630 to 720 GMAT Success

GMAT 720 Success!

There’s no magic formula for transferring the knowledge required to achieve a glittering GMAT score. What do you need to gain mastery over the breadth of content and types of reasoning the GMAT will demand? Consistent presence of mind in the seconds, minutes, and hours over days, weeks, and months of GMAT preparation. In our consultation I discussed this idea with Sara. It clicked with her. And by the end of our 11 weeks of GMAT prep she improved her GMAT score from a 630 to a 720.

630 start with a favorable skill set

Sara came in the door with a GMAT breakdown we see pretty often: great verbal, iffy quant. She started off with a 630 (q36 v40). The quant was only in the 36th percentile, but, the good news, the verbal was in the 90th. If you had to choose, this is a great split, as GMAT quant is easier to improve than verbal. Also, a 40+ verbal score indicates some pretty solid reasoning skills, which, given the right direction and structure, should help you shine on the quant as well.

A fighting attitude

When it came to our tutoring sessions, it was ever clear that Sara was ready to hit the ground running. In the pre-tutoring phase she had put in the legwork to make the quant fundamentals second nature, so, when I introduced new concepts, she wasn’t struggling on the basics but was instead ready to go with the more challenging part of the GMAT: the critical thinking.

No GMAT stone unturned

Although we manage homework 100%, even review, Sara let me know that she was doing additional review, even redoing entire sets if she’d scored below 50%. From Day 1, she committed to mastering every new concept that I threw her way. She wasn’t going to let anything slide. No dusty corners here! Nor was she going to go easy on verbal just because it was her strong suit (a big GMAT studying mistake). No matter how many ferocious LSAT Critical Reasoning quizzes I assigned, she applied that same dedication trying to get as close to a perfect score as possible on each and every one.

Good habits leading to great improvement

11 weeks is a hefty amount of time to stay consistent with daily GMAT practice. It’s even tougher to keep a positive, motivated mindset, especially when learning and subsequent score increases come in fits and starts. What served Sara well in this regard was her perseverance to making daily GMAT practice a habit right out of the gate. Because of her dedication she started improving quickly. That improvement motivated her to keep up the effort, and, as a result, our sessions became more dialogue than lesson as she pushed the pace of the preparation.

Could it be a GMAT 720 only 4 weeks in?

Sara’s situation was somewhat unique in that she had already booked a test date prior to our starting the GMAT tutoring process. That test date fell at the halfway point of our sessions. I encouraged her to keep it booked but to take it as a no-stress practice test. But, as that day grew closer there emerged a strong possibility she’d hit a 700.

She may very well have done so on any other day, but chaos reigned at the test center. A neighboring computer malfunctioned and her testing area was packed with IT techs through most of her quant section. She walked out with a 660. Certainly not the score she deserved but still an improvement over the 630, even in the midst of GMAT test center incompetence.

Doubling down to a 720 GMAT score

Sara wasn’t deterred. The opposite, in fact. Having stared down the GMAT and walked away relatively unscathed renewed her determination to hit 700 and potentially beyond. She doubled down her efforts over the next few weeks, scoring in the 90+% range on most homework assignments. She brought any uncertain concepts to sessions, leaving no stone unturned. On her next GMAT practice test, she scored a 700, and we intensively reviewed every quant question she had missed.

Smarts, hard work, and a great attitude lead to the inevitable: GMAT 720!

Then, on test day, 720. I wasn’t surprised in the slightest but was unbelievably excited for Sara. This was, beyond a doubt, a 720 very well-earned. 100 point GMAT improvements in the higher score ranges are challenging. But with a can-do attitude from the start and an unfailing commitment to staying ahead of the game, an abstract possibility like this GMAT score increase from 630 to 720 can become almost inevitable.

720 GMAT Score FAQ

720 GMAT score percentile?

GMAT percentile scores change year to year. In 2019 a 720 GMAT score is in the 94th percentile. Here's an in depth discussion on GMAT percentiles along with some analysis on why a failing GMAT quant score is OK in 2019.

720 GMAT good enough?

A 720 on the GMAT 100% satisfies the question that you've got the skills to succeed at any MBA program on the planet. That said, as crazy as it sounds, even though a GMAT 720 is in the 94th percentile, in 2019 you'd still be below the median at 10 top business schools. Does that mean if you're gunning for Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, and crew that a 720 GMAT isn't good enough? No. Absolutely not. A 720 GMAT score might be all you need. It's a great score.

If you're considering a retake you might talk to an admissions person first so that they can weigh your entire application. It might make more sense to work on the rest of the package instead of the 10-20 points that would push your GMAT score at or above the median of your dream MBA program. Still, if you're gung-ho and want to improve that 720: go for it. There's probably more gas in the tank if you're willing to put in the work.

GMAT 720 retake?

A 720 on the GMAT is an outstanding score and will give you access to all of the top MBA programs. At 720 the rest of your application matters more. Still, there's the reality that in 2019 you will be below the median at several top schools. The advice is similar to that above: feeling motivated for more? Go for the GMAT 720 retake! Feeling completely unmotivated? A 720 is a great score. Go with it! Feeling somewhere in the middle? Consult an admissions expert and get their input on how important an improved GMAT score is to your specific application. If you're looking for resources for your re-take I'd consider two things on the quant side:

GMAT Focus Quizzes - these are 24 question/45 minute computer adaptive quant quizzes based on official GMAT questions. You can buy four of them from mba.com. They are great for the end of your GMAT prep or for a retake. Nice and tough. I always feel like GMAT focus feels just like the real GMAT. Here is our GMAT Focus review.

Atlantic GMAT Quant Review Quizzes - there are 12 question/24 minute quant quizzes that I developed based on my experience taking 7 official GMATs. They cover concepts that I've noticed on the real test that are unrepresented or underrepresented in the official GMAT materials. These are not official questions but I worked extremely hard to make them fit content and style-wise. These are very tough but no tougher than the toughest GMAT questions you would get on a real test. Best of all each question has an in depth explanation video so there are tons of GMAT tips and tricks. At the moment we're offering these for free for two weeks access.

GMAT Focus and AG Quant Review Quizzes work really well together. Use the Focus quizzes when you have more time (on the weekends or occasional weekday) and fill in the gaps with the review quizzes. Between the two you'll have a stellar 2-3 weeks of quant preparation.

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