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GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q49 V47 IR5) - (first attempt, ~3 months prep)

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GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q49 V47 IR5) - (first attempt, ~3 months prep) [#permalink]

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Hello GMAT Club members,

I took the exam on 26th Aug and scored a 770 (Q49 V47), for which I needed both effort and some luck. GMAT Club has been really valuable to me, not just for improving my knowledge/skills, but also for motivation. I've read countless briefs and gained a lot from all of them. I hope what you read below is useful.

Background
I'm from India, but work in the US now (since 2016). I have a B.A. (English) from an ordinary college, and an MBA from a top 10 India B-School (passed out in 2011). I would say that my verbal prowess is better than my quant skills, although I feel I'm sort of decent in quant as well.

Once I started working post-MBA, I realized how much more an MBA would have helped if I had some work experience. And now having been in the workforce for over 6 years, I really wanted to give a fair shot at getting into a top 10 US B-School. Therefore I decided to prepare for GMAT. My undergrad & MBA academic scores are low (lack of focus), so I needed to compensate with my GMAT score to stand out in the Indian Male demographic.

Lesson 1 - It's very important to realistically understand your current levels, to know what to do to improve


The reason I gave my background is because it's very important to get a good sense of where you are today, if you want to improve. The fun thing about GMAT (and for many other things in life) is that one size does NOT fit all. You'll have 10 different people following 10 different plans and achieving the same goal. So first up, do an honest assessment.

I used the OG 2016 Diagnostic test to understand my level initially. Then I took the 1st GMAT Prep test in Jan 2017 and scored a 710 (Q46 V42). I was relieved to know that I'm around the 700 level and decided to try and reach the 750 level.

Lesson 2 - Gather a lot of information & guidance, but use it selectively and wisely


After Jan 2017, I thought I have a lot of time to prepare since I was aiming for Sep 17 application deadlines, and I kept postponing the real prep. Finally I woke up in early June and realized that if I don't start now, I may not be ready for this year's application cycle. So I booked 5th Aug as my GMAT exam (postponed it to 26th Aug later since I didn't feel ready), giving myself around 2 months to prepare. Pro tip: Setting up a GMAT date was a great external force to motivate me to prepare, specially as I continued to work 40-50 hour weeks in my day job.

I scoured the GMAT Club forums, the Manhattan Strategy Guides and the OG16 to "understand the game" - types of questions, important topics, study plans, error logs, timing strategies. I made sure to not follow everything that everyone was saying, but find people who were more like me (average Quant, slightly better verbal) and then follow some of the recommendations - which applied more clearly to my situation. Feel free to tweak your plans and strategy, as you gain more information.

Lesson 3- Continuing to just practice problems won't increase your score. Analyzing what you're getting wrong and working on those areas will. Spend 2X time analyzing the problems you practice vs the time you spend doing them.



Material Used
OG 2016
Manhattan Strategy Guides - i really like them for almost all the topics. Used CR, SC, Number Properties & Geometry extensively. Also Strategy Guide 0 is great to understand the GMAT exam.
GMAT Club Math Book - so so useful and amazing. Must have for everyone.
GMAT Club - for study plans, error logs, Bunnuel's amazing posts, motivation, some flash cards

Topic Wise Plan
Overall -
- Used OG16 for question practice and used Manhattan online portal to record answers & timing - this allowed me to analyze my performance easily.
- Deeply studied all the mistakes I made on GMAT Prep & Manhattan Tests. Used snipping tool to create and save screenshots of important concepts (many from Bunnuel's posts) which I was getting wrong - specially related to prime numbers, factors, tricky geometry, combinatorics etc. Having all the screenshots in one place (an excel file) made it really easy to revise the concepts.

Quant- I was at Q46 to start with (kinda average), and Number Properties has always been my weak spot. So I paid special attention to the topic using Manhattan Guides & GMAT Club Math Book. Used the same material for most other topics.

Pro tip- Going from Q46 to Q49 level took some effort, but I knew going from Q49 to Q50/51 would be at least as much more effort. Therefore decided to continue with Q49 level and work on V section. Figure out what works best for you to help get your desired score.

Verbal
RC - I was naturally good at RC and was getting 95% accuracy in mock tests, so did not do anything specific here.

CR- I thought I would be good at this but I was not. I was making many mistakes and I decided to follow Mahattan Guide's reco to tweak my approach - i started jotting down the question body to make sure I understand it clearly & made sure i'm able to identify the Background Info, Premise, Conclusion, Counter-Premise etc. It's super important to know the "conclusion" of the argument. I got better at it with practice, but I continued to take 2-2.30 mins per question - which was fine by me because it increased my accuracy

SC- Again I thought I would be good at this but I was not so good. I used Manhattan Guide (and OG) to understand the different items they test, and then worked on the strategy of identifying markers & eliminating answers.

Important Verbal Tip - Initially I used to try to find the correct answer in Verbal, because of which I was making many mistakes. Big change in strategy was to start eliminating answers and then reach the correct one. This particular tip helped me the most in increasing accuracy.. (and possibly helping me to V47 in the real GMAT)

Prep Tests
I would say, just use GMAT Prep - they are the only real deal. Others may be good for practice, but they don't give you a realistic picture. I tried 2 Manhattan tests but scored a 640 and 670 and then stopped using them.

GMAT Prep1 710 (Q46 V42) 22nd Jan
MGMAT 1 640 (Q41 V36) 19th Feb
MGMAT 2 670 (Q45 V36) 9th Jul
GMAT Prep2 740 (Q47 V45) 29th Jul
GMAT Prep3 740 (Q49 V42) 13th Aug
GMAT Prep4 760 (Q49 V44) 20th Aug

Real GMAT - 770 (Q49 V47) (IR 5) 26th Aug

Timing & Other Strategies

Section Sequence- Quant, Verbal, IR & AWA - GMAT announced this right around the time I was starting to prepare, and I decided to go with Quant first as I felt it was my weaker section- so I wanted to go with highest energy level.

Test Centre- Highly recommend visiting the test center in advance- knowing the surroundings etc gives you mental peace and you can fully concentrate on the test. I visited a week before the exam arouond the same time as my slot.

Acquaintance with the scratch board- I ordered the Manhattan replica and used it on a few GMATPrep tests - this really helped in the real test... being used to the marker/pad surface ensured that there was nothing new to significantly affect my attention

Setting up the scratch board- I used some tips I got from a Manhattan blog on setting up the scratch board at the beginning of the test. I think it really helps in doing clean work and thus minimize chances of careless mistakes.

Timing strategies- checked time at Q10, 20 & 30 to make sure I was within +/- 3 mins of recommended time remaining. For Q (10 - 55 mins, 20- 35 mins, 30 - 15 mins), For V (10-56 mins, 20- 37 mins, 30- 18 mins)
Test Center Food - Bananas, Gatorade, Water

Pro tip- I got a 5 on IR because I didn't practice timing on IR, and it was in my final section (so was a little tired). Make sure you practice IR timing as well.

Test Day
I had booked a 1 pm slot (I hate waking up early), and I arrived by 12.40 pm. Was at peace because I had visited the center already and knew where the restrooms were, where the lockers were etc. Enjoyed a good breakfast around 11 am to make sure I don't feel too full but also have some reserve energy during the exam.

I made sure I did not think about how I was doing while still in the test. This was difficult but I let myself be totally lost in the questions.. which helped. At the end I saw the IR 5 score first, and was like "wtf" but then I saw the 770 and again I was like.. whoaaaaa. I had told myself that a 750 would make me really happy... so a 770 was definitely exhilirating.


It's a long read but I hope some of it is useful to some of you. I wish you luck.

Most Important Pro Tip - Whether you think you can do it or you think you cannot do it, you are probably right. It is extreeeeemly important to BELIEVE in yourself. You're often better than you give yourself credit for. So keep the faith.
_________________

.
.
.
.
.
GMAT Debrief - 770
bb's "The Definitive GMAT Study Plan" - 2016 Edition
Must read forum topics before you start your MBA application

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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q49 V47 IR5) - (first attempt, ~3 months prep) [#permalink]

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New post 29 Aug 2017, 10:29
fallikzoan Thank you for the tips!

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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q49 V47 IR5) - (first attempt, ~3 months prep) [#permalink]

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New post 30 Aug 2017, 08:21
fallikzoan wrote:

Lesson 3- Continuing to just practice problems won't increase your score. Analyzing what you're getting wrong and working on those areas will. Spend 2X time analyzing the problems you practice vs the time you spend doing them.



Congrats on the great score and all the best for the applications!

What I was interested in finding out was, how did you analyze the specific problem types
Whenever I try doing this exercise, I end up writing "did not understand the passage/something generic" (at least for RC)
It would be very helpful if you could elucidate your approach to doing RC questions?

Thanks in advance :)
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q49 V47 IR5) - (first attempt, ~3 months prep) [#permalink]

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New post 30 Aug 2017, 20:27
pushpitkc wrote:
fallikzoan wrote:

Lesson 3- Continuing to just practice problems won't increase your score. Analyzing what you're getting wrong and working on those areas will. Spend 2X time analyzing the problems you practice vs the time you spend doing them.



Congrats on the great score and all the best for the applications!

What I was interested in finding out was, how did you analyze the specific problem types
Whenever I try doing this exercise, I end up writing "did not understand the passage/something generic" (at least for RC)
It would be very helpful if you could elucidate your approach to doing RC questions?

Thanks in advance :)


Thanks pushpitkc
I treat RC like an extended critical reasoning question. I read the whole RC passage and make sure I understand everything they are saying. (I often say it out loud to myself in my own words to make sure I really get it).
Sometimes if there is lots of information and its difficult to retain, I draw an infographic/diagram on paper to make sure I understand the relationships clearly etc.

When reviewing incorrect answers on RC I'd suggest you evaluate 2 things - 1) why did you choose the answer that you chose? what was the "logic" behind it? 2) why did you eliminate the correct answer? what was "logic" behind eliminating it? (I strongly recommend eliminating answers to reach the correct one, if you aren't doing it already)

There can be 2-3 reasons for both the questions above - (a) you didn't understand the passage content/overlooked a detail (b) you misunderstood the question (c) careless mistake

If you see one type of pattern emerging, maybe you can focus on that particular aspect.
_________________

.
.
.
.
.
GMAT Debrief - 770
bb's "The Definitive GMAT Study Plan" - 2016 Edition
Must read forum topics before you start your MBA application

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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q49 V47 IR5) - (first attempt, ~3 months prep) [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2017, 16:04
stoiczoan wrote:
Hello GMAT Club members,

I took the exam on 26th Aug and scored a 770 (Q49 V47), for which I needed both effort and some luck. GMAT Club has been really valuable to me, not just for improving my knowledge/skills, but also for motivation. I've read countless briefs and gained a lot from all of them. I hope what you read below is useful.

Background
I'm from India, but work in the US now (since 2016). I have a B.A. (English) from an ordinary college, and an MBA from a top 10 India B-School (passed out in 2011). I would say that my verbal prowess is better than my quant skills, although I feel I'm sort of decent in quant as well.

Once I started working post-MBA, I realized how much more an MBA would have helped if I had some work experience. And now having been in the workforce for over 6 years, I really wanted to give a fair shot at getting into a top 10 US B-School. Therefore I decided to prepare for GMAT. My undergrad & MBA academic scores are low (lack of focus), so I needed to compensate with my GMAT score to stand out in the Indian Male demographic.

Lesson 1 - It's very important to realistically understand your current levels, to know what to do to improve


The reason I gave my background is because it's very important to get a good sense of where you are today, if you want to improve. The fun thing about GMAT (and for many other things in life) is that one size does NOT fit all. You'll have 10 different people following 10 different plans and achieving the same goal. So first up, do an honest assessment.

I used the OG 2016 Diagnostic test to understand my level initially. Then I took the 1st GMAT Prep test in Jan 2017 and scored a 710 (Q46 V42). I was relieved to know that I'm around the 700 level and decided to try and reach the 750 level.

Lesson 2 - Gather a lot of information & guidance, but use it selectively and wisely


After Jan 2017, I thought I have a lot of time to prepare since I was aiming for Sep 17 application deadlines, and I kept postponing the real prep. Finally I woke up in early June and realized that if I don't start now, I may not be ready for this year's application cycle. So I booked 5th Aug as my GMAT exam (postponed it to 26th Aug later since I didn't feel ready), giving myself around 2 months to prepare. Pro tip: Setting up a GMAT date was a great external force to motivate me to prepare, specially as I continued to work 40-50 hour weeks in my day job.

I scoured the GMAT Club forums, the Manhattan Strategy Guides and the OG16 to "understand the game" - types of questions, important topics, study plans, error logs, timing strategies. I made sure to not follow everything that everyone was saying, but find people who were more like me (average Quant, slightly better verbal) and then follow some of the recommendations - which applied more clearly to my situation. Feel free to tweak your plans and strategy, as you gain more information.

Lesson 3- Continuing to just practice problems won't increase your score. Analyzing what you're getting wrong and working on those areas will. Spend 2X time analyzing the problems you practice vs the time you spend doing them.



Material Used
OG 2016


Manhattan Strategy Guides - i really like them for almost all the topics. Used CR, SC, Number Properties & Geometry extensively. Also Strategy Guide 0 is great to understand the GMAT exam.
GMAT Club Math Book - so so useful and amazing. Must have for everyone.
GMAT Club - for study plans, error logs, Bunnuel's amazing posts, motivation, some flash cards

Topic Wise Plan
Overall -

- Used OG16 for question practice and used Manhattan online portal to record answers & timing - this allowed me to analyze my performance easily.
- Deeply studied all the mistakes I made on GMAT Prep & Manhattan Tests. Used snipping tool to create and save screenshots of important concepts (many from Bunnuel's posts) which I was getting wrong - specially related to prime numbers, factors, tricky geometry, combinatorics etc. Having all the screenshots in one place (an excel file) made it really easy to revise the concepts.

Quant- I was at Q46 to start with (kinda average), and Number Properties has always been my weak spot. So I paid special attention to the topic using Manhattan Guides & GMAT Club Math Book. Used the same material for most other topics.

Pro tip- Going from Q46 to Q49 level took some effort, but I knew going from Q49 to Q50/51 would be at least as much more effort. Therefore decided to continue with Q49 level and work on V section. Figure out what works best for you to help get your desired score.

Verbal
RC - I was naturally good at RC and was getting 95% accuracy in mock tests, so did not do anything specific here.

CR- I thought I would be good at this but I was not. I was making many mistakes and I decided to follow Mahattan Guide's reco to tweak my approach - i started jotting down the question body to make sure I understand it clearly & made sure i'm able to identify the Background Info, Premise, Conclusion, Counter-Premise etc. It's super important to know the "conclusion" of the argument. I got better at it with practice, but I continued to take 2-2.30 mins per question - which was fine by me because it increased my accuracy

SC- Again I thought I would be good at this but I was not so good. I used Manhattan Guide (and OG) to understand the different items they test, and then worked on the strategy of identifying markers & eliminating answers.

Important Verbal Tip - Initially I used to try to find the correct answer in Verbal, because of which I was making many mistakes. Big change in strategy was to start eliminating answers and then reach the correct one. This particular tip helped me the most in increasing accuracy.. (and possibly helping me to V47 in the real GMAT)

Prep Tests
I would say, just use GMAT Prep - they are the only real deal. Others may be good for practice, but they don't give you a realistic picture. I tried 2 Manhattan tests but scored a 640 and 670 and then stopped using them.

GMAT Prep1 710 (Q46 V42) 22nd Jan
MGMAT 1 640 (Q41 V36) 19th Feb
MGMAT 2 670 (Q45 V36) 9th Jul
GMAT Prep2 740 (Q47 V45) 29th Jul
GMAT Prep3 740 (Q49 V42) 13th Aug
GMAT Prep4 760 (Q49 V44) 20th Aug

Real GMAT - 770 (Q49 V47) (IR 5) 26th Aug

Timing & Other Strategies

Section Sequence- Quant, Verbal, IR & AWA - GMAT announced this right around the time I was starting to prepare, and I decided to go with Quant first as I felt it was my weaker section- so I wanted to go with highest energy level.

Test Centre- Highly recommend visiting the test center in advance- knowing the surroundings etc gives you mental peace and you can fully concentrate on the test. I visited a week before the exam arouond the same time as my slot.

Acquaintance with the scratch board- I ordered the Manhattan replica and used it on a few GMATPrep tests - this really helped in the real test... being used to the marker/pad surface ensured that there was nothing new to significantly affect my attention

Setting up the scratch board- I used some tips I got from a Manhattan blog on setting up the scratch board at the beginning of the test. I think it really helps in doing clean work and thus minimize chances of careless mistakes.

Timing strategies- checked time at Q10, 20 & 30 to make sure I was within +/- 3 mins of recommended time remaining. For Q (10 - 55 mins, 20- 35 mins, 30 - 15 mins), For V (10-56 mins, 20- 37 mins, 30- 18 mins)
Test Center Food - Bananas, Gatorade, Water

Pro tip- I got a 5 on IR because I didn't practice timing on IR, and it was in my final section (so was a little tired). Make sure you practice IR timing as well.

Test Day
I had booked a 1 pm slot (I hate waking up early), and I arrived by 12.40 pm. Was at peace because I had visited the center already and knew where the restrooms were, where the lockers were etc. Enjoyed a good breakfast around 11 am to make sure I don't feel too full but also have some reserve energy during the exam.

I made sure I did not think about how I was doing while still in the test. This was difficult but I let myself be totally lost in the questions.. which helped. At the end I saw the IR 5 score first, and was like "wtf" but then I saw the 770 and again I was like.. whoaaaaa. I had told myself that a 750 would make me really happy... so a 770 was definitely exhilirating.


It's a long read but I hope some of it is useful to some of you. I wish you luck.

Most Important Pro Tip - Whether you think you can do it or you think you cannot do it, you are probably right. It is extreeeeemly important to BELIEVE in yourself. You're often better than you give yourself credit for. So keep the faith.


Wow so helpful

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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q49 V47 IR5) - (first attempt, ~3 months prep) [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2017, 23:50
Congrats for scoring a 770. You started at a V42 level but is there anything that you would like to suggest for someone who is at a V28 level ?
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q49 V47 IR5) - (first attempt, ~3 months prep) [#permalink]

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New post 03 Nov 2017, 02:14
Shiv2016 wrote:
Congrats for scoring a 770. You started at a V42 level but is there anything that you would like to suggest for someone who is at a V28 level ?


I recently scored 38 (not as much as 42 but still decent). I would advise you to go through all MGMAT guides and obviously work hard on your error log

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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q49 V47 IR5) - (first attempt, ~3 months prep) [#permalink]

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New post 03 Nov 2017, 07:44
Lepe96 wrote:
Shiv2016 wrote:
Congrats for scoring a 770. You started at a V42 level but is there anything that you would like to suggest for someone who is at a V28 level ?


I recently scored 38 (not as much as 42 but still decent). I would advise you to go through all MGMAT guides and obviously work hard on your error log



Thanks for your reply. And 38 is really great (also my target verbal score). I have MGMAT SC guide, Powerscore CR book, and official guides.
I know it is a little too much but I have only a month left before my next attempt and I need to take this 28 to atleast 38. Will reading these books agaon, solving questions, and maintaining error log properly would be sufficient for 10 point increase?

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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q49 V47 IR5) - (first attempt, ~3 months prep) [#permalink]

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New post 03 Nov 2017, 14:23
Shiv2016 wrote:
Lepe96 wrote:
Shiv2016 wrote:
Congrats for scoring a 770. You started at a V42 level but is there anything that you would like to suggest for someone who is at a V28 level ?


I recently scored 38 (not as much as 42 but still decent). I would advise you to go through all MGMAT guides and obviously work hard on your error log



Thanks for your reply. And 38 is really great (also my target verbal score). I have MGMAT SC guide, Powerscore CR book, and official guides.
I know it is a little too much but I have only a month left before my next attempt and I need to take this 28 to atleast 38. Will reading these books agaon, solving questions, and maintaining error log properly would be sufficient for 10 point increase?


A lot depends from your current english level but I think that if you are at a C1 level and you know how to approach question a 36+ is pretty doable, just stay focused and follow the method

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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q49 V47 IR5) - (first attempt, ~3 months prep) [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2017, 18:35
Shiv2016 wrote:
Lepe96 wrote:
Shiv2016 wrote:
Congrats for scoring a 770. You started at a V42 level but is there anything that you would like to suggest for someone who is at a V28 level ?


I recently scored 38 (not as much as 42 but still decent). I would advise you to go through all MGMAT guides and obviously work hard on your error log



Thanks for your reply. And 38 is really great (also my target verbal score). I have MGMAT SC guide, Powerscore CR book, and official guides.
I know it is a little too much but I have only a month left before my next attempt and I need to take this 28 to atleast 38. Will reading these books agaon, solving questions, and maintaining error log properly would be sufficient for 10 point increase?


Hi Shiv2016
I'd say evaluate how you fare on the 3 sections (SC, CR, RC) - are you better at one vs the others? There are 2 parts to the preparation - 1) basic fundamental knowledge 2) test taking strategies. How would you rate yourself on these?

I feel SC can be easier to improve on than RC & CR. Learning markers and practicing eliminating answers can quickly yield better results in SC. For CR & RC, it may take more effort.

Will need to know more to offer more specific guidance.
_________________

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.
.
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GMAT Debrief - 770
bb's "The Definitive GMAT Study Plan" - 2016 Edition
Must read forum topics before you start your MBA application

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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q49 V47 IR5) - (first attempt, ~3 months prep) [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2017, 22:43
What do you think one should do to improve CR /RC. I mean I have strong basis but I wanna go from 38 to 42ish what is technique should I use to improve my verbal

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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q49 V47 IR5) - (first attempt, ~3 months prep) [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2017, 23:20
I understand basics are important for SC to reach a certain level. But are basics important for CR apart from knowing what types of questions are there ?

In CR, I end up getting stuck between two options. In assumption and evaluate, I use negation and variance test to get to the right answer but what about other question types?
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q49 V47 IR5) - (first attempt, ~3 months prep) [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2017, 16:39
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Lepe96 wrote:
What do you think one should do to improve CR /RC. I mean I have strong basis but I wanna go from 38 to 42ish what is technique should I use to improve my verbal


Shiv2016 wrote:
I understand basics are important for SC to reach a certain level. But are basics important for CR apart from knowing what types of questions are there ?

In CR, I end up getting stuck between two options. In assumption and evaluate, I use negation and variance test to get to the right answer but what about other question types?


I'll try to reply to both posts together.

Shiv2016 - I agree.. for CR, the technique used can play a big role in helping us get to the right answer.
For CR I followed the Manhattan suggested approach of 1) jotting down a quick summary unless its a really simple passage (2) making certain i understand what the "conclusion" is (3) Identifying the overall flow of the passage (e.g. background -> premise -> background -> conclusion

When analyzing CR & RC, try to identify why exactly are the incorrect options incorrect, and why precisely is the correct option correct. Do this even for questions you get right.

And always, always, always - eliminate options to reach the correct one. Never ever select it directly.

Attaching a sample sheet from a practice test I took.
Attachments

IMG_0842.jpg
IMG_0842.jpg [ 1.86 MiB | Viewed 232 times ]


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GMAT Debrief - 770
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