In the verbal part of the test, participants have 75 minutes in which to answer 41 questions with question types consisting of sentence correction, reading comprehension, and critical reasoning, all of which are in a multiple choice format.
Many GMAT test takers are less worried about the verbal section of the GMAT than they are about the Quantitative section. However, participants should still work hard for this section, especially if English is not their first language.
As with all sections on the GMAT, students’ timing and strategy is essential. Because of the computer adaptive testing format, the ability to score well depends on answering as many questions correctly as possible in order to progress to the most difficult questions. However, students should always keep in mind that there are heavy penalties for not completing a section.
There are three questions types within the Verbal section: sentence correction, reading comprehension, and critical reasoning. However, participants of the GMAT are very unlikely to see the same amount of questions for each type. Remember that the exact questions students see are based on performance as participants progress through the test, as a result of the computer adaptive test format.
Roughly, GMAT students should expect to see around 15 sentence correction, and 13 critical reasoning questions. Four reading comprehension passages should also appear, each with three to four questions relating to it.
Sentence correction questions are designed to test written English. Students will be shown a sentence which has a section underlined. A set of answer choices which consist of different versions of the same sentence are then shown, and participants are required to find the most grammatically correct version of the underlined section in the question. Participants should bear in mind that the correct answer could be option A, which is always the original underlined section in the question.
GMAT students will not be tested on grammar terminology here. Instead they must identify correct grammar, sentence structure and efficiency. Many students who speak English as a first language are able to instinctively identify the correct choice, simply by reading each sentence through in their head.
Most students will be familiar with this question type, as reading comprehension questions are a classic type on standardized tests. Each passage will be around 200-300 words and should have three to four questions relating to it.
The passages are written in difficult, often technical prose, adapted from books and journals in the broad areas of business, social sciences, and the natural sciences, so can at times be slightly daunting.
However, test takers are not required to memorize all the information in the passage. Instead, they should read through it quickly before looking at the questions, to try to gain a loose understanding of the subject, the article’s intent, and the scope of the passage, such as how much depth the author goes into a subject.
Students should then read the article once more, with the questions in mind. This should mean that participants will have a clearer understanding of the article when answering the questions.
Critical reasoning questions are designed to test analytical skills. Test takers will be presented with a short piece of text in which the writer makes an assertion or states a point of view and then argues the case. Students will be given a question relating to the text and must then select the answer choice that strengthens or weakens the argument. Participants may also be asked to find an unsupported theory that the argument makes or to select a conclusion based upon the points discussed.
Students will need to thoroughly understand the argument in order to score well during the critical reasoning sections. Identifying the author’s conclusion, the evidence, if any that they use to support it, and what assumptions are made to reach this conclusion. Many successful test takers think about these steps before looking at the answer choices, as the intentionally complicated wording of the answers is designed to confuse.