This post is for people who can relate to either of the following:
1. You have a seriously slow reading speed and are still targeting 740 +
2. You already have a 700+ score, but due to your demographic, you will need an even better score. You are still on the question, is it worth the second shot?
3. You have strong quant but are struggling with the verbal, and you do not know what component of verbal you should prioritize
4. You gave GMAT more than a year back, now you want to get into the race again!
I have no intention to make it super long. I am writing just to share my tricks of getting this score. It was a hard task for me to even get to this score as my reading speed is less than 150 words per minute. My strength has always been the Quant side of GMAT but I struggle big time with the verbal section. I got a 720 on my GMAT in 2013 (Q51 V35). However, that's not the score which can help an average Indian to get into top 5 B-schools. So, I finally decided to retake GMAT and boost this score further before applying into top B-schools. After 3 weeks of preparation, I finally scored a 750. In this journey, I was able to create a plan which works for a slow reader like me. Here are my learnings on the three components of verbal section:1. Critical Reasoning
: If you are a quant-driven person, critical reasoning will be the section which can get you right on top. You need a HIGH accuracy and GOOD speed for the CR section. The time I generally spend on CR was the highest to get the best of the accuracy. AVG TIME : 2 minutes and AVG ACCURACY : 90-95%2. Sentence Correction
: This is the section you will use to compensate for your low reading speed. You need to be super fast with accuracy. I reached a level where I got a GOOD accuracy and VERY FAST speed on SC. AVG TIME : 1 minute 20-30 seconds and AVG ACCURACY : 75-85%3. Reading Comprehension
: This is the section you have really no command on. RC takes the longest to improve on either the accuracy or the speed. The best shot is to increase accuracy. One strategy which I implemented was to solve a lot of Inference based CR questions, which helps you understand common RC question wrong answers. The live sessions of E-GMAT
can help you get the central idea question right. Detailed questions are generally easier to crack if you understand the blueprint of the passage. With this strategy in place, I got down the average time for each RC to 8 minutes (4 questions) and an accuracy of around 70-80%. One small note on RC - I got a super difficult RC on my GMAT. The language was so abstract that it was impossible to decipher information from this passage. So I finally tried POE directly on the option after a single read of the passage, even though I only understood not more than 25 % of the passage. I think that worked out fine because in the end you are under a lot of time pressure, and not all your techniques work.
The quant section in GMAT is extremely simple. I got only one question wrong in the quant section that too was the one which I left because it was taking a lot of time. The section was far simpler to the ones you get in MGMAT or even GMAT official mock tests. I completed the section in approx. 60 minutes, however, I used to run out of time in all MGMAT tests. I think MGMAT have very good questions but their algorithm of computer adaptive Mock is very different from GMAT. In actual GMAT you get a mix of all level of questions at every stage. Even if you are getting all the question correctly, GMAT raises the AVERAGE level of the questions gradually. The word "AVERAGE" here is very important - it does not mean that if you answered a 600 level question correctly, next question will be a 600 +. It simply means that if you get all question right in 1st 10, which were of say average level 600, you can expect a mix of question in 2nd 10, that will have an average difficulty of 600 +. MGMAT gives you all 700+ level question if you get first 5 questions correctly, which makes it impossible to give justice to each question (which you can easily give in actual GMAT).The verbal section is at par with MGMAT and GMAT official guide. Here was my strategy,
1. Give maximum time to the first 10 questions. I just got 1 question wrong in first 10.
2. Do not give a second thought for any type of questions. I anyway was running out of time because of my slow reading pace, so this was essential. However, I used to give a good amount of time to CR, which was my strength.
3. Follow a methodical way to solve a SC problem. E-GMAT
course will give you a strong foundation with this. I love the course and the staff. They are super cool people and really know GMAT well. The key is to find a source which can give you the answers of the question "what will GMAT think about this question" and not "what is the right answer to this question as per perfect english". I am not doubting GMAT faculty in any way, however, English is not a language which is completely rule-based, hence, it becomes really important to know what does GMAT think of issues which are in the gray zone. I found E-GMAT
well aligned with GMAT's ideologies.
4. Allot least time to middle questions, and more time to first 10 and last 10. Even though last 10 questions might have lower weights, I had the lowest accuracy in the last 10 because a. I was too tired to solve difficult problems. b. I was always short of time. So I alloted 20 minutes each to first 10 and last 10 questions.
One additional thing which I want to call out, the gap of 3 years between my GMAT was like a super power for me. The reason is that the GMAT Mock tests are the most limited resources in GMAT. The biggest challenge you will face while reattempting GMAT is that you already have exhausted all the Mocks, and hence cant judge whether you are improvig on your skills or not. So if you give a reasonable break, you can leverage all you have learnt in past, and build on these skills, and also test on GMAT mocks. For verbal section, I will strongly recommend E-GMAT
. They have broken down the process into really simple and understandable parts. Hope this debrief helped you planning your study.