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CR strategy help!!!

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CR strategy help!!! [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2012, 12:18
I took the GMATPrep yesterday and scored a respectable 700 (Q47, V40). I did a few MGMAT CATs before this and scored between 640 and 680. I have an interesting dilemma about my CR strategy for the future (GMAT Feb 9th).

In the first few CATs, I followed the T model suggested by Manhattan and was struggling with the CRs. I went ahead and ordered the CR Bible. While waiting for the book to arrive, I took a MGMAT CAT and decided I will just keep my approach for CR very simple (read Q, pick the best answer choice with out too much emphasis on what kind of Q and all that) and performed reasonably better. I used the same approach during my GMATPrep yesterday, and got only 1 CR wrong.

Now, given I have 35 days to the test, should I start reading the CR Bible or keep doing what worked for me in the last 2 tests?

One option I am considering is to skim through the book in a couple of days and use the strategies that I can remember with out committing myself to remember and use everything.

Your suggestions are much appreciated
Vijay
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Re: CR strategy help!!! [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2012, 14:28
You need to figure out where your highest ROI of time will be. If you feel comfortable with your personal strategy for CR, and are not missing many questions, of course... don't try to change it! Everyone is different, and these companies are trying to teach strategies to people that need help. If you are strong in CR (which some people naturally will be) then you don't need much of strategy right? If you are only missing 1 or 2 consistently, then it sounds to me like you're doing well. But it is possible to do well on a 10-12 question string just by luck... so you will have to perform again to really know...

The second question would be, how well are you doing in the verbal sections? If you are doing well, then you will be getting harder CR questions. If you are only missing 1 or 2, then you are doing great. But if you are doing poorly in the other 2 sections and getting easy CR, then a strategy may be more helpful. I found that strategies like the ones posed in those books are helpful for more challenging CR, but I was strong in that section to start with.

With 35 days left, it is advisable to spend the most time on high ROI sections. Where are you personally going to boost your score? Once you have the answer to that, then you will know where to study. If this is your weakest section, then by all means, try to find a strategy, or a book that will help you get 0 wrong.

Only you will know the answers to these questions. Best of luck!
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Re: CR strategy help!!! [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2012, 15:08
Thanks GMATLA.

You mentioned both the reasons I was dreading to see in the responses: Lucky sequence of correct answers and easy CR because of lower performance on rest of the questions. I agree that I leave a little too much to luck with my approach. But I guess the one strategy help book I tried did not help. This late in the game I am a little worried about trying to master a new strategy.

But I will surely read through the book quickly to see if I can pick up something that I can use and test it out on OG questions. I do not plan to take the 2nd GMATPrep till the last week before the test. So I guess the remaining 2 MGMAT tests would be the best pointer to what strategy I should use finally.

Thanks for the response.

Btw, what is ROI? :oops:
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Re: CR strategy help!!! [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2012, 15:20
ROI = Return on Investment. This is a financial term that refers to return on investment of money. In this case, it is your return on investment of your personal time. What is going to give you the best return on your investment of time is what I was trying to say :). You will learn this one in Bschool for sure!!

Also, just to let you know, I really didn't use much strategy for CR b/c I found that it took me too much time. I'm a native English speaker, and I kind of liked the mental game. I always made sure to note what the question was asking though, and predict what the right answer looked like. Also, sometimes knowing how to knock out wrong answers is even more advantageous then picking out the right ones! 4 wrong = 1 right. I scored in the 90% for verbal, and it was one of my stronger sections. But just remember, with limited time, sometimes its best to go with what is working for you. Continue your practice, and make sure whatever strategy you use gets you there in 2 minutes at most/question. Best of luck, and we look forward to your debeif.
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Re: CR strategy help!!! [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2012, 16:17
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Well, I guess I showed my finance knowledge there. Hope my math and english are better than my finance.

I am a non-native test taker, but am reasonably confident (will know for sure in a month's time) about my verbal skills. I know I am not 95 percentile material, but would back my self to achieve a 90+ with good practice and a lot of coffee.

That said, I have a lot of practice to do. I hope, I can use my time efficiently and get a 20-30 point improvement from my GMATPrep score. What's your thoughts? Is such an improvement possible or am I am aiming too high?

So far all my preparation has been cramming the MGMAT guides and some (1/4th) OG practice. With more higher level OG practice and review of mistakes, I am hoping for a good score (just saying the words "good score" makes me shake these days :oops )

Weak areas:

Quant:
DS - Very uncertain while approaching the question. Practice might make me more confident
Overlapping Sets: Taking a lot of time filling the matrix
Work Rate problems: Sometimes I am tying myself in knots trying to solve these
Percent/Fractions: Might have gotten a little better these days, but was a huge problem when I started

Verbal:
CR, SC: Kind of up and down.

Vijay
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Re: CR strategy help!!! [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2012, 17:12
A 20-30 point improvement is definitely possible! In fact, that much of an improvement is possible on the same day as you took your test. The GMATprep test, and all GMAT tests are really only accurate to + or - 20 points on test day. There are so many variables. 1 or 2 right or wrong answers could easily make that difference.

So here's the thing, you sound like you know your weaknesses. You have to work VERY hard at these. Lots of practice problems, go over the concepts on ones you miss, and reinforce the concepts you get right, and make sure you know how to solve them to the best of your ability. 35 days is an eternity in GMAT prep days. My WHOLE perparation was only 70 days, and I made my largest strides in my final month. So you are right on track, and just need to work your butt off. Go in on test day knowing you did everything you could to get the score you want. You could definitely increase more than 30 points depending your prep! So go for the gold!

Best, of luck!
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Re: CR strategy help!!! [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2012, 00:20
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Some of my students have found the CR Bible useful, but most of the advice in there is pretty consistent with what you'll already have learned from Manhattan. The best way to improve on CR is to do extensive review of each problem. What are the parts of the argument? What (if any) are the assumptions? Are there one or more predictable things to look for in the answer choices? (For instance, are there obvious holes in the argument that you'd expect to see addressed?) Why is each wrong answer choice wrong? Do you see certain patterns repeating themselves in the wrong answers? What makes the right answer right?

In particular, spend some time comparing the two or three most tempting answers? Since there is only one right answer, the others must actually be wrong in some way. Sometimes it takes some work to see the key difference between two similar choices. Don't just settle for "Oh, I thought it was A, but it's D. I see why D is better." Go back to A and tear it apart!

Again, nothing against the CR Bible, but more reading is probably not the answer. You need to learn from experience, and from careful analysis of your work.

By the way, I know this is the verbal forum, but if DS is an issue, definitely give that some attention. (Have you done the rephrasing drills in our books?) If your DS is well below your PS, that's usually an easy way to pick up some points. First, however, make sure that your DS *is* lower (get some hard numbers from your CATs &/or OG work). Some people just find DS off-putting, even though their accuracy is fine. More comfort is never a bad thing, but you wouldn't want to overemphasize an area where you're not actually underperforming.
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Re: CR strategy help!!! [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2012, 10:18
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Thanks Dmitry,

First of, let me be very clear that the 8 MGMAT guides helped me a LOT. For any GMAT aspirant, the first thing I would suggest is to go ahead and order those guides. That said, of the 8, I found the CR guide the least helpful (at least for me). Hence the dilemma about reading other books and stuff.

I have started reading through the CR Bible (first 2 chapters in one hour) and did find it to be interesting. Now, will the strategies work for me is a whole different question. I will only find out in a few weeks time. Normally, I take about 2 weeks to digest anything that I read and start seeing results.

And about DS, I do know that the biggest problem is my dislike for the problems. My error logs show that my performance is better in PS (my liking for them way!!! better). The only way for me solve any DS questions is with the help of 16oz coffee. No coffee, No DS.

I skipped the DS drill chapters in the MGMAT guides and I guess is not a smart thing to do. I will certainly go back to guides and read through those chapters.

Thanks a lot for the advice on both DS and CR.
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Re: CR strategy help!!!   [#permalink] 06 Jan 2012, 10:18
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