Strong improvement but should I change my strategy?
I'd love some advice on my current situation. I took a practice GMAC cold a year ago and got a 460. I studied for 2 weeks (barely) and took another practice test for a 530 score. Then life got in the way. Two weeks ago I started studying a lot more seriously, scheduled the test in April and took another practice test for a 610 with a 40Q and a 34V. I've studied around 40 hours with a 200 hour target. My questions are:
1. Is a 700+ target now attainable?
2. How accurate are the GMAC practice exams?
3. What's the best way to use the error log? Should you simply use it for reference or continue to work through the problems intermittently?
4. I got a higher Quant score but my verbal was in a substantially higher percentile. How does the score end up like that and should I continue just focusing on math?
In my experience, I've noticed that test-takers who have identifiable weak spots tend to improve their scores more easily. For example, if you are weak in probability problems, learning that would help you improve your score. For those without identifiable weak spots, it takes a bit more of an effort to improve but it can still be done by adopting more efficient techniques. Overall, I'd say that it is very much possible to go from 610+ with very limited preparation to 700+ after thorough preparation but it's not just a function of how much time you give it, it's also about the techniques you master.
The GMAC practice exams are just as accurate as the real tests and they are designed to ensure consistency in terms of difficulty and time. However, a number of the third party test makers and as well those who make practice problems tend to get inspired from the GMAC practice exams and make somewhat similar questions. Therefore, those who do a lot of third party practice questions and tests tend to have a slight advantage in the GMAC practice tests relative to the actual test.
The error log should help you identify your weak spots and plan your prep better.
Percentile is a relative measure. It tell you what percentage of test-takers score below you. So, your percentile doesn't depend on how your Quant or Verbal scores stack against each other but how each of those stacks against the performance of others in the same section.
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