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Not Seeing Progress - taking the GMAT in 6 weeks

This topic has 2 expert replies and 4 member replies
ayh0001 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
30 Mar 2016
Posted:
7 messages

Not Seeing Progress - taking the GMAT in 6 weeks

Post Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:48 am
Hi Everyone,

I'm an undergraduate female Engineering student looking to apply to a top ten MBA program in probably 2-3 years. My GPA will end at a 3.58. For an engineering degree this is pretty good, but for a top MBA program this is just average. With that in mind, I really want a high GMAT score.

So far I've taken 3 practice CATs (my scores can be seen below) and I'm using the Empower GMAT program. I've ran into timing issues with the MGMAT practice exams that I think have damaged my quant score outcome, but I'm looking for some ideas about how to supplement to see some progress. When I've analyzed the CATs, my errors are so sporadic it doesn't seem to be one thing or another that's causing my issues. I'm just not sure where to go from here.

MBA CAT: 620 Q37 V38 - Feb 1, 2016
MGMAT 1: 570 Q33 V35 - March 1, 2016
MGMAT 2: 590 Q35 V35 - April 2, 2016

I'm going to begin ramping up to a practice CAT every Saturday for the next 6 weeks, but I've been focusing on content so far per Empower's study plan. I've used the OG 15, purchased the MGMAT additional math book, and purchased the PowerScore Critical Reasoning bible but I really don't have one section that is causing me problems so I'm struggling to identify a path forward.

I would really like a 740 when I take the exam, but I need at least a 700. Do we think this is possible to get to in 6 weeks when currently my scores are dropping?

Thanks in advance for the advice!

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Post Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:22 pm
Hi ayh0001,

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +-30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, your 3 CAT score results show that you essentially performed the same each time (+- a few points; right around 590-600). You appear to be continuing to use your 'default' approaches (whatever you were doing back in early February) and they're keeping you from scoring higher AND causing your pacing problem.

Thankfully, 6 weeks is still plenty of time for you to improve and score at a much higher level. I'm going to PM you with some additional questions and suggestions about how you've been studying and approaching these CATs. If you have any additional questions, then you can feel free to contact me directly.

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

_________________
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Thanked by: ayh0001
Marty Murray Legendary Member
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Post Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:20 pm
Have you used Manhattan's test analytics to see what topics you are scoring lowest in in quant? Those analytics can be a great way to figure out what to focus on in order to drive up your score.

You may think that there aren't really any patterns to what you are not getting right, but there are always some patterns, and probably there are question types that consistently give you trouble.

_________________
Marty Murray
GMAT Coach
m.w.murray@hotmail.com
http://infinitemindprep.com/
In Person in the New York Area and Online Worldwide

Thanked by: ayh0001
ayh0001 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
30 Mar 2016
Posted:
7 messages
Post Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:27 am
Marty - Thanks for the advice! No, I haven't used the Manhattan diagnostic tool. I'll be sure and use this soon to see if I can better target/find my quant patterns.

Rich - Thank you in advance! The empower team has been great through this process.

ayh0001 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
30 Mar 2016
Posted:
7 messages
Post Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:50 am
Marty Murray wrote:
Have you used Manhattan's test analytics to see what topics you are scoring lowest in in quant? Those analytics can be a great way to figure out what to focus on in order to drive up your score.

You may think that there aren't really any patterns to what you are not getting right, but there are always some patterns, and probably there are question types that consistently give you trouble.
Marty - I went back through the Manhattan analytics in detail and found the following problem areas.

Word Problems - 53% accurate
Algebra - 53% accurate
Geometry - 36% accurate
Number Problems - 50% accurate
F/D/% - 31% accurate

CR - 57% accurate
RC - 67% accurate
SC - 53% accurate

I've made a list of the detailed problem areas in each category, but have decided to try to target critical reasoning and sentence correction to get an initial score boost and then go back and do content for Geometry and F/D/% since those are my weakest areas in quant.

Do you have any recommendations on the best strategy to learn these sections? I bought the powerscore critical reasoning bible and the MGMAT number properties book so far.

Marty Murray Legendary Member
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Post Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:30 am
ayh0001 wrote:
Marty - I went back through the Manhattan analytics in detail and found the following problem areas.

Word Problems - 53% accurate
Algebra - 53% accurate
Geometry - 36% accurate
Number Problems - 50% accurate
F/D/% - 31% accurate

CR - 57% accurate
RC - 67% accurate
SC - 53% accurate

Do you have any recommendations on the best strategy to learn these sections? I bought the powerscore critical reasoning bible and the MGMAT number properties book so far.
Word Problems - There are various types, including rate and work, overlapping sets and others. You need to deep dive into how each type works and learn and develop methods for handling each type. For instance overlapping sets can be solved using Venn diagrams, matrices and formulas.

Then for each type do practice questions until you become expert enough that you could teach people how to handle those types of questions.

Algebra - Algebra questions tend to test vision. So you see what you need to see in order to get the right answer quickly.

Likely within algebra you need to get better at handling what Manhattan calls Exponent questions. Those Exponent questions are often DS questions involving some kind of inequality. Probably your best move for those is to get good at plugging in the right numbers. Exponent questions tend to be at the same time simple and tricky.

Geometry - Geometry questions involve a variety of shapes and rules. You need to learn all the triangle rules and how to work with mixed shapes such as triangles inscribed in circles. Also, you need to be able to quickly find the area of any regular polygon. Right triangles tend to show up a lot too.

Then practice makes perfect. So practice to learn how to use the rules to get to answers.

Number Problems - Get very good at prime factoring anything and at handling remainders. There are some difficult categories within this. Combinatorics questions do not tend to show up in great numbers on the test.

F/D/P - You have to learn the rules and then practice working accurately with them.

For plenty of quant practice questions you could go to the GMAT area here, http://bellcurves.com, and set up a free practice account.

SC - There are a few dozen key rules and concepts that you need to understand. Other than that, SC tests vision and skill in using solid processes to make decisions. While you can learn some useful things from Manhattan, really you need to get very good at analyzing answer choices and no gimmicky strategy, such as using splits, is a substitute for seeing exactly what's going on in each answer choice.

So you need to practice SC slowly, seeking to see exactly what's going on in each answer choice and shooting for a high hit rate.

CR - CR is similar to SC in that strategies that you can find in books or courses will only get you so far. You really need to get good at finding the conclusions to arguments and at seeing the logic of the prompts questions and answer choices. There is no substitute for seeing what's going on, and when people don't score high in CR generally what's going on is that they are not seeing clearly whats going on.

So you need to practice CR slowly and carefully, seeking to see EXACTLY why each wrong answer choice is wrong and each right answer choice is right. Once you can get 80 - 100% right working slowly and carefully, the seek to speed up.

Once source of decent verbal practice questions is the Veritas Question Bank.

As far as other resources go, really you just have to see what you need on a case by case basis. In many cases, you probably don't need to learn much new. You just need to learn to better see what is going on and to work more accurately.

Also, you can use internet searches to find multiple ways to get to the answers to many practice questions.

So once you have used the books that you already have you may not need anything else.

If you were to maybe get a Manhattan SC or Geometry book, I recommend getting the ebook version as making paper is destructive in multiple ways. I used no paper books in my prep.

_________________
Marty Murray
GMAT Coach
m.w.murray@hotmail.com
http://infinitemindprep.com/
In Person in the New York Area and Online Worldwide

Post Fri Apr 08, 2016 1:02 pm
Hi ayh,

Before you pour your time and energy into learning specific content, just remember: your score will not improve until your timing improves. The questions get harder and harder the more you get right, often meaning that they'll take longer to solve. So if you improve your accuracy without improving your timing, you'll run out of time and miss a lot of questions at the end, causing your score to plummet.

You need a consistent timing strategy every time you take a practice test. Here's the one I recommend to my students; it breaks up the Yellow Pad into timed sections, so you always know where you are and where you should be in time. https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2014/09/23/how-to-set-up-your-gmat-scratch-paper/

_________________


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


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