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Stuck at 650, SC is scary.....help needed!

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Stuck at 650, SC is scary.....help needed! [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2012, 12:45
hi All,

I've just started by GMAT prep last month, and planning to give the test in june before the new format (hopefully). Im a telecom professional with 7 years of work ex (engineer) and given up any competitive exams after 2003. I had given the GRE in 2003 and had a reasonably good score of 2170 (out of 2400 that time).

i've taken 3 powerprep full length tests, once every week and my scores are 650, 660 and 640. Analysis everytime reveals SC to be the weakest section. :( :(

i have started using the following guides:
- OG12, Quant and Verbal Review
- MGMAT 8 strategy guides (just started the SC workbook)
- Princeton Verbal Workbook
- Winner's guide to SC (i think i got a bit carried away on this one when i purchased it. Lots of printing errors:? )

The thing that is freaking me out is my performance on SC. I keep making so many errors, its starting to creep in. I am unable to comprehend why some choices are right and keep goofin on the grammar rules. My chances of a 700+ score seems more and more distant.

Does anyone have any tips to improve SC? Im willing to spend more time on this section to prepare but i dont think a full length grammar course/book is practical. Has anyone had similar experiences in SC and improved? Can u pls share?
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Re: Stuck at 650, SC is scary.....help needed! [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2012, 12:58
you could be mentally freaking yourself out...also remember that the quant section is most important. if your quant was OK maybe you should just take a break from the test and go with what you have.
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Re: Stuck at 650, SC is scary.....help needed! [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2012, 14:10
hey, thanks for the reply! this is definitely playing on my mind.

when you say quant is more important, can you elaborate on what that means?
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Re: Stuck at 650, SC is scary.....help needed! [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2012, 14:55
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For SC, one powerful tool is to simply read, reread, and re-reread the Manhattan SC guidebook. Just keep reading it over and over again. You should notice an improvement once the topics become boringly simple. And when practicing with the OG 12 and OG Verbal, make sure to fully read every single explanation for all of the SC questions - even the ones that you answer correctly. This helps big time and allows you to understand the GMAT logic for SC. Another way to improve SC is to become (very) active on the SC forums (found here). Answer as many questions as possible and explain your answer choice. Tell us, for example, why A is correct and B, C, D, and E are not. Even if the question has already been answered, answer it anyway (in your own words, of course). Also, check out some SC strategies members have posted over there.

Yet another helpful exercise is to read some GMAT Fiction, which also helps for RC.
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Re: Stuck at 650, SC is scary.....help needed! [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2012, 15:04
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startsnowing wrote:
remember that the quant section is most important. if your quant was OK maybe you should just take a break from the test and go with what you have

startsnowing wrote:
when you say quant is more important, can you elaborate on what that means?

I'm also a bit curious about this statement. In my opinion, the verbal section is just as important as the math section. The goal is to acheive a high GMAT score, and this can only be done with a solid performance on both sections. Another important aspect of your score is to try to make it balanced. A 51Q, for example, will not make up for a 30V.

So do the best that you can. If you don't, then you expose yourself during the admissions process and risk not getting into your top schools. The most important lesson that I learned during the GMAT experience is to never, ever take anything for granted and become passive. :wink:
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Re: Stuck at 650, SC is scary.....help needed! [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2012, 00:12
hi bmillan,

that is the best advice i have heard so far. i had initially started with the winner's guide and princeton review and their tips and strategies seemed fine, but i guess it was for someone who already had a go at the basics.

im taking my time with the MGMAT guide, and will start using that as the reference. it really breaks it down, which helps! thanks for the SC resources that i will definitely use.

how was ur experience in SC while preparing? how long did u keep your prep for?
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Re: Stuck at 650, SC is scary.....help needed! [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2012, 05:56
Im not sure where you stand in your verbal score... But as you read the MGMAT SC book and certain phrases appear for which you do not know what they mean the foundations of verbal is a great book to walk you through the basics of GMAT verbal. I have been stuck on 33V for a while now so I am going back to the verbal book to cement my understanding of the concepts...
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Re: Stuck at 650, SC is scary.....help needed! [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2012, 09:46
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tsheshraj wrote:
how was ur experience in SC while preparing? how long did u keep your prep for?

I never really found verbal that difficult. Math was my weakness. With that said, SC gave me the most trouble for the verbal section. I should have performed better on verbal, but my endurance began to wane toward the end. That's another thing to watch out for; verbal comes after the AWA and math sections, so you won't be as fresh and alert toward the very end. That's where I lost some points.

My memory is a little fuzzy on my GMAT studies. So for further details on my GMAT experience, see my debrief:

gmat-score-730-q48-v44-90096.html

Hope this helps.
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Re: Stuck at 650, SC is scary.....help needed! [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2012, 10:58
bmillan01 wrote:
tsheshraj wrote:
how was ur experience in SC while preparing? how long did u keep your prep for?

I never really found verbal that difficult. Math was my weakness. With that said, SC gave me the most trouble for the verbal section. I should have performed better on verbal, but my endurance began to wane toward the end. That's another thing to watch out for; verbal comes after the AWA and math sections, so you won't be as fresh and alert toward the very end. That's where I lost some points.

My memory is a little fuzzy on my GMAT studies. So for further details on my GMAT experience, see my debrief:

gmat-score-730-q48-v44-90096.html

Hope this helps.



Thanks for reposting your debrief. I am in the same boat with the quantitative. I scored a 19 or 20. You still pulled off a great score. I am trying to get a score like yours. :wink:


To answer tsheshraj question, I am using E-GMAT and like it. It’s for non-native speakers but I figured it should work for me. :) I am native speaker of English. This helps because I see grammar everyday when I read the newspaper or an article. Now I am just re-learning the rules. The E=GMAT is very interactive and you take a quiz after each section. Right now I am still on level 1 because I am doing the math problems as well. Some people learn better from reading and others learn better from teaching. I seem to be grasping the information better with the interactive verbal than reading a guide book. I do believe the verbal is just as important as the quantitative. I think it levels the playing field for people that aren't math quizzes or have a background in math i.e. engineers.
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Re: Stuck at 650, SC is scary.....help needed! [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2012, 12:18
If SC is your biggest weakness then the first thing you should be doing is read through MGMAT SC guide then put those new knowledge to practice on SC questions. SC on the GMAT boils down to a few repetitive patterns, and you'll learn to identify them after doing sufficient number of questions.
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Re: Stuck at 650, SC is scary.....help needed! [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2012, 08:08
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deadlycat wrote:
If SC is your biggest weakness then the first thing you should be doing is read through MGMAT SC guide then put those new knowledge to practice on SC questions. SC on the GMAT boils down to a few repetitive patterns, and you'll learn to identify them after doing sufficient number of questions.


Yes, SC is definitely beatable. So if that's your weakness, know that you're in luck. There's only so many ways they can test you on SC. Whereas on CR and RC - there's a lot more areas that you can get tripped up. Figure out which learning style fits you best. A lot of people can only learn so much by reading through a textbook. Ideally, get a friend who knows the GMAT to show you the way. Or can consider online programs that fit your needs.

Keep it focused!
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Re: Stuck at 650, SC is scary.....help needed! [#permalink] New post 25 Mar 2012, 03:30
wallstreetbarbie wrote:
Im not sure where you stand in your verbal score... But as you read the MGMAT SC book and certain phrases appear for which you do not know what they mean the foundations of verbal is a great book to walk you through the basics of GMAT verbal. I have been stuck on 33V for a while now so I am going back to the verbal book to cement my understanding of the concepts...


hi, to answer your question the scores from my first 2 test were as follows:
660 - v34 q49
650 - v32 q48
i dont recall the breakup of the 640 one, but that was the 1st test that i took. most of the mistakes i made in the 660 test (most recent) were in SC from a number perspective. there were 1-2 mistakes in RC and rest in CR. The mistakes in CR would need further study, as i was'nt satisfied even after going thru the explanations! so i guess CR would be next.

at the moment, ive started on the 8 MGMAT strategy guides, OG/Ver/Quant and started on the SC guide. it is definitely helpful. lets hope i break the 32-34v rut next time! :-D
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Re: Stuck at 650, SC is scary.....help needed! [#permalink] New post 25 Mar 2012, 03:45
bmillan01 wrote:
tsheshraj wrote:
how was ur experience in SC while preparing? how long did u keep your prep for?

I never really found verbal that difficult. Math was my weakness. With that said, SC gave me the most trouble for the verbal section. I should have performed better on verbal, but my endurance began to wane toward the end. That's another thing to watch out for; verbal comes after the AWA and math sections, so you won't be as fresh and alert toward the very end. That's where I lost some points.

My memory is a little fuzzy on my GMAT studies. So for further details on my GMAT experience, see my debrief:



hi bmillan01, went thru ur debrief and find a solid score backedup by a solid prep. kudos! and i hope to learn to learn from ur experience
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Re: Stuck at 650, SC is scary.....help needed! [#permalink] New post 25 Mar 2012, 12:01
wrote the princeton test today and demotivated as hell. seems like a wakeup call.
T-570
q-42
v-29
dunno, if the test software is really different from powerprep, but funny bit is that in terms of difficulty it didnt seem to differ much.
freaking out now!!! :shock: :shock:
Re: Stuck at 650, SC is scary.....help needed!   [#permalink] 25 Mar 2012, 12:01
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