GMAT Focus Edition Verbal Section by MBA House

Mastering GMAT: Effective Strategies for Verbal Section on Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning

Table of Contents

Navigating the maze of the GMAT may seem a daunting task – but, you’re not alone in this challenge, reader. The primary focus of this informative article is the verbal section, specifically on Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning, key components that provide an evaluation of your critical thinking and language skills.

“Knowledge will bring you opportunity to make a difference.” – Claire Fagin

If you’re feeling nervous about this section or don’t know where to start, don’t fret. As your guide, we’ll delve into effective strategies, tips, essential concepts, and practice questions that will help you secure a high score in these significant sections of the GMAT. So, fasten your seatbelt as we embark on this exciting and informative voyage towards GMAT success!

  • Discover the essence of Reading Comprehension and its impact on your GMAT score.
  • Understand the process of Critical Reasoning and how it can reshape your thought process.
  • Get acquainted with effective strategies to tackle both these sections.

Critical reasoning questions make up about 30% of the GMAT verbal section

GMAT Focus Verbal Official Review 2023 – 2024

Understanding the GMAT Focus Verbal Official Review for 2023 – 2024 is crucial for anyone hoping to excel in this challenging examination. This latest edition, released by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), presents a brand-new format known as the GMAT Focus edition, designed to sharpen your verbal skills for your best possible performance.

With this edition, you can expect to see an assortment of reading comprehension and critical reasoning questions, plus new elements introduced to stretch your understanding. The GMAT Verbal section continues to probe your command of English but now with an added twist – it pushes your ability to evaluate arguments, read into context and nuances, and comprehend expansive pieces of text.

The GMAT Focus Verbal Official Review also offers guidance in the form of GMAT Verbal Practice Tests. These tests make use of real-life scenarios to provide you with invaluable practice in handling the type of questions you’ll encounter on exam day. In fact, it is recommended that you take GMAT Verbal diagnostic tests to assess your current ability and understand the areas you need to focus on during your preparation.

The review also includes GMAT Verbal Flashcards. These are a valuable resource meant to reinforce your understanding of key concepts. Whether it’s sentence correction, reading comprehension, or critical reasoning, these flashcards offer bite-sized lessons that are easy to grasp and digest.

This edition importantly outlines the number of questions and time limit for the GMAT Verbal section. This information is crucial in helping you develop an effective time management strategy. Knowing how long you have for each question will go a long way to ensuring that you complete the test within the given timeframe.

In conclusion, the GMAT Focus Verbal Official Review 2023 – 2024 provides you with necessary resources to familiarize yourself with the updated exam format and thrive. Remember, following the ‘Best Practices for GMAT Verbal Prep’ mentioned in the review, coupled with consistent effort and practice, will get you as prepared as possible for the big day. So, take a deep breath, put your best foot forward, and conquer the GMAT!

GMAT Focus Verbal Review online questions

Developing a Winning Study Plan for GMAT Verbal Session

Here’s your game plan – for the unmissable GMAT verbal session victory. It’s about honing critical reasoning and reading comprehension skills, but with a strategic approach and systematic preparation.

Start your preparation by identifying your strengths and weaknesses in GMAT Verbal material. Free GMAT Verbal Practice Tests can be a cornerstone for this purpose. Use these resources to pinpoint the areas where you need more practice and improvement.

Building a Structure-Based Study Approach

Treat GMAT verbal preparation akin to math. For a start, develop a consistent structure-based approach to meaning. This involves a clear understanding of each sentence’s structure and meaning – much like solving a mathematical problem. Subject-verb agreement, modifiers, conjunctions: get familiar with these parts of speech, and you’ll build a stronger foundation.

Cultivating a Habit for Thoughtful Question-Answer Review

Your study plan should not merely be about tackling questions. It’s equally vital to review the answers, especially the ones you got wrong. Ponder over each question, identify what went wrong, and what could have led you to the right answer. Through this thoughtful question-answer review, you’ll get a clearer understanding of the test maker’s reasoning process.

Ramping Up Curiosity and Imagination

Indeed, GMAT verbal isn’t a standard rote-learning exercise. It’s about developing curiosity and a deep-seated interest in the texts you read. See each paragraph as a story that’s unfolding. Imagine each argument as a debate you’re part of. This will enhance your understanding and make your study sessions more engaging.

In essence, prepping for the GMAT verbal section isn’t about memorizing. It’s about understanding, reasoning, and applying. With this winning study plan, not only will you ace the verbal section, but you’ll also create an enriching learning experience for yourself.

Test takers who spend more time on verbal preparation tend to score 12% higher.

Honing Your Reading Comprehension Skills for GMAT

Reading comprehension is an integral part of the GMAT™ exam, but it is also often misunderstood. A sequence of mistakes can dramatically lower your score, and encountering a challenging reading comprehension passage can potentially contribute to this decline. From my extensive experience conducting GMAT courses through Testcrackers, I’ve observed that several students are uncertain about how to strategically allocate their time for their comprehension studies.

Many self-studying students either neglect this component under the presumption that their skills are unchangeable, or they spend countless hours practicing passages using ineffective methods. A more systematic and strategic approach can make a world of difference. Reading comprehension is indeed an area you can improve through consistent practice. However, using a more targeted approach is key to making significant score improvements within a constrained timeframe.

Here, I’ll discuss a few vital tools and concepts to alter your process of reading a GMAT™ reading comprehension passage and addressing related questions. GMAT reading comprehension passages predominantly fall within three categories: business, science and history. Tackling these topics requires overcoming jargon and complex abbreviations. Such specialized vocabulary, while familiar to respective industry insiders, can be intimidating to others which ultimately could affect performance. Through regular practice, not only can students become familiar with the jargon relevant to their weaker areas, but they can also develop the skill to gloss over such terms, make reasonable guesses, and proceed without getting overwhelmed.

Three specific types of passages have been elaborated below:

1. Business: Business passages tend to focus on the behaviors of consumers and corporations. Often, they introduce various perspectives and research aimed at critiquing a mainstream or historical viewpoint of an issue, or alternatively, analyzing diverse perspectives. Relevant concepts to understand include supply and demand, free trade versus tariffs, economies of scale, unemployment and inflation.

2. Science: Science passages require a close attention to shifting perspectives over time with developments in research and evidence. Illustrative tables often represent these passages to easily track elements such as the views various experts hold on different phenomena. The emphasis should be on identifying differences in perspectives, tracking changes in consensus over time, and noting instances where the author expresses their personal view. High-frequency science subtopics include biology, social science studies on behavior, and physics.

3. History: Analogous to science passages, simpler historical pieces often track progress over time. More complex ones focus on contrasting historians’ viewpoints, analyzing the merits of their theories, and debating their implications for the broader understanding of history.

Reading about unfamiliar topics provides a steep and invaluable learning curve. While extra business articles for those daily immersed in such texts may offer limited advantages, the comprehension improvements gained from reading about less familiar topics, like women’s labor rights in 19th century British mills, can be substantial.

When approaching GMAT™ reading comprehension, attention to detail is crucial. Questions that focus on precise details can be challenging for those not trained in law. However, adopting a ‘lawyer-like’ mindset can be the key to success. A lawyer, in contrast to an average person, would meticulously consider the precise definitions of individual words in a paragraph. The same technique must be employed when reading an RC passage. To aid this, understanding the ‘scope’ and ‘intensity’ of language can be useful.

In conclusion, success in GMAT™ reading comprehension requires a systematic investment in practice, attention to detail, and strategy. Recognize and learn from your mistakes and continually refine your process to improve. If you’re struggling to make progress independently, consider enrolling in specialized courses or seeking private tutoring for specialized assistance and resources.

Deciphering the Art of Critical Reasoning for GMAT

Naturally, the evaluation of critical reasoning forms a fundamental facet of the GMAT, offering an incisive appraisal of critical business acumen. GMAT critical reasoning questions are crafted to assess a distinct collection of facets pertaining to logical thought. Typically, students studying for the exam are unfamiliar with this style of argument evaluation. To put it succinctly, you can anticipate three variants of critical reasoning questions in the GMAT verbal section:

  • Questions requiring you to scrutinize a provided argument or arrangement (known as the stimulus) following which you must identify the response that either uncovers a flaw or else improves a detected flaw within that stimulus.
  • Questions compelling you to analyze and depict the reasoning approach employed within the stimulus.
  • Questions instructing you to provide a plausible conclusion based on the data given within the stimulus.

As for the first type of questions, renowned test prep organizations frequently refer to subtypes including ‘strengthen’, ‘weaken’, ‘assumption’, ‘useful to evaluate’, and ‘explain the paradox’. The second type of questions are usually referred to as method of reasoning questions (often highlighted by boldfaced questions), whereas the third type are generally known as inference or conclusion questions. It’s worth noting that more than three-quarters of GMAT critical reasoning questions you will encounter on your exam fall into the first type, therefore this article will primarily delve into strategies for this prevalent type.

Adopting a Systematic Approach to GMAT Critical Reasoning

To triumph in critical reasoning, it’s crucial to implement a regimented set of best practices to deftly navigate the diverse pitfalls and distractions you’ll meet along the way. Several of these tips, such as reading the question stem first, apply universally across different test prep curricula, with others requiring a more nuanced approach.

1. Prioritize Reading The Question Stem First

Due to the distinct mindsets and strategies involved with these three critical reasoning question types, (and the notable variation within the subtypes in category 1), it’s essential to read the question stem first. This enables you to rapidly identify the specific form of question you’ll be tackling. Consider the following two question stems, which at first glance may seem interchangeable:

  1. “Which of the following most supports the argument above?”
  2. “Which of the following is most supported by the argument above?”

In the first stem, you are managing a strengthen question, tasking you with critiquing the given argument or plan, then identifying novel information from the five potential responses that iteratively improves the provided argument or plan.

In contrast, the second question stem necessitates an entirely different tactic! Here, you consider all the information in the stimulus as fact, determining which of the potential responses is a valid conclusion based on said information.

Failure to read the question stem first means frittering away invaluable seconds in your initial perusal of the given stimulus due to misunderstanding your objective. As a result, you could well face time constraints on the verbal section. Furthermore, incorrect classification of the question type leads almost certainly to incorrect responses, GMAT question designers are adept at creating such hurdles.

2. Perfecting the Deconstruction of Arguments

Another pivotal skill verified by the GMAT is your competence in grappling with abstract representations of information and concepts. Numerous critical reasoning questions comprise highly complicated arguments that are simultaneously abstract and challenging to comprehend.

A widespread student error when contending with critical reasoning questions is advancing to answer choices before fully understanding the given stimulus. Adding more detail to something you don’t entirely comprehend is a frequent misstep students encounter across the GMAT – hold back from scrutinizing potential answers until you’ve comprehended the presented information and the question’s purpose!

Within our GMAT curriculum at MBA House, we emphasize instructing students on the appropriate deconstruction of arguments. This is best accomplished by reading the full argument (applicable for type 1 and type 2 questions, whereby a complete argument is presented in the question stem) before subsequently isolating the conclusion. By asking “why?” you can ensure you have identified the correct conclusion and check if the question directs you back to the premises within the argument. Once you have successfully executed this and fully understood the provided stimulus, the next step in your systematic best practices should be enacted.

3. Go on the Offensive (and Anticipate)!

At this stage of the process, you’ve classified the question type and completely deconstructed the given stimulus; now the genuine challenge of GMAT critical reasoning commences!

All type 1 questions present a complete argument or plan within the stimulus, and you are required to critique this stimulus, identifying any errors or prevalent fallacies within the logical chain. In my 20 years of preparing students for this question type, I’ve observed a single universal trait among the “masters” of GMAT critical reasoning: they identify the flaws autonomously before scrutinizing the answer choices. This might appear counterintuitive (shouldn’t the answers be utilized early?), but the reality for all type 1 questions is that the answer choices are more likely to be adversaries than allies.

Generally, in the GMAT, it’s highly recommended to leverage all answer choices and actively employ them, however, critical reasoning answer choices are notoriously deceptive. Misleading answers tempt you with concepts and “flaws” that confuse your thought processes and obstruct your identification of the true issues in the argument. By assaulting the argument before probing the answers, you take control of identifying the shortcomings (a skill refined with extensive practice) and can bypass this “cognitive pollution” incited by cunning incorrect answers.

When you do anticipate defects in the stimulus (often colloquially known as “pre-thinking” in test prep curricula), it’s crucial that you adopt a broad approach: don’t predict the exact correlations between the defect and the answer choices, instead identify fundamental issues within the argument that should be addressed by one of the responses, even though this may happen in an indirect or confounding manner. On the most challenging type 1 questions, you will likely need to leverage some clues from the responses to inform what to consider in the stimulus. However, exercise caution while you sift through the deceptive responses at your disposal.

Significantly, this style of anticipation is exclusive to type 1 questions. For method of reasoning questions, you’ll deconstruct the argument and possibly identify some flaws, but you need to apply process of elimination and compare responses to discern which accurately describes the argument or the highlighted components of that argument. As for inference/conclusion questions, it’s not possible to predict what valid conclusion the question designers will propose, thus you need to systematically evaluate each answer choice until you find the single response that is a valid conclusion.

In summary, should you wish to enhance your accuracy and turnaround in GMAT critical reasoning, it’s imperative to become accustomed to independently critiquing arguments and recognizing the prevalent logical fallacies embedded within these questions. Some of the most frequent fallacies you will encounter in GMAT critical reasoning practice questions and on your exam, in no particular order, include: mistaking correlation for causation, generalization, numerical data flaws (applying absolute number data when percentage data would be more pertinent, inappropriate use of statistics, etc.), assumptions that past trends guarantee future trends and baseline assumptions (failing to remember starting points and what may have been true previously).

Make sure you grasp these flaws deeply and hone your skills at discerning them in a multitude of scenarios and presentations.

4. Examination of the Responses (and Brace Yourself for the More “Devious” Tricks and Traps in GMAT Critical Reasoning)

By now, you are adept at promptly classifying the question and deconstructing the stimulus. You’ve gotten to grips with the common logical errors applied in GMAT critical reasoning questions and become proficient at independently critiquing arguments. So, now you should answer most GMAT critical reasoning questions correctly, surely? Sadly, this is insufficient!

The supplementary devices employed to make these questions challenging are the most devious and convoluted to handle. These pitfalls mainly judge who is paying meticulous attention to detail and ensuring they remain focused (once again important abilities in business!): wordplay, misdirection, mental inertia, word shifts etc. After repeatedly getting caught out by these assorted tricks, you start to identify the pitfalls quickly and your percentile in GMAT critical reasoning will leap significantly. Recognizing patterns through the completion of a substantial amount of official problem sets is crucial for success in training for critical reasoning.

From Novice to Pro: Mastering the GMAT Verbal Section

At first glance, the GMAT verbal section may seem overwhelmingly complex, but with the right preparation and grounded systems, it is possible to go from a novice to a pro. The path to mastery is not as insurmountable as it seems, and in this journey, understanding your own learning styles and leveraging the tools available are pivotal.

Begin by taking a GMAT Verbal diagnostic test. The ability to identify your strengths and weaknesses is an important step that helps you understand areas that need more focus. At the same time, analyzing the test results helps you understand what types of questions you’re comfortable with and which ones you find challenging. Remember that the key is not to master everything, but to develop proficiency in areas that can yield high dividends.

A great way to build proficiency is through consistent practice. The old saying, practice makes perfect, holds true when preparing for the GMAT verbal section. Multiple GMAT Verbal Practice Tests are available for free, providing you with ample opportunities to assess your level of understanding.

Given the number and time limit for the GMAT Verbal section, detailed preparation is an absolute must. This process in itself helps in time management. With a well-structured study plan that focuses on the areas that need the most improvement, reaching your best performance is not too distant.

Leverage the best practices for GMAT Verbal Prep by adopting a structure-based approach. As with math, a step-by-step approach to solving problems will often yield the right answer. So, treat the verbal section more like math. Decode the mechanics of the questions, formulate responses, cross-verify with practice tests, review wrong answers, and learn from your mistakes. This consistent cycle of learning and improving is the cornerstone of becoming a pro.

Cultivate a habit for insightful question-answer review. The art of critical reasoning can be improved by smartly managing your curious instincts. Ramp up your curiosity, and avoid rushing through the answers.

To summarize, understanding your learning style, constant & calibrated practice, identification of strengths & areas of improvement, leveraging free resources, and optimal time management are some of the keys to mastering the GMAT verbal section. With these strategies, anyone can hone their skills and move from being a novice to a GMAT verbal pro.

Magazines That Can Help You Improve Your GMAT Reading Comprehension Focus

Preparing for the GMAT and achieving success does not only involve focusing on textbooks and practice tests. One innovative way to hone your reading comprehension skills involves integrating magazines into your study routine. Yes, you heard it right! Magazines offer real-world articles that can assist in improving reading comprehension, expanding vocabulary, and instilling an appreciation for structured writing.

The Economist is one magazine that comes highly recommended. Emphasising global events, politics and business, reading the Economist can familiarise you with the kind of language and content often found in GMAT reading comprehension passages.

Biting into the National Geographic, you can explore a broad spectrum of topics, all while improving your ability to understand complex materials. This magazine enriches your learning with a visually compelling and fact-based narrative.

Scientific American is another excellent resource for GMAT preparation. This publication offers innovative insights into scientific phenomena and new technologies, fuelling your analytical and critical thinking.

Lastly, Harvard Business Review (HBR) is right on the money for anyone targeting business school. Reading HBR can boost your business jargon familiarity and understanding of intricate managerial concepts that might pop up in exam questions.

All these magazines, combined with rigorous practice, can help you enhance your proficiency in reading comprehension for the GMAT.

Is the Critical Reasoning Verbal GMAT Focus session a logic test?

Absolutely! The Critical Reasoning Verbal GMAT focus session is a logic test at its core. However, it’s not testing your familiarity with formal logic or the ability to memorize empirical rules. Rather, it gauges your skills in logical reasoning and critical thinking. As part of the GMAT Verbal section, the Critical Reasoning subsection presents you with passages that may contain reasoning or only information, but every Critical Reasoning question requires you to employ reasoning to arrive at valid conclusions.

This test demands not just your comprehension skills, but also a systematic approach to dissecting arguments, identifying key premises, understanding context, and anticipating counter-arguments. Ultimately, your success lies in your ability to interpret and critically analyze the contentions in the passages, then make logical inferences based on the information provided.

In summary, while the GMAT Critical Reasoning Verbal focus session is indeed a logic test, it’s not about knowing hard-set logical rules. It’s about picking apart arguments, understanding relationships between ideas, and above all, applying critical thinking and reasoning skills.

What are the common mistakes to avoid in GMAT verbal sessions?

Conquering the GMAT verbal section requires an understanding and avoidance of the common pitfalls that frequently ensnare test-takers. Here’s an overview of a few prevalent mistakes you should strive to avoid:

1. Ignoring the Meaning of the Sentence

Often test-takers, in the rush to sort sentence components or identify patterns, overlook the context of the sentence. It’s crucial to understand that every sentence on the GMAT verbal section conveys a particular meaning and should be considered in that context.

2. Rushing through the Passage in Reading Comprehension

A common mistake in the verbal section’s reading comprehension questions is rushing through the passage. Skimming might seem time-saving, but it often leads to misinterpretations and can cause more time to be spent on re-reading.

3. Failing to Identify Argument Structure in Critical Reasoning

GMAT critical reasoning isn’t simply about reading and understanding the text. It’s equally important to identify the argument’s structure: finding the conclusion and the supporting premises. Failing to do so can lead to confusion and incorrect answers.

4. Not Timing Your Practice

Time management is a crucial part of excelling in not just the GMAT verbal section, but in all GMAT sections. Not practicing with a timer and not devising a time management strategy for the exam can prove disastrous.

By being aware of these common mistakes, you can better prepare for the GMAT verbal section and rise above the pitfalls that typically derail other test-takers.

Can I improve my GMAT verbal score in a month?

Absolutely! With a focused and structured approach, you can see a noticeable improvement in your GMAT Verbal score in just a month. The key here is effective practice and consistency. It’s advisable to take a diagnostic test to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and build your study plan around them.

Start by changing the way you read and process language. Make it more structural. Focus on understanding the fundamental logic and reasoning behind each sentence. This isn’t purely about grammar — it’s akin to decoding a math problem. So, you’re encouraged to treat the whole verbal section more like math.

Major areas to concentrate on include Reading Comprehension, Subject-Verb Agreement, Conjunctions, and Modifiers. Work on developing a systematic approach to these areas, treat verbal more like math, and review questions thoughtfully to identify the correct reasoning.

Reading regularly can also greatly boost your verbal performance. Diversify your reading materials – academic articles, high-quality magazines, and sophisticated literature can all help expand your vocabulary and familiarize you with complex sentence structures.

Last but not least, don’t forget to take plenty of practice tests along the way! They’re the best way to track your continued progress, and hone your time management skills – a crucial factor for success in the GMAT exam.

What is the importance of practice tests in mastering GMAT verbal section?

Imagine practice tests as your reliable companions on your GMAT verbal journey. They offer the dual benefits of identifying your personal strengths and weaknesses in the verbal section and providing an authentic, simulated GMAT test environment. Let’s delve into why they are so crucial.

Practice tests help track your progress. Once you’ve grasped the GMAT verbal basics, apply your learned skills on these tests. Practice tests assess your ability to comprehend the meaning of complex sentences, critically evaluate arguments, and select correct options. Hence, they expose any potential weak points in these areas.

However, that’s not all, reader! They also allow you to adopt a structured approach to improve your verbal speed and endurance. Known as Full-Length GMAT Verbal Practice Tests, they construct an authentic test scenario, thereby assisting you in honing your pace and stamina for the real exam. Hence, practice tests effectively transform your verbals from a ‘weak link’ to a ‘strong suit’.

Finally, practice tests go a long way in boosting your confidence. As the saying goes, ‘The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle’. Likewise, the more practice tests you take, the more confident and prepared you’ll feel to tackle the real GMAT Verbal Section. And remember – confident students are successful students!

Vivianne Wright MBA House Verbal department

If you’re considering the GMAT’s verbal section, Vivianne Wright is a name you’ll want to remember. A dedicated member of the MBA House Verbal department, Vivianne has an impressive track record. Known for her meticulous teaching approach and her unwavering commitment, it’s no surprise she enjoys a 100% success rate in her department. But what makes Vivianne truly stand out? It’s a combination of things.

First and foremost, Vivianne’s comprehensive understanding of the GMAT is unparalleled. She’s spent countless hours sifting through the syllabus, dissecting each component and tailoring individualized strategies for optimal success. Besides mastering the course content, she’s also familiar with the twists and turns of GMAT exam patterns, ensuring her students are never caught off guard.

Secondly, her ability to connect with students is a game-changer. Vivianne understands that not all students learn alike. Some might prefer engaging discussions while others might learn better through repetition or visual aids. With her adaptability, both introverts and extroverts find her sessions thoroughly engaging and productive. Moreover, her approachability always encourages students to clear any doubts without hesitation.

Finally, there’s no overlooking the importance of continuous learning and practice. Vivianne insists on regular GMAT verbal flashcard sessions, diagnostic tests, and practice tests based on real GMAT questions. Coupled with critical feedback, this methodical approach helps students identify their strengths and weaknesses, leading to consistent improvement.

In summary, Vivianne’s dedication and her holistic approach to the GMAT Verbal section have been instrumental in her 100% success record. By making learning a collaborative and enjoyable journey, she’s not only helping her students achieve their dreams of cracking the GMAT but also instilling in them a lifelong love for learning.

MBA House
MBA House

At MBA House, we deliver effective strategies that allow our students to achieve winning results and gain admission to the school of their dreams!

Marcelo Ramos (Kellogg ‘19)
Marcelo Ramos (Kellogg ‘19)

At MBA House, we deliver effective strategies that allow our students to achieve winning results and gain admission to the school of their dreams!

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