Stuck at 670. Verbal 33

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Stuck at 670. Verbal 33

by Siddharth Bhadoria » Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:46 am
Hello Experts,

Posting here since not able to see any progress after 8 to 10 months of study (3.5 months of hardcore prep)
I am an e-gmat student and have completed OG thrice and the complete e-gmat course more than once.I have also completed mgmat test series and read Manhattan verbal books.
My recent scores are as follows:

GMAT Prep 1 - 660 (Q 48, V 34)
GMAT Prep 2 - 650 (Q 49, V 29)
Actual GMAT (16th October) - 670 (Q 49, V 33)
GMAT Prep additional package Test 1 - 670 (Q 49, V 33)
GMAT Prep 1 (After reset) - 640 (Q 49, V 30)
GMAT Prep 2 (After reset) - 660 (Q 48, V 33)

As you can see I have hit plateau in both verbal and quantitative sections and am unable to advance my scores.
I analyzed my qaunt score and found that I usually got 12 questions wrong.
So in the last GMAT Prep 1 test I tried to work on my accuracy. I just got 6 incorrect till question number 34 but could not attempt last 3. Result: I got a score of 48. On close analysis I found that out of 4 sub-sections in quant I had a score of 50 in 2 and 49 in rest. I believe had I been able to attempt the last 3 I would have finally reached 50.
Today during my 2nd gmat prep test. I completed the quant section in time and had just 7 incorrect. Only 2 incorrect in first 10 and rest 5 incorrect questions were spaced out evenly (no 2 consecutive wrongs). Can't really understand the reason as I felt I did really great and got very few incorrect in fact I feel this was my best performance in quant since I started studying. Also in subsections I received 49 in 2 and 47 in the other 2.
Coming to verbal. I am badly stuck at 33. I have given my MGMATs and the maximum I could manage is 36.
Previously I felt I had major stamina issues and hence lacked concentration during verbal sections. Having worked on my stamina I am able to sit through the whole 4 hour test without major mental fatigue. I will just debrief my experince of last 6 GMAT (GMAT Prep + real GMAT exam I took in the last 35 days or so)

GMAT Prep 1: Wasn't feeling great after quant. Was exhausted and couldn't concentrate much for the complete exam. Tried to do good on sentence correction as I feel it is my strength but found difficult to handle CR and RC (Sectional Scores: CR-38, 78%; RC-25,51%, SC 34-68%). I feel I was lucky to have got many CR questions right.

GMAT Prep 2 : Was feeling great during the exam. Completed all the questions on time. Ended up making a lot of errors in the first 10 questions. So even when I thought I was doing great I was just solving easy questions correctly. (Sectional Score: CR-38, 78% RC - 25, 51%, SC 27-46%).
Lessons learnt: Work on SC, Be careful while attempting the first 10.

Real GMAT : Quant went good. Was feeling good. Thought will give my best in the verbal section. First question, a difficult SC. Spend a lot of time on it almost 3 minutes get nervous. More difficult questions followed by a difficult passage in the first 10. The passage had many logical linkages and I didn't feel as if I was just reading a fact based passage it felt more like a CR passage. My timing was completely off the track. Already started having thoughts about the second attempt. Still kept cool skipped some CR and RC questions. Concentrated on SC rather about which I usually feel more comfortable. (Possibly because just before the exam I went through detailed analysis of each OG question on e-gmat). Result: 33 (Sectional as seen via enhanced report- SC 92%, CR 25%, RC 53%)
Lessons Learnt: Don't end up writing too much in CR and RC. Write less think more. Probable stamina issues as I wrote just to bring my attention completely to the question.

GMAT Prep Additional Test 1: Was feeling great after quant. First 10 questions went well. RC felt easy as compared to actual GMAT. Plan simple facts didn't have to write much. Understood the passage quickly marked answers accordingly. CR was also OK. SC also felt OK. Thought finally I will hit the 36-37 mark.
Result: 33 (Sub-section scores: CR 33, 63%, RC 35 73%, SC 31 39%)
Where I went wrong ? 6 questions wrong out of 8 from question 24 to q 31. Many SC questions wrong because of silly mistakes.
Lesson Learnt: Not just first 10 but can't afford to make consecutive errors anywhere. 3 or more errors in a row can prove very lethal specially in the beginning.

GMAT Prep 1 (Reset): Felt good at the start. No signs of lack of stamina or mental fatigue. I have eventually become good at Quant as a result feel fresh before every verbal attempt. This time I told myself will attempt all the questions in time. Will pay special attention to the first 10 (Will take 20 minutes to complete them). Will write less in RC and CR.
Result: 30.(Sub-sectional score: CR 40, 84%, RC 23, 34 %, SC 27 46%). Total incorrect - 14.
What went wrong ? Got 1 complete passage wrong that appeared in the first 10 questions. Marked 4 consecutive wrong answers incorrect and never really recovered. If you ask me I really did understand the passage well in 4 minutes or so but the questions were some of the most confusing questions I ever encountered. Logically very similar questions drew first blood. Don't know what really went wrong with SC.
Lessons learnt: Study more SC, Pay more attention to any passage you encounter in the first 10.

GMAT Prep 2 (Reset): So after completing Aristotle Prep with an accuracy of more than 80% I thought I am good to go. Encountered questions way tougher than the last two mocks. Specially SC. RC was very very difficult. This time passages though short were very difficult to comprehend. Took more time in solving relatively difficult questions consequently was left with no time to attempt last passage. Got 3 out of 4 more. Understandably my RC score also went south.
(Sub-Sectional Score: CR 40, 84 %; RC 25 40%; SC 35, 73%).
Lessons Learnt: Speechless
Now what I know about myself is that CR is not a huge problem. But RC results stay erratic as do the toughness of RCs. Also I think even after doing so many questions on SC I do encounter questions which I still find difficult to understand. In the past few exams I felt I made a lot of silly errors but today I felt SC passages were too difficult for me to comprehend.
With just 15 days to my second attempt I feel confused and headed towards another disaster. With the recent mock I realized I can get my timing wrong when difficulty level rises. Please suggest how I can be more consistent with SC (hit 40 more consistently) and score at least a 35 in RC. I know I am capable of getting my best sub-sectional scores of 40 in SC, 40 in CR and 35 in RC. Such performance shall take me to a score of 37-38.
It would not be wrong to say that I am completely befuddled by GMAT. I would like to state here that I scored a 97% in CAT (99.5% in verbal) before, so it is quite a humbling experience to know that I am not as good at verbal as I previously assumed myself to be.
Please help as I am really running short on time, although I still have a lot of fight left in me. Seems like GMAT hasn't tested my patience enough.

Thanks and Regards,

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by MartyMurray » Thu Nov 19, 2015 8:31 pm
While I am not sure just from reading what you said, my impression is that your quant work could benefit from an increase in focus on specific topic areas. In other words, you could go over your practice tests, see what types of questions you found the most challenging, and work on those types one type at a time until you become more expert at handling them.

For instance, if you were having trouble with certain types of number properties questions, you would read up on how to handle those types of questions, figure out what exactly it takes to get them right, and do dozens questions of only those specific types until you were ridiculously comfortable handling them.

Then you would move onto another type.

Do that with a bunch of types and you will be almost guaranteed to see an increase in your quant section score.

For RC, you have to practice in order to get better at making CLEAR connections between answer choices and what the passage says. There are some good RC questions in the Veritas question bank. Those questions really force you to notice what is said and what is not said in the passages.

For SC, generally people who have trouble either don't know key rules and conventions or are seeking to use basic strategies to get right answers rather than seeking to really see what is going on in the sentences created using the answer choices. Achieving a high hit rate in SC takes really seeing what's going on. There is no strategy that you can substitute for that.

One thing you can do when practicing SC, CR and RC is to go over any questions you don't get the first time and ask yourself the following question. "How, without learning any new rules, vocabulary, or strategies, could I have gotten this question right?" Usually there is a way that one can do that, and figuring out what that way is can be a way train yourself to get them right the first time. Take the time to figure out how to get questions right, even if at first getting a question right can take ten minutes or more. You have to train yourself to better see what you have to see in order to get right answers.
Marty Murray
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