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90 Day Flexible Plan for a decent verbal/low quant old score

This topic has 4 expert replies and 3 member replies

90 Day Flexible Plan for a decent verbal/low quant old score

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Hello:

I know there are a lot of topics like these on the forums, but I figured my circumstances may warrant a different strategy from that which has been posted here.

So I actually took a GMAT back in 2014 with no prep when I was still in law school and scored 38 V (85%ile) 35 Q (26%ile). I never ended up getting my MBA, but now I want to go back and do so.

I'll have the full set of Manhattan GMAT books as well as the 3 GMAT official books (Official Guide, Quant, Verbal) coming in the mail in the next few days or so.

My question is, what's a good study strategy for someone like me who has some experience with the GMAT? Obviously, the main goal is to pull quant up to a passable level. Even if I'm not storming into the 90th percentile in quant, any improvement there should hypothetically be a handful of points, assuming I don't get any worse at verbal. I'm not really trying to get into an Ivy or top school either, as my work experience is terrible anyway, but I'd like to go from 600 to the upper 600s or low 700s.

I don't need all of the precursor stuff like "familiarizing myself with the test" or anything like that. I know the format and structure of the test (unless it's changed significantly in 4 years). I am more concerned with exactly how I should study in the oncoming 90 days, and if it'd be better off to go topheavy into quant rather than splitting verbal and quant into equal time. I want to improve my verbal as well, but I feel like it's going to be harder to move the needle on that than my horrendous quant score.

Any tips would be much appreciated.

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GMAT/MBA Expert

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Hi LDCross,

Earlier this year, GMAC made a formal announcement defining some changes that would be taking place to the format of the Official GMAT (which began April 16, 2018). These changes primarily impact the overall length of the Exam (meaning the number of questions in the Quant and Verbal sections as well as the amount of time that you’ll have to complete each of those two sections). In theory, a shorter Exam could make it easier for a well-prepared Test Taker to score higher. You should plan to take one of these new CATs (so that we can get a better sense of how you perform under these new conditions and we can gauge your current skills strengths and weaknesses). You can take 2 for free at www.mba.com (and they come with some additional practice materials). If you want to do a little studying first, so that you can refamiliarize yourself with the basic content and question types, then that's okay - but you shouldn't wait too long to take that initial CAT. A FULL CAT takes about 3.5 hours to complete, so make sure that you've set aside enough time to take it in one sitting. Once you have those scores, you should report back here and we can come up with a study plan.

I'd like to know a bit more about your timeline and goals:
1) How many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?
2) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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

_________________
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com wrote:
Hi LDCross,

If you want to do a little studying first, so that you can refamiliarize yourself with the basic content and question types, then that's okay - but you shouldn't wait too long to take that initial CAT. A FULL CAT takes about 3.5 hours to complete, so make sure that you've set aside enough time to take it in one sitting. Once you have those scores, you should report back here and we can come up with a study plan.

I'd like to know a bit more about your timeline and goals:
1) How many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?
2) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
I'll probably take the CAT in the next couple of days, just to see where I stand.

1) As for how many hours I plan on studying a week, I can devote anywhere from 20 to 30 hours a week if necessary and that's for a full 3 months rather than 2 that most plans seem to want- but studying smarter has always been my problem, not necessarily the length of time. I'm self-employed at the moment, which makes a set schedule a little harder because my days are not necessarily set in advance, but on average I'm planning for 2-3 hour weekdays, and longer weekends spread into chunks.

2) Ideally, I'd like to have applications finishing with a new GMAT score by very early April if possible, but if I somehow feel ready for a GMAT in 60 days rather than 90, I can move that date back into March. I just think realistically I need about 3 months to prep for the GMAT, and I plan to have a few applications simply waiting for that score to be complete.

3) I'm not going to be too specific, but general plans are schools in the USNews 50-30 range. My work experience is poor (took a few years off after law school that added nothing to my professional resume) and the only thing I have going for me is that I have a completed JD and bar passage. If I could scrape into a borderline top 25 school like Vanderbilt or Emory I absolutely would, but I'm not holding my breath for something like that, my expectations are realistic.

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Just as an update, today I took the practice GMAT #1 on the mba.com site. I got a 610. 33 Quant (25th %ile) 41 Verbal (94th %ile). I was super rusty in quant, ran out of time, and remember almost nothing from anything other than statistics.

I'm officially beginning the study process tomorrow, but still need a good 3 month plan.

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Hi LDCross,

This 610 is a strong initial CAT Score (the average Score on the Official GMAT hovers around 550 most years) - and your Verbal Scaled Score is fantastic. As such, you might just need to put the proper focus/effort into building up your Quant knowledge and learning/practicing the proper Tactics. All things considered, you might not need the full 3 months that you've planned for (although it's great that you've planned for that much).

"Review" is an exceptionally important part of the GMAT training process; your ability to define WHY you're getting questions wrong is essential to defining the areas that you need to work on (and the specific things that you need to 'fix'). As such, I'd like to know a bit more about how your performed on this CAT. While a full Mistake Tracker would provide a lot more information, there are some basic questions that you should be able to answer (and the more EXACT you can be with your answers, the better):

After reviewing the Quant section of this recent CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?

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

_________________
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com wrote:
Hi LDCross,


After reviewing the Quant section of this recent CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
Forgive the lack of specificity, because I'm so deep in the quant weeds right now that I cannot even offer the higher level insight into my errors like someone that knows the math and is able to identify the mistakes they made easier.

I missed 12 questions - but 4 of those were geometry questions which I didn't even attempt, I knew seeing them that I had no idea what I was doing. The last 6 or so questions out of 31 on the CAT i either guessed or did very short amounts of work on - I think I got lucky in that some of those last questions were easy algebra - I probably would have missed more if not for that.

There were at least 3 fill rate questions I felt wasn't worth the time-value of (all 3 of which I guessed on), and some DS integer questions for the same. All things considered, if it isn't in the realm of statistics or basic algebra, I either don't know it or can't work efficiently on it. That's what I'm trying to brush up on now. The issue is that even the stuff that I *do* know, I take too long to finish.

So I'm basically starting from square 1 with quant and will brush up on verbal toward the end of the process.

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Hi LDCross,

For free math practice and help, I recommend that you set up an account at Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org). The site is completely free and makes the learning a bit more fun and 'game-like' (as opposed to the dry academic approach taken by most books). While the site is vast, you should limit your studies to basic Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry. There's a reasonable chance that - after spending a little time re-building those general math skills - you'll find the Quant section of the GMAT far easier to deal with (which should help with your accuracy AND pacing).

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

_________________
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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Hi LDCross,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. So, 610 is a solid starting point; however, since you scored a Q33 and self-admittedly are rusty in GMAT quant, I’d recommend following a linear and structured study plan that allows you to individually master each topic, beginning with the foundations and progressing to more advanced topics. By studying in such a way, you can ensure that all knowledge gaps are addressed and no stone is left unturned. Let me expand on this idea further .

For example, let’s say you are learning about Number Properties. First, you should develop as much conceptual knowledge about Number Properties as possible. In other words, your goal will be to completely understand properties of factorials, perfect squares, quadratic patterns, LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, and remainders, to name a few concepts. After carefully reviewing the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions, practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. When you do dozens of questions of the same type one after the other, you learn just what it takes to get questions of that type correct consistently. If you aren't getting close to 90 percent of questions of a certain type correct, go back and seek to better understand how that type of question works, and then do more questions of that type until you get to around at least 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

When you are working on learning to answer questions of a particular type, start off taking your time, and then seek to speed up as you get more comfortable answering questions of that type. As you do such practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get right. If you got a remainder question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not properly apply the remainder formula? Was there a concept you did not understand in the question? By carefully analyzing your mistakes, you will be able to efficiently fix your weaknesses and in turn improve your GMAT quant skills.

So, work on accuracy and generally finding correct answers, work on specific weaker areas one by one to make them strong areas, and when you take a practice GMAT or the real thing, take all the time per question available to do your absolute best to get right answers consistently. The GMAT is essentially a game of seeing how many right answers you can get in the time allotted. Approach the test with that conception in mind, and focus intently on the question in front of you with one goal in mind: getting a CORRECT answer.

In order to follow the path described above, you may need some new quant materials, so take a look at the Beat the GMAT reviews of quant courses .

You also may find it helpful to read this article about how to improve your GMAT quant score .

Feel free to reach out with further questions.

Good luck!

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Scott Woodbury-Stewart Founder and CEO

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