540, 560 stuck on verbal! (need 600+) : General GMAT Questions and Strategies
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# 540, 560 stuck on verbal! (need 600+)

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Joined: 12 Nov 2013
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540, 560 stuck on verbal! (need 600+) [#permalink]

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17 Dec 2013, 06:46
Hi guys,

I could use some study advise for non-native speakers. I took the GMAT exam twice. The first time was in July 2013 (540, Q36 V27). After this exam I took a break and started studying again in September 2013. I started with rereading all Manhattan quant guides and took a verbal course which existed of 6 sessions of 3 hours. I felt like my verbal was getting better and better. When the course finished I was also done with reviewing the quant guides. I decided to plan a new GMAT exam a month from this point in time. With one month to go I went trough the entire OG 13th edition. Every day I was doing a couple of questions of every kind of type (PS, DS, SC, CR, RC) and I reviewed the ones I answered wrong. The scores I got for the CAT's were getting better:

MGMAT CAT 3: 590 (Q 41, V 31) 10/25/2013
MGMAT CAT 4: 610 (Q 44, V 31) 11/07/2013
MGMAT CAT 5: 630 (Q 42, V 34) 11/19/2013
MBA CAT1: 620 (Q45, V31) 11/29/2013

I'm aiming for a 600+ score so I was pretty confident when I went to the test centre on 12/07/2013. During the quant part I was running too fast, when I was half way I was 5 minutes ahead. So I slowed down during the last 10 questions. During the break I wasn't quite sure about the quant part but I tried to focus my mind on verbal. During the verbal section it was really hard for me to concentrate and to achieve a fast enough pace. RC texts took me so much time that I had to scan some parts of the texts to leave enough time for CR and SC questions. Test result was disappointing 560 (Q42, V25)! Verbal even worse than during my first attempt!

As you can probably understand I was really done with the GMAT so I took some time off to work and make some money. Now is the time for me to start again and to reach my 600+ goal. I'm aiming for the end of January 2014 or the beginning of Februari 2014 to take the test for the 3th time. Do you guys have any tips or strategies for me in my situation? How can I improve my verbal and maintain a 42+ level on quant? I'm able to study about 4 days per week at least a couple of hours a day.

Thanks a lot!
Marnix
Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Posts: 3693
Followers: 1286

Kudos [?]: 5827 [0], given: 66

Re: 540, 560 stuck on verbal! (need 600+) [#permalink]

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17 Dec 2013, 11:48
marnix wrote:
Hi guys,

I could use some study advise for non-native speakers. I took the GMAT exam twice. The first time was in July 2013 (540, Q36 V27). After this exam I took a break and started studying again in September 2013. I started with rereading all Manhattan quant guides and took a verbal course which existed of 6 sessions of 3 hours. I felt like my verbal was getting better and better. When the course finished I was also done with reviewing the quant guides. I decided to plan a new GMAT exam a month from this point in time. With one month to go I went trough the entire OG 13th edition. Every day I was doing a couple of questions of every kind of type (PS, DS, SC, CR, RC) and I reviewed the ones I answered wrong. The scores I got for the CAT's were getting better:

MGMAT CAT 3: 590 (Q 41, V 31) 10/25/2013
MGMAT CAT 4: 610 (Q 44, V 31) 11/07/2013
MGMAT CAT 5: 630 (Q 42, V 34) 11/19/2013
MBA CAT1: 620 (Q45, V31) 11/29/2013

I'm aiming for a 600+ score so I was pretty confident when I went to the test centre on 12/07/2013. During the quant part I was running too fast, when I was half way I was 5 minutes ahead. So I slowed down during the last 10 questions. During the break I wasn't quite sure about the quant part but I tried to focus my mind on verbal. During the verbal section it was really hard for me to concentrate and to achieve a fast enough pace. RC texts took me so much time that I had to scan some parts of the texts to leave enough time for CR and SC questions. Test result was disappointing 560 (Q42, V25)! Verbal even worse than during my first attempt!

As you can probably understand I was really done with the GMAT so I took some time off to work and make some money. Now is the time for me to start again and to reach my 600+ goal. I'm aiming for the end of January 2014 or the beginning of Februari 2014 to take the test for the 3th time. Do you guys have any tips or strategies for me in my situation? How can I improve my verbal and maintain a 42+ level on quant? I'm able to study about 4 days per week at least a couple of hours a day.

Thanks a lot!
Marnix

Dear Marnix,
I'm sorry to hear about your struggles, and I am happy to help.

Here's a free idiom ebook:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-idiom-ebook/
Here's a free one-month study plan:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/1-month-gm ... -schedule/

My big advice, which I always give to non-native speakers who want to improve in GMAT Verbal. If you want to improve, READ. Read every day, for at least an hour a day, over and above any GMAT preparations. Read hard, challenging material in English. Here are some recommendations about what to read:
The only way you will get better at reading is to practice, not just little GMAT passages, but full length articles in a publication such as the Economist magazine or the Wall Street Journal. If you want an MBA, those two publications are excellent reading for expanding your familiarity with the international business scene.

http://gmat.magoosh.com/questions/3563
Here's a practice RC passage:
http://gmat.magoosh.com/questions/3623
Magoosh also has a score guarantee, which guarantees a 50-point increase above your highest GMAT score, so that would be a 610 or your money back.
http://gmat.magoosh.com/score-guarantee

Even if you decide not to use Magoosh, please get everything you can from the ebook, the study guide, and everything else on that free blog. There's a lot there that can help you.

Let me know if you have any further questions.
Mike
_________________

Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Intern
Joined: 12 Nov 2013
Posts: 2
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0

Re: 540, 560 stuck on verbal! (need 600+) [#permalink]

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17 Dec 2013, 12:59
Thank you very much Mike! I will start reading tomorrow and I will consider your tips/study plan this week when I make my plan. You'll hear from me when I have any further questions.
Manager
Joined: 17 Mar 2014
Posts: 168
Location: United States
GPA: 3.97
Followers: 5

Kudos [?]: 26 [0], given: 72

Re: 540, 560 stuck on verbal! (need 600+) [#permalink]

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05 Apr 2014, 13:25
mikemcgarry wrote:
marnix wrote:
Hi guys,

I could use some study advise for non-native speakers. I took the GMAT exam twice. The first time was in July 2013 (540, Q36 V27). After this exam I took a break and started studying again in September 2013. I started with rereading all Manhattan quant guides and took a verbal course which existed of 6 sessions of 3 hours. I felt like my verbal was getting better and better. When the course finished I was also done with reviewing the quant guides. I decided to plan a new GMAT exam a month from this point in time. With one month to go I went trough the entire OG 13th edition. Every day I was doing a couple of questions of every kind of type (PS, DS, SC, CR, RC) and I reviewed the ones I answered wrong. The scores I got for the CAT's were getting better:

MGMAT CAT 3: 590 (Q 41, V 31) 10/25/2013
MGMAT CAT 4: 610 (Q 44, V 31) 11/07/2013
MGMAT CAT 5: 630 (Q 42, V 34) 11/19/2013
MBA CAT1: 620 (Q45, V31) 11/29/2013

I'm aiming for a 600+ score so I was pretty confident when I went to the test centre on 12/07/2013. During the quant part I was running too fast, when I was half way I was 5 minutes ahead. So I slowed down during the last 10 questions. During the break I wasn't quite sure about the quant part but I tried to focus my mind on verbal. During the verbal section it was really hard for me to concentrate and to achieve a fast enough pace. RC texts took me so much time that I had to scan some parts of the texts to leave enough time for CR and SC questions. Test result was disappointing 560 (Q42, V25)! Verbal even worse than during my first attempt!

As you can probably understand I was really done with the GMAT so I took some time off to work and make some money. Now is the time for me to start again and to reach my 600+ goal. I'm aiming for the end of January 2014 or the beginning of Februari 2014 to take the test for the 3th time. Do you guys have any tips or strategies for me in my situation? How can I improve my verbal and maintain a 42+ level on quant? I'm able to study about 4 days per week at least a couple of hours a day.

Thanks a lot!
Marnix

Dear Marnix,
I'm sorry to hear about your struggles, and I am happy to help.

Here's a free idiom ebook:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-idiom-ebook/
Here's a free one-month study plan:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/1-month-gm ... -schedule/

My big advice, which I always give to non-native speakers who want to improve in GMAT Verbal. If you want to improve, READ. Read every day, for at least an hour a day, over and above any GMAT preparations. Read hard, challenging material in English. Here are some recommendations about what to read:
The only way you will get better at reading is to practice, not just little GMAT passages, but full length articles in a publication such as the Economist magazine or the Wall Street Journal. If you want an MBA, those two publications are excellent reading for expanding your familiarity with the international business scene.

http://gmat.magoosh.com/questions/3563
Here's a practice RC passage:
http://gmat.magoosh.com/questions/3623
Magoosh also has a score guarantee, which guarantees a 50-point increase above your highest GMAT score, so that would be a 610 or your money back.
http://gmat.magoosh.com/score-guarantee

Even if you decide not to use Magoosh, please get everything you can from the ebook, the study guide, and everything else on that free blog. There's a lot there that can help you.

Let me know if you have any further questions.
Mike

Hello Mike,

I am currently preparing for GMAT. I gave GMAT Prep 1 a month ago and scored 540. Today, i gave manhattan gmat 1 and scored 590. Between this month gap, I occupied myself in understanding the sentence corrections basics by reading some gmat oriented grammar books and reviewing your blog at Magoosh. I am feeling good about the improvement in verbal score from 17/41 correct to 23/41 correct, but obviously not really pumped up on the improvement. I have not been practicing any quant (which I am strong at) so I am estimating a score increase after a good quant practice.

I really would like to get your opinion on the following - I am skipping RC for the most part to ensure I get to spend more time on CR and SC to attain better accuracy for those questions. RC takes up a lot of time, but the approach of giving extra time to SC and CR would only benefit me if I maintain consistent accuracy on CR and SC, which I see that has improved from the last test but not sure how consistent I would be in maintaining that - will figure out after I give my next test.
First test - SC - 8/17, CR - 5/11, RC - 4/13 (in this test I did lost some time doing one RC para)
Second test - SC - 9/15, CR - 8/14, RC - 5/12 (skimmed through RC and guessed for the most part)

Anyone else who had the same/ similar strategy for the Verbal section. I am aiming for 600 +.
_________________

KUDOS!!!, I need them too

Magoosh GMAT Instructor
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Re: 540, 560 stuck on verbal! (need 600+) [#permalink]

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07 Apr 2014, 14:56
sa2222 wrote:
Hello Mike,

I am currently preparing for GMAT. I gave GMAT Prep 1 a month ago and scored 540. Today, i gave manhattan gmat 1 and scored 590. Between this month gap, I occupied myself in understanding the sentence corrections basics by reading some gmat oriented grammar books and reviewing your blog at Magoosh. I am feeling good about the improvement in verbal score from 17/41 correct to 23/41 correct, but obviously not really pumped up on the improvement. I have not been practicing any quant (which I am strong at) so I am estimating a score increase after a good quant practice.

I really would like to get your opinion on the following - I am skipping RC for the most part to ensure I get to spend more time on CR and SC to attain better accuracy for those questions. RC takes up a lot of time, but the approach of giving extra time to SC and CR would only benefit me if I maintain consistent accuracy on CR and SC, which I see that has improved from the last test but not sure how consistent I would be in maintaining that - will figure out after I give my next test.
First test - SC - 8/17, CR - 5/11, RC - 4/13 (in this test I did lost some time doing one RC para)
Second test - SC - 9/15, CR - 8/14, RC - 5/12 (skimmed through RC and guessed for the most part)

Anyone else who had the same/ similar strategy for the Verbal section. I am aiming for 600 +.

Dear sa2222,
I would say: I am deeply suspicious of any GMAT Verbal strategy that involves just writing off a third of the test.

Rather than ignore GMAT RC, I would urge you to practice reading every day and get good at reading. When you are more comfortable reading high-level sophisticated material in English, that will help you not only on the RC, but also on the SC & CR. Reading is the single best thing you can do to build all your verbal skills at once. I would strongly recommend reading at least an hour a day --- that's over and above any GMAT-specific practice you do. Here are some recommendation on what to read:

In case you haven't already seen it, here's an idiom-ebook you may find helpful:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-idiom-ebook/

Here's a paradox. Those scores (8/17 and 9/15 on SC) tell me virtually nothing. What kinds of mistakes are you making? What is your strategy in thinking through a question? Which wrong answers can you immediately identify as wrong, and which trick you? Are you merely following a list of memorized grammar rules, or do you have a good sense of what's correct? Do structures that are grammatically wrong sound correct to you? All of these are questions I would have to answered --- and analogous questions for the CR section --- in order to know exactly how to advise you.

Most of the SC & CR questions in GMAT prep have already been posted on this site. I would urge you to hunt down and read through the posts of the SC & CR questions you got wrong, and if your own approach or your own question is not answered there, post it and send me a private message with a link. It's only by wrestling with the details, question by question, that we will really will be able to unpack what's happening here. Other than reading every day, I don't have much generic advice: I would need to know exactly where you are.

Does this make sense?
Mike
_________________

Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Re: 540, 560 stuck on verbal! (need 600+)   [#permalink] 07 Apr 2014, 14:56
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# 540, 560 stuck on verbal! (need 600+)

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