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# The more I study the worse I get ,esp Verbal

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The more I study the worse I get ,esp Verbal [#permalink]

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28 Dec 2011, 05:47
Hi everyone,I really need your advice on my Verbal score. I retook the GMAT yesterday got a disappointing 600(Q-46, V-27). I could only improve my score by 10 points and my verbal score dropped from 29 to 27,that was the most shocking development. My first diagnostic gmatprep score was 640 , so all the learning is proving to be counter productive.

My mock test scores were --
MGMT mock#1--620 [Q-39, V-35]
MGMT #2------670 [Q-44, V-37]
MGMT #3------690 [q-49, v--38]
Gmat prep1---620 [q--44, v-32]
MGMT#4-------700 [q--43, V-41]
gmat prep2---690 [q-48, v-37] (one week before the test)
MGMT#5-------720 [Q -47, V--42] (four days before the test)

Can't understand the cause of the huge discrepancy between the mock scores and the actual exam. This time around I had solved the OG 12 ,timing each question and revised all the questions I got wrong, questions I had to guess and the questions I solved after the 2 minute time limit.

Resources used--
OG 12, OG 11( RC and SC sections ) , OG verbal and quant supplements, Manhattan Gmat- SC, Number properties and Equation guides, Powerscore CR Bible,and Kaplan 800/Advanced.

Test day:---
AWA was good, Quant was ok and I had expected something around 47-48 since I couldn't solve 2-3 tricky geometry and time-rate questions, so i knew that 49 wasn't happening (actually got 46).
Verbal went smoothly. CR--got the usual strengthen, weaken , paradox questions and couple of parallel reasoning and abstract reasoning questions. Didn't get any Boldfaced and speaker 1 vs speaker 2 questions, so that did concern me a little, but one cannot say for sure how the test is going. So didn't let that affect me. SC-- except 2 SC questions, I could spot the spilts and traps in rest of them , so thought I was doing fine. RC-got 4 passages on different topics as expected, nothing out of the blue.
The end result a pathetic 27. If I could gauge a bit that the test was going in a wrong direction I would have spent a little more time on questions or cancelled my score. But was really shocked with the 27.

Can't understand what I am doing wrong. In spite of making constant progress in Manhattan mocks and GMAT prep mocks (last GMAT prep2 score was 690 --48q, 37v) how the actual score can be so low (around 100 point difference). Moreover, I don't know what section in verbal was wrong. My guesstimate is that for scoring a V-27 in gmatprep software one usually gets around 20-21 questions wrong. But is it-- SC, CR or RC where am I making mistakes I can't understand. Are the gmatprep practice test reliable test performance indicators?

Any advice would really be appreciated. If I plan to retake I should know what am I doing wrong so that I can work on that weakness. I did take the necessary study breaks for 1-2 days/week, so I don't think I am over doing it. Please Help!
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Re: The more I study the worse I get ,esp Verbal [#permalink]

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06 Jan 2012, 17:28
The GMAT verbal is arguably more important to your score than GMAT quant as described in this article: http://www.gmatpill.com/the-gmat-pill-m ... -strategy/

Of the GMAT verbal sections, SC is the easiest to improve and RC is probably the section that will take the longest time to improve. These RC videos may help.

Some people recommend reading the NY Times. While that may be beneficial in the long run, it's unlikely that reading NYTimes will actually help boost your score in a few weeks. Focus on keywords in the passage so you know when you should really pay attention and when you can "skim" parts of a paragraph. This is almost an art rather than a science and takes time to develop.

Also, business schools are not going to like a strong imbalance between your quant and verbal score. Make a strong effort to improve your verbal score. If you're a busy professional, your time is valuable. Don't waste time reading books. Start off by developing a strong foundation on how to approach GMAT exam questions. Learn where all the booby traps are and develop test strategies that allow you to answer the question correctly without necessarily reading through the entire question and all the answer choices.

Remember, your time is limited so study smart, not hard.

Hope that helps! Focus. Focus. Focus.
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Re: The more I study the worse I get ,esp Verbal [#permalink]

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06 Jan 2012, 19:33
Thanks for the reply. I do know that improving my Verbal score will help me improve my overall score to a greater extent. The post is to indicate how did I study. Will definitely watch the RC video's (since one cannot score a 27 with all RC questions correct). Thanks , getting back to the grind.Timing remains to be tackled.

How did I study:---
This time around I had solved the OG 12 ,timing each question and revised all the questions I got wrong, questions I had to guess and the questions I solved after the 2 minute time limit.

QUANT-- DS was a weakness so practiced more problems with different solution techniques-- algebra, plugging in numbers, back solving.

PS --had to work on few topics such as inequalities, exponent equations, absolute values, rates and combination/permutation, to get my score from 44 to 48 in the mocks. Test day score 46.

VERBAL--RC was never an issue, except some difficult inference and application questions, so I reviewed them and analysed where I was going wrong. Also noticed that for me RC topics involving science/technology and business were easy to do (got 5/6 or 6/6 correct in the OG),but Topics related to literature and sociology were a bit difficult (got 5/7, 3-4/6 correct in the OG)

CR--followed the method mentioned in power score CR and commonsense.I was facing a problem with Evaluate the plan questions, bold faced and few difficult assumption questions. After revision was able to increase my performance--3 questions wrong out of 15 on my last gmat prep.

SC--was difficult earlier, but did OG again with emphasis on meaning, parallelism, s-v and modifiers, timing myself. Thursday's with Ron sessions were a great help for SC.Improved my accuracy from 50% (7-8 questions wrong out of 17 SC questions) to around 4 questions wrong out of 17 questions)

TIMING--this was another BIG issue as I didn't let go off questions ,bad guessing strategy that resulted in solving(last 7 questions in 5 mins)and hence my errors were highest towards the end of the sections. This was an area which I could improve, but not in totality (last 4 questions in 5 mins)
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Re: The more I study the worse I get ,esp Verbal [#permalink]

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07 Jan 2012, 11:55
It's definitely important to take hold of your timing. Your comment on how many problems you think you got wrong indicates that you are focusing too much on the idea of getting them all right. That isn't going to happen. Sure, at 27, you are missing 20+ questions, but it's important to understand that at the higher levels, you are going to miss nearly as many! What's important is that you have very strong accuracy on the easier problems; then you can choose your battles on the harder problems. You need to go into the test knowing that you're going to miss around 40% of the problems on verbal. That way, you can focus on which problems you're going to do, and which problems aren't worth your time. This can mean outright skipping ("This CR looks confusing--I'm going to drop this one.") or simply moving on instead of getting stuck ("I know it's either A or C on this SC, but I don't know why I should choose one or the other. Another minute isn't going to help.")

It may help to run a comprehensive assessment of your MGMAT problems. Look at your accuracy and timing at each verbal difficulty level (this is the 3rd of the 5 reports). Are you spending a really long time on the 600-700 & 700-800 level problems? What kind of accuracy are you getting for your investment?

For SC, you may also want to look at the kind of eliminations you're making. How often do you eliminate the right answer early in the process? Sometimes we start by choosing an issue and picking a side ("Hmm . . . between 'hover' and 'hovering,' I think 'hover' works better."). However, we don't always have a clear reason for that choice. It's important to start with the eliminations that you feel most confident about (i.e. where you can cite a clear and compelling reason for the elimination) before making those more intuitive judgment calls. Then, when you're reviewing your work, delay looking up the answers. Go back and spend more time comparing the answer choices, and justifying your decision on each split. You can learn just as much from the problems you get right as from the problems you miss!
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Re: The more I study the worse I get ,esp Verbal [#permalink]

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07 Jan 2012, 12:45
Thanks a lot for your reply.To be honest you are right that I do focus on getting maximum problems correct ,but I try not to over run the time limit of 2 to max 2.5 min/question. It will take some time to adjust to the fact that I can or rather will miss 40% of these questions on verbal. I just reviewed the assessment report for the last 2 mocks that I gave.

CR--300 TO 500 & 500 to 600 questions with 100% accuracy average time for questions I got right--1:23 min. 700 to 800 level questions accuracy is 81% , timing on correct questions 1:59 min and incorrect questions 2:26 mins.

RC--500 to 600 & 600 to 700 level questions accuracy of 75 and 80 respectively along with timing of 0:47 for correct answers and 1:55 for incorrect answers. 700 to 800 have accuracy of 73% timing of 2:57 for correct answers and 1:40 for incorrect answers.

SC -just got 1 question (600 to 700) level got it right in 0:40 mins and got the rest 700-800 level questions --59% accuracy, timing for correct 1:16 mins and 1:46 mins for incorrect answers. Thanks again for your inputs will keep these in mind and put them to practice while preparing.
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Re: The more I study the worse I get ,esp Verbal [#permalink]

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07 Jan 2012, 13:23
That looks pretty good, and from those numbers it looks like you are actually missing less than 40%. If you PM me your info (name or email), I can look you up in the system and see if I notice anything interesting.
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Re: The more I study the worse I get ,esp Verbal [#permalink]

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07 Jan 2012, 14:49
Okay, a few observations:

1) You are missing 25-39% of the verbal questions on your most recent tests. The 25% is at the extreme end, where you were scoring 95th percentile on verbal. That's a really high-level performance! The trick now is to determine to what extent you are able to replicate that on the real thing. Is it possible that some of your success came from the fact that these were retakes? For instance, were some of the reading passages familiar? This can make a big difference, even if you don't remember the answers. (On one test, you nailed an entire short passage in about 3 minutes!)

2) If the data from these recent tests is accurate, then SC is your weakness. If everything on the test felt fine, that's a problem in itself. If you are scoring around 60% accuracy, you should know that there are problems you aren't getting. You need to spend some time going through your completed SC thoroughly, with an eye to spotting issues that you didn't notice the first time. What are the issues that you aren't spotting on the first run-through? How can you train yourself to see them quickly?

3) You also seem prone to go overtime on SC. When practicing, try to hold yourself to 1:30 or less. Focus on issues that you can make a confident choice about, and then if you still have more than one answer left at 1:30, guess and move on.

4) Although your CR is stronger than your SC, don't spend 3 minutes on it! In fact, CR is a great way to pick up some time. If you find yourself significantly behind the clock, look for a CR that looks particularly complicated and drop it outright--2 minutes in the bank!

5) If you feel that your recent tests do reflect your actual ability, then you need to focus on not changing anything on test day. Often, we respond to the pressure of test day by changing our strategy, just like a stock trader who swears he will sell at a certain point, but can't bear to do it when real money is on the line. Any change you make at the last minute is likely to be a change for the worse! Find strategies and approaches that work for you, and make sure that your behavior on test day is consistent with your behavior on your practice tests.

Good luck!
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Re: The more I study the worse I get ,esp Verbal [#permalink]

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07 Jan 2012, 15:15
Thanks for reviewing my mocks. RC passages that are technology/science/medicine related are easy to solve for me that has been a consistent trend with mock cats and OG 12 , OG 11 , OG verbal so 3 minutes is the average for these short passages.
What usually happens during the mock or on test day is that if the last passage [b/w 31-41 question] is very complicated & long or dealing with sociology/literature I tend to get it wrong or spend extra time on it.

SC has been a weakness, I tend to over shoot the ideal 1.5 min limit.I will try n work on that (esp chapters like modifiers, comparisons)

CR is in between SC n RC , I have to learn to guess quickly and move on.

The retests could have inflated my scores a bit( even if you don't remember the questions, you may have an advantage) so I won't mind assessing myself 20-30 points below that score.Even on the mock which I took the first time these timing & error trends remain consistent .

Completing the last 10 questions on time has usually been a issue. So I need to really guess and move on quickly.

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Re: The more I study the worse I get ,esp Verbal   [#permalink] 07 Jan 2012, 15:15
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