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GMAT Verbal Reasoning

The verbal section of the GMAT contributes to the 200-800 GMAT score. This section measures your English language skills such as your ability to:

  • Read and understand passages on a range of topics
  • Critically evaluate logical arguments
  • Correct sentences to conform to standards of written English and ensure clarity of meaning

Though this looks simple enough, the time constraints make the verbal section challenging for many students. The verbal section has 36 questions, which need to be answered in 65 minutes. So, on an average, you have 1 minute and 48 seconds to answer each question.

The verbal section is computer adaptive: this means that the difficulty level of each question changes based on your performance in the previous question. If a question is answered correctly, the difficulty level of the next question increases. On the other hand, if a question is answered incorrectly, the difficulty level decreases. You cannot skip any question, navigate to any other question, return to question or change an answer to any question in this section. You need to answer one question completely to move on to the next.

Different Sections on the Verbal Reasoning

The three main question types in the GMAT verbal section are reading comprehension, sentence correction and critical reasoning. Prior knowledge of subjects or specialized knowledge is not required- all that is required to answer the questions is provided in the question itself.

Reading Comprehension

There are usually 4 passages on the GMAT: 3 shorter passages and 1 longer passage. The passages vary in length between 200 to 350 words. The passages may be excerpts from books or academic journals and can be from a wide range of topics (such as humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, biological sciences and business). Each passage has 3 to 4 questions, which test your understanding of the main idea of the passage, overall style, logical structure and supporting details. You can also be asked to draw inferences or apply ideas in the passage to a further context.

Sentence Correction

For sentence correction questions, part of a sentence or an entire sentence is underlined. You need to pick the most effective version of the sentence from the five options available. The most effective sentence has proper grammar, appropriate word choice and expresses the meaning in a clear and concise manner.

Critical Reasoning

Critical Reasoning questions measure your ability to evaluate logical arguments. These questions have a short passage(usually fewer than 100 words) followed by a single question and 5 answer choices. Typical critical reasoning questions ask you to strengthen/ weaken/ evaluate the argument, identify assumptions of the argument, identify flaws in the argument or draw inferences.

GMAT Verbal Reasoning Scoring Pattern

For the verbal section, your final score depends on the number of questions you answer, the number of questions you get correct and the difficulty level of the questions you answer. You will not be told about the difficulty level of any question. Test takers start with a question of medium difficulty, but then the difficulty level of the questions changes in real time, based on your performance (computer adaptive). Though there are no negative marks (for incorrect answers) on the GMAT, the test taker is indirectly penalized by the change in the difficulty level. For reading comprehension questions, the difficulty level is adjusted after you have completed all the questions for a particular passage. If you run out of time and are unable to complete all the questions in the verbal section, there is a penalty for that on the GMAT.

The raw verbal scores are scaled to score in the range of 0 to 60. Though the actual scale ranges from 0 to 60, realistically the verbal scores each range from 6 to 51 only. The quant and verbal scores (out of 60) are then combined for a final scaled score ranging from 200 to 800.
GMAT scores have a percentile ranking associated with them and the percentile rankings keep changing over time. The percentile rank refers to the percentage of people who have scored less than you. For example, if your score is in the 91st percentile – this means that you have scored more than 91% of the people taking the exam. A score of 37 in verbal has a percentile ranking of 82% while a score of 44 in quant has a percentile ranking of only 48%.

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Verbal Reasoning Comparison

Sentence Correction Question GMAT MCQ-1
Critical Reasoning Question GMAT MCQ-2
Reading Comprehension Question GMAT MCQ-3

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GMAT FAQ's

Is GMAT Verbal hard?

With focused preparation, one can definitely crack the GMAT. GMAT is a standardized test: this means that we can analyze it and understand the type of questions that would appear on the GMAT. To do well in the GMAT verbal section, we must prepare using material that reflects the actual GMAT. GMAT Verbal section has questions that are not hard, but tricky. Learning how to handle these tricky questions, makes the test easier to crack.

What makes the GMAT Verbal section important?

The verbal score on the Verbal section of the GMAT contributes to the 200-800 GMAT score. This makes it extremely important.

How to Prepare for the Verbal Reasoning Section?

●     Be aware of how GMAT tests verbal reasoning. For prep, use proper material that reflects the questions on GMAT.
●     If English is not your strength, work on basic verbal skills and reading comprehension in addition to your GMAT prep.
●     Practice well and often.
●     Make a note of the time taken for questions and work to reduce the time taken.

What is the Structure of the GMAT Verbal Section?

The verbal section has 36 questions, which need to be answered in 65 minutes. You cannot skip any question, navigate to any other question, return to question or change an answer to any question in this section. You need to answer one question completely to move on to the next.

What are the different type of questions asked in the GMAT Verbal Section?

The three question types in the GMAT verbal section are reading comprehension, sentence correction and critical reasoning.

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