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Retake Focus Strategy

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Retake Focus Strategy

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This past May I took the GMAT a year earlier than I needed to based on my plans. I purchased only the "official" GMAT book and supplementary quant book they also offer. I spent approximately 12 weeks preparing (about 30 hours a week) by going through the diagnostic test in the "official" GMAT book and subsequently all math problems offered. Following this I went through the "official" GMAT quant book and saw my math improve significantly. (Roughly 500 questions all in)

On test day, I had a classic stress out / meltdown you always hear about happening to other people. For starters, I am a slow test taker. I got very stubborn with a few problems early on that I knew I could solve but spent far too much time on. Because of adrenaline or stress, I miscalculated how much time I had left for how many questions I had left and so my pace was far too slow. I didn't realize until too late when I looked up and saw 25 seconds left. I scrambled from question 22-25 blindly clicking C to get answers in and ended up leaving 26-37 unanswered.

My final score ended up being Quant 44/52%; Int. Reasoning - 6/70%; Analytical Writing - 5.0/54% ( again ran out of time and only answered 1 of 2) Verbal - 38/85%; and total 670/81%

The question I'm seeking advice for is how to approach retaking the exam. I have purchased manhattan prep books for quant now and already notice a night-and-day difference in quality of the books. Aside from speed and pacing, does it make sense to focus again only on quant? Would it be worthwhile to dedicate some time to the verbal side of things or am I already in an acceptable place with those score ranges? My impression is that quant score matters much more and should be my main, if not sole, focus. Is this right? (My two main targets will be Stern and CBS) Is it unrealistic to expect a 50-60 point jump if I can improve in quant and actually finish the section? Any insight on scores or advice on test prep companies would be appreciated beyond words.

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Hi btkli91,

To start, it's important to know that any question that you do not answer on the GMAT is 'penalized' - and that penalty is WORSE than if you had simply answered the question incorrectly. Thus, if you really did leave the last 12 questions unanswered in the Quant section, then the total penalty would have been severe. Unfortunately, we cannot calculate exactly what that penalty was, but you likely lost well over 50 points. This is meant to say that however you choose to proceed, you MUST make sure to answer every question on Test Day.

If we assume that your Verbal skills will remain at this high level, then focusing primarily on your Quant training would make sense (you can use your practice CAT results to assess whether you need to spend any significant time keeping up your Verbal abilities). Based on what you've described, you have to acknowledge that "your way" of dealing with the Quant section is not particularly strategic (and in real basic terms, it takes too long), so your emphasis going forward should be on learning and practicing the proper Quant Tactics - so that you can learn faster ways of dealing with Quant prompts.

1) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
2) When are you planning to apply to Business School?

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

_________________
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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