Need advice after 2nd attempt & same score.

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Need advice after 2nd attempt & same score.

by TestAlias » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:12 am
Hello everyone.

A month ago in early March I took my first crack at the exam and came out disappointed with a 640 (42Q, 36V). I was studying since mid October of last year.

I did 4 official practice tests prior to this attempt. These were all first time takes and I tried to keep it as close to exam conditions as possible.

Mid January: GMATPrep1. 660 (47Q, 34V)

February: GMATPrep2. 710 (47Q, 41V)

1 week later: GMATPrep5. 710 (48Q, 40V)

1 week prior to exam: GMATPrep6. 690 (46Q, 38V)


So as you can see my quant score dropped significantly on the actual exam. The first time around it was due to poor time management as I had to guess on the last chunk of questions. My ESR for this one shows I got 9+ questions wrong in a row at the end.

After that I studied a bit more for 4 weeks and took 2 more GMATPrep exams from EP1.

GMATPrep3 1 week prior to exam: 640 (40Q, 37V). The quant on this one freaked me out because it was so low.

GMATPrep4 2 days prior to exam: 680 (48Q, 34V). Verbal worried me on this one.

2nd GMAT: 640 again (42Q, 38V). My quant bombed again. Verbal was a little higher.

So now I don't know what to do. I need 700+ minimum. I've need help revising my study plan for a 2 month retake timeframe.

What I used:
MGMAT books
OG guides
GMATclub quant tests
GMATPrep exams (used up).


What I did:
Work through all OG problems + error log
Work through around 14 GMATclub tests (untimed at the start as these were pretty hard).
Review weak areas (SC, Number properties, etc)

What I think I need to do this time:
Redo all OG guide PS+DS problems. Maintain a 95% correct rate on easy/medium questions.
Try to develop a better SC strategy. This is my weakest point in verbal.
Work through remaining GMATclub quant tests (Timed).
Maybe get the GMAT Question bank and work through that (timed).
Read more in general.

If anyone has gone from mid 600s to 700+ can you please advise on what are the best steps. I was thinking of signing up for Magoosh or something, but I don't want to panic purchase a course if I don't need one.

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by [email protected] » Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:59 am
So as you can see my quant score dropped significantly on the actual exam. The first time around it was due to poor time management as I had to guess on the last chunk of questions. My ESR for this one shows I got 9+ questions wrong in a row at the end.
It looks like you have a perfectly reasonable plan. The above issue is one you want to make sure you address, as it appears to be a strictly timing/strategic problem, rather than a struggle with anything conceptual. (Though, I should caution, it can be hard to separate the two, as a few conceptual issues could slow you down and create a timing problem.) If it's the case that test-day nerves are causing you to be hesitant to let questions go, and this is what accounts for the end-of-test difficulty, then you may want to practice adjusting to this particular scenario. Create artificial conditions. Say you've got 12 minutes to do 10 questions. The goal for you is to be sufficiently composed that you don't think "I HAVE TO RUSH," do all 10 questions too quickly, and then make careless mistakes. Work at a comfortable pace for 6-7 questions and then guess on the ones you know you'd struggle with. The algorithm is complex enough that we can't say for sure what would have happened had you answered 4-5 of those 9 questions correctly, but my suspicion is that it would have bumped you into the 45+ range. So that's one fairly easy fix.

Last, bump up your goal score on practice tests. If previously you'd be at around 700 on a good day and 640 on an off-day, work to slide that entire range up, so that even on the off-day you're in the 700 range. Stay with it. You're close.
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by TestAlias » Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:14 am
[email protected] wrote:
So as you can see my quant score dropped significantly on the actual exam. The first time around it was due to poor time management as I had to guess on the last chunk of questions. My ESR for this one shows I got 9+ questions wrong in a row at the end.
It looks like you have a perfectly reasonable plan. The above issue is one you want to make sure you address, as it appears to be a strictly timing/strategic problem, rather than a struggle with anything conceptual. (Though, I should caution, it can be hard to separate the two, as a few conceptual issues could slow you down and create a timing problem.) If it's the case that test-day nerves are causing you to be hesitant to let questions go, and this is what accounts for the end-of-test difficulty, then you may want to practice adjusting to this particular scenario. Create artificial conditions. Say you've got 12 minutes to do 10 questions. The goal for you is to be sufficiently composed that you don't think "I HAVE TO RUSH," do all 10 questions too quickly, and then make careless mistakes. Work at a comfortable pace for 6-7 questions and then guess on the ones you know you'd struggle with. The algorithm is complex enough that we can't say for sure what would have happened had you answered 4-5 of those 9 questions correctly, but my suspicion is that it would have bumped you into the 45+ range. So that's one fairly easy fix.

Last, bump up your goal score on practice tests. If previously you'd be at around 700 on a good day and 640 on an off-day, work to slide that entire range up, so that even on the off-day you're in the 700 range. Stay with it. You're close.
Thank you. Just to clarify that was the ESR for my first attempt.

My second attempt I felt I was fairly on track time management wise, however I still think I need improvement there. The second time around I managed to attempt most of the questions, however near the end I saw some doable PS questions that I had to abandon in order to move on. This really sucked because I know I could do them, they were similar to OG problems. I think I probably got ~4 PS questions wrong in the last set of questions.

The ESR for my second attempt shows the following on quant:

1st portion: 71% correct
2nd portion: 71% correct
3rd portion: 43% correct
4th portion: 43% correct

So basically I got ~2 questions wrong in each of the first 2 sections, and ~5 questions wrong in each of the last 2.
Doing the math, my % correct was actually a little bit better than the first time around yet my score still dropped.

Also my per section performance on the ESR:

Attempt #1 Quant: DS = 48. PS = 36.
Attempt #1 Verbal: CR = 37. RC = 38. SC = 36.


Attempt #2 Quant: DS = 49. PS = 31.
Attempt #2 Verbal: CR = 51. RC = 37. SC = 26.

So I think I need to focus on mainly PS questions and doing them with high accuracy. I think one of the reasons DS is my strong suit is because I don't need to actually solve for the answer.

I'm not sure what else I can do to maintain a consistent SC. I'm a native english speaker but SC is definitely the hardest part on the verbal section. I was surprised at my CR performance, and RC is fairly consistent between the two, but I think I can improve there as well.

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by [email protected] » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:23 am
Hi TestAlias,

Your two Official GMAT Scores are remarkably similar to one another. You handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also seem to make certain consistent mistakes. Given these two results, it's likely that if you continue to study in the same ways as before, then you will continue to score at this general level. You're actually closer to a 700+ score than you probably realize, but you're going to have to make some fundamental changes to how you 'see' (and respond to) the GMAT to get to that score level.

I'd like to see your ESR (you can post it in the Forum or PM it to me). While the Enhanced Score Report doesn't provide much information, there are usually a few data points that can help to define what you need to work on (beyond just which subjects). With two months of potential study time, you could improve a great deal (and you might not even need the full two months).

1) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
2) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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Contact Rich at [email protected]
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