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Stagnation after improving from 580 to 630.Rquest 4 revisedstudy plan.

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Stagnation after improving from 580 to 630.Rquest 4 revisedstudy plan.  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2018, 09:27
Hello experts!

Sorry for eating up words in my topic title due to space constraints. Long story short is that I have already taken the Gmat in May '18 and got a 580 (Q49 V21). Took a break and started preparing again from November and now my score is stuck at 630 (Q44to45, V32to35) after a few CATs on VeritasPrep and MGMAT. It's my humble request for guidance on how I can take my preparations forward with a target of 700+ on the Gmat (mostly taking the test in the first week of Feb 2019)

The long story is, I started preparing for Gmat in Feb 2018 first with the free mock from the GMAC software. Scored around 600, though I don't remember the exact score. Prepared for the next three months but it was not satisfactory. I was hardly spending 4 to 5 hours a week. Took the next free CAT and scored 610 (Also a couple of untimed Veritasprep CAT which produced scores of 630). Decided to try the GMAT hoping to get around 630 to 640. Turned out that I had messed up real bad on my Verbal and eventually got a 580 (Q49, V21). Interesting part is I felt i did real bad on my quants and relatively better on my Verbal. But i ended up getting the highest Quant score i "have" achieved till date and the lowest Verbal score I "have" achieved till date. Question order I had chosen was Quants, Verbal, IR and Essay. I decided to take a break since I felt I was not motivated enough.

I did little research on B schools and the reason why I wanted an MBA and decided to use that as my motivation. By November 2018, I felt I was ready to take on the preparation journey again, with the highest sincerity level I can dedicate. I intend to start my application by August 2019 for the forthcoming college admission process. The changes I introduced this time with my preparation included constant reviewing (I would like to know how i can improve the process further), viewing Thursdays with Ron videos on areas I felt I was weak and aligning my study plan as per expert views offered on other posts in the Gmatclub. Next, I purchased the MGMAT CATs. Took the first MGMAT CAT on Dec 1st, received a 590 (Q44 and V28). Felt frustrated and I decided to review each question and add notes for each of my errors and on questions I had made an educated guess for further understanding. The following week, I decided to take a CAT on veritasprep WITH 50% extra time. As per the time I had recorded, I took 5 minutes more on the Verbal section and 10 minutes more on the Quants section than standard GMAT time. The result was a 680 (Q48 and V35). My confidence grew and i knew that my accuracy was not as much of an issue as my time management was. Reviewed all my errors and realized that I had missed only 3 problems in Quants because of not knowing how to solve them precisely while the remaining errors were due to last minute error in calculation. Another issue I observed was that my RC was only 45 % accurate. Decided to work out problems at 700 level to increase my accuracy and eliminate the last minute calculation errors. Took the next MGMAT CAT on Dec 15. Followed every thing as I would on a test day and achieved a 630 (Q45 and V32). I had to skip the last 3 or 4 questions in both the sections and also had to speed up during the second half of both the sections leading to more errors. Again I reviewed them all. Careless mistakes remained as result of my speed up in the second half.

I wasn't sure about my progress but I decided to take another CAT on veritas yesterday because I felt the need to get accustomed to the rigor of a 3 Hr intense concentration exam. The order I had chosen was Verbal, Quants, IR and Essay. At the end of the Verbal I felt good since i completed all the questions without having to speed up at the end. Got V34. However on the quants I realised I was taking a lot of time in each question and the questions were in turn becoming harder. By the time I reached the 11th question, 30 minutes had passed by and I started feeling restless. I tried to speed up, and then didn't feel it was fast enough and sped up further. I knew I was making horrible mistakes and eventually ended up only completely 24 questions (nearly the last 8 of them were completed in less than 1 minute). I realised the whole idea of taking a mock within a week span was not as fruitful as I had thought. I received Q41 (my lowest ever), thereby giving a total of 620. I decided to see the statistics that veritasprep provides after each test. As for the Quant section, until 17th question I had tackled 700-750 level questions of which I had got 11 of them correct, 2 of them wrong because I didn't figure out a way to solve them and the remaining 4 were wrong due to silly calculation mistakes. From the 18th question (i.e since I started speeding up voraciously) all the questions I had attended were wrong. 33% PS and 50% DS were answered correctly. Average pace per question in quants was at 2 mins 37 seconds. As with verbal, 75% CR, 58% RC and 83% SC were answered correctly. Average pace recorded was 1 min 48 seconds. Though not as serious as Quants, I still feel I can improve in my verbal, especially my RC provides a lot of space. Also to note is that, "what do you infer from the passage" kind of questions has a higher chance of getting me stumped. Need your expert advise for that area specifically.

To conclude, I have a feeling that I am not getting my Accuracy to speed balance good enough to get the maximum score I can. I still wonder how I got a Q49 on my actual GMAT. Also, I feel terribly weak in probability, combinations and permutations. Weak in the sense, the moment I know it is a question based on one of these topics, my confidence goes to zero. Since school I have had this issue and always had choice to work around it back then, but right now it feels like an obstacle too crucial to skip over. I seem to understand the basics correct but it is the application part that confuses me and each problem i come across seems to have a different way to get solved and that throws me into a deeper confused zone.

Pardon my grammatical errors; no excuse for them seems fit but I'm just too worried about my progress that the errors were the least to bother me. I believe that the GMAT preparation is by itself a testing journey and I'm sure I can make it to the end of the tunnel, provided some of you can share your insights and experiences on which I can build the foundation for the remaining part of my GMAT journey. Thanking everyone of you in advance.
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Re: Stagnation after improving from 580 to 630.Rquest 4 revisedstudy plan.  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2018, 12:07
Hi cristianosubo,

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, most of your CAT score results - along with your Official Score - show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 600 +/- a few points). You handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also make certain consistent mistakes. Considering the length of time that you have been performing at this general level, it's likely that you have gotten 'stuck' (and you have probably developed some 'bad habits' that will take time to fix - and replace with new 'good habits'). Raising a 600 to the point that you can consistently score 700+ will likely require at least another 2 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level.

An early February Test Date might not allow for enough study time, but you don't have to make any big changes to your timeline just yet. 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 your timeline and your goals:

1) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
2) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
3) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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New post 23 Dec 2018, 17:58
Hello EMPOWERgmatRichC,

Thank you very much for your reply. I agree and completely understand that I might have developed a few bad habits along my preparation. I believe an expert like you can help me rectify them. As for the questions you have asked me :

1) I am planning for the intake of 2020, which ideally means that I have to start applying by August 2019.

2) Although I have a target to get into a top 50 B school worldwide, I have not narrowed down to specific schools yet.

3) As for the hours I can spend, I can study for 4 to 5 hours per day on the weekends (Friday & Saturday where I live). My job is an 8 to 5 sales engineering job and that essentially gives me at least an hour of uninterrupted study in the early morning and an additional hour of uninterrupted study in the evening after my job. My evening study hours are usually not my best because my job is sort of mentally taxing, though I don't physically feel tired. Summing up, that should be giving 18 to 20 hours of study per week.

Looking forward to your assassination plan,
cristianosubo.
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New post 24 Dec 2018, 13:25
Hi cristianosubo,

Focusing on the GMAT now - far in advance of when you plan to apply to School - is a smart choice. Since you're not facing any immediate deadlines, you should plan to give yourself another 2 months (at least) to properly hit your Score Goal.

Based on everything that you’ve described, I think that you would find the EMPOWERgmat Total Score Booster to be quite helpful. Most of our clients complete that Study Plan in under 2 months, so the time commitment wouldn't be that bad. 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 just let me know. You can also feel free to contact me directly.

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New post 26 Dec 2018, 09:43
Hi! We still don't get a complete sense of the material you've been using for your prep (apart from the mock tests).
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New post 26 Dec 2018, 19:33
cristianosubo wrote:
To conclude, I have a feeling that I am not getting my Accuracy to speed balance good enough to get the maximum score I can. I still wonder how I got a Q49 on my actual GMAT. Also, I feel terribly weak in probability, combinations and permutations. Weak in the sense, the moment I know it is a question based on one of these topics, my confidence goes to zero. Since school I have had this issue and always had choice to work around it back then, but right now it feels like an obstacle too crucial to skip over. I seem to understand the basics correct but it is the application part that confuses me and each problem i come across seems to have a different way to get solved and that throws me into a deeper confused zone.
I think this is more of a mental block. Q49 is a very good score, and it is proof that you don't need to be overly worried about any topic tested on the GMAT.

Have you identified any other weaknesses (apart from probability and P&C)?
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New post 27 Dec 2018, 05:13
Hi cristianosubo,

Getting stuck at a particular score or score plateau is an indication of either lack of core skills required for GMAT or focus on improving the skill that isn't a problem in the first place. To overcome this you must first precisely identify where and why you make mistakes and then work upon that. You may use Ability Quizzes (Quant Quiz | Verbal Quiz) to identify the topic level preparedness and weaknesses.
One thing that you have pointed out is that you were not able to manage time well. Time management is surely an important skill to maximize your score. This article on Timing strategies will help you in devising your own time management plan.

Here are a few stories of students like you who went on to achieve their target score.
- Prawee (550 to 740) scored 740 in her 5th attempt and got a $180,000 fellowship cumulatively from 3 top business schools. She is currently pursuing MBA from Kellogg. Kellogg was once not even on her radar. Click here to know how she did it.
- Nihal improved from a 630 to 760 in 2 months. Click here to read his debrief.
- Nipun improved from 580 to 710 in 4 weeks. Click here to learn how he reached his target score in such a short time.

Hope this helps! Please feel free to write to us at support@e-gmat.com for any further queries.

Regards,
Aditee
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Re: Stagnation after improving from 580 to 630.Rquest 4 revisedstudy plan.  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Dec 2018, 00:50
EducationAisle wrote:
Hi! We still don't get a complete sense of the material you've been using for your prep (apart from the mock tests).


During my intital preparation, I had completed the OG, Manhattan all quants related material. It was during the second phase of preparation that I have been going through Manhattan SC and Powerscore CR.
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New post 28 Dec 2018, 00:58
AjiteshArun wrote:
cristianosubo wrote:
To conclude, I have a feeling that I am not getting my Accuracy to speed balance good enough to get the maximum score I can. I still wonder how I got a Q49 on my actual GMAT. Also, I feel terribly weak in probability, combinations and permutations. Weak in the sense, the moment I know it is a question based on one of these topics, my confidence goes to zero. Since school I have had this issue and always had choice to work around it back then, but right now it feels like an obstacle too crucial to skip over. I seem to understand the basics correct but it is the application part that confuses me and each problem i come across seems to have a different way to get solved and that throws me into a deeper confused zone.
I think this is more of a mental block. Q49 is a very good score, and it is proof that you don't need to be overly worried about any topic tested on the GMAT.

Have you identified any other weaknesses (apart from probability and P&C)?


I agree on your view AjiteshArun. Since Q49 is the highest I have received and I am yet to reach the same score during the mocks, I kind of feel doubtful that the Q49 was more of a fluke than an actual measure of my ability. As for the weaknesses, I have been struggling with inequalities, which I have corrected to a measurable extent after going through @RonPurewal's videos and some immediate practice using the forum question bank. RC and statistics are the other areas I have identified that require significant improvements.
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Re: Stagnation after improving from 580 to 630.Rquest 4 revisedstudy plan.  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Dec 2018, 01:01
egmat wrote:
Hi cristianosubo,

Getting stuck at a particular score or score plateau is an indication of either lack of core skills required for GMAT or focus on improving the skill that isn't a problem in the first place. To overcome this you must first precisely identify where and why you make mistakes and then work upon that. You may use Ability Quizzes (Quant Quiz | Verbal Quiz) to identify the topic level preparedness and weaknesses.
One thing that you have pointed out is that you were not able to manage time well. Time management is surely an important skill to maximize your score. This article on Timing strategies will help you in devising your own time management plan.

Here are a few stories of students like you who went on to achieve their target score.
- Prawee (550 to 740) scored 740 in her 5th attempt and got a $180,000 fellowship cumulatively from 3 top business schools. She is currently pursuing MBA from Kellogg. Kellogg was once not even on her radar. Click here to know how she did it.
- Nihal improved from a 630 to 760 in 2 months. Click here to read his debrief.
- Nipun improved from 580 to 710 in 4 weeks. Click here to learn how he reached his target score in such a short time.

Hope this helps! Please feel free to write to us at support@e-gmat.com for any further queries.

Regards,
Aditee


Hi Aditee,

I think I can make use of the guidance and links you have provided. Thank you very much.
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Re: Stagnation after improving from 580 to 630.Rquest 4 revisedstudy plan.  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Dec 2018, 04:50
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Hi cristianosubo,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. Although I’m not 100% certain of exactly how you have been preparing for the GMAT (outside of your practice exams), since your practice test scores have been inconsistent and you are not getting your “accuracy to speed” to balance out, it’s likely that you have many quant and verbal weaknesses that must be addressed in order to improve your GMAT score. Thus, rather than micro-analyzing all of your practice tests, your time will be better spent thoroughly learning both GMAT quant and verbal from the ground up. In other words, follow a study plan that allows you to learn linearly, such that you are able to build mastery of one topic prior to moving on to the next. Within each topic, begin with the foundations and progress toward more advanced concepts. By doing so, you should be able to methodically improve your quant and verbal skills and thus improve your score. Keep in mind that this process will take some time, so take your GMAT only when you are ready, OK? Let’s take a closer look at this study process.

Say, for example, you are learning about Number Properties. First, you should develop as much conceptual knowledge about Number Properties as possible. In other words, your goal will be to completely understand properties of factorials, perfect squares, quadratic patterns, LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, and remainders, to name a few concepts. After carefully reviewing the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions, practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. When you do dozens of questions of the same type one after the other, you learn just what it takes to get questions of that type correct consistently. If you aren't getting close to 90 percent of questions of a certain type correct, go back and seek to better understand how that type of question works, and then do more questions of that type until you get to around at least 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

When you are working on learning to answer questions of a particular type, start off taking your time, and then seek to speed up as you get more comfortable answering questions of that type. As you do such practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get right. If you got a remainder question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not properly apply the remainder formula? Was there a concept you did not understand in the question? By carefully analyzing your mistakes, you will be able to efficiently fix your weaknesses and in turn improve your GMAT quant skills.

Follow a similar routine for verbal. For example, let’s say you start by learning about Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to fully 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 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 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 questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s Tone, etc. As with 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. Keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be easy to read. So, to better prepare yourself to analyze such 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, it is likely that you will have to work 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 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, 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. 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.

In order to follow the path described above, you may consider using an online self-study course, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses.

You also may find it helpful to read this article about
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions.
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Re: Stagnation after improving from 580 to 630.Rquest 4 revisedstudy plan.  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Dec 2018, 07:27
ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
Hi cristianosubo,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. Although I’m not 100% certain of exactly how you have been preparing for the GMAT (outside of your practice exams), since your practice test scores have been inconsistent and you are not getting your “accuracy to speed” to balance out, it’s likely that you have many quant and verbal weaknesses that must be addressed in order to improve your GMAT score. Thus, rather than micro-analyzing all of your practice tests, your time will be better spent thoroughly learning both GMAT quant and verbal from the ground up. In other words, follow a study plan that allows you to learn linearly, such that you are able to build mastery of one topic prior to moving on to the next. Within each topic, begin with the foundations and progress toward more advanced concepts. By doing so, you should be able to methodically improve your quant and verbal skills and thus improve your score. Keep in mind that this process will take some time, so take your GMAT only when you are ready, OK? Let’s take a closer look at this study process.

Say, for example, you are learning about Number Properties. First, you should develop as much conceptual knowledge about Number Properties as possible. In other words, your goal will be to completely understand properties of factorials, perfect squares, quadratic patterns, LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, and remainders, to name a few concepts. After carefully reviewing the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions, practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. When you do dozens of questions of the same type one after the other, you learn just what it takes to get questions of that type correct consistently. If you aren't getting close to 90 percent of questions of a certain type correct, go back and seek to better understand how that type of question works, and then do more questions of that type until you get to around at least 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

When you are working on learning to answer questions of a particular type, start off taking your time, and then seek to speed up as you get more comfortable answering questions of that type. As you do such practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get right. If you got a remainder question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not properly apply the remainder formula? Was there a concept you did not understand in the question? By carefully analyzing your mistakes, you will be able to efficiently fix your weaknesses and in turn improve your GMAT quant skills.

Follow a similar routine for verbal. For example, let’s say you start by learning about Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to fully 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 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 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 questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s Tone, etc. As with 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. Keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be easy to read. So, to better prepare yourself to analyze such 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, it is likely that you will have to work 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 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, 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. 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.

In order to follow the path described above, you may consider using an online self-study course, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses.

You also may find it helpful to read this article about
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions.


Hello ScottTargetTestPrep,

It was really nice of you to provide me such a deep and personalized understanding of what I might be doing wrong. Many of the points you have stated are actually the points I have overlooked in my preparation journey. I would like to incorporate your advice and eventually workout a gamechanging plan on how I should approach the Gmat from now on. Thank you very much!
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Re: Stagnation after improving from 580 to 630.Rquest 4 revisedstudy plan.  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jan 2019, 19:09
My pleasure!
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Re: Stagnation after improving from 580 to 630.Rquest 4 revisedstudy plan. &nbs [#permalink] 02 Jan 2019, 19:09
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