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04 Aug 2010, 14:22
Hi all!

I took the GMAT exactly one year ago and got a 680(Q50, V31). After one year studying a lot (I could say 10 hours/week), and after one week of full time study before the exam, today I have taken again and I have scored the same 680(Q50, V32). My preparation have been mainly focused on the verbal section, since I feel very comfortable with the quant section (although I have to say that it has been pretty hard...The first question was about combinatorics!!).
I thought that I was much more prepared this time, specially in Sentence Correction (I have been very active in this forum, I have learnt Manhattan SC by heart). Regarding Critical Reasoning I also felt confident (I have studied several LSAT materials). What I have studied less, has been Reading Comprehension, and I think that that has been a big mistake. In fact, one of the passages was almost impossible to understand for me and I had to guess 3 questions because I was also running out of time.
Yesterday I took one GMATPrep test from the web and I scored 780(Q50, V51), although I had to say that several questions were already familiar to mee. In any case, I wanted (and I thought I could) to break the 700 barrier, but GMAT won the battle one more time.

Now Im going to have 2 weeks holidays at the beach to rest my mind. After that I will start again. Next time, Im going to try to focus a little more on the RC section.

I would really appreciate if anybody could give me any advice to improve the verbal section. On the other hand, feel free to ask me if you want help on the quant section.

PS: GMAT, my friend...sooner or later...I will crack you.
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04 Aug 2010, 15:41
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My advice to you on the RC and CR is this:

Really pay attention to the language used in the answer choices. They always try to put one in there that seems correct but the choice of words is just a bit too extreme as it might say the author's attitude is "outraged" or "dogs can't live in snow" etc when the paragraph really shows the author was annoyed or says dogs like to avoid the snow. These are purposely designed to trick you, because although they are along the same lines as what the paragraph says they are just taken a bit too far. I like to repeat the answer choice in my head as if I was having a debate with myself and see if I can argue against it, like saying "really, dogs can't live in snow? can't is pretty strong" it reminds me of when I was a kid and I would say "can I go to the bathroom?" and my teacher would say "I don't know, can you??" And I would get so mad, but really they're right, I wasn't using the correct language to convey what I was trying to say. I know, I may have schizo tendencies, but yet to be diagnosed

SC is my weakest verbal area, but unless there is an obvious error in the original, I first try to recognize the differences among the answer choices. This at least tells me what part of the sentence if any needs to be corrected, because everything else is the same in all of them, so no point wasting my time trying to determine if that part is correct. If I can pick out one error, and eliminate all the answers with that same error I at least upped my chances of getting it right. I would also recommend memorizing the most common idioms they test. I'm a native english speaker and still get the idiom wrong once and a while if its not a common one.

Hope this helped!
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05 Aug 2010, 00:06
Dear Noburu,

Good luck with verbal. I encourage you to apply the techniques you learned on CR to RC. I think you should use process of elimination carefully and narrow your choices to two. Try to read the passages and create a short summary video in your mind. It helps. Also when you have specific details questions try to disprove some answer choices by rereading the paragraph of interest. Dont get stuck on any. I know the temptation is big to reread and change answer but i learned that discipline with RC is important. Once you eliminate an answer dont go back but be sure your process is clean so that you avoid hesitation.

I would like you please to give me advices on the Quant. I am retaking in one month. I scored 43 last time and 45 on average in prep cats. I want to reach at least 48, ideally 49. I have an issue with PS processing and pacing.

Thanks for sharing your Quant experience and preparation.

All the best,
N
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05 Aug 2010, 00:54

Regarding the quant experience and preparation:
I have to say that Im an engineer with a solid math background so I already had the basics. The quant section is all about the fundamentals.
I havent used it but I have heared good things about the Manahattan books.

What I personally did, was to face all the 25 GMAT Club Challenges, and if you want to have a reference I scored 30/37 on average. The MGAMT Tests are also very challenging.

I would say that you have to pay lot of attention to tricky words suchs as integer, possitive, not-positive (can be 0), etc....
I was struggling trying to solve one DS problem using integers, and suddenly I thought...what the heck, I can use fractions!

I had lots of problems of inequalities, and number properties, and the most challenging one was word problem-geometry about a sphere that was cut in some pieces, and I had to calculate I dont rememeber what...but the thing is, be also sure that you cover geometry basics (areas, volumes, and most importantly triangles!as per my experience GMAT loves triangles!).

Let me know if you have any specific question.

PS: Any other comment on verbal?
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05 Aug 2010, 06:53
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noboru wrote:
PS: Any other comment on verbal?

Noboru,

Let me pitch in for verbal as I feel your pain dude. I assume you are a non native speaker, and problems with non native speakers are manifold as far as verbal is concerned.

Who scores high in verbal: an avid reader? I am sure you must have read Economist, NYtimes, scientific American, and some other useful reading material in last few months leading up to the test. Verbal heavily tests your reading skills. I have scored 90 percentile in verbal, and I can assure you that test implicitly tests your reading speed and a certain level of vocabulary. We all know that Verbal section tests comprehension, logic, and grammar explicitly. If you are weak in any of these areas, it would be very hard to lift your score above 70 percentile, which corresponds to a raw score of 34-35.

Now if you already made great strides in all of these areas (I am sure you have in SC), and still the score is low then I would advise that you need to pay attention to RC subtleties. Tough RC questions have very subtle difference in two answer choices. You need to learn these subtleties, and it comes by paying close attention to the context and words. Even a word or two will differentiate between these two answer choices. I am not sure what technique you are following for RC. Initially I was trying to master the passage and most of the time ended up falling behind in terms of time. Then I switched my strategy and read very carefully first time, and I had fairly good amount of understanding about topic, scope, main idea, purpose, and tone etc. For other detail specific questions, you need to know where to look for text in passage.

In my test I was in a tough spot in terms of timing as I spent extra time on initial tough questions. I had only 29 minutes for 21 questions left, strong urge to go to restroom, and I knew toughest RC was ahead. I did not panic as I had practiced with this kind of scenario beforehand. That’s when my reading speed (Not that I am a very fast reader but I am way better than when I first started) came handy and most important part in verbal section is not to panic. Once you panic, at that very moment you loose battle. Surprisingly, I cruised through all 4 passages in around 28-30 minutes although I had allotted more time for RC section as I knew it could make or break my score. It’s not that I completed verbal section comfortably. I guessed almost 2-3 questions blindly one of them was RC question in last passage. Problem with not understanding the RC passage is you can make 3-4 questions wrong in a row. Once you do that there is a high probability that you will make subsequent questions wrong too even if you are good at that section. Once a test taker makes 3-4 questions wrong in a row in verbal section, there is no way he/she could score more than 70%. No matter how hard he/she tries in subsequent questions.

Try to identify patterns for all verbal questions and practice RC carefully. You don’t need to practice hundreds of passages, but whatever you practice just get under the skin of it. I am sure you will see a lot of improvement. Most important advice is study lightly as you have all the knowledge you need for this test, it’s just a bit smart practice and not burning yourself is the key to a good GMAT score. You have already burnt yourself, so take a break and then come back to tackle the test with a fresh mind. You are already there, and you just need to execute it.

- gm
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