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Tips for improving verbal?

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Joined: 19 Oct 2012
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Tips for improving verbal? [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2012, 19:15

This is my first real post, but I have been viewing these forums for the past little while.

SO I just wrote the GMAT for the first time after preparing for a month and a bit and scored nowhere near my goals. I scored a 630 and was aiming for a 700.

To prepare for the exam, I did the usual and went through the 5 Kaplan tests and the 6 Manhattan tests starting with a score of 610 and averaging 700 on the last 7 tests. My scores were also 680 and 700 for Gmat Prep 1 & 2 respectively.

.......So coming out of the test today I found that I was rushed for time on the verbal portion while everything else went great. Specifically, I was taken aback by 5 or 6 consecutive sentence correction questions I had to start. These were massive questions and were all completely underlined. I have a feeling this is where things started to head south as the length each of these questions was massive and were the equivalent to questions I found only 2 times in OG13.

I am very conflicted what to do as I have consistently finished the verbal portion of the practice exams early and scored around 41 (I got 33 in the real GMAT....). However, it is highly possible I don't know sentence construction rules well enough so that in longer sentences...trouble comes up!

Putting it all together I have a feeling,I feel I should get back to the basics? It is all very weird for me as I fluently read and write English and don't seem to have a problem with any of the other verbal portions of the exam including the essay.

Does anyone have any suggestions for some books that I could focus on sentence structure with? I don't mean GMAT specific, but sentence specific. I don't want to get killed here again and will be writing the GMAT again in 31 days.

Thanks in advance everyone!

PS..has anyone else ever started of the verbal portion with anything like this? It was actually making me feel sick...never seen anything like it....I honestly think I only had 3-4 sentence correction questions where the entire sentence was not one big underline.

PPS..Sorry if this is the wrong section to post my question in!

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GMAT Club Verbal Expert
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Re: Tips for improving verbal? [#permalink]

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New post 30 Nov 2012, 09:52
It sounds like you're only a couple of weeks away from your next battle with the GMAT now, so I apologize if this is too late to be helpful.

For starters, it isn't unusual to see five or six SCs at the beginning of the verbal section, and it isn't unusual to see really, really long sentences that are almost completely underlined. It doesn't happen to everybody, but it's a reasonably common complaint. You might not be so unlucky next time around, but it's probably good to be prepared for this to happen again, just in case.

This might sound weird, but I think that the length of an SC question doesn't correlate very strongly to its difficulty level. The long questions are intimidating, time-consuming, and annoying. But they aren't necessarily harder, and they don't really require a radically different strategy than any other sort of SC question. Ideally, you're trying to efficiently find errors in the answer choices, whether the sentence is long or short. The longer SC questions tend to have tons of pronoun agreement, verb agreement, comparison, parallelism, and modifier placement issues--it's just that they "feel" hidden because the sentences are so effing long.

It sounds like you have a strong grasp of English in general and GMAT SC rules in particular, otherwise you wouldn't have been able to score above 40 on your practice tests! But the funky thing about the GMAT is that knowing the rules isn't enough: you have to be really great at recognizing them quickly on SC, even if they're buried in a long sentence. I suspect that you already understand all of the issues that I mentioned in the last paragraph, but you might want to spend some extra time making sure that you can recognize those keywords and structures instantly, wherever they may appear in a sentence. For practice, you might also consider cherry-picking the OGs and GMATPrep Question Pack for the longest SC questions right before your test, even if you've already seen all of those questions before.

I have funny feeling that you'll do just fine next time around. Good luck!

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Re: Tips for improving verbal?   [#permalink] 30 Nov 2012, 09:52
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