This post will help all non-native speakers in general and Indians in particular.Why should you read this post?
This is Sandeep Gupta, a GMAT Trainer in Bangalore India (running the company Ivy-GMAT). I have always had 99th percentile scores on the Verbal Section (in the range of 45 to 51) of the GMAT; also I have always scored 51 in the Quantitative Section. I have never scored less than 770 (Q51,V45) on any of my GMAT attempts.
I am writing what helped me get such scores time and again. If you are a native speaker, you may not find the post useful.
What I have been telling at my students for the last 20 months is FINALLY validated by the GMAC!
GMAT SC is all about meaning clarity. Two or more options can be grammatically correct ... the right meaning wins the day for you.
For more details, check ManhattanGMAT Blog:
"How to get that coveted 99th percentile score on the current-day GMAT?"
CAVEAT: All the recommendations mentioned below are for a 99th percentile score (for an average Indian student who happens to be average at Verbal). If you want to score less, you may proportionally reduce the input.
The GMAT has not announced the changes in the other sections but let me tell you all about them from my experiences:
Not even one direct question is being asked these days. All questions are based on purpose, main point, tone, and very subtle inferences. OCTAVE Technique wins the day for you hands down. You may miss it at your own peril.
SHOCKING as it may seem ...
NONE of the national / international GMAT training companies seem(s) to have any effective approach to tackle RC.
My approach to a 99th percentile score in RCs:
Step 1: Master OCTAVE
Step 2: Solve at least 200 CR inference questions (YES CR inferences not RC inferences), trying to understand how wrong answers are made wrong; also see HOW CLOSE the choices can be.
Step 3: Solve about 200-300 real GMAT + real LSAT passages using OCTAVE ... (Latest RC, OG 10
, 11, 12, VR 1, VR 2, LSAT 60 papers)
Step 4: Try four-hour sittings with LSAT RCs (at least 8-10 sittings). As the GMAT is a four-hour long affair and as people struggle most while concentrating on RC, the best way to tackle this is to have four-hour long nonstop sittings with RC and only RC.
Step 5: For 2-3 consecutive days, solve at the rate of at least 40-50 LSAT passages per day (before your test).
If you promise all the above steps to the T, I guarantee 100% accuracy in RC ...
These days, all CR questions tend to be quite convoluted. You must be really good at deconstructing complex life- and business-situations given in complex language. Assumption / evaluate / complete the passage / numbers and percentages etc. happen to be the most favorite topics on the GMAT lately. Also, most students find it extremely hard to finish any CR question in about 90 seconds (the ideal time for CR).
My approach to a 99th percentile score in CRs:
Step 1: Master ACT ... Assumption Centrality Technique. You must be able to almost guarantee that you will never get any assumption question wrong.
Step 2: Take up about 50 BOLDFACE questions and deconstruct each argument threadbare. Don't mark the answers ... just do a threadbare analysis. Each statement can be either a supporting statement (evidence, premise, fact, consideration, situation, supporting reason etc.), or the conclusion of the author (prediction, opinion, judgement, hypothesis, position, claim etc.), or a sub-conclusion supporting the conclusion of the author, or the conclusion of the other party (usually some critics or some other people whose reasoning is countered by the author). The advantage of this process is that the entire approach to deconstructing any argument will become so crystal-clear to you that all the gaps in any argument (assumptions, flaws, irrelevant / incomplete / distorted evidence(s), number vs percentage jugglery etc.) will become obvious to you.
Remember: ASSUMPTIONS win the day for you.
Step 3: Master Evaluate the Argument approach ... You must be able to almost guarantee that you will never get any Evaluate question wrong.
Step 4: Try to see the numbers vs percents deception that is used so intelligently by the GMAT. You must be able to understand all the subtle nuances with numbers and percentages.
Step 5: Understand other types: Cause and effect, weaken, strengthen, paradox, inference, 2 speakers, situation reaction, complex chains of reasoning etc.
Step 6: Remember all the terms that mean "support to a conclusion" and all the terms that mean the "conclusion". Solve the aforementioned BOLDFACE questions (this time mark the answer
Content to refer: Latest CR, LSAT CR (60 papers), OG 10
, 11, 12, VR 1, VR 2.
If you promise all the above steps to the T, I guarantee 95-100% accuracy in CR ...
SC:People who go only by grammar rules and not by meaning clarity are going to be ravaged by this change.
To get to 95-100% accuracy level in SC, one needs at least a six-month perspective from now on ... don't expect such accuracy by just a gimmicky preparation of a couple of months.
Start EARLY ... the GMAT will be a much more difficult test to crack with this new revision in SC.
Students targeting 2013 admits should start right from now!!
Step 1: Start reading The New York Times editorials online on a daily basis. Any similar quintessentially American text will also do (The Washington Post, Scientific American, National Geographic etc.). Just read for a couple of hours in the free time you get ... whenever possible.
This will help you improve drastically in all the areas: SC, CR, and RC.
Step 2: Master PRIMEX (Preferences, Rules, Intended Meaning, Exceptions, X-factor logic) technique with IM (intended Meaning) as the central guiding force.
Step 3: You must solve 50+38+100 question set at least 5-6 times ... from the point of view of meaning clarity.
Step 4: Solve only real GMAT content ... any material prepared by any other company is going to be quite unreliable. This may include Latest SC, OG 10
, 11, 12, VR 1, VR 2, 9 old GMAT PDF papers, parts of 1000 SC ... only parts.
Step 5: Write brief explanations to all latest SC questions only from the point of view of Meaning Clarity. Force yourself not to use grammar or idiom for elimination. This will indeed be tough as a lot of questions are not based on meaning clarity, especially in OG 10
, 11, and VR 1. When it is impossible to eliminate on the basis of meaning alone, use other elimination approaches.
Step 6: Create the right answers to all the aforementioned questions (as full sentences) and revise this set at least 4-5 times before the test.
This step is used extremely effectively by the Chinese, who are able to crack SC in grand style.
One more thing: The earlier approach of just doing Manhattan SC book and the OGs alone may not be the foolproof approach. Make sure you seek expert guidance; preparing for the GMAT in its new avatar on your own can be quite risky.
Unless you see an expert explaining these questions from the point of view of meaning clarity, you will not be able to master them in style.
If you promise all the above steps to the T, I guarantee an accuracy of at least 95% in SC.
Let's face it. Getting a 51 in Quant is no easy task. It means ensuring not more than one wrong answer.
I know people will hate me for this statement:
If you are fundamentally weak at or scared of Math, I am sure you can't turn the tables on the GMAT and score a 51 with mere preparation / practice. You may indeed reach a 49 or a 50 (easily) with a lot of study / practice ... but a 51 in Quant demands some level of mathematical intuition (already present in you).
My approach to a 51 score in Quant:
Solve all the DS questions first from the toughest possible content (Quant Latest and Quant 700-800). Get to the basics of each question. Don't see the solution too soon. Persist with each question until you finally give up / get the answer.
Referring to the solutions too soon is the biggest disservice that you can do to yourself in Math. You have to relish the toughness of the content and keep an extremely dogged approach ... tenacity is the name of the game.
You should reach a stage where your reaction time is less than 20 seconds (i.e., in 20 seconds you know precisely what you need to do to reach the solution). Also, if you are really good at GMAT Quant, not even one question should take you more than 2 minutes.
The next step will be 'mastery of each topic'. I still see that 9 out of 10 students who call themselves good at Math still have some weak topics in Math ... even one weak topic can ruin it for you.
Just remember that Q51 is not a smaller challenge than V44.
Q50 may happen for innumerable number of students but Q51 is a tough deal.
Feel free to contact me for any more doubts.
Sandeep Gupta | Asia's foremost GMAT trainer with multiple 770/800 and a perfect 800/800 score