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Best course for improving verbal?

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Best course for improving verbal? [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2011, 08:35
I took the GMAT this week and got 620 (Q46 V28). I was extremely disappointed by this result as I had never had such a low score while studying. The lowest score I had gotten when doing practice test was 640 (with GMAT Prep Software) and that was when I hadn’t even started studying! I used both the OG and MGMAT practice tests (though not the courses or books) to prepare and always found myself to have between 80-93 percentile on the Verbal sections of the MGMAT tests (my overall scores ranged between 650 and 700). As a result, I focused on getting better at the quant section, thinking I had the verbal section in the bag, only to be massively disappointed on the actual test.. especially as I realised that I did really badly on the verbal section. I also ran out of time towards the end of the verbal section, which had never happened to me during practice tests. As a result I had to put random answers for at least 5-7 questions!

My questions are the following:
1) Are verbal sections on MGMAT tests really that much easier than the actual test?
2) I know I will not get in to the top programs with my current score, so I know I will have to retake the test - but will taking it twice affect my applications at all?
3) Can you recommend the best course (between Kaplan, Princeton Review, etc.) for getting a better score in the verbal section that will allow me to have 700+ in the next 6 weeks?

Any advice on the above would be greatly appreciated!
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Re: Best course for improving verbal? [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2011, 12:38
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Taking the GMAT twice and ESP if you improve, should not look negative at all. But even if no improvement, no issues about taking the test twice

As to the best course, are you looking for classroom course, online, or on demand?
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Re: Best course for improving verbal? [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2011, 14:08
Thanks for your reply :)

Given that I work quite long hours, it would be handy to take some online classes or on demand. Any tips?

thanks!
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Re: Best course for improving verbal? [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2011, 18:45
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Got it. It will be tough to answer your question. All courses claim that they are great and do the most to improve one's results. Without having taken all of them, impossible to tell which one is best one.

We have reviews and feedback here: gmat-prep-course-class-reviews-ratings-discount-codes-78451.html if you would like to go through them and pick something out that jumps out at you.

A few things to consider:

1. Very few courses are really setup for focus on the verbal alone; pretty much all cover both quant and verbal, so from that perspective, it is hard to find a course that just does one.

2. Some courses are based on books and you can get a feel for them based on the books they use (veritas prep books or MGMAT Guides for example). Which at the same time if you have covered those book, the courses may or may not be as effective

3. Some classes offer 50 point money back guarantee (Knewton and GMAT Pill) where as others are more conservative with their refund policy

4. The final complication is the instructor (which you should not have too much trouble with since the on-demand or online instructors are usually the best of the bunch)

My best suggestion is to take a few sample classes (many companies will offer a class preview and judge for yourself). But one thing is for certain - even though you may get a score guarantee, the person who takes the most interest in your score should be you (if your instructor is more interested in your performance or your score, then you are not doing enough)
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Re: Best course for improving verbal? [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2011, 19:39
Noone will care if your second test is above 700 what your first test was. Schools specifically state that they only consider the highest score. I can only see them having issues with multiple scores only if you show a declining performance. Lets say you got a 710 and got 600 and 580 in subsequent tests, indicating that the 710 may be a fluke.

Yeah, general consensus is that MGMAT is good to refine your quant, not that helpful for verbal. Lots of posters mention rocking the verbal for MG and getting a much lower score on the actual test. Don't think too much about practice score results other than GMATprep. The CATs from Kaplan, Veritas, Knewton and all the other big names frequently have very "iffy" algos to determine scores. This is not to say its not useful to take the tests as it'll help you with question exposure and time management. Just take the score with a pinch of salt.

I don't think a class is necessary in this case. A class would be most helpful if you need help with your core fundamentals. Its not clear that you have a problem there especially given that you had a situation where you had to guess around 1 fifth of the test.... well, I think you need to work on test taking skills. 1:40min for SC/CR, 2:30 for RC. STICK TO IT. You can go over, but you have to consciously make up for lost time in subsequent qtns. Remember, if you're guessing towards the end, that means a high likelihood for a string of successive wrong answers. Guess how much the GMAT penalizes for that kind of error profile. A LOT. I think you prob ran out of time because you got hung up for 1 or 2 qtns. 8 to 10 minutes fly by when you're engrossed in a qtn. I miss the last qtn in my quant on my actual gmat because I got engrossed with double checking qtn 37 which I was 90% confident of. And I had 9 minutes to work on it. I didn't even know the timer had run down until the screen suddenly changed to "your time is up"

But if spending a few hundred on a test just means a movie instead of broadway for the weekend or foregoing that must have jimmy choos or true religion jeans, it won't hurt to take a course either. Just make sure you focus on time management as well though.

Study smart, study efficiently. And Good luck! You're going to rock the test.
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Re: Best course for improving verbal? [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2011, 22:43
Hi there,

I'm in the same boat as you.

Took my GMAT today and got so lost in my third question, which was a cr, that I lost time on the rest. I had to basically guess through an entire rc passage - then i got two long rc passages, both were cumbersome and quite complicated...

Although in my case, my mgmat verbal scores were averaging 33, I thought somehow I would do better in the actual test.

Anyway, when are you planning retake yours?

My first deadline is sept 28th for insead. So I am still debating whether to postpone for R2..

GMAT is :evil: of course I wouldn't say this if had conquered the verbal part :?
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Re: Best course for improving verbal? [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2011, 03:10
Thank you all for your replies. They are very helpful!

@bb, thank you for the links. I am taking a MGMAT sample class today - we'll see how it goes.

@openbox - thank you for your insightful advice! I think you are right that I may just need more practice under the clock. The reason I was thinking of perhaps looking to do a course was to learn the different test taking strategies, as it seems that this is what it boils down to once you know the core fundamentals. As suggested by bb, I think taking a few sample classes will help me decide whether I should bother with classes.

@Sunflwr3 - originally I was planning on applying in R1 but after getting 620 this week, I think the priority is getting a high GMAT score (I am also planning on applying to INSEAD). From my various discussions, it seems that applying in R2 doesn't really affect your chances of getting in so for the next 6 weeks, my plan is to focus on the GMAT and get it out of the way. I'll probably retake it around the 1st week of October.

What are you planning on doing?

Thanks again for all your help and advice!
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Re: Best course for improving verbal? [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2011, 08:11
Hi stephanieh,

Yeah I came across the same information about insead r1 and r2.

I am also aiming to get the GMAT out of the way around the same time while some of the concepts are still fresh.

On a side note, just curious what your background is and why you chose insead? Don't mean to sound like an adcom, but I am looking to switch careers and was curious about whether one year is enough time to learn concepts and take that leap toward a new career.

Your insight will be appreciated! Good luck on your mgmat trial course!
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Re: Best course for improving verbal? [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2011, 02:50
Hi Sunflwr3,

I have been working for 5 years now, with a bachelor in Engineering. I have been debating whether I should go to a 1 yr or 2 yr program. At the end of the day, it really boils down to your preference. From my conversations with friends, insead does go by very quickly but it is still an invaluable experience and no one that I spoke to ever regretted it. The advantage with this program is that you have access to Asia and also only stay 1 yr out of the job market.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Best course for improving verbal? [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2011, 05:39
Hi Stephanieh thanks for your reply!

Yes, that does help.

Good luck on your test!
Re: Best course for improving verbal?   [#permalink] 17 Aug 2011, 05:39
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