A 690 is a great score. I know you want more, but I just want to acknowledge that you've already done a great job - give yourself some credit for that. :)
Thanks for those kind words.
And you were that far ahead despite the fact that 2 of the 4 RCs you had before that point were very long and harder than usual - which usually means taking a little more time.
I do remember giving slightly less time than required to the 2 RCs. But I never thought I would be penalized so heavily for doing so. At worst, I think I would have got 3 questions wrong out of 8 questions on those 2 RCs (4x2).
So you probably left some points on the table through rushing and making careless mistakes. Were you finishing your practice tests that early (or having that much time available towards the end)?
I was completing practice tests more or less on time with 5-10 minutes left at max. But I do agree that rushing through those 2 RCs would have costed me badly. As I had carefully spent time on CRs and SCs, I was confident about them while marking the answer choices, whereas for couple of RC questions I was not so confident.
Now this brings me to another area of concern: how to improve RC ? In fact, I got confused between two close choices in a global question (about primary purpose of passage). GMAT quite often uses close words/language to trick the test taker in global questions. How can I better prepare these question types ?
In addition, my RC accuracy was lowest (72%) of the other three sections in GMAT prep question bank. What are some ways to improve in RC in general ?
Also, have you seen this?http://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index
Do you think you had some SC issues that were similar to what is described in the article?
For SCs I have been focusing on understanding the meaning first and then looking for splits and answer choices. So I don't think these issues are pertinent in my case. Also, I have been actively following yours and Ron's posts on MGMAT forum, which in itself cover the whole universe of GMAT grammar.
Re: what to do next, let's try to figure out first what likely went wrong (since that then tells us what to do next). Official materials are the best materials, so if you have done them all before, then put some aside for a few weeks till you start to forget them, and then you can start to go over thema gain.
I think I need to concentrate more on RCs this time and revise CR and SC. But the problem with official material, which I have done 'n' number of times, is that for SC and CR I clearly remember the correct answer. So I won't be able to diagnose my performance. Any alternative study material if you could suggest ?
Also, any other strategy you could suggest after knowing my case to improve my verbal score.
Many thanks for your time.