Thanks all. VP_ENG I hope this helps. If I can add more let me know.
I don't think i had a very good preparation strategy but it seemed to work - that is I saw consistent improvement in my quizzes and test results.
I simply brute forced it - I did many, many sentance correction problems over and over under timed conditions. Afterward I would reflect on my results - both correct and incorrect answers. Always identifying where I could improve in speed and accuracy. Even if I completed a quiz perfectly (all answers correct) I would still review to see where I made mistakes in my analysis of each SC problem. In reviewing the questions on the CATs and quizzes I would challenge myself to answer questions on each problem: Is there a problem in the orignial sentence?, What is it?, Why are the other 4 answers incorrect? Why is the correct answer correct?
While doing SC questions I would pre-phrase an answer in my head before looking at the options. Sometimes this was quite beneficial because you actually see the answer infront of you.
This is where I struggled most in verbal. Again I don't think my preparation strategy was anything special but the tactics I develped to tackle the questions seemed to improve my scores. When reading a passage (always timed, always on a computer screen) I would talk it to myself - sort of wisper it rather than reading it silently. I found this would prevent my eyes from racing ahead of my brain's comprehension speed. Once I had my brain and eyes in sync it was much easier to understand what the hell was being talked about in the passage. While reading a particular passage I would pause and re-phrase to myself what I had just read - on pehaps 2 or 3 occasions in a given passage, whatever made sense.
I also use to practice the technique of eye-brain syncronization and re-phrasing with whatever I would read. Even if it was a newspaper or an E-mail message. I had to break myself of the habit of quck scanning which I think will kill you in RC on the GMAT.
Also to keep my racing eyes in check I used the tip of the pen as a visual marker while reading the RC passage - I would hold it up to the screen while reading the passage and move it along as I read. No rocket science here just another technique hopefully that will make the difference for somebody.
I carried forward the techniques I used in RC to CR - synchronization and re-phrasing. For the CR's I added the twist of always re-phrasing a strengthening or weakening statement or situation (depending on the type of CR question) before looking at the answer choices. I found this helped me grasp exactly what the situation was in the CR stem.
On the CR's I found myself focusing on adjectives and adverbs in the question stem. If the stem said something like "...local politicians" I would zone in on LOCAL; "...smaller profits" My eyes see SMALLER right away.
I found using POE for CR's was the best technique for me - often incorrect answers are easier to identify than correct ones. In fact often I'd pick a CR answer only becasue all of the other 4 answers were stupid ones.
I retrospect I think my SC skills killed me a bit on the actual exam. The Kaplan
material improved my ability in this area but I got quite a few SC questions wrong on the PowerPrep tests and I felt a bit off during the exam. This makes me think that I learned how to solve Kaplan
SC's questions better than I learned to solve GMAT SC questions - not a good thing. Conversley I got almost all CR questions correct on the PowerPreps (only 2 incorrect on both tests) and did very well on the RC's (no more than one incorrect per passage).
If I had to do it again I would augment my SC preparation with material other than Kaplan
's just to be sure I was well balanced.
Another piece of advice: If you are not ready to write the exam then don't do it
. It will eat you alive. Nerves, lack of confidence, etc.. all of this will be your demise. Prepare, get confident, and then tackle the exam when you are ready. Half of the battle of doing anything
is believeing that you can (really).