GMAT Verbal Sections

To test your command of English, the questions in this section will be closely related to your understanding of the language, your critical thinking skills, and your grammar skills. Three main types of questions will appear, which we will describe below.

Reading Comprehension

The passage can be long or short, and 2 to 4 questions about it will appear. How fast are you reading? To what extent are you able to obtain accurate information from the texts? Not only will this help you on the exam, but in your graduate school. This section not only assesses your English language proficiency, but rather your reading comprehension and logical ability. Keep in mind that for the majority of those who take the GMAT in the world, English is their first language. This section would be like if you were given a reading comprehension test in Spanish. It is obviously a prerequisite to understand the language well. However, speaking and understanding Spanish well is not a guarantee of a good score.

Verbal GMAT

To obtain a competitive score in the verbal section, and specifically in the reading comprehension section, you need specific strategies for managing time and logic.

Official Guide Revised GRE (2016) : Was Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847) a great composer? On its face, the question seems absurd. One of the most gifted prodigies in the history of music, he produced his first masterpiece at sixteen. From then on, he was recognized as an artist of preternatural abilities, not only as a composer but also as a pianist and conductor. But Mendelssohn’s enduring popularity has often been at odds—sometimes quite sharply—with his critical standing. Despite general acknowledgment of his genius, there has been a noticeable reluctance to rank him with, say, Schumann or Brahms. As Haggin put it, Mendelssohn, as a composer, was a “minor master . . . working on a small scale of emotion and texture.”The passage suggests that anyone attempting to evaluate Mendelssohn’s career must confront which of the following dichotomies?

  • The tension between Mendelssohn’s career as a composer as a composer and his career as a pianist and conductor.
  • The contrast between Mendelssohn’s popularity and that of Schumann and Brahms
  • The discrepancy between Mendelssohn’s popularity and his standing among critics
  • The inconsistency between Mendelssohn’s reputation during his lifetime and his reputation since his death
  • The gap between Mendelssohn’s prodigious musical beginnings and his decline in later years.

In the previous question, you should not only read, but reason what is behind the text. Analyzing attitudes of the author, possible objectives, what he wants to make known, among other questions, will be the type of reading comprehension problems. Also, the important thing is to read well. Since several questions are asked of a passage, try to internalize what the passage means to be able to answer correctly, and not make mistakes when scanning or skimming. In general, you will have little time to answer each question. So specific time management strategies are crucial to being successful in this section.

Critical Reasoning

These types of questions, rather than being related to understanding the text, are linked to your ability to argue, to identify premises and conclusions in an argument, and to evaluate what type of information would weaken or strengthen the argument. In short, as the name of the section says, it will test your critical thinking, an essential skill for your MBA. An example is the following, taken from the Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review: High levels of fertilizer and pesticides, needed when farmers try to produce high yields of the same crop year after year, pollute water supplies. Experts therefore urge farmers to diversify their crops and to rotate their plantings yearly.To receive governmental price-support benefits for a crop, farmers must have produced that same crop for the past several years.The statements above, if true, best support which of the following conclusions?

  • The rules for governmental support of farm prices work against efforts to reduce water pollution
  • The only solution to the problem of water pollution from fertilizers and pesticides is to take farmland out of production.
  • Farmers can continue to make a profit by rotating diverse crops, thus reducing costs for chemicals, but not by planting the same crop each year.
  • New farming techniques will be developed to make it possible to farmers to reduce the application of fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Governmental price supports for farm products are set at levels that are not high enough to allow farmers to get out of debt.

As you will see, the text is smaller than in reading comprehension, however, it has very specific information to be able to draw conclusions. This example is of the “syllogism” type, that is, following two premises, obtaining a conclusion.

In these types of questions, you will find 8 categories:

  • Identify the statement that weakens the argument.
  • Recognize the claim that strengthens the argument.
  • Find the missing premise for a conclusion.
  • Obtain the conclusion based on two premises.
  • Establish the function of a statement.
  • Determine which argument synthesizes two others that seem contradictory.
  • Identify which option best complements the given argument.
  • Know which sentence of the options can fill a blank space that will appear in the passage.

In any case, these questions are more aimed at inference and not at description, as may be the case of reading comprehension.

Sentence correction

This part, characteristic of the GMAT, will focus on your grammar ability. A text will come, highlighting a sentence, apparently well structured, but perhaps with some error. Your task will be to choose, from among the options, the sentence with the correct grammar. This statement should not only be well written but have logic, and maintain the correct intention. The original statement will always appear in the options, as there are times when the sentence was well structured. Already anxious after watching a horror movie, Michele mistook * the sound of a backfiring car as the blast of a gunshot *

  • The sound of a backfiring car as the blast of a gunshot
  • A car as it was backfiring for the blast of a gunshot
  • The sound of a backfiring car for the blast of a gunshot
  • A car as it was backfiring as the blast of a gunshot
  • A backfiring car as the blast of a gunshot