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Quant Stuck at 40 - Suggestions required

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Most of the times I am unable to approach to a problem. I am taking more time to think and understand and apply what I have learnt. I have taken help of the E-gmat Quant program and after preparing this I wish to move forward to Verbal. I started with Quant first as during my previous attempt I scored drastically a low of Q23. I want to be in the range of Q45-48 before I could start my preparation with Verbal. I have completed their entire course and am good with the basic and theory part but when I come to applying it I am taken aback I am not able to think through it some times and when see the solution it just hits like it so simple why didnt I think in this way. Please let me know how can Quant score forward what steps needs to be followed.

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by Marty Murray » Sun Oct 25, 2015 3:16 am
Nice work going from Q23 to Q40.

From what you said, it sounds as if you did a great job of learning the concepts and driving your score up. Now you need to get more adept at handing the questions, and likely part of what that development will take is doing a fair number of additional practice problems. As you are doing each question, you can be considering what might be a cool, quick, efficient way to get to the answer. Over time you will develop the vision and adeptness that you want.

There are all kinds of processes going on in someone's mind when he is solving a problem and partly you just have to work on questions and develop those processes.

One of those processes is what Brian at Veritas Prep has likened to driving in the fog with headlights. When one is driving in the fog, one's headlights show only a little distance ahead. So the thing to do is drive slowly that little distance. Then, once again, one can see a little distance ahead, and one can keep driving. Similarly, when you see a question, you may not see all the way to the answer, but you can start doing something, moving some numbers around, considering different angles, plugging in answers, or doing something to get things going.

When a person who scores high on quant approaches a question the person may be bouncing from the question to the answer choices, seeking to see a pattern, and considering multiple ways to handle the question. It might look as if the person has it all under control and just knew how to get to the answer, but internally the person is hacking at the problem, looking for an opening. It's not as if the person necessarily saw the way right away. Rather the person was just determined and kept looking for a path to the answer.

If you are freezing up a little when you see questions, you are not so different from many others. Just seek to get something going. Don't worry about being "taken aback." Just have at it. Seriously, that "taken aback" thing is probably much of what you need to change. Anyone can be a little freaked by a question. Some of them look practically unanswerable. The thing is that those who score high just power on through that feeling and look look look for a way to the answer.

Also, as you do more questions, you will find that there are basic things and tricks that you can use over and over. The more tricks you pick up the more you will find that you are doing the questions quickly.

One thing that seems to help is becoming good at factoring. If you become good at finding factors, and prime factors, of numbers, often you will see your way to answers more quickly than you would have.

To get some ideas for answering questions, you could post them here. Alternatively, you can do searches for certain types of questions and see how the experts get to answers.

A good source of tricky practice questions that you can use to develop your skills is the quant part of the BellCurves question bank. To access it, go to the GMAT section of https://bellcurves.com and set up a practice account. Then seek to achieve a high hit rate in each category. You don't have to be quick at first. Initially you more want to be coming up with cool ways to handle the questions. Then as you get more adept at getting to answers, seek to also speed up the process.

You can be sure that you will.
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by Marty Murray » Sun Oct 25, 2015 3:20 am
By the way, you may be best off starting to work on verbal before you hit your quant score goal. For one thing, some of the vision and logic skills used for verbal will be useful in quant, and vice versa. Also, by working on them simultaneously, you will give yourself more time to develop the skills, and mindset, required for each of them.
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by Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com » Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:41 am
Hi shafeeqrahaman,

You've made some really nice progress so far (raising a Q23 to a Q40 is a significant improvement). Before I can advise you on how to raise that score even higher, I'd like to know more about how you've been studying:

1) How long have you studied?
2) Have you used any other resources besides the one you named in your original post?

3) When you take your CATs, do you take the ENTIRE CAT (including the Essay and IR sections)?
4) Do you have trouble finishing the Quant section on time (and do you have to guess on a bunch of questions just to finish?)?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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by gnod » Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:26 am
Please read about my quant feedback here: https://www.beatthegmat.com/after-1-5-ye ... tml#758774

I strongly recommend Empowergmat. I went from 45 to 49 consistently (though in that post I scored a little lower on my actual exam because I was a bit rusty from focusing more on verbal).

Btw, HI RICH! I finally did it!

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by flipit13 » Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:40 pm
Practice, Practice, Practice. I just landed a 47 on quant and a 740 overall. I am still surprised. I have been out of high school for 15 years so my math was a bit rusty.
I recommend practicing question categories first (algebra, powers and roots, geometry, etc.). Make sure you have the fundamentals down pat. Then move up in difficulty IN EACH TOPIC. I found it easier to focus this way instead of trying to practice every different area at once. Once you feel comfortable approaching each topic try to bring it together in practice sessions and practice exams.
Magoosh is an awesome resource and the price is right. They have lessons for each topic and you can quiz yourself as you go. I also bought the Manhattan Prep quant books which came with 5 free practice exams.
When you are ready to take the test have a positive attitude and Good Luck!

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by Jim@StratusPrep » Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:52 pm
The one thing that I always recommend to people when they study is to be able to explain the questions that they have done. Simply remembering the answers is not important. You will likely notice that as soon as you try to verbalize things it will challenge you in concepts you thought you knew very well.
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