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Quant went up, but verbal keeps going down. How do I raise my Verbal?

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Intern
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Joined: 02 May 2018
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GMAT 1: 660 Q49 V32
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Quant went up, but verbal keeps going down. How do I raise my Verbal?  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Aug 2018, 22:33
I took gmat today, but my score was not what I wanted.
Given previous scores, it wasn't a surprise but I'm disappointed with my verbal performance.

I've been so worried about my initial low Quant score so I've been mainly focusing on Quant.
My problem, when I was doing MGMAT CAT's, was that I would totally freak out and get stuck on the first hard question that pops up around Q6~7.
But on the real test, I didn't see anything like MGMAT questions.
Quant was much easier than anything I've seen before. Most questions I was able to solve instantly.
I think I had around 20 minutes to spare.

I didn't think verbal was hard, but I knew I wasn't getting the questions.
I was not focused, and I was getting tripped on SC questions.
Most of the questions I saw was idiom based questions, which were 500~600 level.
Also, I think I was rushing.
I usually have barely enough time to finish, but I had 10+ minutes to spare on Verbal...

When I do practice questions I get 80%~90% correct on hard CR and SC. Strangely, I feel like I'm better at hard level CR and SC than easier ones.
Hard level RC has been shaky at sometimes from 50% to 100% at times. I either get the whole passage or I'm completely lost.
I feel like I am doing much better on Verbal questions, but my Verbal score has been consistently dropping.
I really don't understand...

My verbal score is pretty much the same as when I had zero preparation.

How should I prepare for the Verbal?
and how soon should I retake the GMAT?


GmatPrep 540 (Q33 V31) - No prep at all
MGMAT1 640 (Q41 V36) - after reviewing basics
MGMAT2 620 (Q40 V35)
MGMAT3 620 (Q41 V34)
Veritas1 650 (Q47 V33)
Veritas2 650 (Q48 V31)

GMAT 660 Q49 V32
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Quant went up, but verbal keeps going down. How do I raise my Verbal?  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Aug 2018, 06:53
completing wrote:
I took gmat today, but my score was not what I wanted.
Given previous scores, it wasn't a surprise but I'm disappointed with my verbal performance.

I've been so worried about my initial low Quant score so I've been mainly focusing on Quant.
My problem, when I was doing MGMAT CAT's, was that I would totally freak out and get stuck on the first hard question that pops up around Q6~7.
But on the real test, I didn't see anything like MGMAT questions.
Quant was much easier than anything I've seen before. Most questions I was able to solve instantly.
I think I had around 20 minutes to spare.

I didn't think verbal was hard, but I knew I wasn't getting the questions.
I was not focused, and I was getting tripped on SC questions.
Most of the questions I saw was idiom based questions, which were 500~600 level.
Also, I think I was rushing.
I usually have barely enough time to finish, but I had 10+ minutes to spare on Verbal...

When I do practice questions I get 80%~90% correct on hard CR and SC. Strangely, I feel like I'm better at hard level CR and SC than easier ones.
Hard level RC has been shaky at sometimes from 50% to 100% at times. I either get the whole passage or I'm completely lost.
I feel like I am doing much better on Verbal questions, but my Verbal score has been consistently dropping.
I really don't understand...

My verbal score is pretty much the same as when I had zero preparation.

How should I prepare for the Verbal?
and how soon should I retake the GMAT?


GmatPrep 540 (Q33 V31) - No prep at all
MGMAT1 640 (Q41 V36) - after reviewing basics
MGMAT2 620 (Q40 V35)
MGMAT3 620 (Q41 V34)
Veritas1 650 (Q47 V33)
Veritas2 650 (Q48 V31)

GMAT 660 Q49 V32



Hello completing


Best advice is, read, read read....and then read some more.


Read outside of GMAT.

Read The Economist, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, FT, New York Times, Scientific American, National Geographic magazine, I can recommend more, but I think this is enough for you to choose topics.


Regarding SC questions, you obviously lack foundations in prep, which is good news actually, since you can improve significantly/dramatically just by building them.


Read GMAT Club grammar book.

Read also Manhattan SC CR RC books or Veritas books on same topics, if you prefer them.


Also don't judge your verbal skills and corresponding improvement by Manhattan/Veritas tests since they are not on GMAT standards in terms of difficulty or style necessarily.

Judge only by GMATprep and official sources.


Retaking GMAT always depends on your schools deadlines and in general you postpone it until you are in your target score zone, so you don't end spending extra $$$ on retaking if you don't have to.

If you can, you should not retake it at least before a month of good verbal prep, or in other words the later the better.

It takes time to improve on verbal (especially for non native speaker/reader), you cannot do it overnight.



Happy prep ! :cool:
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Quant went up, but verbal keeps going down. How do I raise my Verbal?  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Aug 2018, 12:05
Thank you for the reply.
I do agree that I'm don't have the solid, memorization based SC. My reading skill definitely needs to improve.

Could you please analyze my ESR?

For Verbal, it seems that I was doing well for the 3/4 of the section, and I really bombed the last section.

During the last section I realized I was going too fast. I thought to myself I can't be doing it right if I have too much time left and I started to slow down.
I think I was doubting myself and second guessing choices I made...
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GMAT Club Verbal Expert
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Re: Quant went up, but verbal keeps going down. How do I raise my Verbal?  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Aug 2018, 15:25
completing wrote:
I've been so worried about my initial low Quant score so I've been mainly focusing on Quant.
My problem, when I was doing MGMAT CAT's, was that I would totally freak out and get stuck on the first hard question that pops up around Q6~7.
But on the real test, I didn't see anything like MGMAT questions.


completing wrote:
I was not focused, and I was getting tripped on SC questions...
Also, I think I was rushing.
I usually have barely enough time to finish, but I had 10+ minutes to spare on Verbal...

I think you've already answered a lot of your own questions about verbal, completing. You've already mentioned three things that clearly undermine your verbal score: you focused mainly on quant, most of the prep you did was with non-official resources (MGMAT and Veritas), and then the ESR supports the idea that you rushed through the verbal, especially during the first half. If you're reading faster than you need to, you'll inevitably misread things, and then you'll miss easy questions that you're perfectly capable of answering correctly. And if you miss easy questions on an adaptive test like the GMAT, your score will fall apart in a hurry.

The good news is that all of these problems are fixable. Stick to the official questions for verbal (including your practice tests -- there are six GMATPrep exams, total), and you'll be fine! There are plenty of resources in my signature below -- and you might consider LSAT if you need some extra practice on super-tough CR and RC questions.

I hope this helps, and good luck with your studies!
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Beginners' guides to GMAT verbal
Reading Comprehension | Critical Reasoning | Sentence Correction

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Sentence Correction articles & resources
How to go from great (760) to incredible (780) on GMAT SC | That "-ing" Word Probably Isn't a Verb | That "-ed" Word Might Not Be a Verb, Either | No-BS Guide to GMAT Idioms | "Being" is not the enemy | WTF is "that" doing in my sentence?

Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and other articles & resources
All GMAT Ninja articles on GMAT Club | Using LSAT for GMAT CR & RC |7 reasons why your actual GMAT scores don't match your practice test scores | How to get 4 additional "fake" GMAT Prep tests for $29.99 | Time management on verbal

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Quant went up, but verbal keeps going down. How do I raise my Verbal?  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Aug 2018, 18:41
Hi completing,

First off, great work with your quant score! Q49 is awesome.

Regarding verbal, since you have been studying but have not improved your score, HOW and WHAT you have been studying has not worked for you for some reason. I realize it seems as though you are scoring well when doing practice questions, However the data from your practice tests and real GMAT clearly support the rationale that something in your verbal preparation – probably multiple things – must change. Until you make such a change, you probably will not improve your score.

Since you are at a V32, moving forward, you will need a study plan that allows you to learn linearly, such that you can slowly build GMAT mastery of one topic prior to moving forward to the next. Within each topic, begin with the foundations and progress toward more advanced concepts.

For example, let’s say you’re 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 about each Critical Reasoning question type, do focused practice, so that you can track your skill in answering each type of question. If, for example, you get a weakening question wrong, 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 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 Reading Comprehension questions with which you struggle: find the main idea, inference, author’s tone, etc. As you would handle 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.

The process above can be perfected with a lot of practice. However, keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be easy to read. So, to better prepare yourself to read such passages, begin reading 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 resulted in your extending 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 Sentence Correction skills improve, you’ll then want to practice with SC questions that test you on skills from multiple Sentence Correction 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.


Finally, generally, it does not make sense to finish a section of the GMAT early, unless you are certain that you have answered all of the questions in that section correctly. So, even if GMAT quant seems easy for you, take all of the time allotted for the section, doing everything in your power to get as many correct answers as possible. Similarly, take all the time allotted for the verbal section. The ten minutes that you had left at the end of the verbal section could have been spent carefully considering a Reading Comprehension passage or checking your answers to a few questions. With just a few more right answers in each section, you could have scored 40 - 60 points higher on the GMAT.

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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Scott Woodbury-Stewart
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GMAT Quant Self-Study Course
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Quant went up, but verbal keeps going down. How do I raise my Verbal? &nbs [#permalink] 17 Aug 2018, 18:41
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