Possibility for Improvement

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Possibility for Improvement

by ellochewy » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:34 am
Hi Everyone,

I recently took the CAT from GMAT Prep and I got a 550 despite not being able to finish about 5 questions on the quantitative section and about 3 questions on the verbal section. Since then I've signed up for the 60 day program and my test date is in the beginning of October. My goal is to get a score of over 700. Do you think this is a realistic or possible goal? What are some of the biggest increases in scores that you've heard of?

Thanks so much!

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by Bara » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:42 am
One of the more memorable, and larger score improvements that I've seen is 230 points after one weekend of my working with a client.

Turns out their anxiety drove them batty, and by calming their mind, a mere 5 hours later, they aced the test that following Monday. You get your ducks in a row and amazing things can happen!
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by [email protected] » Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:45 pm
Wow - 230 in a weekend is pretty impressive, Bara...congrats! I think my "record" is 220 in a weekend...I had a guy go from 490 to 710 both on official test back in around 2004 or 2005 when you could take the test once per calendar month and his Thursday/Tuesday test dates (if I remember the days right) were on like the 29th and the 1st of a month. So it definitely can be done!

To ellochewy's overall question - I definitely think it's possible, and while 700 is a high threshold for me to make any gambling-style predictions I'd say that a significant improvement is probable. There are plenty of ways to miss questions on the GMAT, and only a few of them include "not knowing" content. More often, you're making a series of repetitive mistakes (making assumptions, answering the wrong question e.g. x instead of y, etc.) for which correcting one helps you answer several more questions correctly. Or you just need to train yourself to think through the lens of the GMAT - I was tutoring a friend last night who mentioned that she had just never learned to think in terms of prime factors and divisibility...in a few hours she went from really just getting her head around the topic to correctly answering some really tough Data Sufficiency questions. Which also brings up that Data Sufficiency is a really unique problem type - when you start to click with the format and understand the format-specific strategies, it's a whole new game. (since I mentioned gambling above, it's like the quantum leap you make in blackjack when you realize that getting the dealer to break is just as valuable as reaching 21 yourself...you stop playing your cards and start playing the table. With Data Sufficiency, when you start to understand the test's "advantages" over you, you can play the game and not just hope to do the math.)

So if you're starting from a fairly beginning spot, already scoring above average, and about to embark on a two-month study plan, I think it's pretty likely that you make some big gains. Just a word to the wise - the test is about a lot more than "knowing formulas", so make sure that as you study you pay attention to:

-Which concepts tend to come up the most and what are the unique ways they're tested
-Which mistakes do you tend to make frequently and how can you correct them
-How are the trap answers baiting you
-Which thought processes work best for you on different problem types
-How can you work more efficiently to make sure you have a chance to solve all 37 math and 41 verbal problems

When you think about the GMAT strategically you can make some giant gains. Jason, the guy who went 490-710 in my class, clicked on all of those - any time I pointed out a trap answer or a subtlety of a question format his eyes lit up and he'd talk about how he remembered probably making that mistake or missing that nuance. I was surprised he broke 700 so quickly but not at all surprised that he improved quite a bit - he really clicked with the strategy of the test and not just "the steps to solve that example". So while it's true that huge score gains are definitely possible, they don't happen accidentally, nor do they happen just as a result of "studying more" or "studying harder". It's about how you think, so keep that in mind and I expect you'll start to see some pretty marked progress.
Brian Galvin
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Chief Academic Officer
Veritas Prep

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by FutureWorks » Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:01 am
ellochewy wrote:Hi Everyone,

I recently took the CAT from GMAT Prep and I got a 550 despite not being able to finish about 5 questions on the quantitative section and about 3 questions on the verbal section. Since then I've signed up for the 60 day program and my test date is in the beginning of October. My goal is to get a score of over 700. Do you think this is a realistic or possible goal? What are some of the biggest increases in scores that you've heard of?

Thanks so much!
Hi there

Firstly we would say that stay positive and such anxieties are common during exam preparation time. Juggling between work and studies is tough so you need to define a significant time for your GMAT preparation. Sometimes taking few days off work for preparing for the GMAT can help a person tremendously. If you have time this may not be a bad idea. Take practise GMAT tests to see how you are doing. If you cannot do that don't worry. What might work instead is to set aside 1-2 hours at night on weekdays and major part of your weekend to study and prepare for GMAT- in this case we will suggest a good 2-3 months preparation. However we recommend you to keep taking practise tests to gauge your performance. It will help you in identifying your weak areas and you can focus on them accordingly.

There are various ways you can use to practise for your GMAT. You might need to change your practise style and try this combination to provide you flexibility and different styles to practise so it doesn't get monotonous.

It could be combination of-

1-Books- Books like- The Official Guide for GMAT Review, The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review, The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review etc could be used.

2-Online Study Guide: Websites like Knewton, Grockit etc provide you with practise questions online.

3-Smart phone applications- Kaplan, Veritas etc offer applications to prepare for GMAT on your smart phones.

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