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Disappointing Verbal (Attributable to RC) - Strategy for Improvement?

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Disappointing Verbal (Attributable to RC) - Strategy for Improvement?  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Dec 2018, 17:14
Hi All - I want to start by saying hello and thanking everyone for making GMAT Club such a great resource! I have been poking around the forum a bit as I've prepare for the GMAT and have found the content extremely useful.

I have been studying for the GMAT for ~3 months and had my official test date this past week. I am a native English speaker who has never had much trouble with the verbal portions of exams, so I focused most of my prep on the quant side of the exam. My score didn't come out quite where I wanted it so I am planning to retake the exam in the coming months, but I wanted to quickly check in and ask for a few pointers as I take the plunge once again. My issue seems to be in verbal, and especially in RC - I will touch upon this further below. I am going to try to keep this post as concise as possible, but please let me know if there is any additional info I can provide that would be useful in recommending approaches. I will also attach my ESR outputs at the bottom.

Prep Resources
- Books: All MGMAT prep books, Powerscore CR Bible, OG 18
- Practice questions: MGMAT question banks, OG 18 (did every quant problem), GMAT Club
- CATs: MGMAT CATs, GMAT Prep
- Other: Various GMAT Club user guides (mostly the quant focused guides)

Performance
- GMAT Prep 1: 41V / 48Q / 8IR / 720
- GMAT Prep 2: 38V / 48Q / 8IR / 700
- MGMAT 1: 37V / 43Q / 8IR / 660
- MGMAT 2: 36V / 47Q / 8IR / 680
- MGMAT 3: 44V / 43Q / 8IR / 710
- Official GMAT: 36V / 47Q / 8IR / 680 / 6 AWA

Other Info
- Given my profile / background, I believe I need a ~730 to be competitive
- My work schedule is very unpredictable, but my goal would be to retake the GMAT in the next month
- I will be applying in Summer 2019 (R1 for 2020 matriculation)
- Plan to apply to HBS, Stanford, Wharton

Analysis of Official GMAT
- I was pretty disappointed when I saw the 36V / 680 total score flash on my screen, especially given my verbal score on my last MGMAT CAT. I ordered the ESR and was happy to see I had gotten every SC question correct (I've always been pretty good at SC) and really shocked to see how poorly I did in RC. This really bummed me out for a few hours before I realized that all I needed to do was focus on my RC and I could likely string together a solid score in my next attempt (hence this post!)
- I was definitely very nervous taking the test. I usually don't get test day anxiety, but I think I was putting more pressure than usual on myself given I did not want to take the test again. I could hear my heart beating a mile a minute through the noise cancelling headphones the test center gave me
- Out of my 4 RC passages, I though that 3 were very easy to read and digest and one was extremely tough (comparing styles of two late 18th century feminist authors). I thought I did fine on my first 3 passages, but clear this was not the case.

Self Review
- I find the toughest part of verbal for me is that I over-analyze every question. I tend to make second and third order connections when the obvious connection is the answer. I think this is what doomed me on my official exam - I was too focused on picking the "smart" answer when I should have picked the obvious answer. For example (as an extreme, made up case), if the passage is about reducing reliance on fossil fuel by investing in alternative energy sources and the question asks "What can we infer from this passage" I will pick an answer like "Fossil fuel will become prohibitively expensive in the near term if there is not a reduction in use" (my inner economist speaking) rather than the more obvious "Alternative energy sources are viable alternatives to fossil fuel"
- I know I can do better on verbal and am very motivated to put in the hours to improve here. I believe if I can get the score up closer to my last MGMAT CAT or even my GMAT Prep CATs I will be walking away with a solid score.
- I oftentimes read suggestions from folks here that users should read the Economist, NYT, science journals, etc. to improve their reading skills. I don't think my issue is in speed of reading or in remembering what I read, it is more that I struggle with understanding what the question is looking for and selecting the "most correct" answer.

Questions for GMAT Club
- My primary questions are (1) what would a RC-heavy study regimen look like and (2) what resources would you recommend?
- How can I train myself to stop trying to "outsmart" the answer choices and pick the correct answer even though it seems "too obvious"?
- I have read good things about both the PowerScore RC Bible and the Aristotle RC Grail. Does anyone have any experience or suggestions here?
- Is there anything in any of the above or in my ESR results that seems "off" to you? Anything I seem to be misinterpreting or coming to an improper conclusion on?

Thanks again for all your help! I appreciate your time in reading through and offering your help!


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Re: Disappointing Verbal (Attributable to RC) - Strategy for Improvement?  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2018, 11:52
Bump - any thoughts here? I decided to buy the PowerScore RC Bible and have started working through it over this holiday weekend. Still looking for any other thoughts on how to supercharge my verbal prep (specifically with RC).

Thanks!
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Re: Disappointing Verbal (Attributable to RC) - Strategy for Improvement?  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2018, 12:14
Hi CupOfWater,

To start, assuming that the 700/Q48 that you listed in your profile is from an Official GMAT Score, then you already have an outstanding Score (it's just a bit shy of the 90th percentile overall), so you can comfortably apply to any Business Schools that interest you. Since you're interested in applying to some highly competitive Schools, you need to make sure that you have a strong Overall profile AND you need to properly 'market yourself' to each individual Program that you apply to. As such, you would likely find it beneficial to speak with an Admissions Expert about your overall profile. There's a Forum full of those Experts here:

https://gmatclub.com/forum/ask-admissio ... tants-124/

If you're certain that you want to retest, the you should actually work on more than just your RC skills. Before we can discuss all of this in more detail, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on your timeline and your goals:

1) Why do you think you 'need' a 730+?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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Re: Disappointing Verbal (Attributable to RC) - Strategy for Improvement?  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2018, 12:30
Thanks for the reply EMPOWERgmatRichC

The 700 score was indeed on an official GMAT sitting, however that score will have expired by the time I apply this summer as I sat for that exam ~5 years ago.

In response to your questions:
1) My focus on 730 is twofold. First, it is the "average" score for the programs I am looking at and I want to ensure my score does not stick out as a negative for being below-average. Second, I work in private equity and most folks who have taken the path I have (highly selective university -> 2 years of banking -> 2 years of private equity) generally have the same background. Based on what I have heard from admissions directors, your test score weighted more heavily given the few other objective differentiating factors (we had admissions directors from the three schools I mentioned give seminars last year, so heard this straight from the source)
2) My weekdays are very unpredictable - I can likely study anywhere between 0-4 hours per day. Weekends are a bit more predictable - I was previously dedicating 6-8 hours per weekend day when I was studying for my first sitting.

Thanks again for your input.
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Re: Disappointing Verbal (Attributable to RC) - Strategy for Improvement?  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2018, 12:51
Hi CupOfWater,

Now that you've better defined your goals, I'd like to see your full ESR (the information you posted is incomplete); if you'd rather not post it publicly, then you can feel free to PM or email it directly to me.

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Re: Disappointing Verbal (Attributable to RC) - Strategy for Improvement?  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2018, 12:59
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi CupOfWater,

Now that you've better defined your goals, I'd like to see your full ESR (the information you posted is incomplete); if you'd rather not post it publicly, then you can feel free to PM or email it directly to me.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich


Many thanks - I have PM'd you. Please let me know if there is anything else that would be helpful as you reivew.
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Disappointing Verbal (Attributable to RC) - Strategy for Improvement?  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2018, 20:33
CupOfWater wrote:
Bump - any thoughts here? I decided to buy the PowerScore RC Bible and have started working through it over this holiday weekend. Still looking for any other thoughts on how to supercharge my verbal prep (specifically with RC).

Thanks!
I don't think this will be as much about working through more passages as it will about just being a lot more careful with your decision-making. Was this a one-off, or do you normally lose points in RC? Also, did you have enough time for the last set of questions?
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Re: Disappointing Verbal (Attributable to RC) - Strategy for Improvement?  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2018, 22:05
CupOfWater wrote:
Hi All - I want to start by saying hello and thanking everyone for making GMAT Club such a great resource! I have been poking around the forum a bit as I've prepare for the GMAT and have found the content extremely useful.

I have been studying for the GMAT for ~3 months and had my official test date this past week. I am a native English speaker who has never had much trouble with the verbal portions of exams, so I focused most of my prep on the quant side of the exam. My score didn't come out quite where I wanted it so I am planning to retake the exam in the coming months, but I wanted to quickly check in and ask for a few pointers as I take the plunge once again. My issue seems to be in verbal, and especially in RC - I will touch upon this further below. I am going to try to keep this post as concise as possible, but please let me know if there is any additional info I can provide that would be useful in recommending approaches. I will also attach my ESR outputs at the bottom.

Prep Resources
- Books: All MGMAT prep books, Powerscore CR Bible, OG 18
- Practice questions: MGMAT question banks, OG 18 (did every quant problem), GMAT Club
- CATs: MGMAT CATs, GMAT Prep
- Other: Various GMAT Club user guides (mostly the quant focused guides)

Performance
- GMAT Prep 1: 41V / 48Q / 8IR / 720
- GMAT Prep 2: 38V / 48Q / 8IR / 700
- MGMAT 1: 37V / 43Q / 8IR / 660
- MGMAT 2: 36V / 47Q / 8IR / 680
- MGMAT 3: 44V / 43Q / 8IR / 710
- Official GMAT: 36V / 47Q / 8IR / 680 / 6 AWA

Other Info
- Given my profile / background, I believe I need a ~730 to be competitive
- My work schedule is very unpredictable, but my goal would be to retake the GMAT in the next month
- I will be applying in Summer 2019 (R1 for 2020 matriculation)
- Plan to apply to HBS, Stanford, Wharton

Analysis of Official GMAT
- I was pretty disappointed when I saw the 36V / 680 total score flash on my screen, especially given my verbal score on my last MGMAT CAT. I ordered the ESR and was happy to see I had gotten every SC question correct (I've always been pretty good at SC) and really shocked to see how poorly I did in RC. This really bummed me out for a few hours before I realized that all I needed to do was focus on my RC and I could likely string together a solid score in my next attempt (hence this post!)
- I was definitely very nervous taking the test. I usually don't get test day anxiety, but I think I was putting more pressure than usual on myself given I did not want to take the test again. I could hear my heart beating a mile a minute through the noise cancelling headphones the test center gave me
- Out of my 4 RC passages, I though that 3 were very easy to read and digest and one was extremely tough (comparing styles of two late 18th century feminist authors). I thought I did fine on my first 3 passages, but clear this was not the case.

Self Review
- I find the toughest part of verbal for me is that I over-analyze every question. I tend to make second and third order connections when the obvious connection is the answer. I think this is what doomed me on my official exam - I was too focused on picking the "smart" answer when I should have picked the obvious answer. For example (as an extreme, made up case), if the passage is about reducing reliance on fossil fuel by investing in alternative energy sources and the question asks "What can we infer from this passage" I will pick an answer like "Fossil fuel will become prohibitively expensive in the near term if there is not a reduction in use" (my inner economist speaking) rather than the more obvious "Alternative energy sources are viable alternatives to fossil fuel"
- I know I can do better on verbal and am very motivated to put in the hours to improve here. I believe if I can get the score up closer to my last MGMAT CAT or even my GMAT Prep CATs I will be walking away with a solid score.
- I oftentimes read suggestions from folks here that users should read the Economist, NYT, science journals, etc. to improve their reading skills. I don't think my issue is in speed of reading or in remembering what I read, it is more that I struggle with understanding what the question is looking for and selecting the "most correct" answer.

Questions for GMAT Club
- My primary questions are (1) what would a RC-heavy study regimen look like and (2) what resources would you recommend?
- How can I train myself to stop trying to "outsmart" the answer choices and pick the correct answer even though it seems "too obvious"?
- I have read good things about both the PowerScore RC Bible and the Aristotle RC Grail. Does anyone have any experience or suggestions here?
- Is there anything in any of the above or in my ESR results that seems "off" to you? Anything I seem to be misinterpreting or coming to an improper conclusion on?

Thanks again for all your help! I appreciate your time in reading through and offering your help!


Attachment:
Verbal.PNG


Attachment:
Verbal 2.PNG


Attachment:
Verbal 3.PNG


Attachment:
Q1.PNG


Attachment:
Q2.PNG



Hi

Could you please throw some light on
A) How many short passages were there ?
B) How many questions with short passages ?
C) Approximate word limit of short passages ?
D) Genre of short passages ? Ex Science Social Science History Biography etc.
E) How many long passages were there ?
F) How many questions with long passages ?
G) Approximate word limit of long passages ?
H) Genre of long passages ? Ex Science Social Science History Biography etc.

Such detal would be of great help to all of us


Thanks and Regards
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Re: Disappointing Verbal (Attributable to RC) - Strategy for Improvement?  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2018, 14:51
1
Thanks for the replies all. Some responses below:

AjiteshArun: I would say this was a slight outlier. I had typically missed 3 - 5 RC questions out of ~12 on my practice CATs. Based on the percentages correct from the ESR, I am thinking I got ~7 wrong on the real exam (assuming 12 questions total, 50% split between the two subcategories shown in the clippings above). I had enough time until the final passage - I was really struggling to grasp the passage and forced myself to just guess between 2 or 3 answers and move on given I knew I had ~3 SC/CR questions left after the final passage.

ShankSouljaBoi: you are really testing the limits of my memory here. I will try to respond best I can below

A) How many short passages were there ?
- Zero short passages based on my definition (no scroll bar to see the whole passage). I remember one was just two paragraphs, but it was long in terms of total number of words. All remaining passages were 3+ paragraphs

B) How many questions with short passages ?
- three or four questions on the one that was two paragraphs

C) Approximate word limit of short passages ?
- See above

D) Genre of short passages ? Ex Science Social Science History Biography etc.
- comparing styles of two late 18th century feminist authors

E) How many long passages were there ?
- See above - three

F) How many questions with long passages ?
- three or four

G) Approximate word limit of long passages ?
- Couldn't tell you. All had scroll bars to see the whole passage

H) Genre of long passages ? Ex Science Social Science History Biography etc.
- One was physical sciences (meteors), one was history, and one was about an animal conservation effort

Hope that is helpful
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Re: Disappointing Verbal (Attributable to RC) - Strategy for Improvement?  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2018, 15:04
Thank you for taking out time and responding. This was certainly an eye opener for me.
Wish you the best for retake.

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Disappointing Verbal (Attributable to RC) - Strategy for Improvement?  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Dec 2018, 13:08
Hi CupOfWater,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. So looking at your ESR, I agree that Reading Comprehension is causing a major drag on your verbal score. Thus, your conclusion is correct: You need to improve your Reading Comprehension skills in order to improve your overall GMAT score.

To improve in Reading Comprehension, you need to focus on understanding what you are reading. When you are incorrectly answering Reading Comprehension questions, it’s partly because you do not truly understand what you have just read, right? Thus, you likely have to slow down in order to (eventually) speed up. At this point, your best bet is to focus on getting the correct answers to questions, taking as much time as you need to see key details and understand the logic of what you are reading. You have to learn to comprehend what you read, keep it all straight, and use what you are reading to arrive at correct answers. If you don't understand something, go back and read it one sentence at a time, even one word at a time, not moving on until you understand what you have just read. There is no way around this work. Your goal should be to take all the time you need to understand exactly what is being said and arrive at the correct answer. If you can learn to get answers taking your time, you can learn to speed up. Answering questions is like any task: The more times you do it carefully and successfully, the faster you become at doing it carefully and successfully.

Another component of understanding what you are reading is being “present” when reading. Don’t worry about how things are going at work, or what you will eat for dinner, or even how long you are taking to read through the passage. Just focus on what is in front of you, word by word, line by line. Furthermore, try to make reading fun. For example, even if you are reading about a topic that bores you, pretend that you are the person making the argument. By doing so, you will make the passage more relatable to YOU, and ultimately you should be able to read with greater focus.

One final component of Reading Comprehension that may be tripping you up is that RC questions contain one or more trap answers that seem to answer the question but don't really. So, a key part of training to correctly answer RC questions is learning to notice the differences between trap answers and correct answers. You have to learn to see how trap answers seem to follow from what the passages say, but don't really, while correct answers fit what the passages say exactly.

Also, you may find it helpful to read this article about how to score a 700+ on the GMAT.

If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out.

Good luck!
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Disappointing Verbal (Attributable to RC) - Strategy for Improvement?   [#permalink] 28 Dec 2018, 13:08
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