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420 on GMAT :( HELP

This topic has 7 expert replies and 5 member replies

420 on GMAT :( HELP

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Hello,

I took the GMAT for the first time last week. I did terrible. I have the OG GMAC Test Prep Books. I'm currently doing the 60 day beat the GMAT study plan. I did not do well on the quant and the verbal at all but I got a 6/6 on the AWA and 6/8 on the IR. Can you please post study strategies that worked for you? Specifically for quant, which was excruciatingly difficult for me.

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Hi Lboulding,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day didn't go as well as hoped. Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied?
2) What materials have you used?
3) How have you scored on each of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores)?
4) What were your Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores on the Official GMAT?

Goals:
5) What is your goal score?
6) When are you planning to retake the GMAT?
7) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
8) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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

Thanks for the response.

Here are some of the answers to your questions:
1) I got the OG GMAT Prep Book 2017 in September. I've been studying on and off since then but nothing religiously and not even everyday. (probably my first mistake)
2) OG GMAT Prep Book with the additional books and the included software
3) On the CATs, I've been scoring a consistent 490/500 every time. Quant - 29 and Verbal - 28
4) 23 Verbal, 25 Quant

I did extremely well on the AWA - 6, and 6/8 on the IR, unfortunately those aren't used in total score.

1) My goal score would be like a 600, hopefully that is realistic.
2) I'm planning to retake the GMAT in late march, so I have time to apply for the 3rd and 4th rounds for B-school
7) I want to enter business school in the fall
8) I'm applying to mostly state schools and some private like, Xavier U in Cincy, Kentucky, Louisville, Univ of Cincinnati..

I'm following the 60 day beat the GMAT study plan currently, and I also ordered some GMAT flashcards from Kaplan and a new OG Prep book because I wrote all in the other one. I'm taking a practice test next weekend at the College of Business at my current university.

Any advice will be helpful, I hope I am not a lost cause!

Lauren

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Hi Lauren,

A planned Test Date in late March gives you plenty of time to continue studying and improving. Raising a 420 to a 600+ will take some serious effort though - and you'll have to make some significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections - so you'll have to stick with a consistent study routine. Based on your work so far, I think that you would find it beneficial to invest in a GMAT Course of some type (either Guided Self-Study or instructor-led).

1) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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

I plan on studying 1.5 to 2 hour each weekday and 3 to 4 on weekends. I hope that I will be able to raise my score, I doubt that I will be accepted anywhere with my current score.

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Hi Lauren,

I suspect that your natural ability level is higher than a 420, but you'll have to make some changes to how you 'see' (and respond to) the GMAT to raise that ability to a significantly higher level. That having been said, I have a additional questions about how you took your prior CATs:

1) What was your exact score on each of the CAT you took (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for each)?
2) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
3) Did you take them at home?
4) Did you take them at the same time of day as your Official GMAT?
5) 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.)?
6) 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,
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Hey Rich,

Sorry for the late response.It has been a busy week.I hope you're doing well.

1) 490 - 29quant - 28 verbal / 480- 31quant - 25 verbal
2) I didn't take the entire CAT each time. I just took the verbal and quant section s
3) I did take them at home
4) I didn't take them at the same time as my official. Well I think I may have taken one at the same time, but usually no
5) And yes, I am guilty of pausing the CAT during the exam and skipping the essay and the IR
6) I took the CAT more than once on the GMAT prep exam. I think like 4 times. I think some of the questions might have been the same but most of them were different I think.

Thanks for your help on this!

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Hi Lauren,

Test Day is a rather specific 'event' - the details are specific and they matter, so you have to train as best as you can for all of them. The more realistic you can make your CATs, the more likely the score results are to be accurate. The more you deviate, the more "inflated" your scores can become - and that's what happened here. By skipping sections, taking the CATs at home, seeing repeat questions, etc., you weren't properly training for the FULL GMAT 'experience.'

Thankfully, this is a relatively easy set of problems to fix. However, you now have to make sure that you take your CATs in a realistic way (that matches up with what you'll face on Test Day in as many ways as is reasonably possible). Given the amount of work that you still have to do, it would help if you could share the exact application deadlines that you're facing.

1) What are the dates of the 3rd and 4th Round deadlines for each of the Programs that you want to apply to?

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

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I see what you are saying, Rich.
And yes I can share those dates:

March 6th
April 1st
March 15th

these are the deadlines that I would like to have my application submitted by, although most of the schools have rolling admission after their 3rd and 4th deadlines.

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Lboulding wrote:
Hello,

I took the GMAT for the first time last week. I did terrible. I have the OG GMAC Test Prep Books. I'm currently doing the 60 day beat the GMAT study plan. I did not do well on the quant and the verbal at all but I got a 6/6 on the AWA and 6/8 on the IR. Can you please post study strategies that worked for you? Specifically for quant, which was excruciatingly difficult for me.
Here's an important question: when you review your old practice tests, do you see any pattern to the questions you miss on quant? If, for example, you find that most of your mistakes occur on questions that, even after review, you still find genuinely difficult, that would suggest that you'll have to do some rigorous foundation-building. But if you find that when you review the exams, you see how to do these questions and are somewhat baffled that they felt so difficult under pressure, then it's likely that the issue is strategic/psychological. Last, you never want to take a fresh exam before you've thoroughly dissected your previous and come away with 3-4 concrete adjustments you can make. Those adjustments might mean drilling away in a given content area, or they might mean reminding yourself that in certain types of questions the best approach will involve picking simple numbers. Once you implement those changes, your score should begin to climb. Wash/rinse/repeat until you're seeing the kinds of scores on practice tests that you'd be satisfied with on the actual exam.

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Hi Lauren,

The March 6th application deadline is just a little over 6 weeks away. Unfortunately, the goal of raising a 420 to a 600+ in that time is probably too challenging to be considered realistic. The April 1st deadline would still be challenging, but the extra 3+ weeks of potential study could make a big difference in your overall performance. To give you context for what we're discussing - If we were to ignore the deadlines - and without knowing too much about what you're capable of - I would expect that you would need at least another 3 months of consistent, guided study to hit your score goal.

Since it's been over a week since you took the GMAT, I suggest that you study as you like for the next couple of days, then take a NEW, FULL-LENGTH CAT (with the Essay and IR sections; and in a realistic fashion) some time this weekend. That score will give us a better idea of whether your current study plan is helping you to improve or not.

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

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Hey Rich,

Thanks so much. I am going to study some more this week then I scheduled a practice CAT test for next weekend, and I will be able to update you on my progress then. Any suggestions until I update you this weekend?

Lauren

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Hi Lauren,

I'd like to see how well your current approach to the GMAT is currently 'working', so I don't have any suggestions yet (not until we have a new score result to review).

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

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