14 - 760+: Your Big Problem With the Verbal Section is Based on a “Probability Problem”
Many Test Takers tend to find the Quant section of the GMAT to be easier than the Verbal section. Quant is based on more ‘obvious’ rules and patterns and you can often pinpoint the correct answer without having to consider (and then eliminate) each of the other 4 incorrect answers first.
By default, many GMATers work through Verbal questions with the idea that they should eliminate the four incorrect answers… and the answer that remains will be the correct one. While you should often be able to eliminate a couple of ‘obvious’ wrong answers from each Verbal question (even if you don’t know what the correct answer actually is), if THAT is how you handle every Verbal question, then there is a BIG problem with your overall approach - and you’re probably limiting how high you will score in the Verbal section.
The big issue here is ultimately a “math” problem. If you consistently narrow the answers down to two choices (the correct one and one of the four incorrect ones), then probability dictates that you will likely answer just half of those questions correctly. While you can certainly afford to miss lots of hard/weird questions and still score at a high level, you cannot afford to miss HALF of the 41 Verbal questions and still expect to earn a high score. Without having the proper content knowledge and Tactical abilities, you’ll effectively be “winging it” through the Verbal section – and the GMAT doesn’t often reward that type of approach with a 700+ score.
Knowing all of this, you now have to define how much this issue actually applies to YOU… but you’ll have to put in the necessary work to analyze your CATs/mocks. Starting with your most recent CAT, you have to review each Verbal question AND your notes for each question. We need to know how many questions you “narrowed down to 2 choices” (ALL questions, regardless of whether you got the question correct or incorrect). You have to be honest with this assessment – if you didn’t “know” what you were looking for when you worked your way through the answers, then you were essentially trying to ‘eliminate your way’ to the correct answer.
It’s worth noting that some GMATers are naturally strong in the Verbal section – the questions just “make sense” to those Test Takers, so they don’t need a more formal process for dealing with the Verbal section. Since you’re reading this post though, then you are probably not one of those people. So, how many of the 36 questions did you deal with during your last CAT by narrowing the answers down to 2 choices?
0-8 questions: You either really know what you’re doing (and scoring at a really high level) or you have no idea what you’re doing and you’re misinterpreting most of the questions that you’re dealing with.
9-13 questions: You’re probably performing above average overall, but you’re missing out on enough points that you still have some work to do to get to the 700+ level.
14-18 questions: You’re unsure of how to handle almost half of the questions, which means that you’re missing serious points in at least 2 of the 3 major Verbal categories (SC, RC and CR). At this level, you might not be clear on what you actually have to do to correctly answer certain questions.
19-23: questions: “Your way” of dealing with the Verbal section is likely problematic and you will almost certainly need to invest in some new study materials and focus on learning/practicing proper Verbal Tactics to score higher.
24-28 questions: You’re almost certainly losing serious points in all 3 major Verbal categories (SC, RC and CR) and simply doing more practice questions will NOT get you to your score goal.
29-36 questions: Your work across most of the Verbal section is imprecise and you’ll need to invest a significant amount of time, money and energy to raise your Verbal score up to a high score level.
Regardless of how you’re performing now, it’s important to remember that the Verbal section of the GMAT is just as consistent and predictable as the Quant section is, so you CAN train to score at a higher level. The key word there is “train” – you cannot expect to just work your way through 100s or 1000s of additional practice questions on your own and hope to hit your goal score. You will need help, so you have to do the necessary research and invest in some new practice materials and Tactics.
GMAT assassins aren’t born, they’re made,
If you have any questions about anything in this thread, then you can feel free to contact me directly via email (at [email protected])