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Please help-3 years (on & off)=only 40 point increase!

This topic has 3 expert replies and 2 member replies
GMATisTorture Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
28 May 2016
Posted:
3 messages

Please help-3 years (on & off)=only 40 point increase!

Post Sat May 28, 2016 7:58 pm
Hi everyone,
Thanks in advance for your time reading this and helping me. I am in desperate, desperate need of it after 3 years of failure. Sad

Some background: got very good grades until about age 14, but had about a 15 year gap of any academic rigor or working with that sort of content prior to starting my GMAT path Jan 2013. Highlights below on what I have done since then. Please let me know where I am going wrong to only get a 40 point increase after all this effort, time, money. Thanks.

--Started Jan 2013 w/"GMAT Advantage - On Site" Kaplan course & their math refresher course. All I really got was a sense of what the test included. There was no depth and no individualized attention.

--After attending every single class and scheduling the GMAT mid March 2013 --I was so unbelievably unprepared and scoring so bad on CATs that I didn't even show up to the exam.

--I made several attempts throughout 2013 despite a crazy new job, starting with the fundamentals--math lessons from my engineering-degree dad and my boyfriend at that time who went to Haas, algebra for dummies type books, reading from WSJ, Economist, Scientific American, Kaplan's "GMAT on demand" program, memorization of formulas, some CATs.

--I took another exam Mar 2014 and scored a miserable 420. I guess it was not enough DIRECT gmat problems to make me feel competent at all at any of it.

--I decided to take semester-long live math classes at local junior colleges through summer 2014. I took intermediate algebra (got an A+) and intro to statistics (got an A-) and a math refresher class (28 hours) that covered things like geometry. Clearly, it seems there is something about the way the GMAT presents problems that's impossible for me to be successful at, where in other formats, I can be successful.

--For various reasons, I didn't restart again until Jan 2016. Since then, I've done nothing else. I reviewed all my formula memorization notes, creating audio files from them to hear during my commutes, I ordered the full set of OG books and took several of their easy/medium/hard quizes (mixed problems) going through every single problem and the explanations thoroughly (which is also what I do with all the CATs I take too...which takes a tremendous amount of time, but I have been trying to shoot for mastery over sheer volume. I scheduled exams again--one for May 27 and one for June 24, I went through the entire quant review book's section 3.1 carefully, I watched a Manhattan full course recording (9 classes of ~3 hours each) and I spent 10 hours with a tutor.

--Results?? 550 CAT UNtimed on April 18 (3 IR, 37 Quant, 29 Verbal) and then a 420 CAT on April 28 (NOTE: ran out of time on quant--at 3 minutes left I was at question 20 and had to guess on several verbal too, IR 1.7, Quant 15, Verbal 32). That's when I decided to look for a new tutor.

--Spent about 18 hours with new tutor over the last month. He had a more structured lesson plan and more direct experience tutoring on the GMAT. He gave me assigned problems from the OG books (389 I went over the past month timed and with a THOROUGH analysis of all the explanations), but in the last month alone I have spent $1,260 and virtually zero results to show for it.

--First of the two GMATs May 27 was a 460. I only increased 40 points from 3 years ago, AFTER ALL OF THE ABOVE EFFORTS AND AFTER UTILIZING TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS TO GET THROUGH EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM in the exam, which I had never done before. In the past I skipped quite a few problems. The one May 27 was paced fairly well. 1 on IR, 26 Quant, 29 verbal. I canceled it, I was so devastated and confused beyond belief.

Some success stories seem to have pointed to tutoring, but I am not yet convinced. Is it because tutoring does not help much or I just found lazy thieves? The problem I have with both tutors is they don't take enough time to evaluate me holistically. Don't you think a tutor should take a more active role in evaluating trends, pin-pointing where EXACTLY my weaknesses are so we know where to devote more time and energy and they know exactly what I need to fix and how?

The school I am aiming for has a median 660 and I need to apply by end of June. The minimum they take is 600.

Bottom line, I have to date spent over $5,800 on this investment, including 1-3 years of my time and the opportunity cost of not doing other things, including running out of time to be able to start a family. This sort of gambling on life and scarce resources creates so much stress and negativity. At least if I saw some improvement worth mentioning, I could keep going, but psychologically I have been tortured. I really wonder what I am doing wrong here. I don't want to give up, but I really need some advice that will work, as I feel everyone who is supposed to help me has so far just scammed me out of $6K.

Lost, confused, frustrated, defeated, and very sad,
Truly yours.



Last edited by GMATisTorture on Mon May 30, 2016 8:24 am; edited 3 times in total

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Post Sun May 29, 2016 10:37 am
Hi GMATisTorture,

To start, the GMAT is a challenge for many Test Takers, so you're not alone. While it sounds like you've had a rather disappointing series of studies over the years, you shouldn't let any of that keep you from all of your goals. The GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level - you just haven't worked with the proper combination of resources yet.

All of that having been said, there's an immediate issue with your timeline. If you have to apply to a particular School by the end of June and your goal score is in the mid-600s, then that leaves you just a month to raise your GMAT score approximately 200 points. Unfortunately, that is not a realistic goal. While I imagine that this doesn't make you 'happy', there's a practical aspect to all of this that cannot be 'rushed' through. From what you've described, you're likely going to need 3 months of consistent, guided study. You've also likely developed a number of 'bad habits' over the years that will take time to fix (and replace with new 'good habits').

1) What is the next application Round for this program AFTER the end of June?
2) How many hours do you think you can consistently study each week? Are you free to study during the week or are you only open on the weekend?

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

_________________
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

GMATisTorture Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
28 May 2016
Posted:
3 messages
Post Sun May 29, 2016 11:35 am
Thanks, Rich.
The school does take minimum 600, so I only need about 140, but I suppose you have a point...if I only increased 40 points in 3 years, 140 in one month is probably impossible.

1) What is the next application Round for this program AFTER the end of June?

I think I would need to wait another year (checking with admissions as it is not clear on their site). I can shoot for other schools that start round 1 in september, but they (a) require higher gmat scores and (b) compromise my personal plans

2) How many hours do you think you can consistently study each week? Are you free to study during the week or are you only open on the weekend?

1-2 hours per week day and maybe 15 hours on weekends. Since Jan it is all I have done. I have zero social life and can barely squeeze in some exercise. I almost developed carpal tunnel from this crap and my entire body is in pain. And for what? A 460. It's just incredible...

Post Sun May 29, 2016 6:18 pm
Hi GMATisTorture,

Based on your last post, I have a few follow-up questions and some additional advice:

1) Are you assuming that if you score a 600 (or higher), then you'll automatically be accepted into this Program? How do you know that? What if you scored 590? If the School's website doesn't provide the exact information that you're looking for, then you should contact the School directly.

2) When you scored 460, how many questions did you have to 'rush through' at the end of each section? Did it feel like the Quant and Verbal sections were giving you questions that were 'gettable' or did you feel unsure of your work most of the time?

While most practical study plans require a high level of commitment on your part, studying every day is not necessary and giving up on other aspects of your life (exercise, socializing, etc.) is also not necessary. There's a 'balance' that must be maintained and scheduling consistent study 'blocks' throughout each week is an important, but you can afford to take a day off every week or so. I think that you're dealing with a certain amount of 'study fatigue' right now, which isn't helping.

As far as scoring 600 is concerned, you do not need to correctly answer any question that you think is too hard or too weird - you can guess on them all and still hit your score goal. However, you do have to nail the 'gettable' questions - that means precise work and the fewer the number of silly mistakes, the better.

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

_________________
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

GMATisTorture Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
28 May 2016
Posted:
3 messages
Post Mon May 30, 2016 8:38 am
Thank you again, Rich. My replies inline:

1) Are you assuming that if you score a 600 (or higher), then you'll automatically be accepted into this Program? How do you know that? What if you scored 590? If the School's website doesn't provide the exact information that you're looking for, then you should contact the School directly.

Yes, I am on it. Alternatively, there is an exec program near it that has a minimum 550 score and starts in October. I could always shoot for that instead. But they only have 5 spots left in the class, so the longer I wait, the riskier it gets. But if they accept as late as Sept 1, then your 3 month guided plan could work for me without having to lose more time. Hopefully with 50 points less, that decreases further.

2) When you scored 460, how many questions did you have to 'rush through' at the end of each section? Did it feel like the Quant and Verbal sections were giving you questions that were 'gettable' or did you feel unsure of your work most of the time?

Good question. Almost all of them felt rushed. The only part of the exam where I don't feel rushed is the essay. I'd say I was unsure most of the time, but did occasionally find an answer I felt confident with.

While most practical study plans require a high level of commitment on your part, studying every day is not necessary and giving up on other aspects of your life (exercise, socializing, etc.) is also not necessary. There's a 'balance' that must be maintained and scheduling consistent study 'blocks' throughout each week is an important, but you can afford to take a day off every week or so. I think that you're dealing with a certain amount of 'study fatigue' right now, which isn't helping.

Yes, you are correct. Took the last few days off and have had breaks inbetween. It goes up and down.

As far as scoring 600 is concerned, you do not need to correctly answer any question that you think is too hard or too weird - you can guess on them all and still hit your score goal. However, you do have to nail the 'gettable' questions - that means precise work and the fewer the number of silly mistakes, the better.

Yes, and I do tend to make silly errors with arithmetic when I go fast. I have downloaded mental math and long division apps to help on this.

At this point, how exactly would you recommend I proceed?
Thanks again.

Post Mon May 30, 2016 9:37 am
Hi GMATisTorture,

Since you've mentioned another possible Program to apply to, I would have the same questions for the situation. Would scoring 550 'guarantee' you admission? And what if you scored lower than that? Without definitive information, I'm forced to stick with the fundamental things that we know right now:

1) You're 90+ points from a 550+ score and 140+ points from a 600+ score.
2) Scoring at a much higher level is a MUST, regardless of which Program(s) you apply to.
3) Your current timeline gives you one month of study time, which is likely not going to be enough time to hit any of the possible score goals and properly apply.

In my prior post, when I asked how many questions you 'rushed through' at the end of the section, what I really meant was "how many questions did you have to 'guess on' because you were low on time?"

As far as how best to proceed, you need specific information from the Schools about their admissions requirements (eg. if you actually scored 600 but didn't get in, then we'd have to question what all of this was for). Using your last Official Score as a gauge, you could potentially focus on one section of the GMAT (in your case, Quant gives you a bit better of an opportunity to pick up points) and try to squeeze out as many points as you can. If you can hone some of your Tactical skills and eliminate the little mistakes from your work, then you could potentially earn a lot of those points in a short period of time.

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

_________________
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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