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Official GMAT: 640 Target Score: 720 Need advice

This topic has 2 expert replies and 1 member reply
v.adytya Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
09 Sep 2012
5 messages

Official GMAT: 640 Target Score: 720 Need advice

Post Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:05 am
Hi BTG team, fellow aspirants,

I am Aditya from India. I have completed my GMAT exam and scored a lowly 640 and am now looking to revamp my entire strategy, formulate a new action plan (if required) for my next attempt.
I seek the support of this forum to guide / advise me.
My target score is 720 but first a few pointers about by test prep.

I started prep in Oct'15 and had completed the following resources prior to the actual GMAT.

1. Complete 8 strategy guide set of MGMAT - Oct / Nov'15
2. Verbal & Quantz Official Guides - Completed them along with the MGMAT - Oct / Nov'15
3. Official Guide - 13th Edition - Dec'15
4. Redid the problems that i got wrong initially on the OG 13th edition. Now i know all these questions and its answers.
5. MGMAT 6 tests + GMAT prep 1 & 2

Didnt do : Use an elaborate error log (started it, didn't follow through) , didn't make or refer flashcards, GMAT Navigator

Below is the list of all my scores, from the tests that i had taken until the official exam.


Now a brief of the official exam and an analysis of the errors i made.

Overall: 640 - 71 Percentile

AWA: Fairly OK, dont see a concern here.
IR: 4 (31 percentile)
Not good at all. I struggled with lack of time. This has been a weak area but i am confident i can improve here once i complete the MGMAT IR questions as well as the 50 free OG questions (wiley). I feel i may have taken a gamble with this one with minimum prep before the exam.

Quant: 48 - 73 Percentile
I was flummoxed by the first question (Ratios) , got it wrong after 3 mins (should have earlier) but then i felt i got into my groove for the next 20 questions and do believe that it went smooth. Then i was stuck again.
For Q21-Q26 i felt all the questions were hard and that i was missing something. I spent a little more time on these questions.
These were my weak areas - Inequality , Statistics and the dreaded probability. But i did try to motor through and made sure i wasn't spending more than 2.5 to 3 mins on questions i wasn't sure about / or wasn't reaching a conclusive answer.
A few more easy questions later i realized that i had breezed through the section (with 4 mins left).
But I knew i messed up around 10-12 questions of the total 37 questions.
I took the 8 min break and got down to Verbal to fix the mess.

Verbal: 28 - 50 Percentile
This was my worst performance ever (including the diagnostic test i had taken 6 months ago).
I was stuck on the first RC passage. Went absolutely blank. My mind did not function. I read , re-read the passage and then may have even got the answers wrong. Decided to forget about it and move on.
There was some disturbance in the hall (the guy beside me was talking to himself during the test / reciting the answers). Although this did not bother me during Quantz, it got to me during the verbal section and completely threw me off my game. I tried putting on the headset , felt it way "too quite" , finally the guy moved to a different location and i moved on. (may be lost a good 3 minutes here)
Lots of lost ground to catch on, i guess i got a few hard CR questions. I think i got them right.
I motored through the next few SC questions, purely answering through my "gut feeling". The rules, they didn't matter at this point.
Some sense prevailed a few questions later and i felt i was getting back to my rhythm.
I was hoping to get, by some miracle, a boldface question (that would give me confidence that i was doing good) but it never happened. I completed the test eventually with 4 minutes left, extremely dejected / embarrassed.

I right away knew that my areas to improve were:
1. Focus more on difficult RC passages.
Inference questions were always my weakness. I need to improve that area right away.
2. Hard drill the SC concepts. I cannot afford to go blank on the rules and start relying on my gut. I felt that was a huge blunder.
3. I'm not quite sure if there is something that needs to be done on CR, as i felt i did fine there but i may have been wrong.

I have an important question here, as i am not 100% sure about all the areas that i had messed up, would you guys advice me to get the GMAT enhanced report??
I have now bought the MGMAT roadmap book, to understand if there was something fundamentally wrong with my prep. I plan to read this book in the next 3-4 days and then do the following.

1. Reset my MGMAT 6 tests and then take 1 test (as a diagnostic) for the next attempt.
I will complete the CAT analysis mentioned by MGMAT Staff, Stacey (Part 1 & 2) for this test and would know exactly what i need to improve (as i dont have the enhanced GMAT report yet)
The reason i havent done a CAT analysis for my last CAT (MGMAT 6) is that i was "too slow" on it and was on one extreme end of time management on it. But on the official GMAT, i ended up being on the other end: "Too fast". Contrasting results in 10 days.
So i feel i need to get a new , fresh report , new perspective.

2. I have zeroed in on some of the areas i need to improve on Quantz : Inequalities, Formula, Probability, Co ordinate.
I will redo the MGMAT guides that cover these topics, redo OG questions and maintain an error log to track progress.
On verbal i plan to redo (from scratch) the entire MGMAT SC book (i did this thoroughly earlier, so i thought) and also read all the strategies on the MGMAT RC (i did this too, apparently it wasnt enough)
For practice, i will do the retired GMAT or GMAT level (questions from the MGMAT forum - as i may have exhausted most of the official questions).

I intend to take a CAT test every week , starting 2 weeks from now - after i have worked on the quantz & verbal issues.

Could you please let me know if my approach seems fine so far or are there some glaring strategy errors that i am making once again that need to be fixed right away!

Thanks a lot for the patience. This was a really really long post and i appreciate the effort you folks have taken to reach the end Smile

640 (Q48 V28)

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Post Tue Jan 12, 2016 7:23 am
This was my worst performance ever (including the diagnostic test i had taken 6 months ago).
Well, the good news is that your verbal performance sounds as if it's an anomaly. There's good reason to believe that, barring similar disturbances on the next exam, your performance will be more in line with your practice exams. If you're able to boost that raw score up the high 30's/low 40's, you should be in range of your goal. Some concrete action steps you can take in the meantime:

- Make sure you're up to speed on the principles tested in Sentence Correction. Here's our free SC lesson: http://www.veritasprep.com/gmat/free-gmat-lesson/

- Do (or re-do) all the SC questions in the Official Guide and make sure you understand them thoroughly. Post any questions you have here.

- Read voraciously everyday for a few weeks. (Anything challenging will do.) There's research suggesting that the physiology of our brains changes when we read more: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/01/study-reading-a-novel-changes-your-brain/282952/

- Consider incorporating some mindfulness meditation, which has been shown to improve standardized test scores. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/05/study-meditation-improves-memory-attention/275564/

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sukhman Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
08 Sep 2013
202 messages
Followed by:
2 members
Post Tue Jan 12, 2016 6:04 am
Although I have not got anywhere 720 but I am suggesting few points to improve your score
1) In addition to MGMAT Guides you join any online course if you have time, I suggest E-gmat for non-natives(Both for Verbal and Quant ) for areas which you mentioned.
2)One of my frens who got 730 Official score vouched for GMATClub Tests to improve from 45-48 to 51 Quant
3) To gauge your precise score I suggest you buy GMAT Exam Pack1 from mba.com which has 2 additional full length tests , they seem to be accurate in verbal score prediction as compared to GMATPrep. ( I have attempted both).
4) Instead of attempting so many CATs , I suggest you focus on official questions , They are the questions you need practice on (Search for files containing old GMATprep Verbal Questions on GMAT Club , you can search for their solutions on this website , they are discussed frequently )

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Post Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:03 am
Hi Aditya,

To start, a 640/Q48 is a good score (it's just shy of the 80th percentile overall), so it might be enough to get you into your first-choice Business School.

1) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
2) When are you planning to apply?
3) If you do retest, when are you planning to take your next Official GMAT?

With a 720 score goal, and using your Official Score as reference, most of those missing points are going to be found in the Verbal section, although you could squeeze out a few more points in the Quant. Your studies so far have been 'book heavy'; Test Takers who study in that way often get 'stuck' at a particular score level, and that might be part of what's happened to you. With a V28, you likely missed out on some significant points in all 3 Verbal categories (SC, RC and CR). As such, you might need to invest in some new, non-book resources and learn/practice some new Tactics.

Re-taking a CAT that you've already taken almost always leads to an unrealistic, 'inflated' score result, so you'll want to invest in a new set of practice CATS.

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

Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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