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720 (Q42, V47): HOW TO IMPROVE VERBAL - TIPS

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720 (Q42, V47): HOW TO IMPROVE VERBAL - TIPS [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2007, 19:03
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Some members PMed me with a request to describe my study strategy for verbal in more detail, so here it goes:

As I stated in my original post, my preparation started with MGMAT on-line course. I highly recommend it for busy bees who can’t structure GMAT preparation on their own and/or need additional push to study. It’s a great course not only because it offers amazing study materials but also because the study curriculum is very intense and forces you to study every spare minute you get.

GENERAL:
I followed the curriculum of MGMAT which assigns problems from the OG topic by topic. I think this strategy is great as it allows you to truly “get” the concepts and recognize the patterns that GMAT employs to trick you.
I also read Princeton Review’s Crack the GMAT verbal section but didn’t find it very useful for anyone aiming to score above 35 in verbal.
I bought Kaplan 800 book hoping to see some tough questions. It does have tough questions only I don’t think they are representative of the types of questions you’ll see on GMAT. RC was all right. I do not recommend doing CRs and SCs from that book.

Recommendation: participate in forums but don’t just answer questions by saying “it’s E” or “definitely D”. Instead, try to explain WHY you feel that the choice you are selecting is a correct one. Explanation of the answer choices makes you analyze the questions and understand the concepts much better. Trust me, you will improve rather quickly if you participate in discussions in a meaningful way.
Do verbal sets 21-30 in 75 minutes. They are great even though often times they don’t have correct answers. Wrong answers can be frustrating but sets are very representative of the types of questions you’ll see on the real test plus you can always search for the correct answers on the forums.

SC:
The only teaching guide that I found useful was a Manhattan GMAT guide. I reread it at least three times and referred to it when I couldn’t explain why the right answer choice is in fact correct. MGMAT SC guide = Bible for SC. For practice I did all of the OG11 guide and the OG verbal workbook. Make sure you create an error log of all the SCs you got wrong and come back to them in a month or so. I guarantee that you will make the same mistakes again. Make sure you understand the correct answer. If you still don’t know why a certain answer choice is right, search the forums or post your question. A lot of times you will learn a piece of information that you never knew before. Idioms are important. Learn as many as you can! I am attaching an example of the idioms file that I found on the net below.

Once you learned the concepts, focus on strategy, such as 2/3 splits, scanning the choices for an error tested, etc. I can’t emphasize enough that one should learn the concepts first and then learn the tricks. Knowing only the tricks will not get you far. GMAT questions are designed to fool you, so learn your basics first. Then practice, practice, and practice again! There is tons of material out there. Try 1000 SCs and the brutal SCs (see the attachement).

CR:
This one should be the easiest for the international test-takers like me. You don’t have to know the grammar or spelling here. It’s really ALL about the logic. I didn’t do much for CRs as CR was the strong category in verbal for me. I did buy the Powerscore’s CR Bible book based on the glowing reviews I saw about this book. I think I read about 30 pages and then decided that it wasn’t for me. I simply got bored. What I can say about this book is that it covers pretty much all types of CRs and provides good examples of each. Then it gives you a mini quiz so that you “get it”. Overall, it’s a good book for the students trying to master the CRs. Again, learn the concepts first, then practice.
I thought the timed tests in 1000 CR docs were superb. Do as many of those tests as you can.

RC:
Probably the toughest verbal part for me largely due to timing issues. I tried to follow the approach recommended by MGMAT (taking notes as you read) but that only put me in the deeper timing hole and distracted me quite a bit. What worked for me is the following approach: I read the first and last paragraphs of the passage very carefully, rephrasing each sentence in my head and making sure that I understand what it is that the author is trying to convey. I also read 1-2 sentences in other paragraphs to
Visualize the structure of the paragraph, e.g. OK, the 1st paragraph claims X, the 2nd says it’s not necessarily so, the 3rd says that in majority cases the X still holds true, and the final paragraph concludes that although X happens 99% of the time, it’s foolish to think that X is always bound to happen. Knowing the structure of the paragraph allows you to answer the general “tone of the author” and “the main idea” questions. So basically by using this strategy, you will be capable of answering the 50% of RC questions easily.

While reading the 1-2 sentences in the beginning of each paragraph, scan the rest of the text in between, looking out for the keywords such as names, dates, and other stand-out words. When you encounter an inference or a detailed question, you will know exactly where to go in the paragraph. You might ask why is this a time-saver if you have to go back and read the text again. Well, the truth is that even if you carefully read the text the first time around, GMAT’s inference/support questions are so detailed that most of the time you will have to go back to read the lines anyway. If you didn’t waste time on reading them the first time around, you will end up actually saving some time for yourself.

Another tip: don’t get intimidated by the technical terminology that you are not familiar with. Most native speakers would know nothing of a COX-3 inhibitor or some complex word you encounter in the text. Just try to rephrase the term into something you can understand or worst comes to worst, substitute the unfamiliar word for something you know, a.k.a. “turnip” = “tulip” and move on. GMAT is not ever going to ask you what turnip means. It might, however, ask you what it’s used for or where it was first found which you would know! How did I practice? OGs are the best sources for RCs. But I thought that 3000 RC document was “on the money” too. Do not take more than 2 minutes per question when you practice. What I mean by that is f you have a paragraph with 7 questions, do not take more than 14 minutes on reading and answering the questions. If you have 3 questions, do not take more than 6 minutes on the entire thing, etc…

To sum up, always learn the concepts first. Take as much time to learn them as you need. Buy all the books you have to buy but build a solid base first. Then practice, practice and practice in a timed setting. You will “feel” when you have to mark a choice and move on very soon and thus will have fewer issues with time management. You will find out that SCs are real time-savers. If you practice enough, you will be able to do most of the SCs in under 1 minute. It might sound crazy but it’s true. Create an error log. After a while you will be able to see the pattern of the mistakes you make and the areas you make them in. The error log will be your best teacher! Do participate in the forum discussions. You will “meet” a lot of smart people and learn from them.

OK! So these are my tips. Please don’t judge my writing too harshly as I didn’t double-check it for spelling or grammar issues (it’s getting late and I need to go to sleep to get up for work tomorrow). I hope you find my recommendations helpful and GOOD LUCK with your GMAT!
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Last edited by nervousgmat on 13 Nov 2007, 08:55, edited 2 times in total.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2007, 19:27
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Thanks a lot nervousgmat for your tips on studying verbal section. I have only about a little over a week left until my test day. My verbal score right now is around 35. I would love to improve it to higher 30s or even better a 40. But I guess time is limited for me now. I actually did most of the things that you mentioned except for the error log. I am not sure it will be too late or not for me to come up with one tomorrow. Will see.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2007, 20:29
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good stuff nervousgmat! I wish I got a 47 on my verbal!!! ;)

eileen, focus on your weakest verbal section for the remainder of the week, review errors and understand what you're doing wrong. For your stronger sections, just review errors and see how GMAT tricked you into picking the wrong answer.
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Aug 2007, 00:17
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Thanks for the tips. I have done most of the things you suggested still some weakness, probably more practise is needed and yet the time is running out!

I just tried two of the SETS that you have mentioned. Indeed they have good questions, I did find some with incorrect answers. The problem is my error rate on them simply sucked when I forced my self to time. 62% and 67% respectively on the two I completed. How bad is that bad.. I wonder.. to me it just sucks to see myself making mistakes with such consitancy..
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Aug 2007, 00:19
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Good work. Thank you for your contribution.
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Aug 2007, 20:11
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yogachgolf,
I got this book for CR:

Powerscore CR

I am attaching the 3000 RCs document below.
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 [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2007, 08:38
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yogachgolf wrote:
Nice post...what's 3000 RC? What's the name of the powerscore CR bible book - do you mean the GMAT one or the LSAT one?



the powerscore CR bible book - do you mean the GMAT one or the LSAT one?




though i have this one but i never tried this one.
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 [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2007, 09:48
Fistail wrote:
yogachgolf wrote:
Nice post...what's 3000 RC? What's the name of the powerscore CR bible book - do you mean the GMAT one or the LSAT one?



the powerscore CR bible book - do you mean the GMAT one or the LSAT one?



though i have this one but i never tried this one.


I have the GMAT CR Bible, although I did hear that GMAT LSAT Bible is very good as well. There are a couple of topics in the LSAT Bible that are not covered in GMAT but overall, LSAT's book is not much different.

P.S. I would not post soft copies of the books as most likely this violates copyright laws. GMATClub is committed to maintaining the integrity of the community here, so please remove your file from the posts.
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 [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2007, 19:09
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where can I find these verbal sets?
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2007, 09:42
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Thx a lot nervousgmat... As i just made my plan to give GMAT.Dont know much about tips and study material.I hope it ll be help very helpful for me.
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Great Post [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2007, 11:51
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Very helpful. Im a newbie. could someone tell me what MGMAT means?
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2007, 12:07
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Manhattan GMAT Computer Adaptive Tests.

http://www.manhattangmat.com/

6 CATs come with any of the 8 books they sell, or you can buy them online as a package.
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GMATTER, how good it is? [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2007, 21:13
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How good is this software? Is there a concensus on what software is best for practice???? is there like a well known general ranking?
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 [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2007, 21:45
Everyone will have a slightly different opinion on the different software. I suggest you read through some past experiences and decide which method is best for your personal studying style! :)
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Re: GMATTER, how good it is? [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2007, 23:56
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jgmat wrote:
How good is this software? Is there a concensus on what software is best for practice???? is there like a well known general ranking?


I wont comment on whether it is good or not. But I dont know any alternative. And it is extremely useful (especially at work :P).
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Re: 720 (Q42, V47): HOW TO IMPROVE VERBAL - TIPS [#permalink] New post 19 Sep 2007, 07:54
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Where can I get this PowerScore CR book ASAP. I am giving GMAT in a month. Help appreciated.
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2007, 04:59
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Buddy, regarding idioms, did you actually sit down and memorize them?
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 [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2007, 16:41
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GabrielRodriguez wrote:
Buddy, regarding idioms, did you actually sit down and memorize them?


I did :) the only way to learn them if you are not a native speaker!
I recommend using the idiom in a sentence as opposed to simply learning it as a phrase. That way you will remember the idiom better.
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2007, 22:21
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nervousgmat - thanks for very detailed post..

what books have concepts.. I am very new to this prep.. i have nearly 6 months of tiem to prepare. So, i would like medium fastness in start but strong base..
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Nov 2007, 11:51
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thanks a lot dudes gr8 work dear....this is what I was expecting from u guys n my preparation has improved a lot....I culd build a strong base
  [#permalink] 05 Nov 2007, 11:51
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