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Best way to quickly improve verbal (mainly SC)

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Best way to quickly improve verbal (mainly SC) [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2013, 16:29
my test is in a few weeks and i have been studying for awhile yet never jump from V36-39 range. SC is my biggest area of weakness. Ive read MGMAT SC and taken GMAT pill but still get tripped up on questions. Is there a fast way to get over the hump? I saw the resources on the Verbal forum but want to make sure I spend my time in most efficient manner possible. What would help me to improve the fastest?
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Re: Best way to quickly improve verbal (mainly SC) [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2013, 17:09
For starters, things could be much worse: I would argue that SC is more quickly "improvable" than CR and RC for most people. If you're a crappy, imprecise reader, you probably won't become great at CR and RC just by reading a test-prep book. If you're scoring in the 36-39 range on verbal while struggling with SC, that's actually a good sign, in my book. It sounds like you have some solid underlying verbal skills... and the SC section is absolutely conquerable if you put in enough time and effort.

The tougher part is figuring out exactly why you're struggling with SC. Are you from the U.S.? If so, it's entirely possible that you've never really learned grammar in a structured way, so it can be tough to learn to approach SC questions in a mechanical, systematic, methodical way. (Full disclosure: I'm from the Midwest, and never learned a lick of grammar until I was in my twenties. Sad, but true.) I might be way off here, but I'm wagering that you have a hard time "turning your ear off," and you probably go mostly by sound--and that will cause a lot of bad SC errors.

I'm not sure what, exactly, will get you headed in the right direction, though. A lot of people really like the PowerScore and Aristotle SC books, but the MGMAT book covers much of the same ground, so you might already have maxed out your ability to pick up SC methodologies from books. Maybe try poking through a copy of the Aristotle grail, and see what you think? My fear is that it's mostly an approach problem, though--you might already know the rules, but struggle to recognize them in the actual questions. That's improvable, but it might take a lot of practice, and maybe a little bit of guidance from a course or a tutor.

Am I on the right track at all? I'm assuming that you're a native speaker (maybe from the mid-Atlantic somewhere?), but I might be way off...
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Re: Best way to quickly improve verbal (mainly SC) [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2013, 23:03
I'm the same as you in that I had a ton of mistakes on SC, very little (if any) on RC and CR. I used to think CR would be the worst part of Verbal for me and was shocked that it was SC. It's that damned native ear.

The key principle is to remember structure. I've used Aristotle SC and MGMAT and Veritas for SC. I would say that Aristotle gets more love than it should around these parts (I saw quite a few errors which is no bueno in a grammar book), but it does provide the best structure in terms of explaining overall concepts. MGMAT is extremely thorough, but I felt like I was going all over the place with its SC guide. Veritas was similar to MGMAT, but lacked the material to be considered comprehensive.

What I would recommend for you is to actually do some SC problems, but never look at the correct answer. Check to see if it's right or wrong, and then analyze/parse the sentence out to see if you can find the right answer. If I still had trouble with the sentence, I would go online and read experts break the sentence down and explain the concept. I would then review that concept over (for me, it was comparisons, bar none... also "that" in all of its incarnations) to see if I could find any tips or techniques.

I also had to re- learn idioms because spoken English =/= written English. Idioms are not the deal breaker in every sentence but they can help narrow down choices quickly.
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Re: Best way to quickly improve verbal (mainly SC) [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2013, 23:32
jmuduke08 wrote:
my test is in a few weeks and i have been studying for awhile yet never jump from V36-39 range. SC is my biggest area of weakness. Ive read MGMAT SC and taken GMAT pill but still get tripped up on questions. Is there a fast way to get over the hump? I saw the resources on the Verbal forum but want to make sure I spend my time in most efficient manner possible. What would help me to improve the fastest?


Perhaps you know all the rules but have difficulty in identifying when and where to apply them. If I were you, I would grab a copy of Veritas SC (Latest edition and much better compared to previous edition). Its definitely not as comprehensive as Mgmat SC but nevertheless it underlines on the logic methodology, which undoubtedly is the most preferred way to tackle SC questions. Mere grammar rules and terminology can make you feel overwhelmed. And to further hone your SC skills, go through all Thursdays with Ron SC videos as they teach you on application of core concepts to SC problems. Further more you can practice the concepts learned by applying them to SC problems from Gmatprep extra question pack 1.
Re: Best way to quickly improve verbal (mainly SC)   [#permalink] 29 Apr 2013, 23:32
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