GMAT Verbal Section Strategy Tips – How to score 40 plus in GMAT Verbal

I have been reading several debriefs where slightly improper time management costs a lot of the eventual score on GMAT. So, I thought of sharing my strategy on verbal section on how I tried to manage my time. I call it “How to score 40 plus in GMAT Verbal” tips! I hope some of fellow test takers may find it useful. [Also check out my quant section strategy tips]

§ DO NOT BE AFRAID OF VERBAL SECTION. Instead, ENJOY IT!

§ Divide your verbal section in 3 phases

§ Phase 1 [30 minutes]: Take sufficient time for first 15 questions, approximately 2 minutes. You will get at least 1 RC in this but try to gain momentum because once you are in momentum you will be able to make up the extra time lost

§ Phase 2 [25 minutes]: Be quick between questions 16 and 31. Say approximately 1.5 minutes per question or 25 minutes overall.

§ Phase 3 [20 minutes]: Leave almost 2 minutes per question for last 10 questions as they will contain fewer experimental questions. Please click here why I recommend doing well on last few questions.

§ Numbered scratch pad: Use your time during the school selection screens to create numbered scratch pad with 5 choices. Use this scratch area to execute POE (point of elimination). Make sure you use POE method for majority of your verbal questions. It will help you narrow down the choices and quickly answer. [Please click here to see where you should have numbered scratch pad.]

Reading Comprehension (RC):

  • Almost all study guides will recommend you to do “active reading” by taking notes. BUT, do NOT write too much. Gaze through one paragraph at a time and just list a few words or sentences (say 1-2 sentences or 5-8 words.)
  • Note down point for first 2 RC and try to reduce your dependency on writing for active reading. You can remember 4 paragraphs if you read them carefully. Ideally you may not write more than a few words (or no words) for last RC. This will ensure that you will have enough time to answer last 5-7 questions which are typically SC or CR.
  • For last RC you may want to start your reading aiming to answer first question instead of getting overall understanding if you’re running out of time.
  • Try to follow 7 step strategy of Manhattan.
  • ALWAYS, read the first question before reading passage.
  • USE POE in RC. 3 out of 5 choices are irrelevant.

Critical Reasoning (CR):

  • Be quick to remove irrelevant choices. Any words which don’t appear in original passage may actually be irrelevant.
  • Try to find out words which match the words from passage. Choices with such words are more than likely to be correct choices.
  • Use your numbers scratch pad to remove irrelevant choice by POE. Please click here to see how to create such scratch pad.
  • Concentrate a little more on CR that follows RC. Usually you feel fatigued after reading a passage, questions and answer. Another small passage of CR can add to fatigue and a hazy reading may lead you to choose wrong choice. Just a little concentration not too much so that you run out of time afterwards J

Sentence Correction (SC):

  • Treat SC as if you’re doing math section. There are predefined grammar rules and if those rules are compromised, the sentence is wrong. This is as simple. Use Manhattan SC guide as bible.
  • Read the sentence and try to spot the error. As soon as you spot the mistake USE POE and remove those choices.
  • If an answer choice seems to make compromise with grammar rule(s) then cancel it even if that’s the only less wordy choice or probably the last one after you crossed off other 4 choices. It’s very likely that there is another choice that you misread at first attempt.
  • When you are left with 2 choices try to find out which one can be wrong. This strategy will help you correct answer.
  • Don’t ignore your strength in an attempt to do better on your weak points. SC was my strength so I concentrated on each SC question and tries to pick the right choice. Remember: Your strength will earn you more points than concentrating too much on weakness.
Advertisements

Why you need to do well on last few questions on GMAT?

Following are my thoughts on why it’s equally important to do well on last few questions on the test. I am not sure how many of you may agree but this strategy has worked for me. If you follow this strategy it prepares you on how to do well on GMAT and how to find experimental questions on GMAT.

§ 33% questions of each section on GMAT are experimental questions. Your score is not affected if you get them wrong. SO, it’s really important that you do well on all non experimental questions.

§ Where are these experimental questions?: GMAT places these questions to gauge their relative difficulty level so test makers will place these questions around the areas where it’s more likely to receive average attention on the test – neither too much so not at the beginning nor at the end – so not at the end.

§ Here’s where most of the students may get it wrong. We try to take care of first 10 questions of each section because 95% chances are there that they will not contain experimental questions. However, because of improper time management students rush through last 5-10 questions. BUT, there are 95% chances that the last 5-8 questions are NOT experimental questions and if you get anyone of this wrong you will be penalized.

o Your score will be affected due to your bad show in last few questions.

o It will also ensure that you push yourself to quickly pass through some of the experimental questions that may waste your time OR pass some of the difficult questions that unnecessarily waste your time. These difficult questions, at times, bring your morale down or more importantly break your rhythm. Remember: 1 wrong answer will not affect your score that much if you didn’t spend more than 2 minutes on it because it will give you an easier question to make up lost ground.

o Psychologically you will feel that you never rushed through the section and hence it may not affect your spirit. (at least it worked for me!).

§ How did I come to this conclusion?: I know after doing many CR’s, most of you will want to deny this argument by finding some assumption J But do the following:

o Take old PowerPrep as a part of your practice.
o While taking test, make sure you number each question of both sections on your scratch pad.
o PowerPrep tells you that it omits all the experimental questions from review section. So, after the test, when you review the answers, please observe which questions are omitted. You will find that first 5-8 questions and last 5-8 questions of each section will stay there whereas the questions from middle will disappear. This observation strengthened my theory that last 5-8 questions hold high importance too.

§ GMAT notifies you that if you don’t answer all the questions then it penalizes you. Now if it wants to penalize you then it would not include experimental question in last few questions of each section, will it? I hope this make sense J

§ Maths: Avoid mistakes on first 7 questions and last 7 questions (31st to 37th)

§ Verbal: Avoid mistakes on first 8 questions and last 8 questions (34th to 41st)

GMAT Time Management Strategy: Tricks to Save Time on GMAT and How to maximize GMAT Score

GMAT Time Management Strategy: Tricks to Save Time on GMAT and How to maximize GMAT Score:

How to I have been getting several emails on how to use school selection screen time to save time or find extra time on GMAT. I used the time to select schools to send scores to verify I had good quality marker / scratch pad and to prepare numbered choices for VERBAL section. In addition to the typical GMAT Verbal and Quant strategies, this really helped in overall GMAT Time Management Strategy. Here’s my take on it: [Also check my blog post on how to do well on last few questions on GMAT]

  • All the sections on real GMAT are timed EXCEPT one. It’s the school selection section. You have technically infinite time to select schools. If GMAT is smart to put a time limit on everything it includes on test, you will need to be that little extra smart to utilize any extra time you get out of it. That’s what I called “smart” GMAT Time Management Tricks.

  • How do you find this “extra” time? Check your gmat scratch pad and the erasable marker. The pen is almost like a thick edged sketch pen. What you need to check is that when you write on gmat scratch pad, the ink is not spreading or at least you’re able to write at one go. Sometimes the pen doesn’t work on first time so you have to write the same thing again. This eats up your time. If the pen is not proper, raise your hand and ask for a replacement.
  • Important tip: To avoid a replacement during the exam, don’t keep the pen cap open for too long if you’re not using it. Keeping it open for too long will dry the ink and you may face difficulty in writing on gmat scratch pad.
  • GMAT gives you a 10 pager scratch pad. Gmat scratch pad pages are like graph papers but tied from top instead by side (so not like general foolscap books).

  • Take page 1 of your scratch pad and reserve it for VERBAL section. During the school selection screens write down question 01 to 41 with 5 answer choices (A,B,C,D,E) against each one. This will ensure you don’t waste time in even writing ABCDE for each question in verbal section yet take advantage of beautiful POE method.

  • Like page 1, page 10 should be reserved for taking notes on RC passages. If you open a scratch pad (tied from top) you will notice that page 10 and page 1 can be kept open simultaneously. So, when you are reading passage take notes on page 10 and use those notes (plus your memory!!) to remove irrelevant choices using POE on page 1. If you run out of space on page 10 (that also means that you’re taking way too many notes on RC!!) then use the reserved page 9.

  • Use Page # 2 to 8 for your quant section.

As descrived above using GMAT scratch pad creatively allows your manage your time on GMAT as well as thoughts while solving problems. Like they say – small things make big differences! I say – small adjustment on how you use GMAT scratch pad can earn you additional 10-30 points! (isn’t it a big difference?!)