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Looking for serious help on Verbal Section

This topic has 1 expert reply and 2 member replies
deepika.bam Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
07 Jul 2014
1 messages

Looking for serious help on Verbal Section

Post Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:19 am
Dear Sir/Madam,

I am looking for assistance and some serious help. I think there is a fundamental flaw in the way I approach verbal section. Coming from a technological back-ground I have no issue at all with the Quantitative section, even with some goofs up and some silly experiments (To test the scoring algorithm in two CATs and actual Exam) I have always managed score above 40. My verbal part is really poor; I never have crossed 30 even in any of the two Manhattan CATs that I have finished so far. I am consistently scoring between 22 to 25 mark.

Study Material: Cover each and every page of all the available Manhattan guides for both Quantitative and Verbal section (Including their foundation course guides as well). For practice I have used Official Guide 12, 13, & 14. For sentence correction one additional book from Aristotle. For critical reasoning I have mostly rely on PowerScore bible book.

My target score is in 700+ range so that it will open doors of all the top 10 B schools.

If most of the good candidates across the globe are able to cross 40 level mark in Verbal section, then it is definitely achievable.

My approach: First I have covered all the study materials. While studying I have made notes from each of the book. As I am working 9 hours a day in my current job, it took me sometime to finish all the books. After finishing study material ,I started with OG-13 and on one Saturday I have covered all the Critical reasoning questions, next day all Quantitative section questions ,then next two evenings all Sentence correction questions and finally on next Saturday and Sunday all reading comprehension passages and their respective questions. I made note of all the questions which I answered wrongly in my 1st attempt for sentence correction, critical reasoning, and quantitative sections. I struggled mainly in 2 of the OG-13 passages and 8 to 9 questions in total from different passages.

Then I took 1st free CAT of Manhattan, result Quantitative 45 and Verbal 22. My reading comprehension was poor as I skimmed most of it, as my focus on this free test is to test my timing. I have 22 wrongs out of 41. Those 22 wrongs also include sentence correction and critical reasoning questions.

Then I picked 6 different RC passages from different OG sources which I have not covered (Old OG guides, covering all the difficulty level, short, medium and long). I made small script and timed (8 minutes for short passages, 9 minutes for medium and 12 minutes for long passage) those so that I get mixture of medium, short and long passages. My success rate was 90% for all the 6 passages, each having at least 4 questions to answer.

While working on sentence correction problem from OG-13, I found out, even though rules are clear to me, it did not come out nicely from my mind, means I was not able to apply those rules to actual problem. So I referred another sentence correction book from Aristotle.

After working on weakness I took my first actual Manhattan CAT and my score is Quantitative 42 and Verbal 25.Again in Verbal 23 wrong answers.

Then I thought I need more practice ,so I took 2 weeks off and covered OG-15, OG-12 for all verbal part question accept RC passages and next 1 week I have just revised all my notes + all the problems which I answered wrongly on my 1st attempt. After studying for 8 hours a day, on Friday I took my actual GMAT exam (1st attempt).

My feeling was if I have covered all the OGs problems definitely my verbal will improve ,so I took the date of my GMAT exam and just after 2 Manhattan CATs without even testing how good I am on two available practice tests from GMAC, I appeared in GMAT exam, and end up with Quantitative 44 and Verbal 25.

Actual GMAT quantitative questions were tougher compare to what I found in 2 CATs, also my score dropped as I have put 17 minutes to solve 3 very tough quantitative questions. To manage the time, I just blindly select options for 7 quantitative questions b/w question number 18 to 31 smartly so that my score should not drop below 40.

Verbal score shows that there is a fundamental flaw in the way I approach or answer verbal section questions. Now problem is, I have solved OG-12, OG-13 and OG-15 verbal sections completely, what else I can practice for my 2nd GMAT attempt. How much preparation & time is required for me to master verbal section and to secure a decent 40+ score. What should be my new approach for the verbal part.

Thanks in advance for your help.

With Sincere Regards

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VivianKerr GMAT Instructor
17 Dec 2010
1035 messages
Followed by:
364 members
Post Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:42 pm
Hey Deepika,

I think you've hit the nail on the head. It's your APPROACH that isn't working. It seems you know the content fairly well. I'd recommend you take a CLOSE look at your strategy for each of the 3 major Verbal question types.

Here's the strategies I'd recommend:

Reading Comprehension Strategy

Step 1 - Make a Passage Map (you can find examples on my blog: http://gmatrockstar.com/tag/reading-comprehension/)

Step 2 - Rephrase the Question

Step 3 - Write down a Prediction

Step 4 - Read ABCDE (“+”, “-” , or “?”)

Step 5 - Carefully Analyze the Final Two

Critical Reasoning Strategy

Step 1 - Identify the Question-Type & what your JOB is based on the Q-type

Step 2 - Break Down the Passage using Notes/Symbols

Step 3 - Write down a Prediction

Step 4 - Read ABCDE (“+”, “-” , or “?”)

Step 5 - Select the Choice that Does the Job of the Question-Type

Sentence Correction Strategy

Step 1 - Read Choice (A) and Identify One Grammar or Meaning Error
Step 2 - Scan the Other Choices; Eliminate Error #1
Step 3 - Move to the Next Available Choice; Look for Error #2
Step 4 - Stuck Between Two? Eliminate Based on Style

“Strategy” is a word that can seem a bit intimidating, but it boils down to this: do you have a systematic approach to each question type? And, more importantly, does it work for you? 80% of my tutoring sessions involve some type of strategy overhaul. By strategy, I mean a written-out “Step 1 … Step 2 …” plan of attack: a process by which you get the correct answer over and over again once you know the concepts tested. Strategy is necessary to prevent you from missing the traps of harder questions. Low-scorers will sometimes skim reading comprehension passages, sometimes take notes, sometimes read the question-stem first, sometimes not, to mixed results.

Hope this helps!


Vivian Kerr
GMAT Rockstar, Tutor

Former Kaplan and Grockit instructor, freelance GMAT content creator, now offering affordable, effective, Skype-tutoring for the GMAT at $150/hr. Contact: GMATrockstar@gmail.com

Thank you for all the "thanks" and "follows"! Smile

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EducationAisle Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
27 Mar 2010
434 messages
Followed by:
46 members
Post Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:00 am
Hi Deepika! Our sentence correction book SC Nirvana is perhaps the only book that offers a score improvement guarantee, and is especially designed for non-native speakers.

After reading the book twice (yes! it's an academic book, and so must be read twice to reinforce the concepts), you will start looking forward to solving SC questions!

The book is available on Flipkart and Amazon.in. You might want to refer to these sites, to see how readers have benefited.

MBA - ISB, GMAT - 99th Percentile
GMAT Faculty @ EducationAisle

Sentence Correction Nirvana available at:

a) Amazon: Sentence Correction Nirvana

b) Flipkart: Sentence Correction Nirvana

Now! Preview the entire Grammar Section of Sentence Correction Nirvana at pothi

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Post Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:25 pm
Hi Deepika,

Based on what you've described, it sounds like you did too much work in too little time. As such, you were not able to truly absorb/master the content knowledge and tactics that are necessary to do well on Test Day. Since your two practice CAT scores were relatively close in score to one another, it's really not surprising that you earned that score on Test Day.

To hit a peak score, most Test Takers need 3 months (or more) of consistent study time. How long did you spend on your studies before you took the GMAT?

To score 700+, you're likely going to have to improve in BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. You're also likely going to need a Course of some type to guide you (using additional books will probably not make too much of a difference). Your way of approaching this process has gotten you to the Q45V25 level, but it's not likely to get you past it.

When are you planning to apply to Business School?
Do you have the available time to commit another 3 months to the process?

Thankfully, Business Schools don't care if you take the GMAT more than once. Also, since the GMAT is a predictable, standardized Test, you CAN train to CRUSH IT.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,

Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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