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How to Improve SC accuracy in 600-700 & >700 level questions?

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New post 14 Jan 2019, 01:05
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Hi experts,

I am stuck at ~70% accuracy in 600-700 level questions and ~40% accuracy in >700 level questions. I want to improve my accuracy. Please advice.
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New post 14 Jan 2019, 06:26
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Even I have the same problem.Please help someone?

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New post 14 Jan 2019, 12:18
Hi Mike03,

Back in June, 2018, you posted that you had scored 600/Q47/V25 on the Official GMAT. You're clearly focused on improving on SCs, but that might not be the only area (or the most important one) that you should be working on right now. Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying over the last 6 months and your overall timeline

Studies:
1) What study materials have you used since you took the Official GMAT?
2) Did you take the GMAT again after that first attempt (and if you did, then how did you score)?
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs since then (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)? Did you retake any of the CATs you had previously taken?

Goals:
4) When are you planning to retake the GMAT?
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: How to Improve SC accuracy in 600-700 & >700 level questions?  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jan 2019, 04:09
Hi Rich,

Please find my answers inline.

EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Mike03,

Back in June, 2018, you posted that you had scored 600/Q47/V25 on the Official GMAT. You're clearly focused on improving on SCs, but that might not be the only area (or the most important one) that you should be working on right now. Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying over the last 6 months and your overall timeline

Studies:
1) What study materials have you used since you took the Official GMAT? - Solved the OG again and solved ~1000 SC questions from GMATclub platform. I did not study for the entire 6 months. Started seriously studying only from September end.
2) Did you take the GMAT again after that first attempt (and if you did, then how did you score)? - No, I haven't taken the GMAT post my first attempt in June 2018.
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs since then (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)? Did you retake any of the CATs you had previously taken? - No, I haven't taken any CATs. My strategy is to focus on my knowledge building first and then on the test-taking skills. I believe

Goals:
4) When are you planning to retake the GMAT? - I am planning to give it again in April 2019.
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School? - This year, starting round 1
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to? - Berkley HaaS, Chicago Booth, Harvard, Wharton, and INSEAD.

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Rich
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Re: How to Improve SC accuracy in 600-700 & >700 level questions?  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jan 2019, 13:23
Hi Mike03,

If you truly have not taken a CAT since you took the GMAT (meaning that it's been over 6 MONTHS), then you really MUST take a FULL-LENGTH CAT sometime soon - and take it in a realistic fashion (take the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections, take it away from your home, at the same time of day as when you'll take the Official GMAT, etc.). I believe that you've worked through 100s (if not 1,000s) of practice questions, but if you have not properly assessed your overall Test-taking skills under proper testing conditions, then we have no way of knowing what you actually should be focused on right now.

Once you have that next CAT result, you should post back here (or you can PM/email me directly) and we can discuss the results and how best to proceed.

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Rich
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Re: How to Improve SC accuracy in 600-700 & >700 level questions?  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jan 2019, 20:18
Hi Mike03,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. First off, looking at your study routine, you are following a plan that I call “practice first and figure the rest out later.” In other words, you are doing practice problems before understanding the concepts on which those problems are based, and thus you are trying to learn solely from reading solutions to problems. Following such a study plan will lead to disorganized preparation and ultimately hold you back from improving your verbal skills (as we see it has done). Thus, to improve your Sentence Correction skills, you may consider using a resource that allows you FIRST to learn the concepts and strategies related to GMAT verbal and SECOND to practice with a large number of realistic questions. Here is some further advice you can follow to improve those skills.

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, to be successful in Sentence Correction, first and foremost, you MUST know your grammar rules. Let's be clear, though: GMAT Sentence Correction is not just a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning 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. To develop this skill, you probably have to slow way down. You won't develop this skill by spending under 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 in the sentence clearly refer to nouns in the sentence? 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 those reasons are not 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 answer were always the one 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 meanings that make sense. 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 repeatedly until you start to see the differences between the choices 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. It may take time for you to see what you have to see. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to be determined to see the differences 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. For instance, 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 that resulted in your arriving at that answer and what you could do differently in order 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 have done differently that would have extended your streak.

As with your Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension regiments, after learning a particular Sentence Correction topic, engage in focused practice with 30 questions or more that involve that topic. As your Sentence Correction skills improve, you’ll then want to practice with SC questions that test you on skills from multiple SC topics.

Feel free to reach out with further questions.

You also may find my article with more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.
_________________

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Re: How to Improve SC accuracy in 600-700 & >700 level questions?  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2019, 03:27
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Mike03,

If you truly have not taken a CAT since you took the GMAT (meaning that it's been over 6 MONTHS), then you really MUST take a FULL-LENGTH CAT sometime soon - and take it in a realistic fashion (take the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections, take it away from your home, at the same time of day as when you'll take the Official GMAT, etc.). I believe that you've worked through 100s (if not 1,000s) of practice questions, but if you have not properly assessed your overall Test-taking skills under proper testing conditions, then we have no way of knowing what you actually should be focused on right now.

Once you have that next CAT result, you should post back here (or you can PM/email me directly) and we can discuss the results and how best to proceed.

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


Hi Rich,

I gave the GMAT Official Mock Test 1 and scored a 680. Please find attached my analysis. Kindly guide me on how to achieve a 730+ score.
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GMAT Mock 1 - 20.01.2019.png
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Re: How to Improve SC accuracy in 600-700 & >700 level questions?  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2019, 14:00
Hi Mike03,

To start, I assume that this is the first of the two free GMAC practice CATs (available from www.mba.com); did you ever take this CAT before (during your prior studies) or have you seen any of the questions before (since you have worked through 1,000s of forum questions already)?

Assuming that you took this CAT in a realistic fashion and all of the questions were "new", then this result shows that you've improved nicely over your prior Official GMAT Score. Based on these results, SC is not an area that you need to be focusing on right now - both RC and CR represent a much greater opportunity to pick up points. With the proper focus on Verbal Tactics, you could potentially retest in a month and hit your Score Goal (but if you have developed any 'bad habits' during your prior studies, then you would likely need more time than that).

1) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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Re: How to Improve SC accuracy in 600-700 & >700 level questions?  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2019, 22:00
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Mike03,

To start, I assume that this is the first of the two free GMAC practice CATs (available from http://www.mba.com); did you ever take this CAT before (during your prior studies) or have you seen any of the questions before (since you have worked through 1,000s of forum questions already)?

Assuming that you took this CAT in a realistic fashion and all of the questions were "new", then this result shows that you've improved nicely over your prior Official GMAT Score. Based on these results, SC is not an area that you need to be focusing on right now - both RC and CR represent a much greater opportunity to pick up points. With the proper focus on Verbal Tactics, you could potentially retest in a month and hit your Score Goal (but if you have developed any 'bad habits' during your prior studies, then you would likely need more time than that).

1) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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


Hi Rich,

On weekdays, I can study for 2-3 hours each day and on weekends, I can dedicate 7-8 hours each day. So, in a week, I can spend ~25 hours studying (on a conservative basis).

Regards,
Mike03
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How to Improve SC accuracy in 600-700 & >700 level questions?  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2019, 22:16
ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
Hi Mike03,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. First off, looking at your study routine, you are following a plan that I call “practice first and figure the rest out later.” In other words, you are doing practice problems before understanding the concepts on which those problems are based, and thus you are trying to learn solely from reading solutions to problems. Following such a study plan will lead to disorganized preparation and ultimately hold you back from improving your verbal skills (as we see it has done). Thus, to improve your Sentence Correction skills, you may consider using a resource that allows you FIRST to learn the concepts and strategies related to GMAT verbal and SECOND to practice with a large number of realistic questions. Here is some further advice you can follow to improve those skills.

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, to be successful in Sentence Correction, first and foremost, you MUST know your grammar rules. Let's be clear, though: GMAT Sentence Correction is not just a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning 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. To develop this skill, you probably have to slow way down. You won't develop this skill by spending under 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 in the sentence clearly refer to nouns in the sentence? 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 those reasons are not 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 answer were always the one 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 meanings that make sense. 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 repeatedly until you start to see the differences between the choices 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. It may take time for you to see what you have to see. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to be determined to see the differences 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. For instance, 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 that resulted in your arriving at that answer and what you could do differently in order 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 have done differently that would have extended your streak.

As with your Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension regiments, after learning a particular Sentence Correction topic, engage in focused practice with 30 questions or more that involve that topic. As your Sentence Correction skills improve, you’ll then want to practice with SC questions that test you on skills from multiple SC topics.

Feel free to reach out with further questions.

You also may find my article with more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.


Thank you, Scott for your valuable advice. Can you also share your insights on how I should go about my CR and RC preparation? Please find attached my score analysis in the recent mock test (GMAT Prep 1) that I gave yesterday.

In RC especially, I have observed that I kind of phase out midway while reading the entire RC and don't read the passage properly to answer the following questions quickly. It is a concentration problem that I am aware of. Any techniques that I can apply to improve this?

And in CR, I easily reach the stage where I have eliminated 3 options and have to choose between the remaining 2. This is the stage where I often pick the wrong choice. Also, the constant tick-tick of timer makes me nervous. Any guidance on how I can improve this would be really helpful.

Regards,
Mike03
Attachments

GMAT Mock 1 - 20.01.2019.png
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Re: How to Improve SC accuracy in 600-700 & >700 level questions?  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jan 2019, 12:48
Hi Mike03,

With 25 hours a week of potential study time, you could potentially improve a great deal in just a few weeks. Given your particular needs in the Verbal section, I think that you would find the EMPOWERgmat Verbal Score Booster to be quite helpful. Most of our clients finish that Study Plan in under a month, so the time commitment shouldn't be an issue. During that time, you'll also be able to access any of the Quant resources that interest you. We have a variety of free resources on our site (www.empowergmat.com), so you can 'test out' the Course before setting up an account.

If you have any additional questions, then you can feel free to contact me directly.

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Re: How to Improve SC accuracy in 600-700 & >700 level questions?  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jan 2019, 20:03
Hi Mike03,

To improve in Critical Reasoning, you first need to master the individual Critical Reasoning topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn about each question type, do focused practice so 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.

One major mistake that people make when training for CR is that they do practice questions too fast. To get Critical Reasoning questions correct, you have to see exactly what is going on in the passages and answer choices, and you likely won't learn to do so by spending a few minutes on each question. At this stage of your training, you may need to spend as many as fifteen minutes on each question, learning to see what there is to see. Here is a way to look at this process: If you get a new job in a field in which you are not experienced, you may not be as fast as the other people working with you, but you know you have a job to do and you make sure you learn all the angles, so that you do the job well, if not as quickly as those around you. Rushing through the job and doing it incorrectly would not make sense. Then, as you gain more experience, you learn to do the same job more quickly. Think of Critical Reasoning questions similarly. Your job is to do what? To get through questions quickly? Not really. Your job is to get correct answers.

So, first you have to learn to get correct answers, generally at least 10 to 15 in a row consistently, and more in a row would be better. That is your job, and if it takes you fifteen minutes per question to get correct answers consistently, then so be it. Only after you have learned to get correct answers consistently can you work on speeding up. Working quickly but not doing your job is useless. Better to work slowly and learn to do your job well. You can be sure that with experience, you will learn to speed up, and then you will still be doing your job well, i.e., getting correct answers consistently.

Finally, a key aspect of getting correct answers to Critical Reasoning questions is noticing the key differences between trap choices and correct answers. Trap choices can sound temptingly correct but don't get the job done. The logic of what a trap choice says simply doesn't fit what the question is asking you to find. So, to get better at your job, learn to see the key differences between trap choices and correct answers.

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.

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

Good luck!
_________________

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TTP - Target Test Prep Logo
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See why Target Test Prep is the top rated GMAT quant course on GMAT Club. Read Our Reviews

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Re: How to Improve SC accuracy in 600-700 & >700 level questions?  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jan 2019, 21:59
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ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
Hi Mike03,

To improve in Critical Reasoning, you first need to master the individual Critical Reasoning topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn about each question type, do focused practice so 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.

One major mistake that people make when training for CR is that they do practice questions too fast. To get Critical Reasoning questions correct, you have to see exactly what is going on in the passages and answer choices, and you likely won't learn to do so by spending a few minutes on each question. At this stage of your training, you may need to spend as many as fifteen minutes on each question, learning to see what there is to see. Here is a way to look at this process: If you get a new job in a field in which you are not experienced, you may not be as fast as the other people working with you, but you know you have a job to do and you make sure you learn all the angles, so that you do the job well, if not as quickly as those around you. Rushing through the job and doing it incorrectly would not make sense. Then, as you gain more experience, you learn to do the same job more quickly. Think of Critical Reasoning questions similarly. Your job is to do what? To get through questions quickly? Not really. Your job is to get correct answers.

So, first you have to learn to get correct answers, generally at least 10 to 15 in a row consistently, and more in a row would be better. That is your job, and if it takes you fifteen minutes per question to get correct answers consistently, then so be it. Only after you have learned to get correct answers consistently can you work on speeding up. Working quickly but not doing your job is useless. Better to work slowly and learn to do your job well. You can be sure that with experience, you will learn to speed up, and then you will still be doing your job well, i.e., getting correct answers consistently.

Finally, a key aspect of getting correct answers to Critical Reasoning questions is noticing the key differences between trap choices and correct answers. Trap choices can sound temptingly correct but don't get the job done. The logic of what a trap choice says simply doesn't fit what the question is asking you to find. So, to get better at your job, learn to see the key differences between trap choices and correct answers.

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.

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

Good luck!


Thank you, Scott for your detailed post. I'll keep you posted with my progress.
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Re: How to Improve SC accuracy in 600-700 & >700 level questions?  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2019, 10:40
Awesome. Good luck!
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Re: How to Improve SC accuracy in 600-700 & >700 level questions?   [#permalink] 27 Jan 2019, 10:40
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