GMAT Prep & Test Approaches to Score in the 650 - 700 range
Posted on
01
Jun 2021

GMAT Prep & Test Approaches to Score in the 650 to 700 Range

By: Andrej Ivanovski
Date: 1st June 2021

Getting a good GMAT score is no walk in the park. A lot of test takers struggle with hitting the minimum score to get into their desired graduate program, and they find themselves taking the GMAT multiple times before achieving their score goal. But, what is a good GMAT score? The answer is, as you might have guessed, it depends. Different business schools have different expectations. What might be considered an excellent score at one school, could be viewed as acceptable but not stellar at another.

Therefore, it is safe to say that a good GMAT score is one that gets you into the graduate program of your choice. However, one thing to keep in mind is that sometimes achieving the minimum scoring requirement may not be enough. Generally speaking, it is better to aim for the average class GMAT score, or higher. A score in the 650 to 700 range is very likely to secure you a spot at some great business schools (given that you satisfy the other admission requirements), but at the end of the day, it all depends on the specific program that you are applying to. In this article, we are going to look at some of the most important GMAT prep and test approaches which can help you score in the 650 to 700 range.

4 Tips to Score in the 650 – 760 Range

Practice your pacing

Wouldn’t the GMAT be a whole lot easier if you did not have to think about timing? Timing is a huge issue and often curtails test takers from attaining their desired score. If you distribute the given time equally, you only have around two minutes per question. Planning your time accordingly is integral to success, spending less time on easier questions allows you to spend more time on more challenging ones. Different questions have different difficulty levels, so it is normal that some questions might take longer than others. Our advice is to forget about the timing aspect of your GMAT prep altogether, and instead focus on mastering the skills you need to answer the questions correctly. In this way you will find that timing issues take care of themselves. If you want to learn more pacing techniques, make sure to check out our video on time management.

Learn how to skim

This one might seem obvious – and you might even say: “Of course I know how to skim”. But do you really? A lot of people think that they are skimming a passage, when in fact they are skipping it. The difference between skimming and skipping is that skimming includes paying attention to the author’s tone and point of view, but without actually reading the passage word for word. When you find yourself being able to take away the important pieces of information from the passage, and understand what the author is trying to say, then it is safe to say that you have learned how to skim. Mastering the art of skimming can help you do well on the Verbal section, which can ultimately lead you to a 650 – 700 GMAT score.

Pay attention to transition words

We definitely do not mean to sound like your middle school English teacher, but paying attention to transition words could save you a whole lot of time on the GMAT. Transition words are used to show the relationship between sentences (or parts of sentences). For instance, if the author is using transition words such as “however”, “nevertheless”, “in spite of”, “on one hand” or “on the contrary”, then you would know that the author is trying to express a contrasting point. Even though you can understand that by reading the whole passage, paying attention to transition words can save you a lot of time.

Use an appropriate strategy to solve quant problems

No matter how well prepared you are, there are always going to be questions whose answers you are not entirely sure of. Of course, it should be your goal to reduce the chances of that happening, but the GMAT is not designed to be that easy. When you find yourself struggling to answer a question, at first it might seem like all of the answers make sense. For that reason, it is good to have multiple strategies to tackle all types of GMAT problem types.

  • Elimination: write down ABCDE on the scratch board, and work on eliminating the answers that do not make much sense. When you are left with 2 or 3 answers to pick from, the chances of getting the right one are much higher (you do the math).
  • Guessing: leaving questions unanswered on the GMAT is not a good practice, as it is not favored by the grading algorithm. That is why it is important that you answer all of the questions from a given section, even if that means guessing the answer to some questions that you are not sure about.
  • Graphical solution path: sometimes it is easier to solve a problem graphically, rather than taking the standard, mathematical approach. Our instructor, and director of curriculum development, Mike Diamond, talks about the graphical solution path in his videos. If you want to find out more about this approach, see how he solves the Snack Shop problem and the Rope problem using a graphical solution path.
  • Story telling: some problems on the GMAT might require you to put yourself in the story and retell it from your perspective. This is especially useful when you are given information about two or more entities relative to each other. For instance, For some questions like, John was three years older than Tim was 5 years ago. Tim will be 23 two years from now. How old is John now? Here putting yourself in the story and retelling it can help you make the information easy to follow

Which schools can a 650 – 700 GMAT score get you into?

A GMAT score in the 650 – 700 can definitely get you into some of the highest ranked MBA programs in the world, and our clients are proof of that.

Kyle

kyle scored a 650 after working with Apex and got accepted to Georgetown university
Kyle scored 650 on the GMAT and he was able to get into the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. In his words:  I wouldn’t be in business school if I hadn’t gone through this process with an Apex tutor, not only from a scoring standpoint but also from a mental preparation standpoint.

Amy

amy scored a 690 on her GMAT and went to dukeAmy got into the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University with a GMAT score of 690. She says: After working with Apex I could look at a problem and know exactly what they were testing me on and the steps that I needed to take to get to the desired solution. They were always there to help and offered multiple solution paths in case the first one did not resonate.

Lohe

lohe scored a 690on her gmat and got into columbiaA GMAT score of 680 was able to help Lohe get into Columbia University. She says: When I started working with Apex we mostly focused on improving my stress and anxiety. So we worked on different kinds of breathing exercises and on different problem solving techniques that were not the usual math solutions. Once I was able to get comfortable with these techniques my speed and score increased a lot. It was a good mix of stress management and thinking out of the box.

 

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Posted on
13
Aug 2020

Profiles of Candidates Scoring 650 on the GMAT

Profiles of Candidates Scoring 650 on the GMAT | GMAT Talk

Today we’re going to speak about what we call profiles in the 650. A lot of times people see their score as sort of a fixed assessment of where they are rather than as a result of a balance of different characteristics that they have and that is feeding into their score. So when we speak with clients a lot of times they say:

“Oh well, I’ve got a 650 I want to get to a 720 – What do I need to do?”

The short answer is: We’ve got no idea because there’s a lot of different ways to make a 650 or a 580 or 620 and so we will talk about a few different profiles and how they could all result in the same score.

Albert:

First off we’ve got Albert who is an engineer. He’s very meticulous. He knows a lot of quantitative information so he’s got really strong fundamentals but he also has been trained in an engineering environment, which means he approaches problems very linearly. Not just the quantitative problems but the verbal problems as well, because his education, especially his higher education, has been very targeted, very straightforward.

Albert knows the fundamentals but the moment he sees a problem he already has decided how to solve it or rather his training has decided how to solve it. He has one solution path. He knows it works and he’s perfectly clear on what to do so he sits down and he does it. This means it’s generally time inefficient but also that he’s not bringing to bear one of the most useful characteristics to his GMAT, which is creative problem-solving.

By not availing himself of his executive-level critical thinking skills or of thinking about the structure of the GMAT, rather than just the content, he’s doing his best to perform perfectly, which has a time constraint and he ends up performing fairly well, but gets stuck on the more challenging problems where the algebra or the technicalities of grammar become overwhelming. And in this way, Albert gets to a 650. He can’t get any further on the exam.

Betty:

Next, we have Betty, and Betty is really sharp and has always been someone able to thrive in different work environments and to a large extent in academic environments. However, she’s never been one for more formal education and training.

What happens with Betty is that she’s got great instinct. She looks at a problem and she sees the quick way to solve it partially because a lot of her training isn’t formal and she doesn’t know all the rules or all the mechanics of the grammar or how the GMAT structures critical reasoning or reading comprehension or how exponents work but she’s got a good enough idea to use her high-level functioning skills to ‘bounce’ around to a path of success.

Betty also does well and gets to a GMAT 650 score, but her gap is very different than Albert’s. Where Albert needs flexibility, Betty just needs a refresh on the fundamentals. Given the fact that she’s already there with strong instincts and some basis in the fundamentals, those fundamentals for Betty would be much easier to plug in. 

As such she’s going to have a much shorter prep timeline than Albert even though they have the same score going into it. What’s more Albert’s going to have to focus on unlearning habits that he’s developed over years and years of training whereas Betty can lean into her habits.

Charlie:

Finally, let’s talk about Charlie. Charlie has always been a grade 4.0, all A-level type of student. He studies a lot and he’s always been really great at presenting exactly what’s needed to get the marks. 

As such he’s always done really well on examinations including standardized examinations, maybe like the SAT or the ACT. However, the GMAT is the first time he feels really challenged and the reason for that is that the GMAT is adaptive. So Charlie’s modus operandi – the way he’s been trained and the way he approaches things, is to understand what’s expected of him and then fulfill that. So he’s in reactive mode, whereas the GMAT knows that or the designers of the GMAT know that people who prep in a reactive fashion will eventually get to a point where their solution path’s default solving mechanisms don’t give them the unique approach to allow them to excel past a certain level. 

So he also stops at a 650 and he’s sort of halfway between the two others that we already discussed, where he’s going to have to unlearn some habits but he’s also probably in a better position than Albert if he can get away from the prescribed ways that he approaches the exam and the fundamentals. He might need to study the fundamentals but he’s probably over studying them and not looking enough at approaches outside what he thinks the exam wants.

So Charlie would need to work on developing a sense of the structure of the exam, of using the skills that he’s developed to understand when a question is put to him what it is structurally that the GMAT is looking for, how it’s built so that he can react to it with his top-level fundamentals and the creativity that he’s always had as a student but molded in a very different way.

Conclusion:

So these are three profiles in a 650 with three very different prep timelines and more importantly three very different sets of skills that these clients need to work on. 

So if you see yourself in one or several of these (and these three are by no means exhaustive), give us a call and we’ll be happy to talk with you, understand where you’re coming from on the exam, and try and get a sense of which profile you fall in.

Let’s Talk About Your GMAT Prep

Bear in mind that everyone’s different and these are three extreme examples. You probably are somewhere in a mix between these and a few other archetypes that we see regularly. By getting a sense of who you are (which also includes your personality and your behavioral and emotional approach to the exam), how you like to learn and how you perform we can put together a way for you to move forward if you’re stuck and you’ve hit a plateau.

If you don’t feel like talking to us, by all means, think about these different characteristics: how reactive you are, how prescribed your methods are, how many solution paths you see when you take a look at a particular problem, and if any of those seem very restrictive focus on that but don’t get caught up in the trap that most people fall into which is reviewing their fundamentals over and over and expecting movement because most of this game (and I’m calling it a game on purpose) is played on a behavioral and emotional level.

If you get a 650 GMAT score and can’t seem to move on from that score speak to an apex instructor to find out more about our personalized approach to GMAT prep.

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