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Would like some advice after taking GMAT Prep 1

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Joined: 10 Jun 2012
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GMAT 1: 640 Q48 V31
GMAT 2: 690 Q47 V38
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Would like some advice after taking GMAT Prep 1 [#permalink] New post 09 Mar 2013, 17:44
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Hi everyone,

I'm more of a lurker than a poster here but I've been on this site pretty much every day for the past 2 months. You guys truly do some special work here. Anyways, I'm just looking for a little direction on what my next steps should be to make that next push into the high 600/low 700 tier scores.

So here are some quick details around my prep so far:
Total Prep Time: ~2 months in.
Scheduled Test Date: 4/20/13
Time Left for Prep: About a month and 11 days
Target Score: 700+
Study Materials: Manhattan Quant and Verbal set, PowerScore CR, OG 13, GMAT Club site.

I took my most recent practice exam today - the GMAT Prep CAT #1- and scored a 660 (Q47, V35). I'm happy with the progress I've been making. I managed my time in quant 1000 times better in this CAT than I did during any of my other practice exams (I had a hard time letting problems go), and I've seen the results of that in - Q47 (I was scoring 2-3 points lower because I had to guess the last 6-7 problems on my other practice exams to finish). It's crazy how much of a difference pacing actually makes. As for my verbal, I think I'm kind of in a rut - of the last several practice exams (~3), I've scored 34-35 in verbal. It's proving difficult to break into the 36-40 range!!

However, as I was quickly reviewing my incorrect quant answers, I saw several problems which surprised me. For at least half the problems I saw, I said to myself 'HOW THE HECK DID I MESS THAT UP?!' As I scanned my verbal incorrect answers, I found that I've been getting mostly CR and some SC questions wrong in these exams (I saw it again in the 660 CAT) - I'm pretty solid at RC (I actually haven't prepped for RC yet).

Note: I focused largely on quant for the beginning of my prep but now I've been emphasizing verbal (going through PowerScore CR now).

So what should my approach be now? Should I try to bump my quant score into the elite 48-49 range or maybe even 50/51 (which I think I can do with practice and eliminating stupid mistakes)? Or should I keep focusing on verbal (mastering CR and SC), where the return on investment is higher, since verbal raw points mean more in terms of overall score? Assuming I get the same quant score - I'll need a V39 to get 700 (4 points away). If I should focus on my verbal, what should my approach be?

Thanks for the advice,

Tuffy.

P.S. I'm a native speaker if it means anything. I almost feel embarrassed that I'm scoring so low compared to the many non-native speakers who have such mastery of the verbal section!
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Joined: 15 Jun 2012
Posts: 114
Location: United States
Concentration: General Management, Strategy
GMAT 1: 760 Q48 V48
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Re: Would like some advice after taking GMAT Prep 1 [#permalink] New post 12 Mar 2013, 08:39
I would definitely focus on Verbal for awhile. That is not to say that you shouldn't study Quant at all before the exam, but I think your efforts to improve your score would be best put toward the verbal section. As a native speaker you have a big advantage in Verbal, SC especially. I think the key to scoring well in the verbal section is being able to keep track of the different answer choices as you're reading through them. Unlike Quant, the answer choices for Verbal tend to be very long and very similar and it can be difficult to remember exactly what A. said by the time you get done reading all five choices.

My strategy, which I'm sure is not all that novel, was to immediately rule out answer choices, in my head, when I knew they were wrong. I literally would not even go back and read them. Sometimes I would stop reading an answer choice after five words because I knew it couldn't be right (I realize this isn't recommended, but it worked for me). You should be able to eliminate two, usually three, answer choices immediately after reading them, without even knowing what the other choices say. Suddenly, a problem seems a lot less daunting when you only have two choices left after your first read through of the answers.

Anyway, that's just a general Verbal strategy that I used. Hope it helps. Good luck!
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Joined: 10 Jun 2012
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Re: Would like some advice after taking GMAT Prep 1 [#permalink] New post 12 Mar 2013, 19:40
Thanks for the reply, bdepp - I thought I was going to have to bump my thread =(.

I think you're pretty spot on. Sentence Correction is where I can probably make the greatest strides in a shortest amount of time. I think I just need to practice, practice, practice. However, I consider my weakest area to be Critical Reasoning - usually I'm getting some CR wrong when I come down to two answers that I think are correct, or I'm not reading the question and answers closely enough.

If I can get my verbal anywhere near 38-39, that would be fantastic. Like I kind of touched upon before, I almost feel like I should be better at CR and SC because I'm a native speaker.. =/
Re: Would like some advice after taking GMAT Prep 1   [#permalink] 12 Mar 2013, 19:40
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