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Sometimes Quant can't get you there [750 Q43, V51]

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Re: Sometimes Quant can't get you there [750 Q43, V51] [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2011, 20:26
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ebonn101 wrote:
krishp84 wrote:
[b]Question - Do you recommend any time limit on every CR question similar to SC questions?[/


Short answer, try to stay under two minutes, but if you have extra time from SC, this is where you get to make it up!

Here's why I think keeping SC under 1 min is your target:
Of the three verbal topics, SC is the most like quant in the sense that it is governed by rules. If you devote enough time and practice to master the rules of SC, you WILL get faster at it. CR and RC are governed by logic and comprehensive ability, so that's why I recommend saving extra time for those, when you will need to go back and re read or re think through the logic of the passage to answer the question.


Thanks ebonn101 for your advice. I think everything you said makes perfect sense.

In my last test, I got ALL (12) 700-800 level SCs correct, i.e., 12/15 SCs correct (ones I got incorrect were last 3 600-700 level SCs, which I marked randomly due to lack of time and got them all wrong). But my average time on these SCs was 1 min 30 secs. I follow 3 step process - 1) understand the meaning, 2) analyse errors in the original sentences, 3) POE. I am trying to reduce this timing but when I try to speed up, my accuracy dips a little. My goal is to get ALL SCs correct in the final, so that I can afford to get few RCs/CRs wrong in-case I am running out of time. Do you have any advice for me that could bolster my SC timing, while keeping the accuracy the same?

I was getting better at RC, but I dedicated 2+ weeks on SC and, as a result, I lost my focus in RCs (and also in CR). I am trying to regain the focus. My strategy in RC is to read the entire passage while looking for different viewpoints, participants' arguments, structure of the passage, tone of the passage, and author's stand/point. BUT I take ~5 mins to read a long passage and ~3-4 mins to read a short passage line by line. I think these timings are killing me. I had to randomly mark 1 full RC in the end and got all wrong. In-fact, in my last test I marked last 7 questions randomly and got all wrong - that dropped my verbal %ile from ~90-95 to ~81 and killed me :(. I normally read 1st 2 sentences twice and note something, and then after each paragraph I note something - but the thing is even while solving questoins I take 1-2 mins on each question, which I believe is a lot of time. Do you have any suggestions on how can I modulate my RC strategy just enough to reduce the timing and also grasp more of the content?

Thanks. Appreciate man!
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Re: Sometimes Quant can't get you there [750 Q43, V51] [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2011, 07:49
Amazing verbal score!! congrats :)
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Re: Sometimes Quant can't get you there [750 Q43, V51] [#permalink] New post 29 Aug 2011, 06:32
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abhicoolmax wrote:
ebonn101 wrote:
krishp84 wrote:
[b]Question - Do you recommend any time limit on every CR question similar to SC questions?[/


Short answer, try to stay under two minutes, but if you have extra time from SC, this is where you get to make it up!

Here's why I think keeping SC under 1 min is your target:
Of the three verbal topics, SC is the most like quant in the sense that it is governed by rules. If you devote enough time and practice to master the rules of SC, you WILL get faster at it. CR and RC are governed by logic and comprehensive ability, so that's why I recommend saving extra time for those, when you will need to go back and re read or re think through the logic of the passage to answer the question.


Thanks ebonn101 for your advice. I think everything you said makes perfect sense.

In my last test, I got ALL (12) 700-800 level SCs correct, i.e., 12/15 SCs correct (ones I got incorrect were last 3 600-700 level SCs, which I marked randomly due to lack of time and got them all wrong). But my average time on these SCs was 1 min 30 secs. I follow 3 step process - 1) understand the meaning, 2) analyse errors in the original sentences, 3) POE. I am trying to reduce this timing but when I try to speed up, my accuracy dips a little. My goal is to get ALL SCs correct in the final, so that I can afford to get few RCs/CRs wrong in-case I am running out of time. Do you have any advice for me that could bolster my SC timing, while keeping the accuracy the same?

I was getting better at RC, but I dedicated 2+ weeks on SC and, as a result, I lost my focus in RCs (and also in CR). I am trying to regain the focus. My strategy in RC is to read the entire passage while looking for different viewpoints, participants' arguments, structure of the passage, tone of the passage, and author's stand/point. BUT I take ~5 mins to read a long passage and ~3-4 mins to read a short passage line by line. I think these timings are killing me. I had to randomly mark 1 full RC in the end and got all wrong. In-fact, in my last test I marked last 7 questions randomly and got all wrong - that dropped my verbal %ile from ~90-95 to ~81 and killed me :(. I normally read 1st 2 sentences twice and note something, and then after each paragraph I note something - but the thing is even while solving questoins I take 1-2 mins on each question, which I believe is a lot of time. Do you have any suggestions on how can I modulate my RC strategy just enough to reduce the timing and also grasp more of the content?

Thanks. Appreciate man!


Given the issue you seem to be struggling with in RC, perhaps consider (especially for long passages, which you will likely see 1-2 out of 4) focusing on transitions and conclusions within the passage when conducting your first read-through. When you start encountering long and technically worded lists (which often happens during the science and business-heavy passages), skim through those lightly. If a specifc question references those lists, you will go back and re-read it anyways. And definitely don't waste time highlighting the contents of a list. A simply bullet point to jog your memory is sufficient.

This strategy may save you a minute or so depending on the length of the passage. If you can get to a point where you can consume a large passage in about 3 minutes and then spend 1-1.5 min analyzing and answering each of the responses, you will probably be right on track. But like I said in my previous examples, there was a passage on my GMAT that I spent a LOT of time on because it was extremely difficult, and the reason I was able to do that is because I'd made up extra time on SC.
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Re: Sometimes Quant can't get you there [750 Q43, V51] [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2011, 11:47
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This is perfect! I plan on trying to bump up my verbal score in my GMAT retake to try and reach a target of 730-750. I had a pretty solid Quant the first time around.
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Re: Sometimes Quant can't get you there [750 Q43, V51] [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2011, 11:49
ebonn101 wrote:
OK guys, after thinking about it, here is what I can offer up to you. Obviously it worked out pretty well for me, and I think if you give yourself a few weeks/month or two of practice, even nonnative speakers can get here.

Here is my general strategy:

Bottom Line Up Front: Everything hinges on your ability to conquer any SC question (except those that are truly brutal) in around 60 seconds max.

1. Attack SC questions quickly and efficiently, aim for no more than 60 seconds per question. Obviously you will have 2-3 per test that are real tricky and require 60-120 seconds to analyze, break down, and compare answer choices. Think about it - you will get 4 RC passages per test, each with 4 questions. Therefore you're left with 25 CR/SC questions. Assuming you get about 10 CR and 15 SC, you can make up close to 30 seconds per SC question. Assuming you have the 2-3 that require a full 90 or even 120 seconds, you will still be ahead of schedule by about 6 minutes. This is key. It all starts here.

2. Now that you are working with a full extra 5-6-7 minutes of head-scratching, nail-biting POE time, you can really dig into those tough CR and RC passages. Everyone swears by the MGMAT SC guide, but most fail to tout the MGMAT CR and RC guides! These are GOLDEN. You have GOT to use MGMAT CR and RC if you want to score high 90 percentiles on Verbal. A lot of people claim that the "Diagramming" and "Highlighting" Techniques for CR and RC are time consuming and not feasible on the real GMAT due to time constraints. Let me tell you right now: I diagrammed every single CR question and highlighted all four RC passages when I took the GMAT. How was I able to do this? Yes, I worked efficiently and quickly, but I also had those extra 5 or so minutes I had made up by knocking out SC questions in a timely manner. See how it is all related?

3. Early in my prep, I noticed trends in my verbal test-taking. I never had significant problems with SC, but often got tough CR or RC questions incorrect. I couldn't figure out why until I attempted diagramming and highlighting. As it turns out, I was taking TOO MUCH TIME ON SC, leaving me insufficient time to process the barrage of information thrown at you in an RC passage, or leaving me too rushed as I analyzed CR, which often led to careless errors. REMEMBER: for BOTH CR and RC, the key to ascertaining the correct answer is COMPREHENSION of the passage. The best way to do this is make "highlight" or "diagram" notes as you are reading! This way you are literally reading and writing it simultaneously, which maximizes your brain's ability to truly process the meaning behind the words. Yes, this is difficult to do with an average of 2 mins per question, but if you are ahead of pace with good SC skill, you will have more along the lines of 2:15-2:20 average for RC and CR. These extra seconds are CRUCIAL because they allow you the opportunity to really think about the information, and then seriously consider how it relates to what the question is really asking.

Bottom line - first establish your skill with SC. This will gently ease you into verbal in general. Become more familiar with subject-verb agreement, parallelism, and modifiers. These are the things the GMAT will beat you with the most. Once you are at the 700+ level, you will see questions with all three of these issues at fault within the prompt. Read the sentence over once, and cross off the first option as soon as you know it's wrong (or leave it if a possible correct answer). Then read through the other four choices and place them back in the original sentence, looking for those key elements of SV agreement, parallelism, and modifier placement. Obviously this is overly broad, but if you have read the MGMAT SC guide, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Hope this helps you out, guys. Sorry if I was rambling a little bit. I'm willing to answer any other questions you might have. Thanks and take care!


very helpful! Thank you!!! I have all the MGMAT books. I was about to only look at the CR Bible that I bought... but perhaps I will give MGMAT CR a shot. Thanks again
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Re: Sometimes Quant can't get you there [750 Q43, V51] [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2011, 13:04
Congratulation on your great score.
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Re: Sometimes Quant can't get you there [750 Q43, V51] [#permalink] New post 05 Sep 2011, 01:21
yes congrats on the perfect verbal! I will definitely try and master SC!!
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Re: Sometimes Quant can't get you there [750 Q43, V51] [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2012, 12:59
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Great verbal score!!! From an indian army officer to a US army officer---- RESPECTS!!!

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Re: Sometimes Quant can't get you there [750 Q43, V51] [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2012, 10:18
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Hey ebonn. You are truly a verbal baller.
I just want to echo a few of your points here because I think they're spot-on. When others have asked me my tips on how I've managed a great verbal score, I respond to the tune of "most of it is natural". But that's not right... as you've articulated perfectly below (hence the difference between my 44 and your 51 :-D )

ebonn101 wrote:
What I would really recommend for anyone, native or nonnative speaker, is to spend lot of time reading well-written literature. If you have several months before your planned GMAT date, read a variety of books to become comfortable and familiar with verbal. I am a pretty active reader myself, and I found this to be very beneficial. Lots of people recommend Mark Twain. I'd also say try some other classics, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, Moby Dick, and others. For more modern reading, look at nonfiction authors like Stephen Ambrose - his books are very interesting and have a very vibrant and expressive writing style that will help you recognize changes in grammar.

Let me quantify this thought a little more:
I've noticed a trend GMAT Club and some of the other GMAT forums. A lot of individuals who are having a harder time with verbal but seem to be completely good to go on quant often post questions and solicitations for advice on how to improve Verbal score. Often, with these individuals, you will look at their posted test scores and they will look something like this (this is an example I am just making up):

GMAT Prep 1 710 Q50, V33
MGMAT 1 690 Q51, V30
MGMAT 2 720 Q50, V34
GMAT Prep 2 720 Q51, V35

For people like this, you clearly have a very firm and solid grasp of the quantitative skills required for the test. I was the opposite, I have always been comfortable with verbal, but math was a bit more of a struggle for me. I got to an acceptable level, in fact I would even say I underperformed on the actual GMAT in quant. Were it not for my perfect verbal score, I probably would have considered retaking.

But for those of you lucky individuals, whether you are an Indian IT Male, Finance guy/gal, or belong to another demographic that typically performs well in quant, I cannot recommend enough that you simply devote more of your free time to reading English lit, both fiction and nonfiction. If your test is tomorrow or next week - ok, got it, you might not be able to use this technique to raise your score by a significant amount. But if you have a few months, I'd recommend perhaps easing back on your goal to do every question in 1000 SC or all of RC99. Obviously you need these tools to hone and refine your proficiency. If you spend all your time and energy on endless repetition of CR/RC/SC questions, sure your score will probably improve, but you will likely reach a plateau at some point that cannot be broken without a more refined and thorough grasp of the mechanics of the English language. Put another way, you may be "missing the forest for the trees."


To emphasize:
Spending a lot of time with well written English literature will increase your "natural floor" for verbal scoring.
I would venture that most of us who are "naturally" strong verbal performers are also serious readers. You develop "a feel" for correct sentence structure and effective expression through a lot of exposure to a well-written prose on many topics in a variety of styles. Instead of cross-referencing a passage or sentence against a litany of rules, your brain cues you into which one feels/sounds best. I'd suggest that reading a well-written novel every two weeks has about as much impact (over a several month window) as doing hundreds upon hundreds of practice problems, and it's "stickier".

Plan your attack
For myself, I did not spend more than about 5 hours preparing for GMAT verbal because I knew that my "floor" was in the mid 40s - which was high enough for me - and that the ROI for quant study time was far far higher. Ebonn describes that he spent the majority of his study time on quant because he recognized that his verbal "floor" was already extremely high. If you're the opposite - a quant baller and a verbal struggler - then please put down the fractions and pick up your novel. It's okay to say "I'm strong enough in this section" and move on.

Improving verbal abilities is less linear than improving quant mechanics
I believe that many who are naturally stronger in quant take the same practice-makes-perfect approach to improving their verbal abilities, when in fact verbal is a much less exact science than quant. Ask any nonnative speaker - English is a highly irregular language. Memorizing the rules is a far less effective path to mastery than simply immersing oneself in quality written literature. If I were developing a study plan and had more than about 12 weeks, I would devote about half of my time to reading and the other half to question-specific study.

Again, congrats on your stellar score and thanks for taking the time to help others improve!

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Re: Sometimes Quant can't get you there [750 Q43, V51] [#permalink] New post 02 Mar 2012, 07:52
Hi ebonn101,

first of all congrats for your great score!

Can you quickly explain what diagramming/note-taking strategies you apply, or are they the same as suggested by MGMAT?

Kind regards,
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Re: Sometimes Quant can't get you there [750 Q43, V51] [#permalink] New post 02 Mar 2012, 09:46
thats crazy!! wtf.
Congrats!
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Re: Sometimes Quant can't get you there [750 Q43, V51] [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 13:25
WOW! Congrats for the unbelieveable score!!
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Re: Sometimes Quant can't get you there [750 Q43, V51] [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2012, 14:01
this is inspiring stuff!
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Re: Sometimes Quant can't get you there [750 Q43, V51] [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2012, 23:16
thanks for the incredible posts ebonn101 ....V51 is something extra ordinary ;)
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Re: Sometimes Quant can't get you there [750 Q43, V51]   [#permalink] 09 Aug 2012, 23:16
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