I gave my first attempt back in Sep 2009. I scored 610(Q43, V31). I did not expect such a low score then. I had prepared for over 6 months with utmost sincerity. Such was the disaster that I did not even bother to analyze what went wrong. One of my friends, though, advised me to retake the test after due preparation and to take the test only when I see an improvement in my preparations. That proved to be very true.
Now by the start of this year, I decided to give my second attempt and do things differently. Though there was a gap of nearly two years, my force to ace GMAT was no less. As a BITSian I knew it wouldn’t be too hard to score 46-50 in Quant. But as a non-native I needed better preparation in Verbal. Like Quant, Verbal can be aced with proper fundamentals, understanding and strategic attack. Below I have shared a few things that probably helped me in achieving 700(Q48, V37).Fundamentals:
You might have heard this over and over again. Be strong in your fundamentals. This applies to both Quant and Verbal. For Quant, we have tons of reliable resources in the web: MGMAT Quant Strategy Guides, Kaplan GMAT Math Workbook
and GMATClub WorkBook topics to name a few. I too relied on these resources to understand the nuances of certain GMAT format questions such as Work-Rate problems, Probability and Statistics problems and Inequalities problems. These are not complicated when you know what to look out for. For instance, you have to be so clear about the reasoning behind the work-rate question ‘A works for 12 hours to finish a job, B works for 14 hours to finish the same job and what would be the time taken to complete the same job when A & B works together’ that you can understand a complex question with jargons.
Similarly for Data Sufficiency questions, you should improve your reasoning to a stage where you can connect the dots between the questions that you practiced (during practice tests, GC forum questions, etc.) and the questions that come up on the test day. Of course none of the questions that you faced during your preparations is going to pop-up on your test day. But the logic will. Is Verbal an up-hill task?
Yes and No. Yes because we either think that there is no one procedure to get the exact correct answer or that process of elimination is the ONLY way to get the ‘best’ answer. I strongly disagree here. There is a way to get to the exact answer (note not the best answer). That’s because GMAT has a pattern in framing the logic behind its questions. Note I said logic not the structure. Most of the resources out there teach you the structure of the GMAT questions: how to use advanced negation technique in an assumption-type CR questions or how to memorize the usual idioms or how to quickly read a four paragraph RC question. Believe me. This doesn’t work.
I said no because I used the e-GMAT
Verbal Live product which showed me these logical procedures to answer the Verbal questions. I have to say here that I’m not part of the marketing team from e-GMAT
. I am genuinely ‘just’ a customer of e-GMAT
. I got to know them only through GMATClub.
Coming back to the logics, here are my thoughts for Verbal Question types:Sentence Correction:
The GMAT SC questions from the Official Guide teach us certain important patterns. These patterns include but not limited to misplaced modifiers, logical parallel lists and many more. These cannot be answered in a mechanized manner. Because the answers might be grammatically correct but logically wrong. Only when the intended meaning of the sentence is clear, you can get to the correct answer. Again the OG teaches to eliminate the wrong choices because of very specific reasons. When this line of reasoning becomes intuitive the process of elimination becomes more logical and you get the ‘correct’ answer.Critical Reasoning:
I learnt to better eliminate the incorrect answer choices through e-GMAT
’s CR Course. I religiously followed the pre-thinking process as taught and improved in my timing to answer CR questions. Again here efficient elimination techniques come handy because GMAT throws in errors in a certain way which can be identified after thorough practice.Reading Comprehension:
Though there is no one way to master this question type, the only proven way is to logically attack each RC question type. For that you need razor-sharp focus while reading the passage. When you focus on the structure and tone of the passage, the main crux will become evident. Per e-GMAT
process, the passage summaries at various stages of reading the passage prove enough to answer the questions correctly. This helped me a lot as I was always struggling with RC.On the Test Day:
Have fun! I mean, relax and look forward to enjoy the process. I tried to smile at various points to ease myself and to not think about what happened in the previous question. Of course this is not easy unless you practice it during the practice tests. I recommend taking MGMAT practice tests and review the questions to understand the source of errors. GMAT test will be lot easier after taking MGMAT tests. This might have a side-effect on you on the test day. That is, you might end up feeling that you screwed up the test. But actually you dint. That’s how I felt after each section. But I thought I ended up with a decent score. Thanks GMATClub, e-GMAT
and MGMAT for helping me out in the process.