Joined: 27 Jun 2008
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Got a 47 Verbal yesterday, here's my method: [#permalink]
27 Jun 2008, 17:35
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I wrote this in response to another post, but I figured it might be useful for all. Let me know if something is not clear.
I'll share my test-taking method for the verbal, and maybe it will be helpful. I only did the verbal portion in its entirety three times before taking the test, but in that time I was able to work out a method that took me from making 17 errors out of 41 questions on my first try to making only 4 errors on my third.
On critical reasoning, I would guess that the quant whizzes in this forum would do pretty well, given that it's very logic-based. I'll try to help with the verbal aspect of it though. What I generally do is read the passage once carefully, stopping after each sentence to process both its meaning, and its relation to the sentence before. Once I've read it all, I try to articulate (in a short sentence) the argument or purpose of the passage. Then I move to the question itself. I read it carefully, try to make sense of what it's asking, and then rephrase it to myself in language I can understand easily, so I have a clear idea of what I'm looking for. So, for instance, when I read "Each of the following, if true, weakens the conclusion above EXCEPT," I try not to go "what the hell does that mean?" Simply reasoning out the meaning doesn't always do the trick either, because I often forget what the question meant before I even get to the answer choices, and then I have to go back to the question and read it all over again. Instead, I figure out what the question is really asking, and restate it to myself in simple language. For me, the previous question would become, "which of these answers DOES NOT weaken the conclusion of this passage." Or if process of elimination is easier for me to work with, I might say, "which of these answers DOES weaken the conclusion of this passage," and then look to check off the four answer choices that fit that bill, leaving me with the correct answer. Those simplified versions of the question are sentences whose meaning I'm far less likely to forget, so I can now focus entirely on evaluating the answer choices, rather than struggling to keep the question in my mind at the same time. After I've rephrased the question, I write down the ABCDE on my noteboard. Then I try to pick the answer that best fits the simplified question I've come up with. If the questions are sounding gobbledy-googly also, I might try simplifying those as well, and seeing if that makes things any easier. It often helps me to start talking out loud when I'm trying to figure out the meanings of complicated-sounding sentences. I mean, keep it to GMAT exam room volume of course, but I've found that whispering the question choices to myself is a good way to keep a reign on my brain -- first, it ensures that I truly read every word and do not skip over words that might be important, and second, somehow it also helps me to actually understand what I am reading. My guess is that if someone were reading everything on this test to you, you'd probably understand it better. Try it, see if it works for you. The rest is up to the logical minds of all you quants. Read the answer choices, evaluate their meaning, figure out whether they DO weaken the conclusion of the passage, or DO NOT (or whatever the question is asking you to determine).
I'll write back later with more on the other two sections. I hope this is helpful for you!