How to interpret my Diagnostic GMAT of 660?

Hey guys,

Currently networking for FT recruit alongside my summer internship. I know my grades are a big barrier so I've been thinking about doing the GMAT. My thinking is that if I do really well, I can help de-risk my bad grades to some degree...and that if I interview prep well, and am likeable, my (hopefully high) GMAT score will signal that I'm not an absolute monkey.

I'm following the instructions listed here, and just completed my 1st diagnostic test without any reading or preparation.

As mentioned in the title, I got a 660 on the Manhattan GMAT, which equates to a 78% percentile.

The breakdown was as following:

Essay - Skipped
Integrated Reasoning - 5.9 / 5 - 7 Estimated Percentile
Quant - 42 / 45% Estimated Percentile
Verbal - 38 / 85% Estimated Percentile

I took this in probably not optimal conditions - right after work. Didn't take breaks in between other than bathroom. Didn't answer the last question for the IR, didn't answer last question for Quant. Really, really struggled with Quant IMO - completely guessed some questions, had no idea how to do others. Verbal was a breeze, I finished with 25+ minutes remaining out of the alloted ~1 hour or so.

Is this good? Bad? How am I supposed to interpret these numbers? How much effort am I going to need to put in to get a really good score (what qualifies as really good? >750?)

Comments (22)

Jul 7, 2018

Manhattan GMAT CATs are known for being harder than the real thing, particularly in math, so that's a solid start. A lot of people study for the GMAT senior year, which is smart. But if you're taking it to land in IB out of undergrad, I'm not sure how impressed employers will be. It has absolutely no relevance to anything you'd do day-to-day in IB (although neither does most of what you learn in college).

Jul 7, 2018

Thanks! Appreciate your reply.

I have talked to a few industry professionals that a high GMAT can somewhat de-risk a poor GPA. In maximizing my chances of landing somewhere, I'm hoping to tick as many boxes in overcoming poor academic performance.

"If you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy person; they will find an easier way to do it." - Hlade's Law

Jul 8, 2018

my gmat practice scores were as follows:

MGMAT 1 620
MGMAT 2 650
GMAC 1 700
GMAC 2 760
GMAC 3 730
Actual 740

As Johnny mentioned, MGMAT CATs are way harder than the actual test. I'd stick with the official practice tests and buy more of them from GMAC. I studied for around 10 weeks at 20-25 hours a week to achieve the above so I wouldn't be discouraged with your 660 diagnostic. I would aim for at least a 730 to offset your low GPA. Go through MGMAT books, the official guides, and gmatquantum.com (amazing quant resource, can't stress this one enough) and you should be fine. Make sure you spend time on verbal - you mentioned it was a breeze but the key to getting high scores is hitting 99% on verbal.

Jul 8, 2018

Can you give some tips for verbal? I've been struggling on it. I regret not reading when I was younger..

Jul 8, 2018
tz15:

Can you give some tips for verbal? I've been struggling on it. I regret not reading when I was younger..

Go through the MGMAT verbal books and practice a lot. I've heard good things about the sentence correction bible but didn't use it myself. RC came fairly naturally to me as I read a lot but have heard from others that reading dense articles such as those in the economist is helpful.

Free Consultation

Vantage Point MBA's clients are accepted to the top MBA programs at a 3x higher rate than the average acceptance rates. Request a consultation with their team to learn how they can help you gain admission to your dream schools. Learn more.

Jul 7, 2018

Yeah honestly - reading those dense novels in AP Lit during high school really helped IMO. Also happened to be a pretty avid reader back then as well

"If you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy person; they will find an easier way to do it." - Hlade's Law

Jul 7, 2018

Great and detailed advice. +1 SB! Thanks!

"If you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy person; they will find an easier way to do it." - Hlade's Law

Most Helpful
Jul 12, 2018

The exercises in MGMAT's books (particularly Sentence Correction) can be helpful for sure, but my advice is to only practice with GMAC practice problems - otherwise you're like a golfer / swimmer / tennis player spending hours practicing bad form.

Also, as you plan your studying, figure out within Quant is Problem Solving or Data Sufficiency giving you more trouble? And within that even, is it geometry, stats, etc... For verbal same thing, figure out where you need to spend the most time between Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Sentence Correction.

Also, for what its worth, Verbal can lift your overall score much more than Quant. I had a top 1% overall score with a quant of less than 80%. If English is your first language, no reason why you can't get Verbal up to 95-99% with enough practice.

    • 3
Jul 7, 2018

Very helpful - thanks

"If you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy person; they will find an easier way to do it." - Hlade's Law

Free Consultation

Vantage Point MBA's clients are accepted to the top MBA programs at a 3x higher rate than the average acceptance rates. Request a consultation with their team to learn how they can help you gain admission to your dream schools. Learn more.

Jul 8, 2018

Two biggest things:

  • Breakdown your score to a more granular level than Q / V. There are really five categories of questions, and it'll help you enormously in scoring if you can pick out the catagories you're weakest in to practice (e.g. you may be really strong on problem solving but awful at data sufficiency, you may have gotten 70% of your incorrect V questions in sentence correction)
  • Use official GMAT materials before utilizing anything else. They're by far the best and will train you to take the actual GMAT, not something else. You can take up to six official tests (four of which you'll have to pay for), and you should spread those evenly between now and your actual test date.
    • 1
Jul 9, 2018

I think it is a very solid result

My first official gmat prep was 650, one week later did a veritas gmat and got 600... After 3-4 months of studying while doing an ibd internship got 720. If you can increase Q score you should be able to cross the 700 easily. >750 is a great result and there is not a great difference between someone with 730 or someone with 750 so there is no need to create an obsession out of it, after a certain Gmat threshold it is more important to focus on other part of your cv

    • 1
Jul 7, 2018

This is some great insight thanks. I'm hoping that since my Quant is so bad...and probably pretty below average right now (I used to be a Student Helper for 1st Year Calc...got the highest mark in my year), I'm hoping I can pull that up significantly

"If you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy person; they will find an easier way to do it." - Hlade's Law

Jul 10, 2018

3 months of study to go from 550 "diagnostic" to >750. My verbal score didn't change much so for me it was all about refreshing the quantitative section.

Jul 7, 2018

+200 is very impressive. Congratulations! I'm hoping to follow in that same path then, since most of my improvement can probably come from Quant.

"If you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy person; they will find an easier way to do it." - Hlade's Law

Jul 10, 2018

Three steps:

1) Actually learn the principles. This means refreshing middle-school geometry, multiplying exponents, permutations and combinations etc. all that stuff that you have likely forgotten, go back and memorize cold.

2) Practice and really hone in on your mistakes. Get excited when you make mistakes because that will be a question you won't get wrong on the actual exam. Mix in practice questions with full-length practice tests on the weekends with no interruptions.

3) Do difficult problems. After (1) and (2), it is important to not rest on your laurels with easy practice tests. I liked the "GMAT 800" book Amazon link (not a referral)

    • 2
Jul 11, 2018

In on this thread. I took the GMAT for real today, got a very similar score.

650 total
Verbal 37, 82 percentile
Quant 43, 47 percentile

So quant is what beat me up. I plan on re-taking. Didn't really take practice tests - probably should have, but ultimately I needed to set a date for the for real test, otherwise I wouldn't be emotionally invested to study without being up against a deadline. I used Manhattan GMAT entirely to study. Reading comments here on WSO, Manhattan GMAT seems to be highly regarded for verbal but not as much for quant, and seems like a lot of people recommend just the Official Guide for quant. I'm going to pick that up.

    • 1
Jul 7, 2018

The OG materials have helped me a ton. Magoosh videos a lot for math. Some folks swear by GMATQuantum, although I haven't personally used it.

Jul 7, 2018

Lol almost the exact same breakdown.

I would suggest re-taking personally, 47 percentile quant seems like you can pull that up a good amount (that's the mentality I have, at least).

"If you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy person; they will find an easier way to do it." - Hlade's Law

Jul 11, 2018

Absolutely retaking. I'm aiming for at least 700 before applying.

Jul 12, 2018

Mate that's a cracking first score.

My first score was 430 on MGMAT (didnt finish etc)! I got my score up to your first diagnostic after a couple hundred hours timed study.

Everyone starts at a different level.

The GMAT is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, and it's one aspect of my life I'm looking forward to put behind me in the near future.

Jul 7, 2018
Comment

"If you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy person; they will find an easier way to do it." - Hlade's Law

Jul 12, 2018