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Studied for a year and got 660. Want to raise to 700+

This topic has 2 expert replies and 0 member replies
eraytu Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
27 Aug 2016
2 messages
Target GMAT Score:
GMAT Score:

Studied for a year and got 660. Want to raise to 700+

Post Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:31 pm
I decided to take the GMAT last year. I prepared through only self-study, and took CATS while simulating official test conditions. I got the Kaplan Book, Manhattan GMAT Pack, and the 3 Official Guides.

I studied for the GMAT for over a year but it was regularly inconsistent. Work demands or other emergencies often required that to postpone practice for long periods -sometimes months.

Still, I went through the entire Kaplan GMAT book and all the Manhattan Guides but I didn’t have enough time to go through most of the practice questions in the OGs before taking the test. In the end my GMAT score was lower than my last practice test.

Here are my scores below. As you will see, verbal was always a strong point, and my quant was weak
CAT 1 (Manhattan GMAT) - 620(V37, Q37 Date -Sep 27
CAT 2 (Manhattan GMAT) - 620 (V36 Q38) - Date -Oct 11
CAT 3 (Manhattan GMAT) - 710 (V45 Q41) - Jan 12
CAT 4 (Manhattan GMAT) -660 (V45 Q36) - April 23
CAT 5 (Manhattan GMAT)- 680 (V45 Q37) - June 18
CAT 6 (Manhattan GMAT)- 670 (V42 Q39) - June 25
CAT 7 (Official GMAT PACK 2) - 720 (V47 Q43) - Jul 16
CAT 8 (Official GMAT PACK 2) - 670 (V41 Q41) - Jul 16
Actual GMAT - 660((V41 Q39) IR 40% Jul 25

In the actual exam, I imagine that exam pressure and some disruptions at the test centre lowered my verbal score from V45-V47(99th percentile) in test exams to V41 (94thpercentile). All the same, what’s clear to see is that my quant was always weak and would not have been persuasive for a top 5 MBA program. I think doing all the practice official guide questions is a good place to start with improving my quant but…

How would you recommend that I raise my quant score from the 39th pecentile(Q39), and fine-tune my verbal score to steady 99th percentile?

I have gone through all the examples in Manhattan GMAT Math more than once, so I do feel tired of re-reading the same material and repeating the questions in each chapter.
I am applying to top 5 MBAs in September next year. I had wanted to work on other parts of my application profile till December - more social/community involvement- study from Jan-April and retake the GMAT in April.

Do you think this is a solid strategy? To abandon GMAT material for 4 months before taking it up again? The thing is that I work long hours at a demanding job; even finding time for community/social involvement will be hard and attempting to combine that with intensive GMAT practice is likely impractical.

How should I proceed? Thanks a lot.
Please note that joining tutor programs isn't an option for me - too costly, so I do need the most cost-effective options.
Please let me know if you require more information.

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Post Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:54 pm
Hi eraytu,

I noticed that you posted this in another forum online, so I've copied over my response from there:

To start, a 660 is a relatively strong score (it's right around the 80th percentile overall); given your inconsistent study routine, that's a great performance. Considering your application plans, it's understandable why you would want to retest though. Before we can talk about how best to improve your study plan, I'd like to know a bit more about how you took these CATs.

When you took your CATs:
1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
2) Did you take them at home?
3) Did you take them at the same time of day as your Official GMAT?
4) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
5) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE?

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

Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com


Post Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:16 am
Hi eraytu,

Based on the description or your study routine, it sounds as though you did not spend the time to fully learn and practice each individual quant and verbal topic before diving into your practice exams.

When studying for the GMAT, you must realize that the GMAT is such a challenging exam because there are relatively few questions asked in a given exam, yet those questions come from a huge topic pool. Thus, the best way to get a great GMAT score is to have a thorough understanding of all the topics that may be tested on the exam. To develop such mastery, you want to strive for linear and targeted learning and follow that with focused practice. In other words, you want to master one topic before you move to the next. Have you been able to study in this way?

For example, if you are learning about Number Properties, you should learn everything possible about that topic: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. After that, be sure that you practice with a lot of questions (50 or more) just on Number Properties. The results of that practice will help you to determine how well you have truly mastered that topic. By following this routine for all the quant topics you should be able to raise your quant score.

For verbal, since you are already scored a 41, you might consider following a similar but slightly altered approach that consists of more focused practice. For example, if you are reviewing Critical Reasoning, be sure that you can practice 50 or more questions just from Critical Reasoning: strengthen and weaken the conclusion, resolve the paradox, find the conclusion, must be true, etc.. The results of that practice will help you determine your weak areas within that topic. Once you find and fix your weak areas, then move on to the next verbal topic.

To allow for such focused learning and practice, you may consider using a self-study course rather than a book. In comparison to GMAT prep books, self-study courses typically provide detailed study plans and have granular analytics, so you can easily track your progress as you move through the course. By being able to track your progress, you will remain more engaged, and you’ll be able to more accurately forecast when you are ready to take your real GMAT. If you would like to learn more about what online resources are available, check out the verified course reviews on Beat The GMAT. After doing some research you should be able to find a course that is a good fit for you.

Finally, to help diagnose your GMAT quant strengths and weaknesses, I welcome you to take my free 37-question quant diagnostic. After completing the diagnostic, you are provided with a detailed analysis of your proficiency level of all GMAT quant topics, as well as an opportunity to discuss your diagnostic results with me or another TTP instructor/coach.

Good luck!


Scott Woodbury Stewart Founder & CEO
GMAT Quant Self-Study Course - 500+ lessons 3000+ practice problems 800+ HD solutions

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