How to Improve your Verbal Reasoning Score on the GMAT

 The Verbal Reasoning section is one of four parts of the GMAT. It contains 36 questions that must be answered in 65 minutes. Verbal Reasoning contains three parts: 


  • Critical Reasoning (11 questions): Tests your ability to reason and evaluate arguments

  • Sentence Correction (16 questions): Tests your command of standard written English

  • Reading Comprehension (14 questions): Tests your ability to critically read written material


Here is our breakdown of the GMAT Verbal Reasoning test with our best trips and tricks for mastery.  


Critical Reasoning

 What It Is:

 Short reading passages (fewer than 100 words) followed by questions that ask you how to analyze, strengthen or weaken the presented argument.  It measures your ability to make, evaluate or formulate arguments.


How To Master It:

 • Read the Questions Before Reading the Argument. This allows you to focus quickly on the information you’re seeking as you read the argument.

 • Narrow down what the question is asking. The most common type of questions on Critical Reasoning are “weaken the argument” questions, “strengthen the argument” questions and “find the assumption or conclusion” questions. It’s also helpful to jot down a summary of what the question is asking before you read the passage.

 • Understand real world business and economics. You’ll have an advantage if you have some intuition about real-world supply and demand, labor and wages, economic growth, and statistics.


Sentence Correction

What It Is:

It measures your broad English language proficiency with a focus on grammar, word choice, structure and effective expression. You’ll be presented with a sentence, some or all of which will be underlined.  You choose the answer that best writes the underlined section.

How to Master It:

• Scan the Answers First. You can immediately eliminate answers with misspelling, incorrect word choice or grammatical errors. Then read the sentence in the question and consider only the remaining answers.

• Know the Common Rules Most of the sentence correction questions concern the same rules. If you can identify subject/verb agreement, misplaced modifiers, and parallel structure, you’ll be able to eliminate many of the answer options. Sentence Correction also focuses on the logic of sentences and construction of language. Learn to differentiate clear, concise and strong language. 


Reading Comprehension:

What It Is:

Long passages followed by questions that ask you to interpret material, draw inferences, or apply context. It measures your ability to read and understand words and concepts or relationships between points. Reading skills that will be tested include main idea, supporting idea, inference, application, logical structure, and style.


How to Master It:

• Thoroughly read the entire passage first, then look at the questions. Unlike in the other two sections, if you look at the questions first you may focus on smaller details and miss important implied meanings or broad takeaways.  Learn to read for main ideas, tone and structure.  A tutor can help teach you the most effective ways to process these Reading Comprehension passages.

Pick out the author’s opinion-if there is one. Words such as “obviously,” “clearly,” or “hence” show the author’s purpose or that an opinion is being expressed. This will often help you move more quickly through the answers.

• Eliminate wrong answers first. Look for answer choices that don’t address the question or that introduce a new, irrelevant idea.

Fast Track Your GMAT Success With a Tutor

The best tip, of course, is simply to put in the study time and take practice tests. But use your time wisely – there’s no sense in over-practicing the sections where you excel. You’ll also get ahead if you learn insider strategies for taking each section of the test. An online GMAT tutor will identify your personal strengths and weaknesses so you can hone in on the most efficient ways to study and quickly improve your score.  Try a free 20-minute demonstration lesson to see how Score Smart Tutoring can help!

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