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Retaking GMAT : Suggestions on improving verbal please :(

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Retaking GMAT : Suggestions on improving verbal please :(  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2019, 02:01
Hello everyone,

I recently took my first GMAT exam and scored 640 (V31, Q48).

I am really disappointed with my Verbal score which brought down my entire score.

I scored 690 (V31, Q50) on my GMAT Prep I and 710 (V36, Q50) on my GMAT Prep 2.

I have really tried almost all methods for improving my verbal, yet I'm unable to get a hang of where I'm going wrong. I have even read Powerscore CR and practiced several Gmat club questions on SC. As far as RC is concerned, sometimes I get all of them correct and at other times all wrong. Can anyone please suggest me how should I go about practicing and improving my Verbal score :( Also, I'm planning on taking the exam within a month's time, so please if anyone could suggest me an efficient method, I'll be really very grateful :please :(
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New post 20 Feb 2019, 03:31
Hi! Which specific area has been bothering you the most in Verbal?

Also, apart from GC, which other resources have you been using for Verbal prep.

Have you ordered ESR?
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Retaking GMAT : Suggestions on improving verbal please :(  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2019, 03:51
EducationAisle wrote:
Hi! Which specific area has been bothering you the most in Verbal?

Also, apart from GC, which other resources have you been using for Verbal prep.

Have you ordered ESR?


Hi,
Firstly, thanks for replying :)
I was initially enrolled in a 3 months course by The Princeton Review. Thereafter, seeing that the level of the actual GMAT is much higher than in the tests provided by the TPR, I resorted to self-study mainly practicing questions under the topic directory of Gmat Club. I have practiced majority of the official guide 2018. Also, initially my CR was weak so I studied Powerscore CR thoroughly: however, subsequently I saw a drop in my RC and SC scores. I also find myself taking a little more time than usual on the SC which made me guess 5-6 questions towards the end of the verbal section of the GMAT, since I was running out of time. Off late, I have been encountering difficulties in selecting the correct answer as I end up narrowing down to 2-3 options and select the wrong option instead.
And I haven't ordered my ESR as yet; took the exam yesterday.
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New post 20 Feb 2019, 04:26
Looks like you did not use any text-book for SC (the way you scored Powerscore for CR).

By the way,

In the actual exam, you scored 640 (V31, Q48).

On GMAT Prep, you scored 690 (V31, Q50)

Are you sure this is correct? A 2-point improvement in Quant gave you a 50-point jump?
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Re: Retaking GMAT : Suggestions on improving verbal please :(  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2019, 04:32
EducationAisle wrote:
Looks like you did not use any text-book for SC (the way you scored Powerscore for CR).

By the way,

In the actual exam, you scored 640 (V31, Q48).

On GMAT Prep, you scored 690 (V31, Q50)

Are you sure this is correct? A 2-point improvement in Quant gave you a 50-point jump?

Sorry, i just rechecked: it is 680 (V31, Q50)

Also, can you please suggest me some plan for improving my verbal score in a month?
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Re: Retaking GMAT : Suggestions on improving verbal please :(  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Feb 2019, 14:40
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Hi applebear,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. First off, looking at your previous study routine, it appears as though you were essentially following a plan that I call “practice first and figure the rest out later.” In other words, you were doing practice problems before understanding the concepts on which those problems are based, and thus you were trying to learn solely from reading solutions to problems. Following such a method leads to disorganized studying and ultimately holds you back from improving your verbal skills. Thus, moving forward, you should follow more of a structured and linear study plan that allows you to individually learn each verbal topic, and then practice each topic until you’ve gained mastery. That process may take longer than just one month. If necessary, are you able to take your GMAT at a later date? In any case, let’s take a closer look at how you can improve your skills.

When studying Critical Reasoning, you need to ensure that you fully understand the essence of the various question types. Do you know the importance of an assumption within an argument? Can you easily spot a conclusion? Do you know how to resolve a paradox? Do you know how to properly evaluate cause and effect? Do you know how to properly weaken or strengthen an argument? These are just a few examples; you really need to take a deep dive into the individual Critical Reasoning topics to develop the necessary skills to properly attack any Critical Reasoning questions that you encounter.

As you learn each Critical Reasoning problem type, do focused practice so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you incorrectly answered a Weaken the Argument question, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize the specific question type? Were you doing too much analysis in your head? Did you skip over a keyword in an answer choice? You must thoroughly analyze your mistakes and seek to turn weaknesses into strengths by focusing on the question types you dread seeing and the questions you take a long time to answer correctly.

When practicing Reading Comprehension, you need to develop a reading strategy that is both efficient and thorough. Reading too fast and not understanding what you have read are equally as harmful as reading too slow and using up too much time. When attacking Reading Comprehension passages, you must have one clear goal in mind: to understand the context of what you are reading. However, you must do so efficiently, so you need to avoid getting bogged down in the details of each paragraph and 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 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, focus on the exact types of questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s Tone, etc. As with Critical Reasoning, analyze your incorrect answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. You can perfect your reading strategy with a lot of practice, but keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be stimulating. So, to better prepare yourself to tackle such bland passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as the Economist, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

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

Regarding what you know, first and foremost, you MUST know your grammar rules. Let's be clear, though: GMAT Sentence Correction is not 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 clearly refer to nouns? By slowing way down and looking for these details, you learn to see what you have to see in order to clearly understand which answer to a Sentence Correction question is correct.

There is only one correct answer to any Sentence Correction question, there are clear reasons why that choice is correct and the others are not, and 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 logical meanings. You also have to make sure that you put some real energy into finding the correct answers. Finding the correct answer to a Sentence Correction question may take bouncing from choice to choice 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, only one or two seem obviously incorrect. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to be determined to see the differences and figure out the precise reasons that one choice is correct.

To improve what you do when you answer Sentence Correction questions, seek to become aware of how you are going about answering them. Are you being careful and looking for logic and details, or are you quickly eliminating choices that sound a little off and then choosing the best of the rest? If you choose an incorrect answer, consider what you did 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 to extend your streak.

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

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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New post 22 Feb 2019, 18:42
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Hi applebear,

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Back in October of last year, you posted a number of practice CAT Scores (here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-practic ... l#p2154621). Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, your various CAT score results from 4 months ago - along with your recent Official Score - show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 690 +/- a few points). You handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also make certain consistent mistakes.

Since you've been performing at this level for some time, it's possible that you have developed some 'bad habits' that are keeping you from scoring higher. To consistently score at a much higher level (such as 750, which is what you referenced back in those same October posts), we'll have to define and fix those bad habits (and replace them with new "good habits"). At this point, there's no way to know whether you can get to that 'level' in less than a month or not, so the more data the we have to work with, the better. As such, you might also choose to purchase the Enhanced Score Report. While the ESR doesn't provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong (and what you should work on to score higher). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

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

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New post 23 Feb 2019, 00:10
Hello ScottTargetTestPrep,

Thank you so much for your advice. All of it is really very useful. I even checked out the article and found it to be quite helpful. I will try implementing your strategies and get back to you with any improvements or help.

Kudos :)
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New post 23 Feb 2019, 00:13
Hi EMPOWERgmatRichC,

Thank you for your reply. Probably you are right, I may have improved considerably on the quant section but the verbal still stays the same :(

I get to study for 3-4 hours on the weekdays and 4-5 hours on the weekends.
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Re: Retaking GMAT : Suggestions on improving verbal please :(  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Feb 2019, 15:23
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Hi applebear,

From everything that you have described, I think that you probably have worked through a lot of practice questions - trying to 'self teach' by using the explanations and post-discussions at GMATClub to guide you. Assuming that your Score Goal is still 750+, then you will need to focus on learning and practicing the proper Tactics - and you would likely find it beneficial to invest in some new GMAT resources that will train you in those Tactics as well as the patterns and little 'secrets' to the Exam.

I mentioned in an earlier post that the ESR might provide some additional information that would help to properly focus your studies - and I still think that that is the case. With the available study time that you have described, you could potentially improve a great deal in 1-2 months, but if you're going to continue studying in the same ways as before, then you will likely earn a Score at this same general level.

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Re: Retaking GMAT : Suggestions on improving verbal please :(  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Feb 2019, 05:12
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi applebear,

From everything that you have described, I think that you probably have worked through a lot of practice questions - trying to 'self teach' by using the explanations and post-discussions at GMATClub to guide you. Assuming that your Score Goal is still 750+, then you will need to focus on learning and practicing the proper Tactics - and you would likely find it beneficial to invest in some new GMAT resources that will train you in those Tactics as well as the patterns and little 'secrets' to the Exam.

I mentioned in an earlier post that the ESR might provide some additional information that would help to properly focus your studies - and I still think that that is the case. With the available study time that you have described, you could potentially improve a great deal in 1-2 months, but if you're going to continue studying in the same ways as before, then you will likely earn a Score at this same general level.

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

Hi,
Thank you for your advice.
I'll try getting my ESR and let you know once I do. And yes you are right, although I'd like to tell that I did put in considerably more hours into quant as compared to verbal. So maybe I haven't quite exhausted GMAT Club's Verbal resource as much as I have the quant one. So I will look for some other resources in addition to this one to improve my score.
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Re: Retaking GMAT : Suggestions on improving verbal please :(   [#permalink] 24 Feb 2019, 05:12
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