The GMAT verbal is by no means easy, especially if you are not fond of reading texts on grammar, or passages drawn from academic papers. But the answer to the question of how hard is the GMAT depends on how you study for the test. Below are some useful tips for increasing your GMAT verbal score.
Have the best foundation
Success on the GMAT verbal is not just a question of skillfully applying strategies; without the proper understanding of basics you can only go so far. For example, knowing how to quickly eliminate wrong answer choices and home in on the correct answer on Sentence Correction questions will help you greatly, only if you have the grammar know-how to eliminate the wrong answers.
For the best of the GMAT books reviewed, look no further than Manhattan GMAT, which provides an excellent series of books that really allow you to build on your foundation. The Sentence Correction guide can help the grammar neophyte navigate the complexities of English grammar, all the way from comma to summative modifiers.
Similarly, Magoosh has broken up the Sentence Corrections, Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension into discrete modules. That way you can learn one concept at a time, and apply that knowledge in specific questions.
Practice with the best questions
What do I mean by “best”? Questions that best mimic the questions you’ll see on the actual GMAT. This mimicking includes the look and feel of questions. For example, the GMAT likes to write long Sentence Correction sentences that draw on some arcane person or event from history.
Then there are the way the “distractors”, or wrong answers, as they are more commonly known, are written. Remember, often the trickiest part of a Critical Reasoning argument is the way the trap answer lures you in, giving you a false sense of confidence.
Train with a schedule
You can still work with the best material, yet not maximize your study time. To really make sure that you are improving””and preparing for the grueling four-hour experience that is the GMAT””you have to take practice tests, do problem sets consisting of question types you struggle with, and spend time reviewing areas in which you struggle. To help you focus your training, you should follow a useful and targeted GMAT study plan.
Learn from your mistakes
The most important part of review is not only to look at the correct answer is but also to really figure out why you missed a question. This process can be difficult””indeed uncomfortable””but the struggle in trying to reason why the correct answer is correct and why your original answer was wrong will help improve your problem solving skills. It will also help you avoid similar mistakes in the future.
Tune your brain
A great way to improve at verbal is when you are not actually studying verbal. Sounds counterintuitive? Well, our brains clearly need down time to process what we’ve learned. But watching marathon sessions on Netflix of your favorite show is not going to help your GMAT verbal score much. Reading the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal will. Part of the reason is you are exposing your brain to the very complex syntactical patterns you will see test day.
For those of you who struggle with some of the vocabulary on the GMAT, you might want to make flashcards of the words. Sure this is not the same as how to memorize words for the GRE, as anyone familiar with the GRE format will know. But knowing words that pop up often in Critical Reasoning can make the difference between knowing the answer to a question in less than a minute, and blindly choosing an answer.