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530 on first GMATPrep CAT exam... need advice!

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530 on first GMATPrep CAT exam... need advice!

by jwm5 » Fri May 25, 2018 10:47 am
Hi there,

I just scored a 530 (Q-29, V-33, IR-3) on the official CAT test. I did not rush through the sections, but for both V and Q, I had over 30 minutes remaining when I finished each section.

I am scheduled to take the test on July 23rd.

I began studying this week (probably 10-15 hours) and took the diagnostic test in the OG on Tuesday (PS-7, DS-9, RC-13, CR-9, SC-13).

For study materials, I have the 3 2018 OG books, the 9 MGMAT guides with access to their online questions and practice tests, and a premium subscription to Magoosh.

A little background on me... I graduated a few weeks ago from a top 10 business school. I start my full-time job on August 5th and will be moving across the country on August 1st, so I was keen to take the test before the stress of moving and starting a new job where I will be traveling most weeks Monday-Thursday. I am home this summer working remote part-time for a company in California. I'm located in Dallas (2 hour time difference), so I can dedicate 4-5 hours each morning to studying for the GMAT. Also, I will be on a camping road trip from June 9th-June 23rd, so those two weeks I can bring some books for me to study during long drives, but I won't have access to a computer and my studying won't be as productive as it would be normally.

My obvious weakness is the quant section... math has always been my weakest suit and I know I need to primarily focus on that.

I'd love some advice on how to utilize the study materials I have already purchased as efficiently as possible over next 2 months. My target score was originally 710, but after taking the CAT, I am a bit discouraged and have changed my target score to 700. Is there time to reach this goal? Any advice/suggestions are much appreciated. Thanks so much!!

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by Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com » Fri May 25, 2018 4:41 pm
Hi jwm5,

Based on what you described, there are a number of 'variables' in terms of your plan and goals.

First, if you finish a section 30 minutes early, then you most certainly DID 'rush' through the section (whether that was your intention or not). Finishing any section with signifiant time left on the clock is usually NOT a good thing - it would imply that you didn't put in the necessary effort to properly take notes and approach each prompt. As such, it's possible that your current 'ability level' is actually higher than this 530 (since we haven't seen what happens when you actually do your best work and properly use the full time that you're given in each section).

If we were to assume that this 530 is accurate, then raising a 530 to a 700+ will likely require at least another 3 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. Trying to study for just 2 months (with a 2-week camping trip in the 'middle') would likely impact how much you could reasonably improve in that time.

I suggest that you study as you like for the next week, then take a new, FULL-LENGTH CAT, use your FULL CLOCK for each section and take it in a realistic fashion (take the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections, take it away from your home, at the same time of day as when you'll take the Official GMAT, etc.). Once you have that score, you should report back here and we can discuss how best to proceed.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com
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by jwm5 » Tue May 29, 2018 9:13 am
Thanks for the reply. That definitely makes sense and sounds like a good starting point. Thanks!

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by ceilidh.erickson » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:51 am
jwm5 wrote:Hi there,

I just scored a 530 (Q-29, V-33, IR-3) on the official CAT test. I did not rush through the sections, but for both V and Q, I had over 30 minutes remaining when I finished each section.

I am scheduled to take the test on July 23rd.

I began studying this week (probably 10-15 hours) and took the diagnostic test in the OG on Tuesday (PS-7, DS-9, RC-13, CR-9, SC-13).

For study materials, I have the 3 2018 OG books, the 9 MGMAT guides with access to their online questions and practice tests, and a premium subscription to Magoosh.
Rich is right - finishing 30 min early on each section definitely means you were rushing! There were probably lots of instances of missing key pieces of information, making too-easy assumptions, falling for trap answers, etc.

To get a 700, you'll need your Quant score to be above a 45 and your verbal to be above a 40, so you have work to do on both sections. But if you have the Manhattan Prep books and an OG, you have everything you need to get a top GMAT score.

Here's what you should do:

1. Analyze the practice test you've taken in a lot of depth. Which areas were you weakest? Strongest? Fastest? Slowest? Decide which topics and question types need more of your time and attention. Be very aware of timing issues as well.
More here: https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog ... -now-what/

2. Study topic-by-topic, going chapter by chapter in the Mprep guides, then practice each topic with OG problems. For example, read the chapter on SC subject/verb agreement, then go do a set of 8-10 problems in the OGs that relate to that subject. For Quant, you may want to read the Foundations of Math chapter before reading the corresponding strategy guide chapter (e.g. Exponents in FoM --> Exponents in the Algebra strategy guide --> Exponent problems in the OG).
You can find problems by topic using GMAT Navigator: https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/stor ... navigator/
Do this for each chapter in the Quant and Verbal strategy guides. Aim to do this in 8-10 weeks.

3. Make sure you are tracking all of the OG questions you do, and timing yourself while you practice. Hold yourself to strict 2-min time limits per question! (I highly recommend using Navigator to track your OG problems)

4. Alternate between Quant and Verbal. Don't just focus all your time on quant, even though that feels like more of a weakness. You can't get a top score by only focusing on quant! Aim for Q-45+, V-40+

5. Keep a detailed record of the mistakes you make in addition to just tracking right and wrong answers, so you can locate patterns in your errors: https://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index ... -studying/

6. Take an Mprep practice test after 3 weeks, then every 2 weeks after that. If you purchased the full set of books, you'll have access to the full package of exams. (If you inherited the books from a friend or bought them used, you'll have to purchase the exam pack). Review your exams in depth, deeply analyzing right answers as well as wrong answers. Increase to a test every week for the last 2 weeks before your real exam.

7. Practice your skills with random timed sets out of the OGs once you've covered all of the content in the strategy guides . Set the timer for 20 minutes, for example, and do questions 1-10. The OG problems generally get harder as the question # increases (within a given question type), so questions 1-10 will be easier on average than 101-110. Start in the middle of the section if you want more challenging questions.

8. Analyze your data from the random sets and practice tests, and go back to any topics that need extra work.

9. Take a GMAC CAT at mba.com. They won't have answer explanations or metrics, so we recommend using Mprep CATs for most of your study time, and saving these for last. They're less helpful for analysis, but arguably most predictive of your real score, since they're written by the actual test-makers.

Good luck!
Ceilidh Erickson
EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education
Harvard Graduate School of Education

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by Scott@TargetTestPrep » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:11 am
Hi jwm5,

We have not heard from you in a while. Are you still studying for the GMAT? Do you need help with the quant section? If so, feel free to reach out. I'd be happy to help.

Scott Woodbury-Stewart
Founder and CEO
scott@targettestprep.com

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