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Verbal Prep Tips from a 770 (V47) Scorer

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Schools: HBS '20, ISB '20
GMAT 1: 770 Q49 V47
Verbal Prep Tips from a 770 (V47) Scorer  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 28 Feb 2017, 03:41
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This post comes more than half a year after I posted my debrief (https://gmatclub.com/forum/how-i-ko-d-t ... 22778.html). In this time, I've received more queries regarding how I went about doing verbal than Tumblr believes there are genders. So here's a brief rundown of what I did for verbal, topic-wise:


Sentence Correction

SC was one of my strongest areas in verbal. By the time I attempted the GMAT, I was able to answer most SC questions in 40-45 seconds (!!) flat. I think the key to getting good at SC is the internalisation of the grammar rules and repetitive practice.

Rules

The Manhattan SC Strategy Guide is the holy grail of SC prep books. The amount of detail for each topic under SC is insane. I made detailed and comprehensive notes of each of the rules under each of the chapters (except for the idioms chapter, which is stupid). There are multiple examples given under each rule, and reading and re-reading them really helps you understand how to apply them.
I did all of this not once or twice but thrice throughout the duration of my prep, which guaranteed I could do SC whilst suspended upside down from the ceiling in my sleep. A lot of people think making notes is a waste of time since all the stuff is already given in the book, but it really really helps; you can streamline your understanding by focussing on your weaknesses and aggregating examples.

Practice:

The next thing is to do a lot of good quality practice. When solving SC questions, it is important to review each question carefully. You should go through each of the answer choices; see why each of the other ones are wrong as well as why the one you selected is right. A lot of people (myself included) neglect to do the latter. I began doing this in the last couple weeks before my attempt, and it helped bump my score up considerably.
Another thing is to make sure you're practising from good sources. There is an extremely shady collection of '1000 SC GMAT Questions' floating around on forums, that was recommended to me multiple times. I found a lot of errors with them, and then stuck only to Manhattan/Veritas/Powerscore and of course the beloved official questions.


Critical Reasoning

CR took up the most of my time in verbal. Now unlike SC, where one can 'learn' a bunch of rules and call it a day, CR is much more nuanced. The best you can do to build a framework is to get familiar with
- the various question types,
- the error types and
- general pointers and logic patterns in the answers.

Doing so will give you a rough blueprint of what the correct answer should look like. I did this by using the Powerscore CR Bible. In my opinion, the book is a little too long-winded (it's almost twice the length of Manhattan's CR Guide), but it definitely gets the job done. I tried using Manhattan's CR Guide for a week, but the explanations and questions seemed a little iffy to me.
Beyond this, solving official questions is the only way to get really good at CR. The more authentic questions I solved, the more I was able to identify logic patterns and pitfalls in questions and relate them to what I'd learnt.


Reading Comprehension

RC narrowly edged ahead of SC to be my strongest area in verbal. Since I've always had pretty strong reading habits, the only thing I did for RC was to leaf through Manhattan's (extremely short) RC Strategy Guide a couple of weeks before my attempt.

A couple of technique that I picked up are:

Passage Maps

Making "passage-maps" consists of briefly jotting down what each part/paragraph of a passage consists of while you read through the passage. While it seems counter-intuitive to write while you read in that it will be a waste of time or slow you down, it actually helps you save time by having a handy blueprint of the passage to refer to when you begin answering questions.
This is especially useful for long and complex passages with a lot of ideas or concepts. I did not make passage maps for shorter passages.

The Main Point

Manhattan has some other pretentious term it uses for this technique but it basically consists of pausing for a moment after reading each paragraph and after reading the whole passage to reiterate to yourself what the main point/s is/are. This helps directly with main point and summary questions and also helps indirectly with other types of questions that draw from the main idea. Again, it may seem counter-intuitive to do this, but it actually gives you a much clearer understanding of the passage and speeds up your solving time.

Notwithstanding the above techniques, reading a lot of good content from quality sources ( The Economist, The New Yorker, aeon.co, nautil.us etc.) will make you an RC god.



Conclusion

Do keep in mind that your strengths and weaknesses may be vastly different from mine and what worked for me may not work for you. That being said, I do believe that this is a pretty wholesome approach to verbal and that most of the materials mentioned here are considered top notch by a lot of people on this forum. I'll update this post with more pointers as and when I can think of them.

Here's to more V47's!

Please hit that kudos button if you found this helpful :)

Originally posted by anandb on 28 Feb 2017, 02:18.
Last edited by anandb on 28 Feb 2017, 03:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Verbal Prep Tips from a 770 (V47) Scorer  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Feb 2017, 03:30
1
anandb wrote:
This post comes more than half a year after I posted my debrief (https://gmatclub.com/forum/how-i-ko-d-t ... 22778.html). In this time, I've received more queries regarding how I went about doing verbal than Tumblr believes there are genders. So here's a brief rundown of what I did for verbal, topic-wise:


Sentence Correction

SC was one of my strongest areas in verbal. By the time I attempted the GMAT, I was able to answer most SC questions in 40-45 seconds (!!) flat. I think the key to getting good at SC is the internalisation of the grammar rules and repetitive practice.

Rules

The Manhattan SC Strategy Guide is the holy grail of SC prep books. The amount of detail for each topic under SC is insane. I made detailed and comprehensive notes of each of the rules under each of the chapters (except for the idioms chapter, which is stupid). There are multiple examples given under each rule, and reading and re-reading them really helps you understand how to apply them.
I did all of this not once or twice but thrice throughout the duration of my prep, which guaranteed I could do SC whilst suspended upside down from the ceiling in my sleep. A lot of people think making notes is a waste of time since all the stuff is already given in the book, but it really really helps; you can streamline your understanding by focussing on your weaknesses and aggregating examples.

Practice:

The next thing is to do a lot of good quality practice. When solving SC questions, it is important to review each question carefully. You should go through each of the answer choices; see why each of the other ones are wrong as well as why the one you selected is right. A lot of people (myself included) neglect to do the latter. I began doing this in the last couple weeks before my attempt, and it helped bump my score up considerably.
Another thing is to make sure you're practising from good sources. There is an extremely shady collection of '1000 SC GMAT Questions' floating around on forums, that was recommended to me multiple times. I found a lot of errors with them, and then stuck only to Manhattan/Veritas/Powerscore and of course the beloved official questions.


Critical Reasoning

CR took up the most of my time in verbal. Now unlike SC, where one can 'learn' a bunch of rules and call it a day, CR is much more nuanced. The best you can do to build a framework is to get familiar with
- the various question types,
- the error types and
- general pointers and logic patterns in the answers.

Doing so will give you a rough blueprint of what the correct answer should look like. I did this by using the Powerscore CR Bible. In my opinion, the book is a little too long-winded (it's almost twice the length of Manhattan's CR Guide), but it definitely gets the job done. I tried using Manhattan's CR Guide for a week, but the explanations and questions seemed a little iffy to me.
Beyond this, solving official questions is the only way to get really good at CR. The more authentic questions I solved, the more I was able to identify logic patterns and pitfalls in questions and relate them to what I'd learnt.


Reading Comprehension

RC narrowly edged ahead of SC to be my strongest area in verbal. Since I've always had pretty strong reading habits, the only thing I did for RC was to leaf through Manhattan's (extremely short) RC Strategy Guide a couple of weeks before my attempt.

A couple of technique that I picked up are:

Passage Maps

Making "passage-maps" consists of briefly jotting down what each part/paragraph of a passage consists of while you read through the passage. While it seems counter-intuitive to write while you read in that it will be a waste of time or slow you down, it actually helps you save time by having a handy blueprint of the passage to refer to when you begin answering questions.
This is especially useful for long and complex passages with a lot of ideas or concepts. I did not make passage maps for shorter passages.

The Main Point

Manhattan has some other pretentious term it uses for this technique but it basically consists of pausing for a moment after reading each paragraph and after reading the whole passage to reiterate to yourself what the main point/s is/are. This helps directly with main point and summary questions and also helps indirectly with other types of questions that draw from the main idea. Again, it may seem counter-intuitive to do this, but it actually gives you a much clearer understanding of the passage and speeds up your solving time.

Notwithstanding the above techniques, reading a lot of good content from quality sources ( The Economist, The New Yorker, aeon.co, nautil.us etc.) will make you an RC god.



Conclusion

Do keep in mind that your strengths and weaknesses may be vastly different from mine and what worked for me may not work for you. That being said, I do believe that this is a pretty wholesome approach to verbal and that most of the materials mentioned here are considered top notch by a lot of people on this forum. I'll update this post with more pointers as and when I can think of them.

Here's to more V47's!



thanks
can you write about quant as well
also can you share the notes you have made
GMAT Club Bot
Re: Verbal Prep Tips from a 770 (V47) Scorer &nbs [#permalink] 28 Feb 2017, 03:30
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Verbal Prep Tips from a 770 (V47) Scorer

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