      Thanks once again!! You have been a great help indeed. I shall keep you posted for further developments.

      Arani.

  • Hi Dana,

    thanks for the article, it helped me a lot.
    I am going to retake the GMAT in one month, but I have troubles figuring out what to improve.
    Here's my story: http://www.beatthegmat.com/disappointing-630-one-month-to-improve-by-50-points-help-t108542.html#458947

  • Dear Dana..

    Thank you for putting up this extremely useful post. I'm a second time exam taker myself and it has not been pleasant. I got a 570 in my first attempt which was very shocking because of the fact that i was scoring perfectly within the range of 640-710 in my mock tests.. (GMAT Prep, Kaplan). I am stronger at verbal than at math and i have strengthened it (verbal) even more to be completely confident. But thats not the case with Quant, though i have improved a lot in data sufficiency and have got mostly correct answers after practicing the OG12, Kaplan premier and Manhattan word translations.
     I simply don't have the confidence to sit for a full length test with the fear of not scoring and getting de-motivated. I want to but just cant. 

    Please help because i'm more than desperate for a 700+ score and i have done quite a lot of individual practice but have not given a single mock test.

    AV

  • Have you been writing the essays before each practice test? Because if you haven't, then that's an issue that could explain your score drop. The essays are not that difficult, but they're an extra hour you need before diving into quant and verbal. It can be quite draining!
    For quant, I strongly recommend using the Manhattan GMAT series of 5 quant books - they're really good and cover what you need on test day.
    I know it's tough to sit through this test AND concentrate, but you have to do it. Think of the big prize at the end of it: an MBA that can change your life :)

  • Hi Dana,

    My goal is to be close to 700, but I have been stuck in the 640-660 range, including the actual exam. I have done all the OGs,  reviewed them and also done the manhattan gmat course. I have been doing time sets as well. Can you please suggest what I can do to get that last kicker!

    Thank you!

  • It's really hard for me to say what your best approach should be given that I don't know where exactly you're having problems. If it's CR, then I highly recommend buying the CR Bible from PowerScore. If it's quant, then the Advanced Quant book from Manhattan might be worth it. If you're just looking for some great strategy book (i.e. you're not sure what's wrong), then check out the GMAT Roadmap, which I reviewed here: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2011/11/09/the-gmat-roadmap-book-review

  • Hello DanaJ.  I've read many of your posts here and I would like to start by saying thank you.  I am in need of advice now.  If you could help at all, it would be very useful.  I just took the GMAT a day ago and got a 540 (Q35V29). My original goal was a 650+. This is by far the worst score I got on any MGMAT CAT or GMAT PREP CATs. Here is a break down of my scores:

    MGMAT 1 : 560 (Q31V36) 
    MGMAT 2: 580 (Q33V36)
    MGMAT 3: 650 (Q39V39)
    MGMAT 4: 650 (Q43V36)
    PREP 1: 590 (Q41V30) Although I took the new version and they sent me an email saying there was something wrong with the scoring... not sure what happened. Also, that day I had an important call during verbal which I couldn't ignore. So, I don't know how accurate this reading is. 
    MGMAT 5: 660 (Q44V36)
    PREP 2: 680 (Q40V41)

    I prepared for over 4 months, although only the last month was very rigorous.  I dedicated at least 3 hours a day and much more on Sunday.  I thought I was doing everything right.  I took my first practice about a month and half from test date.

    As you can see I started off weak in math. However, I started to really focus my energy on understanding the problem types and improved dramatically over the month. Because of this, my verbal suffered. Therefore, I started to focus on verbal again, while reviewing my math notes. I was feeling pretty confident with my 680 as my goal was a 650+. 

    So test day I failed miserably. There were a few factors that led to my failure, although I blame my inadequacy the most. For starters I am an American testing in Taiwan. I speak Chinese, but with important things I still prefer English. Anyway, the day of the test I took the MRT and got lost. I was dripping in sweat when I finally found the place. I still had 1.5hrs before the test, so I don't think this really caused me to preform poorly. Then, the people at the front desk could hardly speak English which caused a little anxiety. Also, this testing center was...ghetto.. I mean run down, nothing like the video at MBA.com. Again, I don't necessarily feel this led to me doing so badly. If I was prepared enough then I should have done well despite these things.

    OK during the test. AWA started off great even though the key board was crap and kept sticking. I think I did well. I took the break and arrived back on time. Quant started off alright, but then I don't know what happened. The questions seamed easy and I was answering them fast. Way way too fast, actually. I really noticed it around question 20 when I still had more than 45min left. I tried to slow down and be calm... but it didn't work. The room was hot, my hands were sweating badly and the stupid pen thing was smearing all over the place. Then I got a very difficult geometry question and I spent much time on it. This boosted my confidence because I thought that I must be doing OK if they gave me this difficult question. However, I still ended the session way to0 quickly. So fast that I actually thought there was something wrong with my computer. I honestly didn't think I answered all of the questions!

    So, I took my break and asked the supervisor if something went wrong. Again she spoke Chinese (with a hash accent I haven't studied) and I didn't really understand. I was nervous. I thought what if something went wrong on the computer? Or did I actually answer them way to0 quickly? They seemed so easy.... This shattered my confidence, obviously. Because I was trying to talk with her for so long I came into verbal late (only 30 seconds, but still late). I started off OK, but then the first RC really confused me. I had a little panic attack. But after I a while I was able to refocus. All the CR seemed straight forward, but this has always been a strength. SC, which usually is a strength, was very confusing. All the patters seamed like I never saw them before. My eyes and head started hurting towards the end.

    All in all, it was a very bad experience and I feel like a complete failure. Not only have I wasted a lot of money and time, I also let my self down. I mean a 540!!! I could understand a 620, or even 590.... but I 540?!? 

    So, where do I go from here? I obviously need to retake the test. Originally I wanted to take it before the June 5th change, but that won't happen as there are no spots available here in Taiwan. Also, I think I really need to reevaluate where I am and how to accomplish my goals. So, I will need to take the new test. I plan to study very diligently (again). But, I don't really know where to go. I've already done the OG, MGMAT books, and GMAT PREP. What should I study? Should I review my old materials or get new ones? How should I study? I'm a little worried because I've already used so many materials (the best).  Should I invest in Kaplan, or stick with MGAMT?  Also, I only have one practice test from MGMAT left and no official ones.... What should I do?  Any advice would be very very useful. Oh yea, originally I wanted to get 650+, but now I should shoot for 700 to off set my terrible 540.

  • You're right, you are using the best theory/practice materials, so reviewing them is the way to go in terms of study. I would also potentially supplement that with the OG supplements for quant and verbal, but beyond that I don't think there's a problem. It would however be a good idea to buy the GMAT Roadmap from MGMAT, because to me your main issue was dealing with stress. You obviously had to take the exam under less than perfect circumstances to say the least, but if you are prepared a second time around and more aware of your surroundings (which you should be - assuming you take the test at the same center; if not visit the center the day before!) you should feel less pressure. Check out some more info about this book: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2011/11/09/the-gmat-roadmap-book-review
    I think scores don't lie. You've been clearly improving over time and that very last GMAT score makes me think you can get to 700 with a bit more effort and the right approach. Good luck!

    • Thank you very much for your advice.  I forgot to mention this, but I already have both the verbal and quant OG supplements.

      So you don't think I need any more materials or practice tests?

      I guess my questions is, how do I review the old materials and still stay on top of my game.  I mean, I've already done them before.  Especially with practice exams.  Sure, I can retake them, but I'll have probably seen these problems before, thus giving me an inaccurate score.  Any advice here?

      Also, I will have to take the new GMAT, ugh... Do you know of any resources available besides OG 13 for Integrated Reasoning?

      Again, thank you for all of your help and support.

      Alex

  • Practice tests aren't as important as people make them out to be, since you don't actually learn that much, you just use them for pacing and figuring out where you stand. I always recommend not taking more than one every week anyway. If you want more practice tests, you can buy one of the Veritas Prep books (only from their online store, not Amazon) and get access to more. You can also retake GMAT Prep once for each of the two tests - the repeats you'll see won't be too many.
    This is really a question of personal taste. I for one would have a hard time reviewing critical reasoning questions because I liked them so much I almost always remember the correct answer without even thinking. That means for me it's important to get fresh practice. For you, it might be different - not everyone is as obsessed as me! :) If you do want more practice, try the Veritas Prep books, they've got plenty of it. It's probably a bit too expensive to buy the entire set, maybe just buying the ones you need makes sense.
    I still strongly recommend that you at least spend some time reviewing questions from the OGs, though. Nothing really beats working from the original source, especially right before the test.
    I think MGMAT recently released a new book on IR!

  • I took the GMAT today and got a 450... lower than any of my Kaplan Practice CATs

    480
    490
    490
    530

    I want to take it one more time before it changes format on June 5th. What do I need to do to improve my score to at least 650 by May 31st/ June 1st (my intended retest dates)?

    Need a serious plan of action. I am that inconsistent studier who will study for 2 weeks and not study for 1 week then take a CAT cold. Need a plan... how many hours a day? everyday? how many practice exams for the next 5 weeks?

    ALSO.... is EACH Gmat appt $250? I thought the retest fee was $50?

  • To tackle the easiest question: each GMAT appointment is $250, so if you do retake then you need to pay that amount. It's quite expensive, I know...
    Before you even start, you should know that going from a 450 to a 650+ in a little over a month will be tough. It's not impossible, but if you really want it, you'll have to get over the inconsistent study. Even then, it's unlikely, given that you do need some time to get used to all the stuff that's tested on the GMAT. The amount of time you prep per day really depends on your personal situation. If you're working a fairly regular job, then 2-3 hours on weekdays and 5-6 hours on weekends would be best. Don't take too many practice tests, at most one per week. Practice tests only allow you to evaluate your pacing and where you stand, but don't actually teach you anything.
    I'd consider investing in some high quality study materials. Here, it's all down to which section are you struggling with most. These are my favorite resources, but I highly doubt that you'd have time to cover all of them in just one month. I'd prioritize using the books that cover the topics you're struggling with most:
    - Manhattan GMAT set of 5 quant guides and their SC guide
    - PowerScore CR Bible
    - Veritas Prep RC
    - Official guide for practice

  • Respected Dana,

    First, thanks for giving your precious time to us. Really, it worth a lot for me. Though, you are member of this site but I found a sincerity and dedication in your all comments. I noticed several times that most of visitors are asking you same questions, those were already answered in your previous replies....but you never showed any kind of tiredness in explaining same to the new one. This is really incredible and shows your sincerity towards people, regardless you hardly know them.

    Coming to the point...I was preparing for GMAT since August 2011. Took Manhattan GMAT Prep Course after I found low score (580) in my first Manhattan CAT test. My man weakness was in Verbal but this course was so fast that hardly catch up with teachers. My experience says that these Prep Courses are just to make you follow schedules otherwise their books have all stuff that they teaches in online courses. I couldn't appear in GMAT test last year due to personal problems. In this year I started my study again from zero and studied following books from Jan to April 29 2012.

    1. Kaplan Verbal
    2. Kaplan Maths
    3. Manhattan 8 Books
    4. Power Score CR
    5. GMAT 12th Edition
    6. GMAT Verbal review Book
    7. GMAT Quant Review Book
    8. Flash Cards of Beat the GMAT and GMAT Club

    During my prep, I was able to solve correctly P.S Questions 84%, D.S Questions 82%, CR 76%, S.C 58% and RC 51%. Although I struggled first time a lot with OG 12. I fixed my test date on 30-APRIL-2012. Took 2 Mock tests of MBA.com. In first I scored just 510 and in second I scored merely 490. These scores hit me very badly. I went with final CAT test just a day before official test and scored 560. I have a target of 600+ to qualify for LBS EMBA London program.

    On Official Test, I scored just 460. Quant 32 and Verbal 17.

    It is extremely bad score after tiring kind of studies for 4 months...with 4 hours a day...and same for weekends. I admit that I hardly followed timings accurately for prep but my speed of attempting was not bad...though I struggled on Test day and started selected many D.S on judgement basis.

    Now, I am thinking to give one more try to GMAT because LBS EMBA has become my career necessity to excel in profession. By the way, I'm 35 year old. I need your advice whether I should follow same books and try again because when I starts reading books, I feels that I know this logic but on test day I forgot every logic, specially in Verbal section. Should I change my strategy because I don't need high score, only 600+. What you feel that I'm lacking in my preparation? Should I give a try to GMAT OG 13 or 11 also.

    One important thing I noticed on test day is that questions were mostly not of same style as I studied in Manhattan and OG 12. Specially in verbal, underlined sentences were mostly long. Overall, there was quite change in questions. OC 12 questions can be easily understood but on Test day, I read many CR questions more than twice, just to understand what author is saying. 

    OK thanks for long post. You are very kind lady and I really respect and value people like you. God bless you.

  • Thank you for your kinds words, Saleem. Here's the deal: you've used all the best books and have been studying for a long time on your own, but your results are not satisfactory. I'm not entirely shocked by your score compared to the practice tests you took before your test - I would have been much more surprised if you were scoring 600+.
    This to me means that you have the right books, but you lack the right approach. I can't diagnose that for you correctly, but I do recommend enlisting the help of a tutor to help out with that. I highly recommend checking out Ian Stewart from GMATIX, he's an experienced tutor and he's based in London.
    Otherwise, if you still want to go the self study route, you might want to consider investing in the strategy guide from Manhattan GMAT, I did a review of it here: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2011/11/09/the-gmat-roadmap-book-review I also suspect your general English knowledge isn't as good as it could be, given your verbal scores. I highly encourage you to read materials in English every day, try to use the best news sites like CNN or The Economist, for instance. Good luck!

    • Dear Dana,

      Thank you so much for detailed reply. I seriously need to work on Verbal section and strengthen concepts of Quants. I am willing to spent extra money on private tutor for getting 600+ score. I sent email to Ian Stewart for tutoring. I'm residing in Middle East so will he be able to teach me online? Anyways, I am waiting for his reply.

      Is it worthwhile to buy Veritas RC and Data Sufficiency Books + the strategy guide you has mentioned in post, if I'm opting to go with tutor.

      Thank you so much Dana for all your kind help and support. I will try my level best to beat the GMAT. :) I have to follow Verbal side more strictly and as per your recommendations. 

      Regards,
      Saleem

    • Honestly, you already have plenty of books, so focus on the stuff you already own. Ohh I thought you were based in London - not sure if Ian Stewart does tutoring online too. Anyway hope you can find someone to help you. Good luck!

  • I took the GMAT 3 weeks ago, but I'm going to retake it by the end of May. It's a shame that we can't get a breakdown of incorrectly answered questions.

  • Hi, this is a very useful article. I took the GMAT today and got a 640. I targeted about 690+ and I did get more than 680 in the recent practice tests. I lost out today on quantitative section because I did not time well. I spent more time on certain questions. So, I am planning to retake my GMAT in July and achieve my target of 690. What would be your recommendation?

  • I would focus on quant, but not neglect verbal too much, especially if you're a non-native speaker. You have plenty of time until July, so I advise you to get some of the best books out there and dig in. Here are my favorites:
    - Official Guides
    - Manhattan GMAT quant guides (5 of them, the fractions guide is pretty basic though)
    - Manhattan GMAT SC guide
    - Veritas Prep RC
    - Powerscore CR Bible

  • Hi Dana ,I have just gone through most of the queries posted here. I must appreciate your promptness in replying to them. This has encouraged me to ask for help.
    I took the GMAT on the 18th May,2012 & scored 430 (Q31,V19) . Initially I was disappointed, but then I thought to myself Ive worked hard & scored 430.Now I need to work even harder to get the score I want.
    The books that I had referred to are the OG 12th edition,the OG QR & VR,the 8 manhattan guides.I thought covering these books would suffice.Clearly,I was wrong.I know I might sound too ambitious if I were to say I want a 700.I believe if I work hard I can achieve this.However ,before I start preparing again i would like to know the following :
    1)How many days of preparation do you recommend to go from 430 to 700(considering Ive taken a break from my job now ,i can study for the whole day) I want to take it by the 6th July,2012.Is that ok?
    2)What books do you recommend apart from the ones mentioned above? Are there any books to strengthen basics of quant / strategies to solve the problems faster or both?
    3)Should I refer to the OG 10th /11th edition as well?( to solve older questions)
    4)Can I still refer to the same set of books?(coz its only the AWA that is being replaced by IR,is that correct?).If I refer to the 13th edition OG only for the IR ?Should that be fine ?
    5)Could you tell me what study plan I should follow(just a gist)
    6)Any other advice you would like to give me?
    Awaiting your reply,
    Thank you

  • 1) It's really hard to say... In general two months should be enough. I really highly doubt you'd be able to pull off that big of a score increase in a little over a month though, even if you've taken a break from work. The thing is, you can't cram aggressively, the brain just refuses to cooperate if you don't give it a chance to rest. Maybe you can do it, but it might take a tutor.
    2) The books you have are widely considered to be some of the best, although I do prefer the Powerscore Bible for CR. For foundations, I'd advise you to check out the respective foundations books from Manhattan - there's a quant and a verbal one. They also have a strategy guide, might be worth checking out, but low priority.
    3) There is quite the significant overlap between them, so I don't think it's really worth it. Practice isn't what you're missing, must be something more along the lines of theory or strategy.
    4) I think that should be fine, yes. IR is the only major change.
    5) Well, I guess you've already read the article... Not sure what more I can add to that! Although you could try our 60-day GMAT study plan: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/gmat-guide
    6) Can't think of anything else, except that I may be slow to respond in the next few days :)

  • Thank you very much Dana.Youve cleared my doubts.I will keep you posted as I progress.Many thanks once again!

  • Dear Dana,

    I recently took the GMAT for the first time and got 550 (Q: 36 V:30). I studied for 1.5 months using the following strategy:

    -  During the first 15 days I studied the math concepts and did practice questions from the Official Guide. I finished a little bit more than half of the questions from each section (both quant and verbal). This was challenging because I haven´t practice any math since high school (+- 10 years).

    - The last month I took practice exams and after each exam I studied whatever topics were low in the exam, taking a new exam a few days later. During this time I used the MGMAT Books. I was also working in my application so I was not completely focus on the exam.

    In the practice exams I got the following results:

    1. GMAT Prep   560 (Q:32 V:34)
    2. MGMAT       590 (Q:37 V:34)
    3. MGMAT       650 (Q:43 V:36)
    4. MGMAT       590 (Q:35 V:35)
    5. MGMAT       620 (Q:33 V:41)
    6. GMAT Prep  630 (Q:42 V:35)
    7. MGMAT       660 (Q:42 V:38)

    I was very disappointed because my actual score was lower than all 7 practice exams. Also, because it seemed like verbal was my "strong" side however that was not the case in the real exam. I am a non-native speaker but I studied my masters degree in the U.S. and passed the NY Bar Exam so I believe my language skills in general are very good. 

    I intend to retake the exam in a month. I do not have much time because the university is already considering my application.

    Do you have any strategy recommendations? I do not know where to start. Should I take an online course? I am also concerned because I know I will also have to deal with integrated reasoning.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  • Your study strategy is a bit scattered. I think you first need to sit down and do a proper review of everything in an orderly fashion with a lot of practice before you dive into practice tests. I believe that would be the best approach for you right now.
    The lower score might be explained by test day nerves, so that's also something you should take into account. If you never did your practice tests by writing essays first, then tiredness might have played a role as well.
    You should know that the verbal part isn't as much about how well you know the language as it is about reasoning and the structure of arguments/texts, so I highly encourage you to devote more study time to that part for your retake. I don't want to bring you down, but the improvement you could score in just one month isn't too big... I guess it all depends on your target score! I can see a 50 to 70 point improvement as doable, but more than 100 points is probably being too optimistic. Good luck!

  • Hi Dana,

    I took GMAT in May '12. and scored a mere 630 (Q48, V28). I am planning to take test again in next 2 months. Though I have started again, I am not able to re-gain confidence, whether I will be able to succeed or not. I posted my test experience and preparation at link

    http://www.beatthegmat.com/completely-defeated-by-gmat-cant-even-imagine-please-help-t112492.html#473765

    Looking for some help, what strategy should I adopt, so that I am able to get my target score.

    Thanks.
    Deepak
     

  • Hi Dana ,
    Today I gave my gmat and scored a 700 (q-49 , v-35) . During my prep also I found it difficult to cross 40 mark in verbal . During Gmat exm also i mismanaged my time in verbal and had 11 questions left with 16 mins remaining . Quant was over with 4.5 mins remaining (not bragging but sersly if ur quant is strong dont waste mch time in preparing fr quant in gmat ).
    I know with this score i wont any good college , but just wanted to ask all the gurus on beathegmat please advice how to push that verbal above 40 . I will literally slog for 24 hrs if required to do it . Any how I want to touch that 750 mark . Ya one more thing I started my prep in Mid dec(2012) and gave GMAT on 27 feb 2013. When i say GMAT prep that mostly constitues Verbal prep . Quant i used to do occasionally. (*Quant i dnt do mch bcoz i think When u prepare fr CAT it covers GMAT QUant .)

    my performance -MGMAT Exams(sersly its way tuf than actual gmat ) 1-640 ,2-630,3-680,4-650,5-690,6-680
    GMAT PREP 1-710 2-680
    Plus it would be great if some one could advice me how to begin my second round of prep for gmat . the dos and the donts .

    Resources used by me -
    Manhattan SC,CR(not useful at all ..) , OG13(did it twice must fr all),Princeton review(not useful at ll ) ,

    • I wouldn't entirely neglect quant, you could still push your score up a bit from 49 to 51 and that will help somewhat. Of course, spend maybe 90% of your time on verbal, it's obviously your weak spot. I'm not sure what to recommend though in terms of books, since I feel that the MGMAT books are pretty darn solid. If you feel they were not useful at all, then there might be something wrong with your approach. Did you read through them attentively? Did you take notes and make flashcards? People tend to rush through these books and just go straight for the practice, which isn't the way you truly build knowledge. If however you did try to do this but their style just didn't match yours, then maybe consider the PowerScore CR and SC books, I also liked those quite a bit.

  • Hi,

    I have taken the GMAT twice and the second time around I got lower than the first time. I need to get around 200 higher and plan on taking it again in about 1.5 months. My biggest problem is anxiety to the point where I'm a nervous wreck and had to stop twice to use the bathroom and I never finish any of the sections on time :( fort he verbal I barely got through but for the Quantitative I only made it to about 1/3 of the questions and had to guess the remaining with about 8 mins left. I used the Princeton Review as a study guide as well as the practice online ones from MBA.com. Can I increase my score by that much? I am reading through the blogs and realized that there are from couple years back. Any new tactics? I really need to do good this time around. Doing bad really did a lot on my esteem. The exam itself just puts so much pressure on me.

    • Just breathe! This test doesn't have to get to you :) I know it's easier said than done, but I always try to visualize being done with it and getting the score I want. That helps me focus during exams and tests. The simultaneously good and bad thing is that you are using a pretty unconvincing book. The Princeton Review was definitely not one of my favorites when I reviewed it. I would strongly suggest going for a better set of books, such as the Manhattan GMAT set of guides. Don't worry about what people are saying about the tests from mba.com. Fact of the matter is, nothing will get as close to the real thing as the tests from mba.com. When I took my test, I did a practice test from that website a few days before the real thing. Practice test result: 760. Real test result: 770. Unless nerves get the best of you (which may happen, as I understand it), those tests should be a pretty accurate gauge of your ability.

  • I took GMAT five times .scores are 500,580,620,590,and 540....I need expert advice what to do.should i again prepare well as my weak areas are r.c. and c.r. ?or just apply with my score???please guide me i am totally lost.......

  • Hi Dana,

    I have taken GMAT twice:

    September 2013: 640 (V28, Q49)
    2011: 610 (V25, Q49)
    I need to take the GMAT again as I am targeting 700+ score. However, my current scores have been too demotivating. There is only one good/bad thing. During my latest exam, I could not confirm my last answer in verbal section. I believe that would have led to some reduction in points.  

    I have gone through most of the recommended study materials such as OG12, OG13, OG Verbal review, Manhattan SC Guide, and some part of Power Score Bible (couldn't complete it as it was too big a book to read through)

    My scores in mocks are:
    GMAT Prep 1: 610
    MGMAT 1: 580 
    MGMAT 2: 590
    MGMAT 3: 610
    Gmat prep 2: 640
    Gmat prep 1 (2nd attempt): 690

    I have put in intermittent preparation over 2-3 years and in my most recent attempt, I did targeted prep of 2 weeks.

    Right now I am completely clueless about the way forward to improve my score. I heard good things about e-GMAT and tried their free sessions for SC. I attempted some SC questions from OG 10 applying e-GMAT's strategy, however, got a little above 50% accuracy, so I am demotivated again. I tried e-GMAT after my second GMAT attempt.

    Also, most people in my peer group at work are easily able to score above 700 which demotivates me all the further.

    Please help me identify a retake strategy? I want to choose between self study, online course (such as e-GMAT or Knewton), or private face to face tutor. Which of these would be better. Also, in case of self study, what should be my plan and how to ensure score improvement? Which one of Knewton or e-GMAT will be better?

    Another question that I have is people recommend to solve OG again and again. When I attempt OG, I get an accuracy of 50-70% - this demotivates me. Should I keep attempting OG regardless of poor accuracy? The more I attempt, the more I tend to memorise the questions. What is the logic of attempting OG several times?
    Thanks

  • From reading your post my first thought is that you focus way too much on hit rate for your practice and way too little on the actual content. I think that's really what should concern you at this point: have you approached the content in the right way? Have you taken notes and done flash cards? Unfortunately I can't tell you, but I think a good tutor would. If I were you, I would try to get at least a few hours of advice from a professional, recognized tutor and then either proceed with a tutor or go for a course. I haven't reviewed e-GMAT yet, so I cannot give you an opinion on that one though!

    • Thanks for your prompt reply. Will try and follow the tips suggested by you.

    • DanaJ, I have taken my gmat once and got a score of 590(76-Quant, 35-Verbal) , I need to improve drastically on my verbal score . During my prep last time i was never able to learn the "why" for the correct answers in the verbal section. i plan to retake the test in another 2-3 months, can you suggest me something that would help to improve my verbal score?
      Also i am thinking of joining some coaching institute, will that do any good?

  • Sorry i posted my percentile, the scaled score is(v-24, quant-48)....
    also ,i have 3 months to retake the exam and the last time while preparing ,In my quant section i was able to pinpoint my weakness and work on it, but in the verbal section i was not able to improve as i wasn't able to figure out how to get a certain question right, i do not want to rely on the elimination method. any books or course that will help me actually solve the verbal questions.

  • It really depends which resources you used. Did you use Manhattan GMAT or a similar quality book? If yes, then you may need extra help from a course/tutor. However, if you used lower quality books, then just buying the Manhattan set might be enough.

    • thank you for the prompt response DanaJ,
      I had used the OG for gmat, and taken the manhattan cat just before the gmat, although after my exam i felt that the level of questions in the verbal section of the actual gmat were a level higher than the cat exams....so i was asking if u could sughest me what books to refer to improve my verbal ....

  • I scored 610 (v 27 q 47) I am aiming for 700 + score . I have prepared from OG +Manhattan English and Manhattan test series. I am disappointed a little.

    I would appreciate if anyone is in Stamford who is retaking GMAT so we can set up some time weekly to meet and discuss. Please reply.

  • Hi Dana. I am re-taking the GMAT, however, I feel too beatenup after my previous failed attempt (460).
    Do you recommend tutors (although they are expensive) or online courses which can assist with the GMAT strategies?

    Regards
    Tebogo Hlabioa

  • Hey sorry to hear it didn't work out! I think it all depends where you want to go to. If you are aiming for a 550, then you could potentially improve on your own. However, if you are aiming for a higher score, like in the 600-700 range, then it's best to go for a course or a tutor. The choice here is both financial (whether you can afford one-on-one attention) and personal (whether you can learn effectively with many people in the room). Please check the reviews site for ratings of courses, might help you make your choice: http://reviews.beatthegmat.com/

  • Dear DanaJ, thank you so much for your support. Much appreciated. I will update you on my progress.

    Thank you

    • Hi, 
      I recently took gmat and got 580, 39 in quants and 30 in verbal. I want to hit a target of 700. I am supposed yo retake it in a month.  Can you please suggest some study plan for the same, which test I should use for practice and all. Please I really need some guidance on this.

  • Hey alankrita, here's a link to our 60 day study guide: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/gmat-guide You can sign up for the emails and receive detailed guidance for your study.

    • Hi Dana,
      Thanks for your reply. I am aware of the 60 days plan. But my concern is that I just have 30 days. Is there any plan to fit 30 day schedule. 

    • Unfortunately we do not have a detailed one month plan, although I did write an article about it a while ago: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2009/12/24/a-one-month-gmat-study-plan I think since then, I've generally recommended using the MAnhattan GMAT series for quant, but that's a lot to study in one month. It would be good for you to add the Number Properties guide from Manhattan to your study plan though, I found that one was the most interesting/helpful one (with Word Problems a close second).

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  • Hello Dana,
    How are you? Hope you do well?
    firstly I would say that I feel upset since I failed in the 1st attempt, I scored 310, so I will talk about my 1st attempt story to find an answer or encouragement.

    I have started the study journey after 5 years spent with no study at all, I focus on math and i was solving the problems in steps method without using strategies so after I got knowledge in math I started study the verbal which I found it difficult so I continue struggling in understanding the OG and reading illegal copies on Manhattan RC and CR but I was just reading because I couldn’t apply their strategy in solving such questions , after this I bought the SC Manhattan and I have learned some of English grammar then I start to solve problems from MAGOOSH and do practice test but never I have completed one as a whole practice test.
    The company environment was very bad, it’s a construction company and there are a lot of noise there, I pushed myself to the limit studying with no mind, practicing with no focus even at home the concentration was not good.
    I went to the exam with upset mode because of an idea that was to delay the MBA Program for another year, so I just went to the exam because it was scheduled.
    Now, in the exam my situation was miserable, I didn’t study IR at all, my writing was somehow good, and I went to the bathroom 4 times during this, in MATH I did bad at the beginning then I felt am doing well, in verbal I did bad at the beginning because I surprised from the questions the I continue solving without attitude and without spirit
    I got 12/5% in verbal and 22/9% in Math,
    Now I decide to retake it and register for MBA, I started to study English grammar from scratch by “ GMAT grammar book “, I am planning to finish the grammar on September , then study Verbal on October, study math on November, and finally do practice test and the official exam on December.

    I am very sorry for this long story, but I somehow don’t know if with this plan can jump up to 520 or not.
    Finally I would thank you for hearing my story,
    Your replay and advice are a highly appreciated.
    Mohammad

  • hi guys, today i took my gmat and the score was 460...!!! quants 36 and verbal 16..!! my average score in my practise tests were 560. plz help me out guys how to improve the score to 700. is it possible??? 

  • Hi Dana,
    I got a 570 on my GMAT, been consistently between 570-600, some practice tests give me 600 or 590. Here's the thing. I get a ranking of 80-87% on the Verbal (I'm by the way not English speaking) and I honestly think it's a piece of cake. If I would practice a little (I did this one with no Verbal practice) my score would probably be even hihger. I score in the 90-95th percentile on the Integrated reasoning, and I'm not at all worried about my essay. However, since my total score is that low, you realize my math is in the low 30%, barely above 30points. I have a retake in 5weeks and I'm wondering how to approach this. I want a score of 680-700 and I'd be happy.
    Have you heard of similar things before and what do you think my input should be in terms of astudy plan to achieve that increase? I feel like I'm "missing something" with the math questions, that is clear to everyone else.

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