Increasing Your GMAT: Best Of Andrew Geller

Nerd 2-Revised


How do I improve my quant score?

Answer 1:

1. If you’re scoring in the high 30’s/low 40’s on the Quant, then you probably have some gaps in your fundamental knowledge and may be having some issues translating words into algebra. I would slow down your work on GMAT questions and focus on building your overall math fundamentals. Build up the base before tackling the more nuanced GMAT quant. The Khan academy is a good way to do this.

2. Not focusing on verbal is a common GMAT pitfall. Improvements on the verbal section can have a huge impact on your composite score. Not to mention that if you’re a verbal ace, that takes the stress off your quant performance. Less stress generally equals better performance.

3. Have you taken a class or worked with a tutor? I wouldn’t recommend a class but it might be helpful to hire someone to help with the quant. I’m all for the rugged individual, but working with someone who knows their stuff could help you avoid a bunch of headaches.

Giving you a specific timeline is tough. I’ve had students make MASSIVE leaps in 6-7 weeks, BUT those students were already very good at math and just needed to be taught “GMAT” math. Considering that you’ve been studying for a while and haven’t seen much improvement, this might take a bit longer. I’d suggest breaking down the quant improvement into three levels: Solid 40+, 45+, and 48+. Tackle one level at a time. I’d also consider making this leap in three GMATs. Take one two months from now. This will be the meat of your preparation. Then take another test three months from now and potentially a third test four months from now. This way you’ll have some shorter term goals to keep you engaged.

Answer 2:

Unless something dramatic went wrong on test day, pushing the Quant up from a 47 will take some work.

Run through the MGMAT tests twice. Remember that those tests are a bit tougher than the real thing – or at the very least have questions that require more computation than the real thing – so don’t be discouraged if your scores are less than stellar. Use these tests to work on your timing. Work on letting go when you don’t have a plan. Shooting for 48+, I’d aim to guess/skip/move on quickly on 4-6 questions. Also use these tests to work on your application under pressure. Take your time to plan out your attack before starting to crunch numbers. Think about alternate strategies (picking numbers, estimation, # properties). Given that these are not official questions feel free to ditch 10-20% of them in your review. Do not do the verbal on these tests.

Go through the Official Guide again. Start from the back. Keep an error log and re-work the stuff you get wrong until you are 100% on it. It is OK to leave 5-10% of the questions. No reason to spend an hour reviewing one question:) Focus on the 95%!

After you have done the above do the HARD PS and DS from the Question Pack 1 (there are enough hard questions so that you can make two 37 question Quant sections), do the GMAT Focus Quizzes, re-do the GMAT Prep tests, and do the two tests from Exam Pack 1.

In addition you could hit the Atlantic GMAT question of the day. There are about 100 questions in the database most with thorough explanations. Many tips and tricks there.

With the above study plan you should be able to move the needle on your Quant.



When is the best time to start preparing for the GMAT?

Good question! Are you planning on applying to business school within the next 5 years? If so you might consider taking the GMAT as an undergrad or the summer before you start your first job after college. This can be a great option, as you are already in study mode. Although there are your courses to keep up with, you most likely have more time than you would if you had a full time job. From a learning perspective, you are in an excellent position to approach GMAT studying.

Unfortunately there’s also a bit of a downside to taking the GMAT as an undergrad: You may have to re-take in future because your GMAT score is only valid for five years. That’s the GMAC policy. Yes, five years is a long time, but the average MBA student is about 28. So if you are somewhat similar to that average MBA, then you would end up re-taking your GMAT when applying to business school.

If applying is more than 5 years away, then I would start studying about one year before you need your score for applications. Not that you will necessarily need a year of studying, but this will give you plenty of breathing room to re-take in case you don’t knock the GMAT out of the park on your first try. Also – the applications themselves are a challenge. Applying to school is a much more pleasurable process if you don’t have to worry about applications and GMAT studying at the same time.

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