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Help needed in improving verbal score quickly

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New post 17 Feb 2020, 11:34
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Hi,

I have my GMAT in 20 days. I prepared for 2 months, and have finished all the questions from OG books. I took my first official mock today, and I got a horrible score of 590. And the biggest worrying thing was that it was Q51 V19. I have solved all the SC and CR questions from the OG. And I was able to solve most of the CR questions comfortably in 2 minutes. And my accuracy was not bad in SC either. But today, my speed dropped drastically and I had less than 5 minutes for the last 12 questions. What should I do to quickly improve my score? My reading speed is slow and English is not my native language. I can't improve my reading speed in 20 minutes. Can someone help me here? Also, which practice questions should I try now as I have exhausted all the OG questions? I want to reach 670-680. Is it possible to do that in 20 days?
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New post 17 Feb 2020, 14:33
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Hi henilshaht,

To start, many GMATers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent study time before they hit their 'peak' scores, so since you've been studying for just 2 months, then it's likely that you just have not put in enough time and effort to score higher yet. By extension, you might naturally improve as you continue to study and hone your skills. All of that having been said, raising a 590 to the point that you can consistently score 670+ will likely require at least another 1.5 - 2 months of consistent, guided study. Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level - but with just 20 days before your Official GMAT, there will likely be a limit to how much you can improve in that timeframe.

Before I can offer you any additional advice for your studies, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

1) How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used so far besides the Official Guide?
3) When are you planning to apply to Business School and what Schools are you planning to apply to?
4) Do you have the flexibility to push back your Test Date?

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New post 17 Feb 2020, 18:08
Update: I took a Kaplan mock today and scored Q50V33, far better than the official mock. I changed the order today (verbal first than quant first). Also, I moved on from a question after spend two minutes by choosing the best possible answer.

Thanks Rick for a quick response. Here are my answers:

1) How many hours do you typically study each week?
I spend 20-25 hours

2) What study materials have you used so far besides the Official Guide?
I haven't used anything else in Quant, but I am strong in that. I scored Q51 today. I have used e-gmat for the last 2 months for verbal only.

3) When are you planning to apply to Business School and what Schools are you planning to apply to?
I live in Canada and I was planning to apply to some Canadian schools in the round 4 (April end). I am aiming to apply this year.

EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi henilshaht,

To start, many GMATers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent study time before they hit their 'peak' scores, so since you've been studying for just 2 months, then it's likely that you just have not put in enough time and effort to score higher yet. By extension, you might naturally improve as you continue to study and hone your skills. All of that having been said, raising a 590 to the point that you can consistently score 670+ will likely require at least another 1.5 - 2 months of consistent, guided study. Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level - but with just 20 days before your Official GMAT, there will likely be a limit to how much you can improve in that timeframe.

Before I can offer you any additional advice for your studies, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

1) How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used so far besides the Official Guide?
3) When are you planning to apply to Business School and what Schools are you planning to apply to?
4) Do you have the flexibility to push back your Test Date?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: Help needed in improving verbal score quickly  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Feb 2020, 07:36
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henilshaht wrote:
Hi,

I have my GMAT in 20 days. I prepared for 2 months, and have finished all the questions from OG books. I took my first official mock today, and I got a horrible score of 590. And the biggest worrying thing was that it was Q51 V19. I have solved all the SC and CR questions from the OG. And I was able to solve most of the CR questions comfortably in 2 minutes. And my accuracy was not bad in SC either. But today, my speed dropped drastically and I had less than 5 minutes for the last 12 questions. What should I do to quickly improve my score? My reading speed is slow and English is not my native language. I can't improve my reading speed in 20 minutes. Can someone help me here? Also, which practice questions should I try now as I have exhausted all the OG questions? I want to reach 670-680. Is it possible to do that in 20 days?


Hi

It is difficult to enhance the speed of reading in a certain timeframe, but a candidate has to perform every type of task by taking into consideration of time. If you visit the GMAT club RC forum, you may get some more insights regarding speed.

https://gmatclub.com/forum/reading-comp ... on-rc-137/
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New post 18 Feb 2020, 19:27
Hi henilshaht,

If you had to rush through the last 12 Verbal questions on your first CAT (and got most - if not all - of them wrong), then that could help to explain the V19. With just one additional CAT Score, we don't know for sure whether a V33 is an accurate assessment of your current skills or not. For example, how often did you 'narrow the answers down to 2 choices and then "guess"?' That type of approach can lead to big 'swings' in your scores - especially if you are a bit more lucky or unlucky on a particular test.

Since you have performed consistently well in the Quant section, the bulk of your remaining study time should spent working on your Verbal skills.

1) How did you perform on RC, SC and CR on this most recent CAT?
2) What are the exact application deadlines for each of the Schools that you plan to apply to?

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New post 19 Feb 2020, 07:30
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I have found ScottTargetTestPrep's reading speed-related advice useful. You can read those from the link below:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/reading-spee ... l#p2454970
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New post 19 Feb 2020, 19:24
Thank you Rich. Yes, I got all the last 12 questions incorrect. Also, particularly in SC, I mostly narrow down to 2 options and guess the option. In case of CR, I am much more confident. I am performing poorly in RC. I will take another OG official tomorrow.

1) How did you perform on RC, SC and CR on this most recent CAT?
I performed well in SC and CR. But I got only 2 correct answers out of 12 RC questions.

2) What are the exact application deadlines for each of the Schools that you plan to apply to?
Application deadline is 30th April

EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi henilshaht,

If you had to rush through the last 12 Verbal questions on your first CAT (and got most - if not all - of them wrong), then that could help to explain the V19. With just one additional CAT Score, we don't know for sure whether a V33 is an accurate assessment of your current skills or not. For example, how often did you 'narrow the answers down to 2 choices and then "guess"?' That type of approach can lead to big 'swings' in your scores - especially if you are a bit more lucky or unlucky on a particular test.

Since you have performed consistently well in the Quant section, the bulk of your remaining study time should spent working on your Verbal skills.

1) How did you perform on RC, SC and CR on this most recent CAT?
2) What are the exact application deadlines for each of the Schools that you plan to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 19 Feb 2020, 19:43
Hi henilshaht,

The process of taking (and reviewing) a CAT requires a significant amount of energy and effort - and takes time to 'recover' from. This is one of the reasons why you typically shouldn't take more than 1 CAT per week - and your last CAT should be taken about 1 week before Test Day. Taking CATs more frequently than that will probably NOT be beneficial (and can actually increase your chances of 'burning out' before Test Day - and that is something that we want to avoid. Since you recently took a practice CAT, you should NOT plan to take another one so soon.

1) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?
2) What is the latest that you could push back your Test Date?

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Rich
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New post 20 Feb 2020, 14:23
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Hi Jay,

Here I am with my analysis.

My assessment of your ability.
1. V19 is not a true measure of your current verbal ability.
I have reviewed your data on our platform and given your metrics in our course and on scholaranium, I can say that your current verbal ability is anywhere between V28 and V33.

2. With some focused effort, you can easily get to V37+ level.

Why did you get V19?
Now you may ask - then how did I get V19 in the official mocks. There is a combination of factors responsible here.
1. Looking at your attempts on e-GMAT platform, I know that you have not done mixed quizzes. So, when you faced three different kinds of verbal questions on the mock, your mind could not correctly process that information.
2. You have not cemented the process for RC. I can say that since you have not attempted the required number RC questions on scholaranium.
3. You faced test anxiety since you did not go in well-prepared.

Importance of Test Readiness
Jay, for doing well on the GMAT, apart from learning and cementing the concepts and methods, it is also important to focus on test readiness. Your V19 score is an outcome of last of test readiness in verbal in general and lack of cementing in RC.

Please see thisvideo to learn about the importance of Test Readiness.
Thisvideo explains the architecture of when to do test readiness.

Recommended path forward
Our GMAT Strategy Team will give you a detailed path forward via email, but here I will present it at a very high level.

1. Take mixed quizzes in SC and CR so that you work on test readiness on the two sections that you are comfortable with.
2. Cement your concepts and methods in RC.
3. Take verbal mixed quizzes.

Do not take any mock tests until you complete the steps above. Once the above is done, you will be ready to take mock tests. I recommend SIGma-X mocks so that you can get ESR like analysis and take concrete actions to improve.

Jay, you are pretty close to your target score. Just a few more things to work on. You have established a good foundation. Now is the time to make sure you construct it well.

Looking forward to your success.

Regards,

Payal
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New post 20 Feb 2020, 17:57
Thanks Rich for the suggestion.

1) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?
I can study full time for the next 2 weeks (40 hours a week).

2) What is the latest that you could push back your Test Date?
I couldn't find any dates available in March, so I will have take my test on March 6th.


EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi henilshaht,

The process of taking (and reviewing) a CAT requires a significant amount of energy and effort - and takes time to 'recover' from. This is one of the reasons why you typically shouldn't take more than 1 CAT per week - and your last CAT should be taken about 1 week before Test Day. Taking CATs more frequently than that will probably NOT be beneficial (and can actually increase your chances of 'burning out' before Test Day - and that is something that we want to avoid. Since you recently took a practice CAT, you should NOT plan to take another one so soon.

1) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?
2) What is the latest that you could push back your Test Date?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 20 Feb 2020, 18:00
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Thank you so much, Payal.

This is really helpful. I definitely boosted my confidence. Thank you for the detailed analysis. I will definitely practice as recommended by you. Thank you again.
egmat wrote:
Hi Jay,

Here I am with my analysis.

My assessment of your ability.
1. V19 is not a true measure of your current verbal ability.
I have reviewed your data on our platform and given your metrics in our course and on scholaranium, I can say that your current verbal ability is anywhere between V28 and V33.

2. With some focused effort, you can easily get to V37+ level.

Why did you get V19?
Now you may ask - then how did I get V19 in the official mocks. There is a combination of factors responsible here.
1. Looking at your attempts on e-GMAT platform, I know that you have not done mixed quizzes. So, when you faced three different kinds of verbal questions on the mock, your mind could not correctly process that information.
2. You have not cemented the process for RC. I can say that since you have not attempted the required number RC questions on scholaranium.
3. You faced test anxiety since you did not go in well-prepared.

Importance of Test Readiness
Jay, for doing well on the GMAT, apart from learning and cementing the concepts and methods, it is also important to focus on test readiness. Your V19 score is an outcome of last of test readiness in verbal in general and lack of cementing in RC.

Please see thisvideo to learn about the importance of Test Readiness.
Thisvideo explains the architecture of when to do test readiness.

Recommended path forward
Our GMAT Strategy Team will give you a detailed path forward via email, but here I will present it at a very high level.

1. Take mixed quizzes in SC and CR so that you work on test readiness on the two sections that you are comfortable with.
2. Cement your concepts and methods in RC.
3. Take verbal mixed quizzes.

Do not take any mock tests until you complete the steps above. Once the above is done, you will be ready to take mock tests. I recommend SIGma-X mocks so that you can get ESR like analysis and take concrete actions to improve.

Jay, you are pretty close to your target score. Just a few more things to work on. You have established a good foundation. Now is the time to make sure you construct it well.

Looking forward to your success.

Regards,

Payal
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New post 21 Feb 2020, 04:12
You are most welcome Jay. I look forward to your progress.
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New post 21 Feb 2020, 14:09
Hi henilshaht,

Did you check for Test availability in April? I ask because you listed an application deadline of April 30th - meaning that you could easily take the GMAT twice in that month (if needed) and still make that application deadline (and that extra potential study time would likely give you a much better chance at hitting your Score Goal).

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New post 23 Feb 2020, 09:27
Hi henilshaht,

I know we have been speaking elsewhere, and I see that you’ve rescheduled your exam for April 14th. With that in mind, you may consider using some new GMAT verbal materials to help improve your verbal skills. To see what is available take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for verbal courses, and also read through some GMAT success stories to see what materials have worked well for other test-takers.

Also, would you like some general advice on how to improve your verbal skills?

You also may find it helpful to read this article about
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT.

Good luck!
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New post 23 Feb 2020, 10:09
Hi henilshaht.
Based on your posts and analysis of your current situation, I would recommend the following course of action:
1. Practice resources: Use the official guide 10th edition and the10 gmat past papers for sentence correction and critical reasoning questions. The questions in these two resources are not only reflective of the pattern of questions you would see on the real GMAT but also highly indicative of the complexities and level of Questions to expect on the test. They would not only solidify your foundation but also give you a good grip of advanced problems. For Reading Comprehensions, do all your practice passages on the screen and not in the book. You can use the OG 2020 and Manhattan passages as practice material.

2. Make short drills- Study your verbal in two rounds, each comprising a drill that includes-
15 Sentence Correction question to be done in 20 mins
10 CR Questions in 22 mins and 2 RCs in approx 14 mins (given that each has 4 questions )
In the next round of study, reverse the order of the drill- start with RC, followed by CR and then SC. This would not let your brain set into any particular order of questions and the shuffle would prepare you to tackle different questions with equal focus even when you are tired.

3. Review: after each round, take some time off to review your mistakes. First, simply check the answers without referring to explanations. Reattempt all the incorrect questions on your own. This would help identify careless errors. For the ones that you still end up getting wrong, read the explanations carefully. You can post your queries to me as well.

4. Pacer time- Divide the questions on your practice test into 4 segments-
Questions 1 to 10- 20 mins
Questions 11 to 20- 18 mins
Questions 21 to 30- 17 mins
Questions 31 to 36- 10 mins
Hope this helps.
Let me know if I can help you with any of your other gmat related queries.
All the best!

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New post 25 Feb 2020, 03:53
Thanks Scott for suggestions. I will go through that. And yes, I would really appreciate general advice to improve my verbal skills.
ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
Hi henilshaht,

I know we have been speaking elsewhere, and I see that you’ve rescheduled your exam for April 14th. With that in mind, you may consider using some new GMAT verbal materials to help improve your verbal skills. To see what is available take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for verbal courses, and also read through some GMAT success stories to see what materials have worked well for other test-takers.

Also, would you like some general advice on how to improve your verbal skills?

You also may find it helpful to read this article about
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT.

Good luck!
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New post 25 Feb 2020, 03:55
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Thanks a lot Sushigmat for the detailed analysis and suggestions. I have more than 45 days now to improve my score. I will definitely try this way.
sushigmat wrote:
Hi henilshaht.
Based on your posts and analysis of your current situation, I would recommend the following course of action:
1. Practice resources: Use the official guide 10th edition and the10 gmat past papers for sentence correction and critical reasoning questions. The questions in these two resources are not only reflective of the pattern of questions you would see on the real GMAT but also highly indicative of the complexities and level of Questions to expect on the test. They would not only solidify your foundation but also give you a good grip of advanced problems. For Reading Comprehensions, do all your practice passages on the screen and not in the book. You can use the OG 2020 and Manhattan passages as practice material.

2. Make short drills- Study your verbal in two rounds, each comprising a drill that includes-
15 Sentence Correction question to be done in 20 mins
10 CR Questions in 22 mins and 2 RCs in approx 14 mins (given that each has 4 questions )
In the next round of study, reverse the order of the drill- start with RC, followed by CR and then SC. This would not let your brain set into any particular order of questions and the shuffle would prepare you to tackle different questions with equal focus even when you are tired.

3. Review: after each round, take some time off to review your mistakes. First, simply check the answers without referring to explanations. Reattempt all the incorrect questions on your own. This would help identify careless errors. For the ones that you still end up getting wrong, read the explanations carefully. You can post your queries to me as well.

4. Pacer time- Divide the questions on your practice test into 4 segments-
Questions 1 to 10- 20 mins
Questions 11 to 20- 18 mins
Questions 21 to 30- 17 mins
Questions 31 to 36- 10 mins
Hope this helps.
Let me know if I can help you with any of your other gmat related queries.
All the best!

Posted from my mobile device
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New post 25 Feb 2020, 04:16
Hi henilshaht.

Good to know that you seem more confident about the fact that you can crack the gmat verbal. The fact that you have more time in your hand now would help you for sure. I do not know if you are currently a working professional or have you taken a sabbatical from work to prepare for your GMAT. The reason I say this is that in my 15 years experience of teaching GMAT across different continents, one common factor that I have observed in students, regardless of their academic or professional backgrounds, is that many a times students tend to ‘lose the steam’ and slacken when the reschedule their test. Before they know, they start losing their momentum and end up in a spot where they feel that all the ‘extra time’ they got by rescheduling their exam did not help them as much as they would have wanted.
To ward off that situation, make sure that even with your work or other commitments, you study verbal for about two hours on a daily basis.
Also keep your weekends to brush up your Quant so that the Quant scores are maintained. (It would also give you a welcome break from the ‘monotony’ of studying just verbal for days). You have about 6 weeks which means you can take at least 4 to 6 practice Tests during one of the weekends. Do consider buying the paid GMAT Practice test sets 3,4,5,6.
Let me know if you have any other queries.
Happy Learning!

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New post 25 Feb 2020, 07:19
henilshaht wrote:
Thanks Scott for suggestions. I will go through that. And yes, I would really appreciate general advice to improve my verbal skills.


Here is some general advice you can follow to improve your verbal skills. I’ll start with CR.

Your first goal is to fully master the individual topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken The Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn about each question type, do focused practice, so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you get a weakening question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize the specific question type? Were you doing too much analysis in your head? Did you skip over a keyword in an answer choice? You must thoroughly analyze your mistakes and seek to turn weaknesses into strengths by focusing on the question types you dread seeing and the questions you take a long time to answer correctly.

When practicing Reading Comprehension, you need to develop a reading strategy that is both efficient and thorough. Reading too fast and not understanding what you have read are equally as harmful as reading too slow and using up too much time. When attacking Reading Comprehension passages, you must have one clear goal in mind: to understand the context of what you are reading. However, you must do so efficiently, so you need to avoid getting bogged down in the details of each paragraph and instead focus on understanding the main point of each paragraph. That being said, do not fall into the trap of thinking that you can just read the intro and the conclusion and thereby comprehend the main idea of a paragraph. As you read a paragraph, consider how the context of the paragraph relates to previous paragraphs, so you can continue developing your overall understanding of the passage. Furthermore, as you practice Reading Comprehension, focus on the exact types of questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s Tone, etc. As with Critical Reasoning, analyze your incorrect Reading Comprehension answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. Keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be easy to read. So, to better prepare yourself to analyze such passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as the New York Times, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

Sentence Correction is a bit of a different animal compared to Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning. There are three aspects to getting correct answers to GMAT Sentence Correction questions: what you know, such as grammar rules, what you see, such as violations of grammar rules and the logic of sentence structure, and what you do, such as carefully considering each answer choice in the context of the non-underlined portion of the sentence. To drive up your Sentence Correction score, you likely will have to work on all three of those aspects. Furthermore, the likely reason that your Sentence Correction performance has not improved is that you have not been working on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, first and foremost, you MUST know your grammar rules. Let's be clear, though: GMAT Sentence Correction is not really a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning the grammar rules is so that you can determine what sentences convey and whether sentences are well-constructed. In fact, in many cases, incorrect answers to Sentence Correction questions are grammatically flawless. Thus, often your task is to use your knowledge of grammar rules to determine which answer choice creates the most logical sentence meaning and structure.

This determination of whether sentences are well-constructed and logical is the second aspect of finding correct answers to Sentence Correction questions, what you see. Likely, the main reason that Sentence Correction has not "clicked" for you is that you have not put enough work into developing your skill in seeing what is going on in the various versions of the sentence that the answer choices create. To develop this skill, you probably have to slow way down. You won't develop this skill by spending less than two minutes per question. For a while, anyway, you have to spend time with each question, maybe even ten or fifteen minutes on one question sometimes, analyzing every answer choice until you see the details that you have to see in order to choose the correct answer. As you go through the answer choices, consider the meaning conveyed by each version of the sentence. Does the meaning make sense? Even if you can tell what the version is SUPPOSED to convey, does the version really convey that meaning? Is there a verb to go with the subject? Do all pronouns clearly refer to nouns? By slowing way down and looking for these details, you learn to see what you have to see in order to clearly understand which answer to a Sentence Correction question is correct.

There is only one correct answer to any Sentence Correction question, there are clear reasons why that choice is correct and the others are not, and none of those reasons are that the correct version simply "sounds right." In fact, the correct version often sounds a little off at first. That correct answers may sound a little off is not surprising. If the correct answers were always the ones that sounded right, then most people most of the time would get Sentence Correction questions correct, without really knowing why the wrong answers were wrong and the correct answers were correct. So, you have to go beyond choosing what "sounds right" and learn to clearly see the logical reasons why one choice is better than all of the others.

As for the third aspect of getting Sentence Correction questions correct, what you do, the main thing you have to do is be very careful. You have to make sure that you are truly considering the structures of sentences and the meanings conveyed rather than allowing yourself to be tricked into choosing trap answers that sound right but don't convey logical meanings. You also have to make sure that you put some real energy into finding the correct answers. Finding the correct answer to a Sentence Correction question may take bouncing from choice to choice until you start to see the differences that make all choices wrong except for one. Often, when you first look at the choices in a Sentence Correction question, only one or two seem obviously incorrect. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to take the time to see the differences between answers and to figure out the precise reasons that one choice is correct.

To improve what you do when you answer Sentence Correction questions, seek to become aware of how you are going about answering them. Are you being careful and looking for logic and details, or are you quickly eliminating choices that sound a little off, and then choosing the best of the rest? If you choose an incorrect answer, consider what you did to arrive at that answer and what you could do differently to arrive at correct answers more consistently. Furthermore, see how many questions you can get correct in a row as you practice. If you break your streak by missing one, consider what you could do differently to extend your streak.

As with your Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension regimens, after learning a particular Sentence Correction topic, engage in focused practice with 30 questions or more that involve that topic. As your skills improve, you will want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple Sentence Correction topics.
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Re: Help needed in improving verbal score quickly   [#permalink] 25 Feb 2020, 07:19
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