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# The SC Dilemma

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Intern
Joined: 01 May 2018
Posts: 2

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08 Jul 2018, 10:38
Hi all,

I just wanted to have your opinions on the SC section as I have some doubts regarding the prep/strategy and the actual difficulty we face on the exam.

I took GMAT several weeks ago and did not do particularly well on the verbal section (V35). Regarding CR and RC, I could see difficult questions and answer choices but most of the stuff was not surprising to me as I had already seen difficult material on these sections. So yes in some questions I was between two choices and could have made a mistake but I am pretty sure if I had a chance to look at the question later, I'd say a-ha, realize my mistake, and move on.

Now with SC however, I have some doubts regarding all the material we have. I have pretty much consumed all OG material, all GMATPrep material (using the tag function) and some 3rd party materials (I will get to this).

Now, I am pretty sure a lot of people advocate that its best to stick to official material when it comes to SC and I agree with that.

What I've seen on the exam however is that I found most SC questions significantly more difficult. What I mean by difficult is that I could not really apply most obvious split decisions, most answer choices could not be eliminated easily (even in hard GMATPrep ones you can always boil down to two choices) and I felt I was guessing far more than I had done anytime in my preps. Quite frankly, I dont think this was because of exam stress as I was happy with other sections and could see the way questions were made difficult: certain tricks, certain words, or just some hard passages. But SC on the hand was completely different than what I had seen anywhere.

So I guess my question to those who achieved a high verbal score and think SC is their strong point is that what sort of materials/strategies should I pursue next so that I am more ready for this type of randomness. I have a feeling that official guides, whether OG or GMATPrep, perhaps except for a few questions, sort of miss the difficulty on the real gmat.

Any thoughts?
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08 Jul 2018, 19:37
Hi EuropaIo,

From what you've described, I'm sure that you've worked through lots of practice SCs, but it's not clear HOW you learned to work through them (your knowledge, Tactics, etc. of that subject). In addition, while you've self-defined SC as a potential area for improvement, it's not clear whether that's the only area that you need to work on or not. Have you purchased the Enhanced Score Report for your Official GMAT? 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.

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 how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied?
2) What study materials have you used so far?
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?
4) How did you score on the Official GMAT (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores)?

Goals:
5) What is your goal score?
6) When are you planning to retake the GMAT?
7) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
8) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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

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Intern
Joined: 01 May 2018
Posts: 2

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09 Jul 2018, 12:44
Hi Rich,

Appreciate the response and your questions are valid. I don't have the ESR with me as I cancelled my score but my doubts on SC part were mainly on how I felt during the exam.

I guess what I am trying to say is that, throughout all my preps I've came across difficult SC, CR, and RC questions. Generally, I could see why certain CR questions were difficult and could analyze my mistakes clearly. Same with RC as some passages would be tougher than the others but I could see where I was missing stuff.

With SC, I feel the real exam is at a different level compared to I've seen in all my prep. There has never been a question in my prep, including the difficult ones, in which I could not eliminate 2-3 choices easily. In the exam however I felt like there was a lot of randomness and the typical process of elimination was significantly more difficult as it was much more difficult to apply tactics such as slash and burn. I really feel SC felt different and I don't think its because I wasn't prepared for it. I just have a feeling that most prep material for SC is significantly easier than what's thrown in the exam. I could be totally wrong here that's why I wanted some opinions from those especially whose native tongue is not English.
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 13353
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170

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10 Jul 2018, 19:10
Hi EuropaIo,

I completely understand why you're looking for that perspective - and i suspect that you're not the only person to find the 'feel' of Test Day to be a bit different from what you were used to during your studies. Ultimately, I have to assume that your short-term goal is to score higher on the GMAT (so that you can achieve your long-term goal: to get into your first-choice Business School). To that end, we have to account for as many details in your overall study process as possible (as again - your performance on SCs on Test Day might not actually be the 'biggest' issue that you're currently facing - even though you think it is). If you'd like to discuss all of this in more detail, then I'll be happy to help, but I'd need answers to my prior questions (and likely to some follow-up questions) to properly analyze your situation in full.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

# Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save \$75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

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SVP
Joined: 15 Jul 2015
Posts: 2013
Location: India
GMAT 1: 780 Q50 V51
GRE 1: Q170 V169

### Show Tags

11 Jul 2018, 20:12
EuropaIo wrote:
Hi Rich,

Appreciate the response and your questions are valid. I don't have the ESR with me as I cancelled my score but my doubts on SC part were mainly on how I felt during the exam.

I guess what I am trying to say is that, throughout all my preps I've came across difficult SC, CR, and RC questions. Generally, I could see why certain CR questions were difficult and could analyze my mistakes clearly. Same with RC as some passages would be tougher than the others but I could see where I was missing stuff.

With SC, I feel the real exam is at a different level compared to I've seen in all my prep. There has never been a question in my prep, including the difficult ones, in which I could not eliminate 2-3 choices easily. In the exam however I felt like there was a lot of randomness and the typical process of elimination was significantly more difficult as it was much more difficult to apply tactics such as slash and burn. I really feel SC felt different and I don't think its because I wasn't prepared for it. I just have a feeling that most prep material for SC is significantly easier than what's thrown in the exam. I could be totally wrong here that's why I wanted some opinions from those especially whose native tongue is not English.
No, the exam is not at a different "level", and I'm not saying this as someone who got a good score on the verbal section.

An adaptive test (like the GMAT) needs calibrated items (questions). To this end, each question is put through an extensive pretesting process. In this process actual GMAT test takers respond to these questions, and it is their responses that determine the characteristics of these pretest questions. Once these characteristics (including "difficulty") are determined and the question is cleared from a quality perspective, it is added to the pool of scored questions.

The point here is that the difficulty level of a question is not decided by the GMAC or some other experts. It is people like you and me, or at least our responses, that determine how the GMAT algorithm looks at the questions it presents test takers, and that has been true for a very long time now.

If you were doing well on even the difficult official SC questions before this (and had not had any prior exposure to those questions), then it is your performance on the actual GMAT that is not a reliable estimate of your ability.
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Re: The SC Dilemma &nbs [#permalink] 11 Jul 2018, 20:12
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# The SC Dilemma

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