Verbal - Am I ready? : General GMAT Questions and Strategies
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# Verbal - Am I ready?

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Manager
Joined: 11 Aug 2012
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17 Jul 2013, 10:09

I have taken two GMATPrep practice tests, and my scores in the Verbal section were 40 and 44. Probably, the second one was a little inflated, but no so much because I think I would have answered well those repeated questions If I hadn't seen them before. So, I think the real score in Verbal was a 42-43.

However, my experience in this preparation is that, specially in SC, there will be always something NEW that you have not seen before. Maybe an idiom, a structure, whatever. Even Ron Purewal felt surprised with an Official GmatPrep question. That's frustrating, specially when you have studied a lot for that section of the exam.

So, my question is when someone can say "Ok, I am ready to get a great score", considering the fact that they always can evaluate something that you have never seen before? It seems that getting a 42-44 requires 6-8 wrong questions at most. It's challenging, specially for a non-native speaker.

So, although I got good scores in the practice tests, my concern is that they could evaluate something new. Should I study more?, or when could I say "I'm ready"?

Thanks!
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17 Jul 2013, 10:19
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danzig wrote:

I have taken two GMATPrep practice tests, and my scores in the Verbal section were 40 and 44. Probably, the second one was a little inflated, but no so much because I think I would have answered well those repeated questions If I hadn't seen them before. So, I think the real score in Verbal was a 42-43.

However, my experience in this preparation is that, specially in SC, there will be always something NEW that you have not seen before. Maybe an idiom, a structure, whatever. Even Ron Purewal felt surprised with an Official GmatPrep question. That's frustrating, specially when you have studied a lot for that section of the exam.

So, my question is when someone can say "Ok, I am ready to get a great score", considering the fact that they always can evaluate something that you have never seen before? It seems that getting a 42-44 requires 6-8 wrong questions at most. It's challenging, specially for a non-native speaker.

So, although I got good scores in the practice tests, my concern is that they could evaluate something new. Should I study more?, or when could I say "I'm ready"?

Thanks!

Once u start hitting the score u want, consistently.

On test day u may expect +-30 from ur true level. So practice for 30 extra points, just to be sure...

PS-hope u r not targeting a perfect 800.....
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17 Jul 2013, 12:17
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Expert's post
danzig wrote:
So, although I got good scores in the practice tests, my concern is that they could evaluate something new. Should I study more?, or when could I say "I'm ready"?

I would say: think about it. You are very ambitious. Your idea of a "great score" is something in the 99th percentile. It's great to be ambitious, and clearly you have an excellent shot at those elite scores. Nevertheless, think about what this means. If you are in the 99th percentile, you are doing better than 99% of GMAT test takers, some of whom are exceptionally bright people. Yes, there are some people who don't learn all the rules, don't know half the idioms, don't know grammar, etc., and they constitute the lower reaches of the percentile spread. Then, toward the upper reaches, there are plenty of people who know grammar well, who have studied the rules & idioms thoroughly, and who can answer a question on absolutely anything they have seen before. The separator for scores at this elite level has to be --- if everyone can nail the problem types they have already seen, how do they do on something completely out-of-the-box that they have never seen before? In many ways, that's one of the chief separators at highest score levels on both Q & V.
There's a paradox here. If you can reliably do everything that you have already seen, then you are "ready" for that stuff, but so can, say, a good 5% of other GMAT test takers. To be ready only on that level is, say, 95th percentile --- not bad, but not what you want. To beat out many of those other folks and get into the top 1%, or even more rarefied, then in addition to nailing everything you have already seen, you have to be able to handle brand new, wildly out-of-the-box stuff that you have never seen before. The GMAT excels at creating questions such as this for distinguishing folks at the upper end, and if you are nailing everything else, the CAT will feed you a reasonably steady diet of the hardest possible question. Some of those hard questions are hard precisely because no one has ever seen anything like it before.
That's the paradox. How do you get to a point so you can say --- I am ready, not only for everything I have reviewed and studied, but also for everything that I will see for the first time, totally out of the blue. In other words, how will I know that I will know what to do when I don't know what to do? We are getting into some of the very subtle issues of human intelligence here, because, in fact, all the times folks find themselves in situations in which they don't know what to do, and they figure out something to do. Creativity, at its best, is about those situations in which absolutely nobody know what to do until somebody has the brilliant flash of insight --- aha, now I know what to do! In a way, that's what the hardest GMAT questions are asking of you, and it's not a particularly straightforward process to study for that the way one can study for specific content.
Studying and reviewing content is a more left-brain methodical approach, which is fine, but for developing creativity, that strikes me more essentially as a right-brain process. You might take a look at this post ---- it's ostensibly about math, but by analogy, it may suggest some things about GMAT SC:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/how-to-do- ... th-faster/
I realize this is not a simple answer, but I hope this helps.
Mike
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Mike McGarry
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18 Jul 2013, 09:12
Hi Danzig, I agree with the overall point that Mike made above, you can always expect to see something unexpected on the GMAT. It's impossible to prepare for absolutely everything, and in fact there is tremendous value in determining how you deal with a question you've never seen before based solely on the information in front of you. I'd say: embrace it! You know how to solve these questions, even if some of them look novel. Once you're consistently getting the score you want, you're ready. Your actual score will be similar to what you've been getting in practice, with the element of how well you perform on test day. That's why I strongly recommend being well rested and focused on test day. Your goal is to perform as well as you possibly can, even if there's the occasional question you've never dealt with before.

Hope this helps!
-Ron
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18 Jul 2013, 11:38
Master CR and RC. They are very much predictable . I know, easier said than done.
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# Verbal - Am I ready?

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