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Ultimate Verbal Study Plan - 2017 Edition

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Ultimate Verbal Study Plan - 2017 Edition [#permalink]

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GMAT Study Plan for Verbal


Suggest study time: 1.5-2 months for 2-3 hrs 5 days a week
Expected Verbal Score: V35+
Level of commitment: high (slightly above girlfriend/boyfriend)
Synopsis: Combine 3 things:
  1. Methodically cover each area without jumping around
  2. Review previous day's lesson & your mistakes
  3. Read 1,000-2,000 pages of good quality fiction books
  4. Make the most out of official GMAT questions

Have you ever created a report or a presentation that you were truly proud of? Maybe it was in the 7th grade or in college. Something that you felt you could impress someone with or perhaps a project that had an amazing level of attention to detail? It did not have to be appreciated or recognized but if anyone looked at it, they saw that a lot of work, effort, time, and love was put into it. Think of that - now you must do the same for the verbal section of the GMAT if you are serious about getting a solid verbal score.

Without commitment/obsession/love for the GMAT, it will be hard to achieve a serious improvement. Even before we get started with this plan, there are certain success factors (study habits) that must be followed for all of these recommendations to work. Your success will be greatly determined by how much you are willing to follow these:
  • Do not rush
  • Spend the good hours of the day to study for the GMAT - if you study at night, on the train, or between TV shows, your learning will be sloppy and results will be inconsistent
  • You must be methodical - if you read about the sequence of tenses and you have no idea what it is and it is not covered in your SC book - you must learn it elsewhere
  • Make notes (not in the book since that's a lazy ass way that does not work. Actually do not write anything in the book). If you see something valuable/new - write it out in your notebook

Take a Diagnostic CAT


Before you start your prep, it is absolutely essential to take a diagnostic test to see where you stand. GMAT Prep free CAT is an excellent source of an official testing process, and do not be afraid to use it. Often people leave GMAT Prep CAT for later, but now with the introduction of 2 exam packs, you have plenty of official practice tests to fall back on.

After getting a score and a fair bit of analysis, figure out your strongest area among CR, SC and RC. Start with that area.

Sentence Correction


Advice from bb - SC was the easiest section for me, partially because I had to study English grammar for another test (English Language proficiency test similar to TOEFL), and I thought SC was the most clear-cut section. SC is based on rules and assuming you know the rules it is very clear which answer option is right - it is not something subjective such as CR or RC, which requires logic/processing. The key to SC was learning all the rules (which were finite) and once I knew most of them, answering SC's was easy. (not sure if you caught this, but in the last 2 sentences I switched from the past to present and back to the past tense. Not something traditionally considered correct and I hope you caught it; if not - you will have to train your ear.)


Popular Sentence Correction Guides/Books



GMAT Club Resources



Misc. Resources


e-GMAT Resources - All SC articles by e-GMAT
Thursdays with Ron - 20+ highly insightful videos by MGMAT top instructor Ron Purewal
Advanced Sentence Correction PPT and Questions - A collection of advanced concepts of Sentence Correction presented in powerpoint with practice question bank
Manhattan GMAT SC Blog - 100+ articles on GMAT SC
SC Guide by Whiplash - This guide covers the major error types and miscellaneous pointers to watch for.
GMAT Club forum notes - This post contains important notes by GMAT Club members. T
SC Verbal question bank and directories by Carcass - This topic gathers among the most important resources in our GMATClub arsenal.

Sentence Correction Question Banks



Critical Reasoning


Advice from bb - something that worked for me was treating CR as a game. You may think it is sick (and it probably is) but it sure helps make GMAT more fun. My favorite question type was Assumption questions - it was a world I never knew existed and I made a habit of trying to pin down the assumption an author made in a magazine, book, or anything else I read. I would also read through GMAT questions I have done in the past (not assumption questions) and would still try to pin down the assumption. It was a game, it was fun, and I got very good with assumptions, which not only helps with CR but is also very valuable when you have to prove your point or build an argument.
The most helpful exercise on the CR for me (and a real eye opener) was answering the question without reading the choices first. You must be able to do this. If you can't do it, don't even bother moving along. You must answer every CR question in your own words first - that's the best and only strategy you can depend on to work for you and to save you time.


Recommended Books


CR Strategy Resources


Question Banks


Strengthen/Weaken Resources


Assumption Resources


Inference/Bold Face Resources/Numbers & Statistics


Minor Question Types


Reading Comprehension


Advice from bb - My most feared enemy and the hardest section was RC - I had a 40-50% success rate on it when just working on exercises in a book and if I took a test or computer based exercises where I could not control/extend time, the result was very often even worse. My challenge was lack of time to read the passage - I would rush through the passage, trying to catch as much details as possible (I have taken some speed reading classes when I was 14 or 15 but I am not sure about their value - if anything they gave me the wrong strategy) and at the end, walk out with a lot of details but unable to answer half the questions. I would then spend 2-3 mins per question trying to find the answer in the passage and re-reading the same sections of the passage over and over again. You are probably noticing that something is off with this strategy but I did not when I was answering the questions - I thought that was the best I could do. I have read the strategy of reading the entire passage first carefully (make notes, analyze authors tone, etc) but I did not think it was for me. I felt it was for native speakers who could read fast, get through the content, and not get bogged down in words they did not know. But after a week of really bad results (50% is really bad), and no other alternatives, I have tried the method of reading the full text. At first, I just did it to see how long it would take me to do this option, so I timed myself just reading the passage. I believe it was about 6 minutes. Then i answered 4 questions following it and that took 3 minutes (much less time than usual per question) but overall, it was 9 minutes (not very good if you only have 110 seconds per question or under 2 mins). However, the good news was that I got 3 out of 4 right (not a big deal since it could be a fluke). I practiced a few more passages and the results were very encouraging and impressive. I got close to 80% success rate based on 4 passages and 16 questions. Now my focus was to cut down reading time taken per question (I was never really able to improve it) and to answer more questions correctly (80% is good but 90% is better). What I ended up doing at the end was improving my SC and CR timing enough to compensate for my reading deficiency (more of this is covered in the timing strategies on the GMAT). I attribute my 96th verbal percentile to this reading strategy as well as reading fiction books and being comfortable with complex texts with unknown words.


RC Books


There are 2 main books for RC: Manhattan GMAT RC and Veritas Prep RC. Both are fairly skinny
Alternative Materials: both of the mentioned above books that are generally shorter but are not as detailed either: Kaplan Verbal Workbook and PowerScore Verbal Bible.
Polish your strategy (RC strategies are discussed here)
Read Fiction (more about this here: GMAT Fiction)

RC Tips and Resources


1. Always read the First and Last sentence more carefully no matter what. GMAT passages are very structured and the first stence will always contain the main idea and set the tone.
2. Watch for trigger words such as "but, however, still, regardless, nevertheless, although" and others
3. Always ask yourself why the author put this example here
4. Pretend that you are very interested in the reading material or another option is to play a game with the author and try to prove the author wrong - pick at every word
5. Always know what the main idea of the passage is, even if the questions are not asking for it
6. It helps to know the vocabulary but you can make it - as long as you know all of the tone and general words, you will be able to tell author's direction. Specifics may not matter, though again, I have found that good vocabulary helps on RC
7. Do whatever it takes to help you read/remember the passage better - write summary notes (even if you never go back to them), paraphrase each paragraph or even sentence, etc.

Common Pitfalls:
  • More often than not, the most typical second best answer choice on the RC will be out of scope. I found it quite amusing and made a game out of it (I know, I am a bit over the top with RC but it was the hardest section for me to master). After a while, I can very quickly (i.e. immediately) pick out an answer choice that goes outside of the scope of the passage as a general question (purpose/title/etc) or even a more specific one.
  • Another catch/trap you will see quite a bit is reliance on "trigger" words. For example, the passage will spend 2-3 sentences on one point and then at the end will flip it with a "but", "however", or another "trigger" word. This is designed to catch those who skim/skip or don't read attentively and is really a big reason to read the passage attentively (in my view) vs. just rushing through it. For example, a passage may talk about how the number of accidents has been growing and that many people have been injured in the last year in car accidents and at the end, say "but death rates have declined" and an example of a trap would be an answer choice that would say "Injuries and fatalities are rising as the result of car accidents."
  • Finally a more subtle way to get many of us to pick the wrong answer choice is making the text very heavy fact-based with long complex words and terminology, which distracts from the simple task of analyzing the passage and asking why each sentence is put where it is put. Sometimes, you can get to the answer by just looking at why a certain sentence is in a certain spot. However, most focus on facts, understanding/remembering which minerals or microbes live in which environment, etc. The facts and dry details are there not to test your memory/knowledge of the subject but rather to distract and not let you see the passage structure clearly.


!
Common Mistakes with RC
1. Not following a strategy or changing it on the test - biggest issue
2. Poor English vocabulary/skills - if you don't know what you are reading, how do you expect to answer the questions?
3. Taking too much time to answer each question
4. Having to re-read the passage multiple times

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Re: Ultimate Verbal Study Plan - 2017 Edition [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2017, 20:37
Thanks Souvik for sharing this information.
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Re: Ultimate Verbal Study Plan - 2017 Edition [#permalink]

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FYI - Changed the subject to reflect the year most of us are living in - 2017
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Re: Ultimate Verbal Study Plan - 2017 Edition [#permalink]

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Great post! I followed a similar post from last year and scored a V37 after starting off with a V24!

One thing I can't say for certain if it did or did not help was that I started listening to A LOT of Audible books on my commute to and from work. I will say that I started off very average on the RC section, but ended up scoring a 95th percentile (according to the ESR) with almost no practice of the RC section besides on practice tests. I believe this is a great way to get fluency in reading even from just listening to books for 2 hours a day. I noticed I was able to read and capture some of the reading faster. Since I had to commute anyways, it was a great way to do something during the commute as well as get some “reading” done.

Something to consider!
Kurai

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Re: Ultimate Verbal Study Plan - 2017 Edition [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2017, 00:38
Wonderful post souvik101990. Kudos to you!! :)
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Re: Ultimate Verbal Study Plan - 2017 Edition [#permalink]

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New post 29 Mar 2017, 10:28
Great post. Thanks for sharing this valuable information with everyone.
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Re: Ultimate Verbal Study Plan - 2017 Edition [#permalink]

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New post 07 Apr 2017, 18:02
Kurai wrote:
Great post! I followed a similar post from last year and scored a V37 after starting off with a V24!

One thing I can't say for certain if it did or did not help was that I started listening to A LOT of Audible books on my commute to and from work. I will say that I started off very average on the RC section, but ended up scoring a 95th percentile (according to the ESR) with almost no practice of the RC section besides on practice tests. I believe this is a great way to get fluency in reading even from just listening to books for 2 hours a day. I noticed I was able to read and capture some of the reading faster. Since I had to commute anyways, it was a great way to do something during the commute as well as get some “reading” done.

Something to consider!
Kurai

Hi Kurai,
Which sources of audio books you referred, are they free to download wide play store?
Wr, Arpit

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Ultimate Verbal Study Plan - 2017 Edition [#permalink]

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New post 07 Apr 2017, 22:34
souvik101990 wrote:

GMAT Study Plan for Verbal


Suggest study time: 1.5-2 months for 2-3 hrs 5 days a week
Expected Verbal Score: V35+
Level of commitment: high (slightly above girlfriend/boyfriend)
Synopsis: Combine 3 things:
  1. Methodically cover each area without jumping around
  2. Review previous day's lesson & your mistakes
  3. Read 1,000-2,000 pages of good quality fiction books
  4. Make the most out of official GMAT questions

Have you ever created a report or a presentation that you were truly proud of? Maybe it was in the 7th grade or in college. Something that you felt you could impress someone with or perhaps a project that had an amazing level of attention to detail? It did not have to be appreciated or recognized but if anyone looked at it, they saw that a lot of work, effort, time, and love was put into it. Think of that - now you must do the same for the verbal section of the GMAT if you are serious about getting a solid verbal score.

Without commitment/obsession/love for the GMAT, it will be hard to achieve a serious improvement. Even before we get started with this plan, there are certain success factors (study habits) that must be followed for all of these recommendations to work. Your success will be greatly determined by how much you are willing to follow these:
  • Do not rush
  • Spend the good hours of the day to study for the GMAT - if you study at night, on the train, or between TV shows, your learning will be sloppy and results will be inconsistent
  • You must be methodical - if you read about the sequence of tenses and you have no idea what it is and it is not covered in your SC book - you must learn it elsewhere
  • Make notes (not in the book since that's a lazy ass way that does not work. Actually do not write anything in the book). If you see something valuable/new - write it out in your notebook

Take a Diagnostic CAT


Before you start your prep, it is absolutely essential to take a diagnostic test to see where you stand. GMAT Prep free CAT is an excellent source of an official testing process, and do not be afraid to use it. Often people leave GMAT Prep CAT for later, but now with the introduction of 2 exam packs, you have plenty of official practice tests to fall back on.

After getting a score and a fair bit of analysis, figure out your strongest area among CR, SC and RC. Start with that area.

Sentence Correction


Advice from bb - SC was the easiest section for me, partially because I had to study English grammar for another test (English Language proficiency test similar to TOEFL), and I thought SC was the most clear-cut section. SC is based on rules and assuming you know the rules it is very clear which answer option is right - it is not something subjective such as CR or RC, which requires logic/processing. The key to SC was learning all the rules (which were finite) and once I knew most of them, answering SC's was easy. (not sure if you caught this, but in the last 2 sentences I switched from the past to present and back to the past tense. Not something traditionally considered correct and I hope you caught it; if not - you will have to train your ear.)


Popular Sentence Correction Guides/Books



GMAT Club Resources



Misc. Resources


e-GMAT Resources - All SC articles by e-GMAT
Thursdays with Ron - 20+ highly insightful videos by MGMAT top instructor Ron Purewal
Advanced Sentence Correction PPT and Questions - A collection of advanced concepts of Sentence Correction presented in powerpoint with practice question bank
Manhattan GMAT SC Blog - 100+ articles on GMAT SC
SC Guide by Whiplash - This guide covers the major error types and miscellaneous pointers to watch for.
GMAT Club forum notes - This post contains important notes by GMAT Club members. T
SC Verbal question bank and directories by Carcass - This topic gathers among the most important resources in our GMATClub arsenal.

Sentence Correction Question Banks



Critical Reasoning


Advice from bb - something that worked for me was treating CR as a game. You may think it is sick (and it probably is) but it sure helps make GMAT more fun. My favorite question type was Assumption questions - it was a world I never knew existed and I made a habit of trying to pin down the assumption an author made in a magazine, book, or anything else I read. I would also read through GMAT questions I have done in the past (not assumption questions) and would still try to pin down the assumption. It was a game, it was fun, and I got very good with assumptions, which not only helps with CR but is also very valuable when you have to prove your point or build an argument.
The most helpful exercise on the CR for me (and a real eye opener) was answering the question without reading the choices first. You must be able to do this. If you can't do it, don't even bother moving along. You must answer every CR question in your own words first - that's the best and only strategy you can depend on to work for you and to save you time.


Recommended Books


CR Strategy Resources


Question Banks


Strengthen/Weaken Resources


Assumption Resources


Inference/Bold Face Resources/Numbers & Statistics


Minor Question Types


Reading Comprehension


Advice from bb - My most feared enemy and the hardest section was RC - I had a 40-50% success rate on it when just working on exercises in a book and if I took a test or computer based exercises where I could not control/extend time, the result was very often even worse. My challenge was lack of time to read the passage - I would rush through the passage, trying to catch as much details as possible (I have taken some speed reading classes when I was 14 or 15 but I am not sure about their value - if anything they gave me the wrong strategy) and at the end, walk out with a lot of details but unable to answer half the questions. I would then spend 2-3 mins per question trying to find the answer in the passage and re-reading the same sections of the passage over and over again. You are probably noticing that something is off with this strategy but I did not when I was answering the questions - I thought that was the best I could do. I have read the strategy of reading the entire passage first carefully (make notes, analyze authors tone, etc) but I did not think it was for me. I felt it was for native speakers who could read fast, get through the content, and not get bogged down in words they did not know. But after a week of really bad results (50% is really bad), and no other alternatives, I have tried the method of reading the full text. At first, I just did it to see how long it would take me to do this option, so I timed myself just reading the passage. I believe it was about 6 minutes. Then i answered 4 questions following it and that took 3 minutes (much less time than usual per question) but overall, it was 9 minutes (not very good if you only have 110 seconds per question or under 2 mins). However, the good news was that I got 3 out of 4 right (not a big deal since it could be a fluke). I practiced a few more passages and the results were very encouraging and impressive. I got close to 80% success rate based on 4 passages and 16 questions. Now my focus was to cut down reading time taken per question (I was never really able to improve it) and to answer more questions correctly (80% is good but 90% is better). What I ended up doing at the end was improving my SC and CR timing enough to compensate for my reading deficiency (more of this is covered in the timing strategies on the GMAT). I attribute my 96th verbal percentile to this reading strategy as well as reading fiction books and being comfortable with complex texts with unknown words.


RC Books


There are 2 main books for RC: Manhattan GMAT RC and Veritas Prep RC. Both are fairly skinny
Alternative Materials: both of the mentioned above books that are generally shorter but are not as detailed either: Kaplan Verbal Workbook and PowerScore Verbal Bible.
Polish your strategy (RC strategies are discussed here)
Read Fiction (more about this here: GMAT Fiction)

RC Tips and Resources


1. Always read the First and Last sentence more carefully no matter what. GMAT passages are very structured and the first stence will always contain the main idea and set the tone.
2. Watch for trigger words such as "but, however, still, regardless, nevertheless, although" and others
3. Always ask yourself why the author put this example here
4. Pretend that you are very interested in the reading material or another option is to play a game with the author and try to prove the author wrong - pick at every word
5. Always know what the main idea of the passage is, even if the questions are not asking for it
6. It helps to know the vocabulary but you can make it - as long as you know all of the tone and general words, you will be able to tell author's direction. Specifics may not matter, though again, I have found that good vocabulary helps on RC
7. Do whatever it takes to help you read/remember the passage better - write summary notes (even if you never go back to them), paraphrase each paragraph or even sentence, etc.

Common Pitfalls:
  • More often than not, the most typical second best answer choice on the RC will be out of scope. I found it quite amusing and made a game out of it (I know, I am a bit over the top with RC but it was the hardest section for me to master). After a while, I can very quickly (i.e. immediately) pick out an answer choice that goes outside of the scope of the passage as a general question (purpose/title/etc) or even a more specific one.
  • Another catch/trap you will see quite a bit is reliance on "trigger" words. For example, the passage will spend 2-3 sentences on one point and then at the end will flip it with a "but", "however", or another "trigger" word. This is designed to catch those who skim/skip or don't read attentively and is really a big reason to read the passage attentively (in my view) vs. just rushing through it. For example, a passage may talk about how the number of accidents has been growing and that many people have been injured in the last year in car accidents and at the end, say "but death rates have declined" and an example of a trap would be an answer choice that would say "Injuries and fatalities are rising as the result of car accidents."
  • Finally a more subtle way to get many of us to pick the wrong answer choice is making the text very heavy fact-based with long complex words and terminology, which distracts from the simple task of analyzing the passage and asking why each sentence is put where it is put. Sometimes, you can get to the answer by just looking at why a certain sentence is in a certain spot. However, most focus on facts, understanding/remembering which minerals or microbes live in which environment, etc. The facts and dry details are there not to test your memory/knowledge of the subject but rather to distract and not let you see the passage structure clearly.


!
Common Mistakes with RC
1. Not following a strategy or changing it on the test - biggest issue
2. Poor English vocabulary/skills - if you don't know what you are reading, how do you expect to answer the questions?
3. Taking too much time to answer each question
4. Having to re-read the passage multiple times


Hi Sauvik,
I need your help to find more 700+ OG qs for SC meaning.
Furthermore I am weak in CR assumption Qs and need to know reason for error is downloading
CR quick reference under CR strategy resources.
Also , In Assumption strategy and set link under assumption resources are all Qs from OG Q / gmat prep?
Due to shortage of time, I only want lay my hands on Qs from official source at present.
WR, Arpit

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Re: Ultimate Verbal Study Plan - 2017 Edition [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2017, 13:56
adkikani wrote:
Kurai wrote:
Great post! I followed a similar post from last year and scored a V37 after starting off with a V24!

One thing I can't say for certain if it did or did not help was that I started listening to A LOT of Audible books on my commute to and from work. I will say that I started off very average on the RC section, but ended up scoring a 95th percentile (according to the ESR) with almost no practice of the RC section besides on practice tests. I believe this is a great way to get fluency in reading even from just listening to books for 2 hours a day. I noticed I was able to read and capture some of the reading faster. Since I had to commute anyways, it was a great way to do something during the commute as well as get some “reading” done.

Something to consider!
Kurai

Hi Kurai,
Which sources of audio books you referred, are they free to download wide play store?
Wr, Arpit

Sent from my Iris X8 L using GMAT Club Forum mobile app


Hello adkikani,

Sorry I wasn't clear. I used the Amazon owned audiobook company called Audible. I believe they have free trials for up to a few books. Try doing some research and you may be able to get some audiobooks for free! However, they do usually cost around $15/book.

Kurai

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Re: Ultimate Verbal Study Plan - 2017 Edition [#permalink]

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New post 12 May 2017, 09:38
The best post for those who want to improve in verbal... Thanks souvik101990 and bb

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Re: Ultimate Verbal Study Plan - 2017 Edition [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jun 2017, 11:51
Hi,

Can someone give their opinion on GMAT Club Grammar book vs. Manhattan Foundations of Verbal book for 1st/beginner book?

Thank you.

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Re: Ultimate Verbal Study Plan - 2017 Edition [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jun 2017, 23:41
Kurai wrote:
adkikani wrote:
Kurai wrote:
Great post! I followed a similar post from last year and scored a V37 after starting off with a V24!

One thing I can't say for certain if it did or did not help was that I started listening to A LOT of Audible books on my commute to and from work. I will say that I started off very average on the RC section, but ended up scoring a 95th percentile (according to the ESR) with almost no practice of the RC section besides on practice tests. I believe this is a great way to get fluency in reading even from just listening to books for 2 hours a day. I noticed I was able to read and capture some of the reading faster. Since I had to commute anyways, it was a great way to do something during the commute as well as get some “reading” done.

Something to consider!
Kurai

Hi Kurai,
Which sources of audio books you referred, are they free to download wide play store?
Wr, Arpit

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Hello adkikani,

Sorry I wasn't clear. I used the Amazon owned audiobook company called Audible. I believe they have free trials for up to a few books. Try doing some research and you may be able to get some audiobooks for free! However, they do usually cost around $15/book.

Kurai


That sounds like a great idea. Thanks for sharing it. Which books did you read?

Kudos [?]: 45 [0], given: 237

Re: Ultimate Verbal Study Plan - 2017 Edition   [#permalink] 21 Jun 2017, 23:41
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