Welcome! Check out our free B-School Guides to learn how you compare with other applicants.
Login or Register

Verbal Prep for Native Speakers

This topic has 2 expert replies and 2 member replies
zocalo Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
Joined
10 May 2011
Posted:
1 messages
Verbal Prep for Native Speakers Post Mon May 23, 2011 5:12 am
Elapsed Time: 00:00
  • Lap #[LAPCOUNT] ([LAPTIME])
    Hi Guys

    Been lurking in the shadows for a while but now that I'm planning on taking the GMAT in a few months I thought it would be a good idea to sign up!

    A few quick questions for the official, unofficial, and self-styled experts out there Smile

    Brief Background:

    I plan on taking the GMAT in 3-4 months and, like many, quant will be my area of focus. I've purchased the MGMAT guides and have thus far been focusing on the math, but I'm conscious that the verbal can carry more weight (high verbal percentile raises overall score much more than high quant percentile). I think I have a good command of the language and that my grammar is decent, and so want to make sure that I hit all the points that should, in theory, be relatively easier for me. I haven't taken a full practice test but I did do the Diagnostic in the OG -- scored Above Average on the CR and RC and Excellent on the SC.

    I've flipped through the Manhattan CR, RC and SC guides and have found them to be quite dense. The SC guide, for example, makes my head spin with its extensive use of grammatical terms: dangling modifiers, transitive verbs, subordinators, participles etc. In many cases I am able to recognize the right answer by identifying what sounds right, without much familiarity with the terms. Of course, this may not be the case under timed circumstances and I have only been exposed to a small sample of SC questions. Also, flipping through the CR guide I can't help but think there's way too much structure for something that can be so fluid. I may just not know enough about how the GMAT tests verbal skills, though.


    My questions are the following:

    1- What is the best way to go about studying for the verbal for someone with an already decent grasp on the language? While I am dedicated to doing well on the verbal, I feel that time spent on all 3 MGMAT guides, going through all 700 pages and making notes, is valuable time spent away from preparing for the quant. Ideally there's a very focused, punchy and effective guide for
    those with a decent base to hit the 95th percentile without having to digest so much theory? At the same time, if the MGMAT guides are indispensable I don’t won’t to be handicapped for not having gone through them. I do want to score above the 90th percentile, at least.

    2- Friends have told me that there's not much a native speaker can do to improve his / her verbal score -- that the guides are mostly suited to those who ordinarily have to work on their fluency in the language. How much truth is there to this? I do want to score as high as possible on the verbal given that it comes more naturally to me and could thus be ‘easier points’ but I also don't want to be caught in lengthy books of limited utility.

    Any other general pearls of wisdom more than welcome!

    Need free GMAT or MBA advice from an expert? Register for Beat The GMAT now and post your question in these forums!
    chendawg Really wants to Beat The GMAT!
    Joined
    24 Nov 2009
    Posted:
    163 messages
    Followed by:
    4 members
    Thanked:
    13 times
    Test Date:
    7/8
    Target GMAT Score:
    760
    GMAT Score:
    660
    Post Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:01 am
    zocalo wrote:
    1- What is the best way to go about studying for the verbal for someone with an already decent grasp on the language? While I am dedicated to doing well on the verbal, I feel that time spent on all 3 MGMAT guides, going through all 700 pages and making notes, is valuable time spent away from preparing for the quant. Ideally there's a very focused, punchy and effective guide for
    those with a decent base to hit the 95th percentile without having to digest so much theory? At the same time, if the MGMAT guides are indispensable I don’t won’t to be handicapped for not having gone through them. I do want to score above the 90th percentile, at least.

    2- Friends have told me that there's not much a native speaker can do to improve his / her verbal score -- that the guides are mostly suited to those who ordinarily have to work on their fluency in the language. How much truth is there to this? I do want to score as high as possible on the verbal given that it comes more naturally to me and could thus be ‘easier points’ but I also don't want to be caught in lengthy books of limited utility.

    Any other general pearls of wisdom more than welcome!
    Welcome to the forum!

    To answer your questions:

    1. I personally did the MGMAT SC guide and Powerscore SC bible for sentence correction; if I could do it again I'd just go through the MGMAT guide. Don't get me wrong, the SC bible is fine, but the MGMAT SC is just better. Don't get caught up with the hundreds of little rules as do a lot of people (I personally did, and it didn't help whatsoever!); the best approach is the "less is more" approach. Focus on the basics: parallelism, pronouns, subj-verb agreement, modifiers, and verb tense issues. I wouldn't really bother with idioms since you're a native speaker, you'll be able to (hopefully) just tell whether something sounds wrong or not. According to your post it seems that your "ear" isn't too bad. Anyways, focus on those five areas and you're good to go.

    As for CR and RC, I would recommend going through the MGMAT guides also to give you a sense of what's going on. You really just need practice to get a feel for the questions and answers; I know that sounds weird but you'll get what I mean once you go through it. For example, infer means must be true on the GMAT. That doesn't really make sense in the way we use it in the real world, as in "what are you inferring?".

    CR and RC are areas that are pretty hard to improve in because you'll literally have to change the way you're hardwired in order to have significant improvements.

    2. Nah, that's not true, you can definitely improve in SC, although not significantly. I'm assuming that you're getting a majority of answers correct as you're a native speaker, but it's all based on your ear most likely. Once you get the basic rules down in the areas I've listed above, when your ear fails, then your grammatical skills can kick in and kick arse!

    Good luck in your prep!

    _________________
    I'm not bipolar...I'm bi-winning!!

    Tani GMAT Titan
    Joined
    07 Nov 2008
    Posted:
    1255 messages
    Followed by:
    86 members
    Thanked:
    308 times
    Post Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:59 am
    The good thing about GMAT grammar is that the bulk of the questions only deal with a handful of principles. They do, however, focus on things that even native speakers are likely to be careless about. Your ear can be an excellent guide for the bulk of the problems, but can leave you stranded when dealing with those errors that most native speakers make regularly.

    Working with a good prep course can help you identify the situations (comparisons, parallels, etc.) in which you are likely to make errors. Just being aware of where the traps are likely to be can boost your score significantly.

    Good luck,

    _________________
    Tani Wolff

    Top Member

    Post Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:33 am
    Hi there! Welcome to BTG!

    1. GMAT Verbal tests one thing: how well you know GMAT Verbal. It definitely helps that you are a native speaker and already good at Verbal. That just means you have a smaller mountain to climb. But the mountain remains, and you have to train for it, especially if you want above a 90th percentile.

    Once you complete the OG, you should get Powerscore CR and MGMAT SC. Those two are the best.

    For CR and RC, you will need to use your scratch paper and develop a solid technique for breaking down the passages and predicting the correct answer. You can really use just about any practice passages for RC as long as they come from a reputable company. Your strategy is what will be the hardest there. Work on slowing way down and going through everything with a fine tooth comb first. Smart people who are naturally good at Verbal tend to get very lazy with RC, and then get frustrated when they get wrong answers so don't put it off!

    Basics of RC note-taking: http://grockit.com/blog/gre/2010/12/16/note-taking-for-gre-long-passages/

    Example notes: http://grockit.com/blog/gmat/2011/03/21/gmat-example-note-taking/

    Example of how I approach RC Q's: http://www.beatthegmat.com/rc-99-passage-39-t81093.html

    2. That is crazy talk. Smile You can do SO MUCH to improve your score. Check out Beat the GMAT's list of free links in the Resources section. You should read the various Idiom lists and Grammar notes that have been compiled.

    For Quant review, once you are done the OG, I suggest a solid comprehensive Math review book, like one from Kaplan. Then I suggest buying MGMAT's Number Properties, which will become your new bible. Smile

    Take advantage of the two free GMAT Prep tests you can download from the official site. You will want to know every single question on those (and every one in the official guide) like the back of your hand. These two GMAT Prep tests will give you the best idea as to how you will score on test day. Most GMAT companies: MGMAT, Kaplan, PR, Veritas, etc. offer at least 1 free GMAT practice test online. Definitely take advantage of those to work on your pacing, but don't put too much faith in the "score" they give you, as it can vary from your true GMAT score by quite a bit.

    For more online practice, I would suggest Grockit (of course), as I'm one of the Grockit tutors. We're an online-based GMAT company with a huge question bank of GMAT questions that are mocked from the Official Guides and old released questions. You can use a free trial membership to check us out. The reason I suggest Grockit is that there are some sketchy GMAT questions online (such as 1000 series) that you want to AVOID.

    Studying online in addition to studying from books is really valuable, though, because you need to develop a confidence and a comfort level with the CAT format since the GMAT is computer based.

    In addition to Beat the GMAT, you should also check out the GMATClub forum. Lots of good stuff there as well.

    Good luck to you and happy studying!

    _________________
    Vivian Kerr
    GMAT Rockstar, Tutor
    SAT - ACT - GRE - GMAT
    http://www.GMATrockstar.com

    Former Kaplan and Grockit instructor, now offering affordable, effective, Skype-based private tutoring for the GMAT at $50/hr. Questions? Contact me: GMATrockstar@gmail.com.

    AbhiJ GMAT Destroyer! Default Avatar
    Joined
    19 May 2010
    Posted:
    367 messages
    Followed by:
    2 members
    Thanked:
    38 times
    Post Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:36 pm
    Why don't you give a GMAT Prep exam from MBA.com and see how you are scoring in the verbal and quant. That would give you a good starting point. If your ear is really helping you GMAT Prep would tell you so.

    Best Conversation Starters

    1 lukaswelker 62 topics
    2 mukherjee.tanuj3@... 43 topics
    3 candygal79 30 topics
    4 shibsriz@gmail.com 27 topics
    5 gmattesttaker2 17 topics
    See More Top Beat The GMAT Members...

    Most Active Experts

    1 image description Brent@GMATPrepNow

    GMAT Prep Now Teacher

    171 posts
    2 image description GMATGuruNY

    The Princeton Review Teacher

    161 posts
    3 image description ceilidh.erickson

    Manhattan GMAT Teacher

    48 posts
    4 image description David@VeritasPrep

    Veritas Prep

    48 posts
    5 image description EricAllen

    Admit Advantage

    22 posts
    See More Top Beat The GMAT Experts