The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is an assessment test taken by students who want to study management at one of the world’s business schools. Almost every business school has a similar application process in which students submit an application form along with their GMAT score.
THIS BLOG INCLUDES:
1. 5 Best Practices and Tips to Improve GMAT Verbal Score
2. Improve Your GMAT Verbal Score
3. GMAT Verbal Tips & Strategies You Should Know
4. How to Prepare for GMAT Verbal Reasoning?
5. GMAT Sentence Correction Tips to Ace the Verbal Section
“Verbal score is dismally low, quant score is great”; “How to improve the verbal score?” “How to ace GMAT verbal?” These are some of the questions GMAT instructors are often asked and while the answers are researched and given, students still go away with low spirits and some even think they are just not cut out to pursue GMAT.
To all you students who dread verbal and want to abandon studying for GMAT because of the intimidating verbal section, the following 5 GMAT sentence correction tips and tricks might change your perception and boost your morale:
There are only a handful of grammar rules tested in GMAT sentence correction questions. The interesting thing about sentence correction, possibly the nightmare for most GMAT students, is that it tests the same old rules in almost all the questions on this topic. In fact, if a student has familiarized himself with rules such as Subject/Verb Agreement, Misplaced Modifiers, and Parallelism to name a few, he can eliminate at least 2 or 3 of the options with ease. Since he is bound to find errors relating to these rules, it is important to know the rules and apply them wisely.
Reading online and comprehending what you have read is one of the best features of GMAT preparation tips for some or maybe for most students. Reading is intimidating especially when the passages become dense and boring. But what we need to tell ourselves is that the GMAT score is not testing our ability to read well but is testing our ability to answer correctly out of the 5 options given. So if we successfully eliminate 4 options, we are down to the correct answer. To eliminate the four wrong options we would have to read only sections of the passage that contain the information. You do not have to be subjective or opinionated while reading. You just need to be clerical and write notes in shorthand.
Now let us look at the scoring behavior of the GMAT, and here the GMAT trick is that the myth in the first 10 questions matter the most is sufficiently busted by all GMAT pundits, and we all know that‘s not how the test works. On the verbal, this knowledge should be reassuring. Recognize your strength areas and invest more time in getting those questions right. Assuming your logical reasoning is top notch and your grammar knowledge is abysmally low, you would benefit from guessing on a few SC questions and using the time saved to see that you get the CR and RC questions spot on! You will be amazed to see that this educated guessing has actually increased your score.
Now let’s go back to the scenario where the student is faced with an incredibly hard question. How to deal with this? First decide if the question is worth spending extra time and if you are totally clueless and don’t understand a word of the question and the answer choices, make a quick guess and move on. Even if you get this question wrong and the difficulty level goes down, you can make up for the difficulty level by answering the next question correctly. On the other hand, if you feel that you will definitely get the answer but need a little time – check your pacing and the number of questions that you have left to decide the maximum time that you can take for that question. Usually, you should not take more than 3 minutes to complete a question. After 3 minutes, if you are very close to the answer, work to quickly finish the question. Even after 3 minutes, if you are still nowhere near the answer, it is time to guess and move on.
While working on the GMAT verbal questions, always look for reasons to eliminate wrong answers instead of looking for the one correct answer. Sometimes, the perfect answer that we have in our head may not be there in the answer choices at all.
Many years of in-depth research has helped us at Manya – The Princeton Review understand how GMAT questions and answer choices are created. At Manya – The Princeton Review, we provide students with an understanding of how incorrect answers are created on the GMAT. The students can use this knowledge to then make smarter guesses during an exam if it is needed.
The verbal section requires a keen mind. Train your mind to look out for indicator words in argument questions that indicate the premise and the conclusion correctly. Likewise train your mind/sight to look for transitional words such as however, alternatively, yet, and so on while reading passages. These words will tell you that the tone of the passage has changed direction and you are expected to read the information with a little more attention. Train yourself to keep away from distracting information that often comes up in reading passages. Keep to the main crux of the passage. Ignore the mundane details. If you need to pick an answer from these details you could always go back and read that part again.
There is no shortcut to success. To work at something day in and out will ensure success. The tenacious always shine; the skilled one sometimes. Take several mock tests and review the tests with your tutor or anybody who has already taken the GMAT exam. Practice helps in two ways. 1) You become perfect 2) your stamina levels improve tremendously and you become well equipped to handle the 4-hour long test with stoic endurance. Endurance matters hugely!!
Many students find the verbal section of the GMAT difficult. If they get a question wrong, they may just decide that they did not understand and miss an important step in getting a high GMAT. How to improve sentence correction GMAT? The first step in improving your score is to understand where you went wrong and then you should work to fix the problem areas.
You need to understand the GMAT verbal reasoning section and what is tested (GMAT verbal topics). Basic verbal skills needed such as basic grammar and reading comprehension skills are essential for a good verbal score. The GMAT verbal section has three types of questions- Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning and Sentence Correction. The GMAT analytical writing assessment is not a part of the verbal section and is scored separately.
Now, one advantage that students have with the GMAT exam is that it is a standardized test. This means that the topics covered, the types of questions, the number of questions and the timing are predictable from one test to another.
The verbal section has 36 questions that need to be answered in 65 minutes. This means that, on average, you have 1 minute and 48 seconds per question. Obviously, every question and type will not take the same amount of time.
The three main types of questions are Sentence Correction, Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning. Students need to answer certain GMAT verbal questions such as Sentence Correction quickly in order to have time for more time-consuming questions like the ones testing reading comprehension.
Though GMAT doesn’t list a specific GMAT verbal syllabus, since it is a standardized test, we can predict certain aspects of the exam and this can definitely help with your GMAT verbal preparation.
A high school reading level is usually sufficient to answer GMAT questions. The tricky part is that the passages are new and some topics may be unfamiliar. During the exam, with the timer running out, many students may find it stressful to answer questions quickly. Though vocabulary is not directly tested on the GMAT, knowing the meanings of words may be helpful while processing new information.
Critical Reasoning is a test of logical reasoning. Thinking critically is important as it may be difficult to predict the exact answer before looking at the answer choices. With critical reasoning questions, it is important to quickly evaluate each answer choice against the argument and task in the question.
Sentence Correction questions test your ability to convey meaning in an unambiguous manner. For this, knowing grammar rules is definitely helpful. GMAT doesn’t test obscure grammar rules. Instead familiar rules are tested in long and complex sentences. Knowledge of basic grammar rules such as subject and verb agreement, pronouns, verb tenses, etc. is definitely helpful.
GMAT is a computer adaptive test. This means that, if you answer a question correctly, the next question will be of a higher difficulty level. On the other hand, if you answer a question incorrectly, the next question will be of a lower difficulty level. The difficulty level matters because the final difficulty level that you were able to reach and maintain contributes to your verbal score. Within the verbal section, you cannot skip a question or return to an earlier question. You need to answer a question completely before you can move on to the next.
Also, there is a penalty for not answering all the questions in the verbal section. Since all the thirty-six questions in the verbal section need to be answered in sixty-five minutes, spending a long time on a single difficult question is not a good strategy. It is important to maintain a good pace throughout the exam so that you can get questions correct and also attempt all the questions in the section.
The first step in your GMAT preparation is to find reliable material. So what makes a GMAT prep source a reliable resource? Firstly the content should reflect the rigor of the actual GMAT- the syllabus, kind of questions and answers should all reflect the actual GMAT.
How to ace the GMAT? The material should be a good mix of content and strategies that can help you ace the GMAT. A sufficient number of full-length practice tests should be available. The user interface and the algorithm of the GMAT mock tests should be comparable with the actual GMAT. The GMAT material from Manya Princeton Review has all this! You also get detailed, interactive score reports which you can analyze to identify your areas of weakness.
Also, you can choose between in-person sessions or go for GMAT online preparation. Based on your learning needs, you can even choose between individual tutoring sessions or group classes. Last but definitely not the least, Manya Princeton Review’s experienced trainers can support your GMAT prep and help you get the GMAT score of your dreams.
Now that you have found the perfect material for your GMAT prep, it is important to actually make the best use of it.
Many GMAT test takers prepare for GMAT along with their work commitments and personal priorities. When time is limited, it is important to prioritize the time available and work on the areas of the test where you will get the most return on your time. On the GMAT there are approximately equal numbers of sentence correction, reading comprehension and critical reasoning questions. Many students find that the score improvement is faster in the sentence correction questions. With Reading comprehension, score improvement is definitely possible but may require more time and practice.
Manya – The Princeton Review provides detailed answer explanations for the online drill questions as well as the questions in the full-length tests. It is important to read the explanations for answers. In the verbal section, it is important to understand the reasons why the correct answer is the right one and equally important to understand why the incorrect answers are wrong.
The score reports for the Manya full-length practice tests also show the time taken. It is important to identify the kind of questions that take a long time for you and then work to do them faster. Sometimes answers can be incorrect because of a gap in knowledge. At other times, in order to answer questions quickly and correctly, a change in the way you attempt questions may be required.
Many students feel that the GMAT exam is a tough nut to crack and many students do struggle with the GMAT verbal section. Formal American English used, the many grammar rules, passages from topics that one may not be familiar with and the GMAT logical reasoning questions all make it difficult for students to get a high score in the verbal section. This is self-evident in the percentile rankings of the GMAT scores. A GMAT verbal score of 46 and above is a percentile ranking of 99%. This means that only 1% of the students scored higher than 46 in the GMAT verbal section. In comparison, for a GMAT quant score of 46, the percentile score is only 56%.
So is it impossible to score well in the GMAT verbal component? Definitely not. With smart preparation and adequate practice, you too can definitely ace the verbal part of the GMAT exam.
Here are a few tips for GMAT sentence correction, reading comprehension and critical reasoning to help you ace the verbal section of the GMAT:
For reading comprehension on the GMAT, it may be easier to find a reason to eliminate an answer choice rather than looking for the perfect right answer. The perfect answer that you want may not be there in the answer choice at all. So read answer choices carefully to check if there is any reason to eliminate an answer choice.
Don’t try to remember all the details in the passage. The passage is always available next to the question. You can always refer back to the passage as needed.
The most basic tip that most students miss out on, is to work on their basic reading comprehension skills. How can one improve in reading comprehension in any language? The simple answer is to read more. Read more from American newspapers and magazines. Read more articles on the topics from which passages appear on the GMAT- this includes natural sciences, physical sciences, social sciences and obviously business. While reading, focus on identifying opinions rather than details. Since the passage is always available next to the questions, you can always look up any details that you need. Read to identify the main idea. So what is the main idea? The main idea is the most important thing that the author wants you to believe.
Along with just reading, you also have to work on GMAT level questions and understand how you can do them quickly and correctly.
At Manya – The Princeton Review, we give students many tools to help them identify the main idea of a passage quickly and to identify incorrect answers. The students also get to practice their techniques with the many practice passages and questions similar to the actual GMAT that are available on the Manya-The Princeton Review Student Portal.
Each Reading Comprehension question in GMAT verbal is based on the content of a passage. Following your reading of the passage, you will be asked questions that require you to interpret the piece’s content, make inferences from it, or apply it to a new situation.
The chapters cover a wide range of subjects, including social sciences, humanities, physical and biological sciences, and business. To understand the sections and answer the questions, you don’t need to be an expert on the subject.
How to master sentence correction in GMAT? Know the basic rules that GMAT likes to test. The majority of errors in sentence correction questions can be identified with these rules. GMAT also has certain style preferences for the correct answers. Practicing questions from reliable and official sources will help you understand these preferences better. For example, the correct answer in GMAT sentence correction will not be ambiguous in meaning and will not be unnecessarily wordy.
Sentence correction questions have a sentence with a part of the sentence underlined. Below the sentence, you have 5 options for the underlined part. The first option is always the same as the underlined part. The student needs to pick the option that conveys the meaning clearly and without any grammatical errors.
Sentence correction questions thus test your basic grammar skills. Remember to work on the basics of American English and formal writing. But don’t stress about every obscure grammar rule and its exceptions. The majority of the questions on the GMAT tests only a few common rules. You can become familiar with the frequently tested topics and identify commonly tested types of errors with good guidance and adequate practice. Instead of trying to frame or write the perfect sentence by yourself, it is important to pick the best version of the sentence from the answer choices.
If ever in doubt, remember that the correct answer is the sentence that unambiguously conveys the meaning and also uses as few words as possible.
A sentence is presented in each Sentence Correction question, with a portion of it underlined. There are five different ways to phrase the underlined part beneath the statement. The first method is the same as the first, but the other four are unique. You’ll decide whether the original is the finest option or if one of the alternatives is superior.
Pay attention to grammar, word choice, and sentence construction as you choose your answer. The most effective sentence is one that is clear, precise, and free of grammatical faults.
These suggestions for Sentence Correction, GMAT Critical Reasoning, and GMAT Reading Comprehension will undoubtedly aid your GMAT verbal preparation. The main thing to remember is that the GMAT verbal section evaluates your ability to reason logically. As a result, concentrate on quickly grasping the meaning of a sentence. You can only accomplish it if you can comprehend the meaning of a statement after only one reading. It will be easy to improve your GMAT verbal abilities once you understand the distinct components of a phrase.
Pre-thinking is the most successful method for answering GMAT critical reasoning questions, and you should use it. The ideal technique for RC sections is to summarise each paragraph and make a list of significant takeaways and the author’s tone.
Finally, remember to design a GMAT verbal section skipping strategy based on your weak themes. It’s preferable to skip questions that you’re not confident you’ll be able to answer correctly. Using genuine GMAT mock tests and GMAT verbal practice questions will help you achieve your best score. You can also go for the GMAT online preparation course if you need assistance for better understanding.
Critical Reasoning questions usually have an argument in the question. It is important to identify the author’s opinion and the evidence that he uses to support his argument. Many critical reasoning questions ask about the underlying assumptions either directly or indirectly. Being able to identify the assumptions of an argument can help you get to the correct answer quickly. However, it is important to pay close attention to the actual task of the question and keep that in mind when evaluating the answer choices.
Students spend a lot of time reading about the various strategies that can help them ace the GMAT. It is important to actually apply these strategies and practice with them so that your actual score can improve.
Critical Reasoning questions on the GMAT are comparable to logical reasoning questions. You will be given an argument and will be asked a question based on the argument. Some of the questions that can be asked include identifying assumptions of the argument, strengthening or weakening the argument and identifying inferences. At Manya – The Princeton Review, we work with the students to help them identify each different question type tested, understand the relevant parts of the argument and identify typical incorrect answers. This helps our students to get to the answers quickly and correctly.
Last but not least, remember that any score improvement cannot happen overnight. But with proper guidance, quality material and adequate practice you too can crack the GMAT!
Critical reasoning questions in the GMAT verbal section assess your ability to formulate a plan of action, make an argument, and evaluate an argument. The questions are based on information gathered from various sources. To answer correctly, you do not need to be conversant with the topic matter.
You’ll read a short piece (typically less than 100 words) and then respond to a question about the topic. You can be asked to find an answer choice that strengthens (or weakens) an argument, make an inference or conclusion from a short section, or finish the argument.
The GMAT Verbal Reasoning section measures your ability to read and comprehend written material, to reason and evaluate arguments, and to correct written material to express ideas effectively in English. You will have 65 minutes to complete 36 multiple-choice questions. There are three types of GMAT Verbal questions: Reading Comprehension, GMAT Critical Reasoning, and Sentence Correction.
If there’s one thing you should know about the GMAT Verbal Reasoning section is that it’s not meant to test your English skills; it’s meant to test your verbal reasoning abilities.
Many people (particularly native English speakers) overestimate their abilities and underestimate the amount of practice and preparation required to get a good GMAT verbal score due to the common misconception that the GMAT Verbal section is the ‘English’ side of the GMAT exam.
GMAT Verbal questions, on the other hand, assess your ability to comprehend, analyze, and evaluate written English information.
Students serious about the GMAT spend a lot of time and money on many GMAT books and GMAT online preparation. However, one should not use any random material but should only practice using the right material for GMAT prep. So what are the characteristics of the “right material”? At Manya – The Princeton Review, the level of difficulty, content, types of questions, format and style of answer choices, the user interface for practice questions and user experience during a mock test are all comparable to the actual GMAT.
As part of your GMAT prep, it is important to take multiple GMAT mock tests.
Thus, your mock tests can guide further preparation in an effective way.
The GMAT Verbal Section remains a tough nut to crack even for the most prepared and experienced individuals who are appearing for the examination. The GMAT exam is essentially broken up into four major sections- analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, quantitative, and verbal. Like the other sections, the verbal section comes with a fair share of confusing questions, complex synonyms and the like.
How to prepare for sentence correction? Here are some tried and tested methods to prepare for the GMAT verbal section:
The GMAT verbal section at first glance is made up of 36 questions that are to be completed in a time frame of 65 minutes. These are split across three sections that will assess the student on their ability to read and interpret passages, understand argumentative clauses and edify written materials to an English standard.
Students will first face the reading comprehension that tests the student’s ability to interpret passages and conversations between subjects. There are four reading passages. The first three short passages (200-250 words) have three questions each and the final longer passage (300-350 words) has four questions. Some editions of the GMAT have two short questions and two long questions.
The next sections look at the student’s ability to apply concepts in critical reasoning and sentence correction. The former has a prompt that introduces some argument that the test taker has to answer in a specific number of paragraphs. Candidates have to analyze the argument and write either in support of it or against it. Sentence correction segments, as the title suggests, have questions where the test taker has options that have edited versions of the same sentence.
Time is of the essence in the Verbal Section. Most prep guides focus on the importance of knowing how much time a person spends on each section. Spend an optimum 1-2 months going through guides and online blogs for the Verbal Section. Spend around 20 to 30 percent of total preparation time for the GMAT by focusing on the Verbal Section.
Read as many papers and prep guides from the previous years. Keep a book of hot keywords and memorize them constantly. Subscribe to a number of blogs and newspapers to know the kind of language that is expected from test-takers. The importance is to adopt a more professional style of writing that centers on eloquence and brevity. Newspapers like The Washington Post, The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal. A major strategy of the verbal section is to retain information as you read through the paragraphs rather than having to go through them multiple times to answer questions.
Developing reading as a habit can help in creating this buffer memory for passages and written content. Another important strategy is to never scatter focus across the sections and only advance to the next section once the previous is done. There are no extra points for speed reading in the reading comprehension sections. Invest an appropriate amount of time to know exactly the question and the passage. Instead of reading the question first, follow the SAT practice of memorizing the answers and arrive at the correct answer by the process of elimination. Allot two and a half minutes for each short passage and three and a half minutes at best for the long passages.
When arriving at the critical reason sections, have a predefined notion of answers in your mind before looking at the answers provided. A common route of losing points in this section is caused by reading the answers too quickly and being confused by the options that seem quite similar to each other. The sentence correction section should be dealt with as easily as possible. In it, focus on the subject-verb agreement issues and interpret early on how the answers differ from each other such that the odd one can be singled out.
Moving on to the concepts of synonyms and word structure, always remember that the test taker will be scrutinized on the vocabulary that he or she knows. Knowing the level of complex words and compound phrases can save many souls from misinterpreting certain texts that are designed to be confusing. But be wary of memorizing every new word that you see. Instead, write down the words and learn to apply them in realistic settings.
The objective essentially should be to cultivate a need for knowing more than what’s there in the passages. Learn to read between the lines and even keep a list of novels to read beforehand. These novels can range from historical epics to classical literature pieces and even journals.
On a final note, remember that the general structure of questions and answers in the Verbal section is always the same and can be well studied based on previous editions.
For any aspirant who wants to score high on the GMAT, the challenge that GMAT Sentence Correction questions throw is the most difficult. The most common of the challenges is the “down to two syndrome”.
Students who have completed their GMAT online course are quite strong in the concepts and are also able to apply the strategies to questions well. However, when the score isn’t to their expectation, the reason they give is that “I can eliminate three options, but I get stuck between two always and somehow land up at the wrong elimination”!
How to ace sentence correction GMAT? Let us look at some of the Tips to ace the GMAT Sentence Correction:
This means one has to get to the core of the sentence – The Subject and the Verb. Then focus on the underlined part for spotting errors.
If you are not able to spot an error in the underlined part, scan vertically at once to look for errors. If you still have Choice A and another option, do not hastily eliminate A since it happens to be the underlined part. The sentence given can be the right one four times. Eliminate any option only after you spot an error.
The GMAT verbal section is actually computer adaptive. This means that if you answer a question correctly, the next question is adjusted to have a higher difficulty level. On the other hand, if you answer a question incorrectly, the next question is of a lower difficulty level. Basically, the algorithm adjusts the difficulty level to the one where you are comfortable enough to get many questions correct. The final score in the verbal section depends not only on the number of questions you answer correctly but also on the difficulty level of the questions answered correctly.
There is also a penalty for not completing the GMAT verbal section. So, we cannot afford to get stuck on one hard question and spend 10 minutes on just that hard question. If a student gets stuck with one hard question, he or she will find that, towards the end of the section, when there are only a few minutes left on the countdown timer, they still have many questions left to be answered. So what should the student do in such a scenario? Should the student randomly guess 6 to 10 questions in a row to avoid the penalty for not completing the section? If by some bad luck, the student gets multiple guesses in a sequence incorrect, then the difficulty level will go down drastically and this will definitely bring down your final verbal score. The best way is to try and avoid such a scenario where you just have a few minutes left but many questions unanswered in the end. So how to do that? One way is to be aware of the pace at which you answer your questions. The simplest rule of thumb would be, when you have 48 minutes left on the timer ( 25% of the time is up), you should have completed at least 7 to 9 questions (20% -25% of the questions). Do keep in mind that earlier in the exam, you will be prioritizing accuracy over speed in order to push the difficulty level of the next question higher. If you have completed fewer than 7 questions, you know that you have to speed up. If you have completed more than 9 questions, carry on at the same pace, do not slow down consciously. This way, check the time remaining every 9-10 questions. This helps you maintain a constant pace and complete the verbal section with ease.
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