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. The first step in improving your verbal score is to understand where you went wrong and then you should work to fix the problem areas.
Let’s start with the basics. 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.
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. 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 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.
Here are a few strategies 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.
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.
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.
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