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No progress in Verbal - what type of training is the best?

This topic has 2 member replies
sofia_gmat Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
12 Dec 2013
2 messages

No progress in Verbal - what type of training is the best?

Post Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:59 am
Elapsed Time: 00:00

    My name is Sofia. I am totally desperate and I feel like because of my low GMAT score my future is slipping off my fingers because I am not eligible to apply to any business school I'm planning to - that is why I decided to write this post.

    I am studying for the GMAT for 2 months already. I started with 410 and now I'm at around 600. (My target score is at least 680). My improvement in Quantative is directly proportional to hours that I've studied and I think it makes sense - each time I get the question wrong I learn something new - either a new rule or just a new approach to a problem, and I try not to make that mistake again. My Quant improvement was from 24 to 44.

    But it is different with the Verbal. The improvement in 2 months was from 20 to, maybe, 28 when I'm in my best shape. But it's around 20 normally. I should mention that I am Ukrainian and I sometimes get words wrong and also I am a slow reader - to get something I need to reread the thing twice or three times - including the answer choices. Of course, I don't have that much time on the GMAT and I end up with guessing almost each time cause I feel like I need to move to the next question and I don't have enough time for none of the verbal questions. It's a bit better with the SC cause at least when I get the question wrong - I might learn a new rule and therefore improve. It's bearable with RC cause when I read the text super attentively then i might get 50% of the questions right. But with the CR it's a disaster. And the problem with the RC and the CR is that I don't learn on my mistakes because all texts and problems are new and my past experience doesn't help me at all. So how is it even possible to improve? I am so disappointed and I have no idea what to do.

    I have just 1.5 months left and I ask you desperately to give me some piece of advice. I've read the Kaplan Premier, Kaplan 800 and now read the OG and CR Bible. Rereading the beatthegmat flashcards for the sentence correction and write down on my own flashcards all the new words I come across during my preparation, including those technical.

    Thank you so much in advance!!!

    P.S. I am also a little bit lazy so I decided to invest some money to take an inexpensive online prep course in order to train more the next month. But I can't decided between the Magoosh and the EmpowerGMAT. Can you please tell me which one might be better for a such a "low-verbal" student as me? Smile Merci!

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    Post Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:12 pm
    Hi sofia_gmat,

    Both the Quant and Verbal sections of the GMAT are based on patterns. You've improved much faster in the Quant because you were able to spot the patterns behind those questions. For the Verbal section, you need to know grammar rules to answer SCs, but you'll need to take certain notes and recognize the logical patterns behind the RC and CR prompts to answer those questions. The good news is that the patterns ARE there.

    As an example, a common pattern in CR questions is "causality": the idea that doing one thing will cause another thing to happen. It's likely that you'll see this type of logic a couple of times on the GMAT. You might be asked to define it, strengthen it or weaken it, so that too will require understanding those patterns.

    In RC prompts, you DON'T need to understand every word, so trying to handle RC in that way is NOT a good plan. Regardless of how you decide to continue studying, you'll need some tactical advice, so enrolling in a prep course is probably a good idea. You DO have enough time to improve though (and you could even pick up some points in the Quant section), so keep working hard.

    If you have any additional questions, then feel free to contact me directly.

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

    Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

    Thanked by: sofia_gmat
    Post Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:33 pm
    Being a non-native speaker is tough, but here's where the Verbal will really kill you: strategy. If you have a fairly good grasp of the grammar concepts, you can coast through SC, but CR and RC is ALL STRATEGY. You really won't find it in any book, so I think the best thing you can do in 6 weeks is either work with a tutor or read up on strategy articles here and on GMATClub and start practicing EVERY DAY. I'm not familiar with either of the prep courses you mentioned, but in general prep courses are pre-packaged "one size fits all" so I'd be hesitant in suggesting that for you, since it sounds like your needs are really specific. I'd definitely stop working with Kaplan material. It's not the best of the best. MGMAT SC is definitely where you should continue your SC studies. Learning vocab with flashcards is a waste of time, and no book is going to be able to teach you how to REALLY tackle CR and RC (though definitely work through CR Bible and OG). By strategy I mean a set way of approaching each question-type.

    For CR, there's a set number of question-types:

    - Assumption
    - Weaken
    - Strengthen
    - Flaw
    - Paradox
    - Complete the Passage
    - Bolded Statement
    - Inference
    - etc.

    You need to be able to recognize (1) what type of question you're looking at, and (2) what that specific question requires of you to get it correct.

    For example, an "Assumption" question asks you to pick the necessary assumption among 5 choices. We know an Assumption is something that links Evidence to a Conclusion. So our job when we analyze the paragraph is to immediately identify the Conclusion and rephrase it in our own words, jotting it down in shorthand symbols on our scratch pad. Then once we understand it, we must identify the piece of Evidence used to directly support that Conclusion. The correct answer to an Assumption question will provide the bridge between the Conclusion and the Evidence. To come up with the Assumption BEFORE we read the answer choices, we must ask ourselves: what is the author assuming is true? what NEEDS to be true in order for THIS evidence to lead to THIS conclusion? It's vital we ALWAYS answer the question on our own first to the best of our ability BEFORE reading the answer choices. Especially on CR. If you don't use process of elimination you're dead in the water. So once we've got our prediction written down, we carefully scan through the choices. If we're stuck on an Assumption question between 2 choices, we can use Negation Technique to narrow it down. Another tool we have is "Concept Shift" -- we can look for new words/concept presented in the Conclusion that does NOT appear in the Evidence, and see if either answer choice repeats/addresses that word/concept.

    And that's *just* for Assumption questions. Shocked

    I think you get the point. Each CR question-type is sort of a world unto itself. There's plenty of CR material online, so I'd start by getting REALLY familiar with the CR types. You might find it valuable to watch some of the Thursdays with Ron videos: http://www.manhattangmat.com/thursdays-with-ron.cfm.

    Good luck!

    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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