Q) I have been preparing for the GMAT for the past 2 and half months. To be honest, my preparation would have been better but it is just 3 weeks to go and from three diagnostic tests, I am scoring in the 550-570 range. My target is 700+. Should I re-schedule?
F1GMAT: Since you have indicated that the preparation would have been better, it makes us curious as to what happened during the 2.5 months. Why do you think that the preparation would have been better? Without evaluating what went wrong during the preparation, it becomes extremely difficult to change tactics, and re-schedule the test. Even if you postpone the test, and adopt the old method of preparation, which has been proven ineffective, the scores won’t improve.
To offer a solution, we have to make some assumption about your preparation:
a) Lack of Intermediate Goals
Most often than not, test takers try to cover many topics in a short period, paying very little attention to comprehension. This is counterproductive. Set small improvement goals for GMAT mock tests every week like 550-570 570-600, and try relentlessly to achieve those goals. Don’t get overwhelmed by the ultimate goal of 700+.
b) Lack of motivation for GMAT Prep
Lack of motivation is the number one reason why GMAT test takers fall behind schedule or does not sacrifice small pleasures in the short-term. If you are not completely convinced on the motivations for GMAT prep, the preparation will be half-hearted. Read our article on maintaining motivation for GMAT Prep.
c) Poor Work-Study Balance
Work is important. It gives you the opportunity to pursue higher education goals but studying at least 1 hour every day for GMAT requires commitment and a positive attitude that affirms that the sacrifice is worth it. Change your attitude – it’s worth the sacrifice.
d) Lack of Focus on Weak Areas
When GMAT test takers start scoring high in certain areas like Quant, they tend to do more such problems to feel good about their preparation. This will affect the ability to score a balanced score, and to reach the 700+ goal. List the topics where you are committing more errors, and learn about the fundamentals. Practice different types of GMAT Questions with varying difficulty and comprehend the topic, completely.
If your target is 700+, scoring 550-570, even for Kaplan tests, which is considered much tougher than MGMAT or Veritas Prep is not a good indicator. If your GMAT test prep software score is in the 680-720 range, you have a realistic chance of scoring 700+. For Kaplan tests, if the score is in the 650-680 range, chances of scoring 700+ is high. For MGMAT, the scores in the range of 700-720 shows that you are on track to score 700+ in actual test.
Postpone the GMAT test day if you can change your approach in preparation, focus on your weak areas, and set intermediate goals. But don’t postpone by over 1 and half months. You still need time for essays, recommendation letter, interview preparation, and arranging funds.
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