640 to 700 GMAT: a Tricky 60 Points

Easy 640 to 700 GMAT?

Another "big box test prep" graduate called the other day - he couldn’t crack the GMAT 700’s. Why? Good question. Adam was whip smart and especially talented at verbal. I wouldn’t call him a Quant nerd but after a bit of training he could slice through 95% of the GMAT Official Guide. If I had to complain I'd say that because he was extremely busy and stressed out with work he couldn't commit 100% to the GMAT tutoring program. That’s not to say that the homework results were bad but just not perfect. He was always struggling just a bit with his cup overflowing with responsibility. Oh, and he also had two young kids. He wanted to improve from a GMAT 640 to 700 in 8 weeks, a reasonable goal for a smart, hardworking guy.

Burnout to 660

We were hopeful as GMAT day loomed on the horizon. But, the 700 twas not to be. 660. He had been logging Quant scores in the high 40’s but had crumpled to a 41 on GMAT day. We had a quick debrief to diagnose the unexpected results. Verdict: exhaustion. He'd studied 10 hours per day the two days before the exam. Holy crap! I would never have someone study that much - ever (especially right before a test). It completely burned him out. Here are some suggestions for the last week of GMAT studying.

Panic back to GMAT 640

A month later: 640. Right back to where we started. Somewhere in the middle of the Quant he had started to panic and from then on had triple checked every answer. After that the test had spun out of control. Adam left seven questions on the Quant and twelve questions on the Verbal blank! It's one thing to be thorough but another to be paranoid. At some point you have to let go. Start practicing this on your HW sets and of course on your practice tests so that you have a handle on it for GMAT day.

Attitude adjustment + Radio Silence

I advised another retake without additional tutoring. I just provided a study schedule and materials. He didn't need to learning anything new. He really didn't need more studying. The focus was on trying to relax. Trying to just feel positive while working on GMAT questions. Trying to study less. To put less pressure on. Then came test day. 640 to 700? Dunno. No phone call or email. Ugh. It always feels strange and unsettling to be in the dark. I always think the worst. I sent over a quick note to check in: no reply. Hmmm.

640 to 640 to 700 GMAT Success

Fast forward two months. An email! The test had not gone well. Another 640 GMAT. Good news though: he had gotten into Kellogg! Hurray!!! Still he wanted to improve his chances at Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton so he gave the GMAT one last shot. No studying at all: 700!

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