Before my first attempt, I scored more than 35 in Verbal in all the practice tests. At that time I did not solve any verbal questions other than those from the OG 12
. And even in answering those questions I relied on sounding of the sentence rather than a methodical strategy. Unfortunately, everything worked fine for me in the practice tests, but when it came to the final exam, I faltered heavily in Verbal. Ironically, the whole time I was doing the Verbal section in my first attempt, I felt so confident that I was expecting a 720 minimum. But, I was devastated to see the score. I had no clue why I got such a low score in verbal, given that I never scored below 35 during practice.
When I sat back and analyzed, I understood that I was confident with the RC and CR part though I relied more on understanding the passage/argument than on applying standard procedures. But I was never confident with the sentence correction because I am no good at grammar. I learned only a basic set of concepts and solved only a small number of questions (OG 12
). Most of the time, I was able to spot the correct answer, but was not able to explain myself, why that choice was correct. So, based on all this thought process, I came to a conclusion that SC is where I lost all the points.
Later, I gave myself a break for a month (to attend to some personal commitments) and started the preparation again, but this time I have decided to study only SC. Taking the suggestion of a good friend (who cracked GMAT last year, scoring 730) I have started solving 1000 SC. But somehow most of those questions felt wierd and different. Most of them ended up with no official answers and time and again my google searches ended up in MGMAT forums, where the instructors suggested not to follow those questions. Yet, I tried for 2/3 days and finally decided to quit 1000 SC. Then a week before my second attempt, I found these wonderful collection of verbal questions from souvik101990
I downloaded all of them, but I had only 4 days left, so, I managed to complete 500+ SC questions. And this time I carefully noted down why I answered them RIGHT/WRONG. In either case I have searched for those topics and tried to remember the concept behind them. Sometimes, I felt like all that I was learning is going over my head. But then I took breaks in between to just recite everything I learnt and that revision of topics helped me in remembering them. And during this process I found that e-GMAT
has the best verbal, esp. SC techniques for non-native speakers. Some of the free articles they have posted on the gmat club are phenomenal. They made SC look like a piece of cake. They explained SC as a clear set of rules, much like a mathematical problem than a verbal one. I was really pissed of with myself for not finding those earlier. Nevertheless, I read whatever that was available free on their site. Some how I managed to solve 500+ SC questions with just one day remaining for the exam.
The day before the exam, I took up the gmatclub Math book and revised all the formulae and went through many quant solutions on the forums, esp. those compiled by Bunuel. And finally, on the day of the exam, just went through the basic CR/RC strategies and AWA templates and took the exam. I did screw up the IR section and thought I screwed up the quant section also. Took a break after quant and said to myself, that what ever happens I would not let myself go down with out a fight. I paid special attention on SC and all the way I could sense how I would have wrongly answered the same questions If I had not practiced those 500 odd SC questions. Also, I did concentrate on RC passages and tried to understand the content as much as possible and that made my job easier in answering the questions correctly. And finally my exam ended with 1 question un-answered. But, no regrets, because those 2 minutes I lost might have helped me in scoring better in my SC.
And that's how I ended up with 730. And from my small stint, I could suggest the following for a good score in Verbal.
1. Though I did not enroll for e-GMAT
(due to extremely late discovery of the quality of their course), I would strongly recommend everyone to attend their course.
2. Practice at least 500 good quality SC questions.
3. Review your answers, why you are RIGHT/wrong.
4. As much as possible, try to understand the meaning . This would really help in all the sections -> SC, RC and CR.
You can do it!