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Mastering the GMAT Verbal Section: Essential Tips and Study Techniques

Mastering the GMAT Verbal Section

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The verbal section of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a critical component of the exam that assesses an individual’s ability to analyse and comprehend written material, evaluate arguments, and demonstrate proficiency in standard written English. A high score on the GMAT verbal section is vital for those aspiring to pursue a graduate degree in business administration. In this article, we will explore essential skills and study techniques that can help test-takers excel in the verbal section of the GMAT, enabling them to maximise their overall score and increase their chances of admission to top business schools.

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GMAT Syllabus for Verbal Section

The verbal section of the GMAT comprises three types of questions: reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. Each question type tests you on a distinct set of skills but they all require strong verbal skills.

1. Reading Comprehension – RC questions test your ability to understand and analyse complex written passages. You will be asked to identify the main idea of the passage, understand the author’s purpose, and identify supporting details. You may also be asked to draw inferences from the text or to compare and contrast different ideas in the passage.

To improve your Reading Comprehension skills, it is important to read widely and to practise answering questions about what you have read. You should enhance your reading speed, develop active reading strategies, and practice extracting key information from the passages efficiently.

2. Critical Reasoning – CR questions evaluate a test-taker’s ability to analyse arguments and draw logical conclusions. It tests your ability to think critically and to evaluate arguments. You will be given an argument and asked to identify the assumptions that underlie the argument, to evaluate the strength of the argument, or to identify the flaws in the argument.

To improve your Critical Reasoning skills, it is important to first understand how to identify the different types of arguments. Then learn to identify logical flaws, and differentiate between valid and invalid reasoning.

Also read: Tips to solve 700-level GMAT questions

3. Sentence Correction – SC questions tests your grasp of English grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure. It tests your ability to identify and correct errors in grammar, usage, and punctuation. You will be given a sentence with an underlined portion, and you will be asked to select the answer choice that makes the sentence grammatically correct and idiomatic.

To improve your Sentence Correction skills, it is important to learn the basic rules of grammar and usage. Additionally, students should familiarise themselves with common grammatical errors and practise identifying and correcting them effectively.

Essential Skills for Mastering GMAT Verbal Section

Reading Comprehension Skills:

  1. Skimming and Scanning – Develop the ability to quickly skim through passages to identify main ideas and scan for specific details.
  2. Active Reading – Engage actively with the material by highlighting key points, making notes, and summarising each paragraph to enhance comprehension.
  3. Vocabulary Building – Strengthen your vocabulary by reading extensively and maintaining a vocabulary journal to learn new words and their usage in context.

Critical Reasoning Skills:

  1. Identify Argument Structure – Learn to recognize the premises, assumptions, and conclusions in an argument to analyse its logic.
  2. Strengthen Weakened Arguments – Practice finding flaws and weaknesses in arguments and identifying evidence that weakens the author’s position.
  3. Evaluate Assumptions – Develop the ability to identify and assess the underlying assumptions on which an argument is based.

Sentence Correction Skills:

  1. Grammar Fundamentals: Review essential grammar rules, such as subject-verb agreement, pronoun usage, verb tense, and parallelism.
  2. Sentence Structure: Understand the various sentence structures, including fragments, run-on sentences, and sentence modifiers.
  3. Idiomatic Expressions: Familiarise yourself with common idiomatic expressions and their correct usage to improve sentence correction accuracy.

Checkout: Most common GMAT Preposition pairs

Effective GMAT Study Techniques 

  1. Time Management: Allocate dedicated study time for each question type on the GMAT syllabus for Verbal, focusing on areas that require improvement. Practice time-bound mock tests to improve speed and accuracy. 
  2. Utilise Flashcards: Create flashcards to reinforce vocabulary, grammar rules, and idiomatic expressions. Review them regularly to enhance your retention of key concepts. 
  3. Collaborate with Study Groups: Engage in study groups or find study partners to discuss and debate verbal section questions. Exploring different perspectives and sharing strategies can deepen your understanding and improve critical thinking skills. 
  4. Analyse Sample Essays: Familiarise yourself with the essay prompts provided in the GMAT exam and analyse sample essays to understand the qualities of a strong response. Practice writing essays within the allotted time to enhance your written communication skills. 
  5. Mock Tests and Practice Questions: Regularly attempt full-length mock tests and practice questions to familiarise yourself with the exam format and identify weak areas for further improvement. 
  6. Analyse Mistakes: Review and analyse incorrect answers to identify patterns of errors and understand the concepts or strategies you need to reinforce. 
  7. Create a Study Schedule: Develop a structured study plan that includes specific goals and timelines for each section of the verbal section. Allocate regular study sessions to ensure consistent progress and avoid cramming. 

    We’ve created a GMAT study plan (and perfected it over 30 years) so that you don’t have to!

  8. Maintain a Positive Mindset: Approach your GMAT verbal section preparation with confidence and a positive attitude. Believe in your abilities and maintain a growth mindset, understanding that consistent effort and practice will lead to improvement. 
  9. Seek Professional Guidance: Consider joining GMAT preparation courses or working with experienced tutors who can provide personalised guidance and feedback on your performance. You can opt for GMAT classroom training or GMAT online preparation depending on your needs. 

Mastering the verbal section of the GMAT requires a combination of these essential skills and effective study techniques. With a solid understanding of the GMAT syllabus, a well-planned study schedule and a dedicated guide, you can improve your score too!

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