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How to improve verbal?

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GMAT 1: 690 Q48 V37
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New post 17 Aug 2018, 13:59
I'm a non-native speaker who has lived in a English speaking country for the past 13 years. I had 8 years of education during which the medium of instruction was English, and I did an IELTS test this Feb and got a score of 8.5. I took the GMAT on 6th of August and got a mark of 690(Q48, V37). I was not entirely happy about it given that I've studied for 6 months and regardless whether I can get into a top MBA program or not, I thought that I owe it to myself to get a better score.

I've booked a new test in 2 weeks' time, but I'm really perplexed about my verbal performance and have no idea how to improve it. I'm not sure if my problem is psychological, in the sense that I get really nervous during exam settings, or it's just that there are some things that I haven't figured out yet. Set aside my IELTS performance and English capabilities, I've been performing at a relatively good level during practices, scoring 91% for CR and 81% for SC for the 2019 official Verbal Guidebook. However, I have always struggled to transfer that level of performance to the actual test, as my verbal scores for the 3 CAT mocks before the test and the actual test itself were all in that range, from V35 to V37.

After the test I got the ESR and upon reviewing it, I realized that my weakest area was actually CR, which was peculiar as CR was the section that I performed best while practicing. I've pretty much exhausted all the verbal practice questions from GMAC (3 preps, the online question pack, the OG, and the verbal guidebook), and I still couldn't break the V40 threshold. I literally ran out of questions to practice and my thought was to go over the questions that I got wrong during practices and find a pattern, but I'm not sure what good will that do.

I've reviewed Manhattan's CR and SC guides before my first test as well and they were of great help, but I was wondering if there are other materials that I should review. Any suggestions?

Thanks a lot.
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Re: How to improve verbal?  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Aug 2018, 10:49
nilsinelabore wrote:
I'm a non-native speaker who has lived in a English speaking country for the past 13 years. I had 8 years of education during which the medium of instruction was English, and I did an IELTS test this Feb and got a score of 8.5. I took the GMAT on 6th of August and got a mark of 690(Q48, V37). I was not entirely happy about it given that I've studied for 6 months and regardless whether I can get into a top MBA program or not, I thought that I owe it to myself to get a better score.

I've booked a new test in 2 weeks' time, but I'm really perplexed about my verbal performance and have no idea how to improve it. I'm not sure if my problem is psychological, in the sense that I get really nervous during exam settings, or it's just that there are some things that I haven't figured out yet. Set aside my IELTS performance and English capabilities, I've been performing at a relatively good level during practices, scoring 91% for CR and 81% for SC for the 2019 official Verbal Guidebook. However, I have always struggled to transfer that level of performance to the actual test, as my verbal scores for the 3 CAT mocks before the test and the actual test itself were all in that range, from V35 to V37.

After the test I got the ESR and upon reviewing it, I realized that my weakest area was actually CR, which was peculiar as CR was the section that I performed best while practicing. I've pretty much exhausted all the verbal practice questions from GMAC (3 preps, the online question pack, the OG, and the verbal guidebook), and I still couldn't break the V40 threshold. I literally ran out of questions to practice and my thought was to go over the questions that I got wrong during practices and find a pattern, but I'm not sure what good will that do.

I've reviewed Manhattan's CR and SC guides before my first test as well and they were of great help, but I was wondering if there are other materials that I should review. Any suggestions?

Thanks a lot.


IMO, reviewing guides for CR will not fetch you more. This strategy may come handy for SC, but for CR your strategy seems good as your accuracy was quite high during prep. Best thing for you would be to try to get Q49, 50, 51. For verbal, you can try e-gmat prep course.

Following links may help you:

1. https://blog.targettestprep.com/how-to- ... -on-gmat/#

2. https://www.veritasprep.com/blog/tag/qu ... -wisdom-2/

3. https://magoosh.com/gmat/all-posts-by-category/

4. https://gmatclub.com/forum/verbal-guide ... 9/?fl=menu
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Re: How to improve verbal?  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Aug 2018, 01:45
You definitely don't need to solve a lot more questions... you've already done a lot, and just continuing at this pace will only make you tired.
What you do need to do is 1) spend some time analysing your performance, and 2) weighing whether you need to change your answer strategies.
Many people, for example, make the mistake of reading all answer choices in all questions; with the clock running, you can’t afford to do this! Many Verbal questions are ones where all the relevant information is in the question itself, and you can use the PRECISE approach to answer the question directly, and avoid becoming confused by the answers. Other questions are those in which there is a general LOGICAL rule that can help answer the question quickly – reading all answers is a waste of time here as well. Only about a third of the questions are those in which it is necessary or preferable to go over all the answer choices (using the ALTERNATIVE approach). The trick is, of course, figuring out which question is which, and this requires concentrated study, checking not only whether you got the question right, but also whether you did so quickly and efficiently.



Before I offer you any personal advice, I'd appreciate the answers to a few questions:
1. Have you maintained and used an error log?
2. Have you ordered an ESR? If so, please attach it here, I'll be happy to analyze it for you.
3. When you took your CATs, did you make sure to take them in the same time conditions as the real exam? (without pausing / splitting into parts)

nilsinelabore wrote:
I'm a non-native speaker who has lived in a English speaking country for the past 13 years. I had 8 years of education during which the medium of instruction was English, and I did an IELTS test this Feb and got a score of 8.5. I took the GMAT on 6th of August and got a mark of 690(Q48, V37). I was not entirely happy about it given that I've studied for 6 months and regardless whether I can get into a top MBA program or not, I thought that I owe it to myself to get a better score.

I've booked a new test in 2 weeks' time, but I'm really perplexed about my verbal performance and have no idea how to improve it. I'm not sure if my problem is psychological, in the sense that I get really nervous during exam settings, or it's just that there are some things that I haven't figured out yet. Set aside my IELTS performance and English capabilities, I've been performing at a relatively good level during practices, scoring 91% for CR and 81% for SC for the 2019 official Verbal Guidebook. However, I have always struggled to transfer that level of performance to the actual test, as my verbal scores for the 3 CAT mocks before the test and the actual test itself were all in that range, from V35 to V37.

After the test I got the ESR and upon reviewing it, I realized that my weakest area was actually CR, which was peculiar as CR was the section that I performed best while practicing. I've pretty much exhausted all the verbal practice questions from GMAC (3 preps, the online question pack, the OG, and the verbal guidebook), and I still couldn't break the V40 threshold. I literally ran out of questions to practice and my thought was to go over the questions that I got wrong during practices and find a pattern, but I'm not sure what good will that do.

I've reviewed Manhattan's CR and SC guides before my first test as well and they were of great help, but I was wondering if there are other materials that I should review. Any suggestions?

Thanks a lot.

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Re: How to improve verbal?  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Aug 2018, 08:11
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That's a lot to say that you've "exhausted" all possible material. I'd highly encourage you to go back and review mistakes and reattempt the questions you got wrong with a time pressure component.

If you're looking for more, you may find the GMAT Pill online question bank useful:

http://www.gmatpill.com/gmat-practice-test/

During your SC studies, we encourage you to follow along expert video explanations to guide you in your thought process.

Here's a shared Google doc of video links you may find helpful:


https://drive.google.com/open?id=1f_ckd ... H1HmTgctJI

You can learn more about GMAT Pill at:

http://www.gmatpill.com
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How to improve verbal?  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2018, 04:09
A good vocab can be build with extensive reading. Keep a dictionary handy while reading. As you come across new words, mark them and look for their meanings and synonyms. Build your word power.
Devote an hour everyday doing serious reading on diverse topics to improve concentration levels. This would encourage you to remember facts and sharpen comprehension skills.

On the other hand, Verbal Reasoning questions can be framed in various forms - arranging jumbled sentences, deriving the meaning of a short passage and sentence correction are some prominent patterns. Sentence construction, identifying opening and closing statements from a series of statements and the correct usage of words are some common question formats. Extensive practice and familiarity with these types of questions can be very helpful to build up speed.

The verbal sections might contain more questions than a candidate can attempt in the time allotted. However, do not try and rush to attempt all the questions. Work at a brisk pace and attempt all the questions that you are sure of in the first attempt. In the remaining time, come back to have a second and even third look at the questions which were skipped in the first round. This will help you strike a good balance between questions that you are confident of and those which need you to think.
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GMAT 1: 690 Q48 V37
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Re: How to improve verbal?  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Aug 2018, 13:08
GMATPill wrote:
That's a lot to say that you've "exhausted" all possible material. I'd highly encourage you to go back and review mistakes and reattempt the questions you got wrong with a time pressure component.

If you're looking for more, you may find the GMAT Pill online question bank useful:

http://www.gmatpill.com/gmat-practice-test/

During your SC studies, we encourage you to follow along expert video explanations to guide you in your thought process.

Here's a shared Google doc of video links you may find helpful:


https://drive.google.com/open?id=1f_ckd ... H1HmTgctJI

You can learn more about GMAT Pill at:

http://www.gmatpill.com


Thanks for the reply. I meant to say that I've pretty much finished every question from GMAC official, not all possible material. Must have done close to 1000 questions for quant and at least 500, 600+ for verbal. Appreciate the additional materials, will definitely review them before my test.
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Re: How to improve verbal?  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2018, 09:09
Hi nilsinelabore,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. The good news is that a V37 is a really solid score. That being said, since you prepared for six months and have not been able to break a V37, you really need to look at HOW you have been preparing, and potentially make some changes. In your previous round of studying, it appears that your prep centered on doing ONLY practice questions. While engaging in practice is a necessary part of improving your GMAT skills, such practice is beneficial only after you have studied the necessary topics on which those questions are based.

Thus, moving forward, you may consider adjusting your study plan such that it allows for linear learning. Specifically, consider using a resource that allows you FIRST to learn the concepts and strategies related to Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension, and SECOND to practice with a large number of realistic questions. This adjusted study plan make take longer than two weeks to complete. Are you able to take your GMAT at a later date?

For example, let’s say you begin studying Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to master the individual Critical Reasoning topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn each Critical Reasoning problem type, do focused practice so you can assess how well you understand the topic. If, for example, you incorrectly answer a Weaken the Argument question, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize the specific Critical Reasoning 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 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 comprehend the main idea of a paragraph. As you are reading a paragraph, also 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 Reading Comprehension questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s tone, etc. As with Critical Reasoning, analyze your incorrect answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses.

Your reading strategy can be perfected with a lot of practice. However, keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be stimulating, so to better prepare yourself to analyze such bland passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as the Economist, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

Sentence Correction, on the other hand, 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 reason that your Sentence Correction performance has not improved is likely 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.

The third aspect of getting Sentence Correction questions correct is what you have to do. The main thing that 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.

Ultimately, if you are unable to learn and practice in the manner described above, you may consider looking for additional verbal prep resources. If you are unsure of which resources to choose, check out some reviews here on GMAT Club.

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

Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Good luck!
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Re: How to improve verbal?  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2018, 12:11
might like to check below post :
https://gmatclub.com/forum/what-to-do-i ... l#p2108758

check all the free stuff and links.
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Re: How to improve verbal?  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Aug 2018, 07:44
ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
Hi nilsinelabore,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. The good news is that a V37 is a really solid score. That being said, since you prepared for six months and have not been able to break a V37, you really need to look at HOW you have been preparing, and potentially make some changes. In your previous round of studying, it appears that your prep centered on doing ONLY practice questions. While engaging in practice is a necessary part of improving your GMAT skills, such practice is beneficial only after you have studied the necessary topics on which those questions are based.

Thus, moving forward, you may consider adjusting your study plan such that it allows for linear learning. Specifically, consider using a resource that allows you FIRST to learn the concepts and strategies related to Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension, and SECOND to practice with a large number of realistic questions. This adjusted study plan make take longer than two weeks to complete. Are you able to take your GMAT at a later date?

For example, let’s say you begin studying Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to master the individual Critical Reasoning topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn each Critical Reasoning problem type, do focused practice so you can assess how well you understand the topic. If, for example, you incorrectly answer a Weaken the Argument question, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize the specific Critical Reasoning 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 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 comprehend the main idea of a paragraph. As you are reading a paragraph, also 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 Reading Comprehension questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s tone, etc. As with Critical Reasoning, analyze your incorrect answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses.

Your reading strategy can be perfected with a lot of practice. However, keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be stimulating, so to better prepare yourself to analyze such bland passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as the Economist, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

Sentence Correction, on the other hand, 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 reason that your Sentence Correction performance has not improved is likely 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.

The third aspect of getting Sentence Correction questions correct is what you have to do. The main thing that 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.

Ultimately, if you are unable to learn and practice in the manner described above, you may consider looking for additional verbal prep resources. If you are unsure of which resources to choose, check out some reviews here on GMAT Club.

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

Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Good luck!


Thanks for the detailed reply, really appreciate it.

I did a CAT mock today from GMAC and I've finally cracked 40, got a total score of 730 (Q49, V41). I'm pretty happy since it's the first time that I've cracked V40 and 700 total score. To be completely honest, I was a little surprised that I got a V41. I didn't touch verbal at all except for some RC questions since my last GMAT attempt (6th Aug) and only focused on Quant. Upon reviewing the answers I found out that I got 8 questions wrong in total, all of which are SC and CR questions. I was able to get all RC questions correct. I guess I've always had it in me and due to various reasons I was not able to perform during test conditions, and I'm happy to go into my 2nd attempt with confidence.

Regards,
TY
Re: How to improve verbal? &nbs [#permalink] 26 Aug 2018, 07:44
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