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Please Advise on How to Improve Verbal from V17 to V22

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Please Advise on How to Improve Verbal from V17 to V22  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Mar 2018, 17:08
Hello, I took my first practice test, GMAT Prep Software CAT, 490 - V17 Q42, after 3 months of self-paced study. My verbal score is indeed very embarrassing given that I earned my undergrad degree in the Social Science.

I found myself rereading a lot on RC & CR and also a bit of test anxiety. I developed a habit of double and even triple checking things like my grandpa.
I was having a hard time to fully comprehend each questions and thus picking answers blindly.

For some reason I find NY Times/Wall Street Journal are easy to read (I can easily read 450 words in 2.5 minutes) and they are in no way similar to the academic text I read on the GMAT.

My official test is on March 29th, roughly 2 weeks away from now, and I need to improve my verbal score from 13 percentiles to at least 30 percentiles. The cut-off for my desired program is 20 percentiles since I have a relatively high undergrad GPA.

Please advise if I should attack Critical Reasoning first or Reading Comprehension. I thought CR is closely linked to math and so should I prep CR first?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated!
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Re: Please Advise on How to Improve Verbal from V17 to V22  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Mar 2018, 17:32
Yordlelife wrote:
Hello, I took my first practice test, GMAT Prep Software CAT, 490 - V17 Q42, after 3 months of self-paced study. My verbal score is indeed very embarrassing given that I earned my undergrad degree in the Social Science.

I found myself rereading a lot on RC & CR and also a bit of test anxiety. I developed a habit of double and even triple checking things like my grandpa.
I was having a hard time to fully comprehend each questions and thus picking answers blindly.

For some reason I find NY Times/Wall Street Journal are easy to read (I can easily read 450 words in 2.5 minutes) and they are in no way similar to the academic text I read on the GMAT.

My official test is on March 29th, roughly 2 weeks away from now, and I need to improve my verbal score from 13 percentiles to at least 30 percentiles. The cut-off for my desired program is 20 percentiles since I have a relatively high undergrad GPA.

Please advise if I should attack Critical Reasoning first or Reading Comprehension. I thought CR is closely linked to math and so should I prep CR first?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated!


You are correct about CR having a more standard approach to arrive at the solution. CR questions fall into categories like assumption , flawed reasoning, structure etc and hence one can eliminate options faster than in RC type questions.

Having said that RC questions come in a bunch and if you completely understand a paragraph you can benefit more by answering all related questions correctly.

So I would suggest you to go through the official CR questions pdf and answers which you can find in the downloads section. Meanwhile solve as many official Qs ( OG/ GMAT prep software) as possible for verbal boost.

Hope my 2 cents help.... All the best.
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Re: Please Advise on How to Improve Verbal from V17 to V22  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Mar 2018, 19:47
Gladiator59 wrote:
Having said that RC questions come in a bunch and if you completely understand a paragraph you can benefit more by answering all related questions correctly.


Well said. Hmm, I have a strategy in mind and I would like to know if this also applies to verbal. I only focused on the first 28 questions in Quant and still scored 42, which is not a great score but acceptable. While I only answer 28 out of 37 total Quant questions and guess the remaining, I get extra time on each questions and therefore better chance to answer hard questions correctly.

If that's true, wouldn't it be better if I focus on 30 questions in Verbal instead of 41? This would allow me to give my full attention to Sentence Correction and Critical Reasoning. Say I get around 15 SC questions + 12 CR questions = 27 questions, which leaves me about 3~4 questions for 1 RC passage and guess the remaining RC questions.

If I get to spend ~2 minutes on each SC questions, my likelihood of getting it correct at least double (that is medium to hard difficulty SC).

Would my strat works in Verbal?

Thanks!
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Re: Please Advise on How to Improve Verbal from V17 to V22  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Mar 2018, 20:16
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Yordlelife wrote:
Gladiator59 wrote:
Having said that RC questions come in a bunch and if you completely understand a paragraph you can benefit more by answering all related questions correctly.


Well said. Hmm, I have a strategy in mind and I would like to know if this also applies to verbal. I only focused on the first 28 questions in Quant and still scored 42, which is not a great score but acceptable. While I only answer 28 out of 37 total Quant questions and guess the remaining, I get extra time on each questions and therefore better chance to answer hard questions correctly.

If that's true, wouldn't it be better if I focus on 30 questions in Verbal instead of 41? This would allow me to give my full attention to Sentence Correction and Critical Reasoning. Say I get around 15 SC questions + 12 CR questions = 27 questions, which leaves me about 3~4 questions for 1 RC passage and guess the remaining RC questions.

If I get to spend ~2 minutes on each SC questions, my likelihood of getting it correct at least double (that is medium to hard difficulty SC).

Would my strat works in Verbal?

Thanks!


I would not recommend skipping/ blind guessing any question on the GMAT preemptively. This is say due to the fact that all GMAT questions aren't marked equally and your next question depends on wether you got a current question correct or not.

For example. If you blindly guess ( and hence get a few very easy RC questions wrong ) you might sabotage your total score as getting easy questions wrong is penalized way more than getting hard ones wrong.

So I always leave the guessing and skipping to the very end when I have NO OTHER OPTION.

Please give Kudos if you find my post helpful...
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Re: Please Advise on How to Improve Verbal from V17 to V22  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Mar 2018, 20:36
Yordlelife wrote:
Well said. Hmm, I have a strategy in mind and I would like to know if this also applies to verbal. I only focused on the first 28 questions in Quant and still scored 42, which is not a great score but acceptable!


Why this works for quant to get your desired score is - you do not skip the easy questions and medium questions which come towards the start of the test. Importantly you do not skip any particular " type " of questions. Your verbal strategy of skipping RC would be equivalent to skipping " DS " questions altogether... Which makes you prone to losing out on the easy questions as mentioned by me in prev post.

Hope this helps...
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Please Advise on How to Improve Verbal from V17 to V22  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Mar 2018, 21:12
Gladiator59 wrote:
Why this works for quant to get your desired score is - you do not skip the easy questions and medium questions which come towards the start of the test. Importantly you do not skip any particular " type " of questions.


Right on! I got your point now...Plan change, what about I focus on the first 30 questions in whichever RC/CR/SC I get and guess on the remaining 11 questions? This way I get more time per question and in theory would increase my likelihood to answer each questions correctly, hence unlocking the medium-hard questions midway through the test? Then the remaining 11 questions should mostly be in medium-hard difficulties and therefore penalties in miss those wouldn't be unbearable.

Look man, I need to buy more time, if I'm not cutting-corners by not doing RC, I need to find another way to give me time to focus on subsections which I grab most of my verbal points....... :sad:

Thanks so much anyway, please do let me know if focus on the first 30 questions work.
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Re: Please Advise on How to Improve Verbal from V17 to V22  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Mar 2018, 21:31
Yordlelife wrote:
Gladiator59 wrote:
Why this works for quant to get your desired score is - you do not skip the easy questions and medium questions which come towards the start of the test. Importantly you do not skip any particular " type " of questions.


Right on! I got your point now...Plan change, what about I focus on the first 30 questions in whichever RC/CR/SC I get and guess on the remaining 11 questions? This way I get more time per question and in theory would increase my likelihood to answer each questions correctly, hence unlocking the medium-hard questions midway through the test? Then the remaining 11 questions should mostly be in medium-hard difficulties and therefore penalties in miss those wouldn't be unbearable.

Look man, I need to buy more time, if I'm not cutting-corners by not doing RC, I need to find another way to give me time to focus on subsections which I grab most of my verbal points....... :sad:

Thanks so much anyway, please do let me know if focus on the first 30 questions work.


I completely understand your situation. With your exam date approaching you are in dire need of cutting corners.

I think if you are fairly confident of getting most questions ( first 30 ) correct than you can spend a lot of time and leave something like 10 mins ( something substantial enough ) towards the end to go through the last 11 questions and not lose out on any obvious SC / CR questions coz you were in a great rush.

If this strat works or not will be best answered by taking a CAT ( from a reliable source ) and trying it out. I am fairly confident that if you get the first few questions right and leave enough time to not miss out on any OBVIOUSLY EASY questions on the part you plan to preempt - you should do much better than V22.

Good luck man!
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Re: Please Advise on How to Improve Verbal from V17 to V22  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Mar 2018, 22:02
Yordlelife wrote:
Right on! I got your point now...Plan change, what about I focus on the first 30 questions in whichever RC/CR/SC I get and guess on the remaining 11 questions? This way I get more time per question and in theory would increase my likelihood to answer each questions correctly, hence unlocking the medium-hard questions midway through the test? Then the remaining 11 questions should mostly be in medium-hard difficulties and therefore penalties in miss those wouldn't be unbearable.

Look man, I need to buy more time, if I'm not cutting-corners by not doing RC, I need to find another way to give me time to focus on subsections which I grab most of my verbal points....... :sad:

Thanks so much anyway, please do let me know if focus on the first 30 questions work.


It doesnt work in that way. If you guess all the 11 questions in the end, it will bring down your score whatever you achieved in your first 30 questions.

Yordlelife wrote:
Then the remaining 11 questions should mostly be in medium-hard difficulties and therefore penalties in miss those wouldn't be unbearable.

This reasoning is not correct. Your assumption is that the first 30 questions you answer will be correct which is highly unlikely (if you have that much accuracy, you must have achieved much higher score now, atleast 30+even if you answer only first 30 questions correctly). Further, Once you answer few questions correct in a row, the difficulty level climbs up and its really difficult to answer all the 30 questions correct in a row unless you have very good grip on every area of verbal. Also in the end, once you answer 2-3 questions wrong in a row, the level of difficulty comes down. And when you again answer easier questions wrong in a row the penalty is much higher.

Further, from my personal experience I can tell you that spending time in understanding GMAC algorithm and this kind of time strategy will be detrimental for you. Its better you try to keep a constant pace throughout the verbal section and try to finish the whole exam within time. Do not pay much attention to time and dont always check the timer. Rather, divide the 41 questions and 75 mins in 4 sections.

Q10 - 18mins
Q20 - 38 Mins
Q30 - 54 mins
Q40 - 72 mins

Check the timer only 4 times during the exam. There will be an immense desire to check it more frequently, but train yourself to control that will or rather not to think about it at all. 2mins/2 questions +/- is okay. But if you fall behind more than that guess one or two questions to catch up with the time. And also dont guess in a row. In this way, try to finish the whole section. Even if you are remaining 2/3 questions in the end, guessing those 2/3 questions will be much better than guessing 11 questions in a row. Best of luck :thumbup: !
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Re: Please Advise on How to Improve Verbal from V17 to V22  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Mar 2018, 18:03
Yordlelife wrote:
Right on! I got your point now...Plan change, what about I focus on the first 30 questions in whichever RC/CR/SC I get and guess on the remaining 11 questions? This way I get more time per question and in theory would increase my likelihood to answer each questions correctly, hence unlocking the medium-hard questions midway through the test? Then the remaining 11 questions should mostly be in medium-hard difficulties and therefore penalties in miss those wouldn't be unbearable.

Look man, I need to buy more time, if I'm not cutting-corners by not doing RC, I need to find another way to give me time to focus on subsections which I grab most of my verbal points....... :sad:

Thanks so much anyway, please do let me know if focus on the first 30 questions work.
Try doing this on a GMATPrep. Given that you're aiming for V22 and above, the penalty for getting questions wrong at the end (or leaving them blank) might be negligible.

Also, the distribution of questions on your GMAT could be different. Just plan ahead for different scenarios (like all RCs before the 30th question).
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Re: Please Advise on How to Improve Verbal from V17 to V22 &nbs [#permalink] 14 Mar 2018, 18:03
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