How Do I Improve My Verbal Skills?

verbal skills

The Verbal Reasoning portion of the GMAT assesses your ability to reason and evaluate arguments, read and comprehend written material, and correct material in order to express ideas effectively. This verbal section of the GMAT test is allotted 65 minutes and is made up of 36 multiple-choice questions. One of the best ways to improve your verbal skills is to understand how this part of the test is set up, what verbal skills are required, and how to practice. This article will answer exactly those questions.

How Is The Verbal Reasoning Section Of The GMAT Set Up?

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There are three question types in the Verbal Reasoning portion of the GMAT. These questions are designed to assess your knowledge of reading comprehension, sentence correction, and critical reasoning. When working on your verbal skills for the GMAT, remember that technical skills are what is being tested, so no specialized knowledge of the passages is required.

Reading Comprehension

Questions related to reading comprehension test your aptitude for understanding logical relationships between specific points, understanding words and statements, drawing inferences, and more. Specific reading skills such as application, style, logical structure, main idea, and supporting idea are also covered in this section. The reading comprehension passages typically include questions related to interpreting material, applying concepts further, or drawing inferences. Topics are often related to business-related fields, social sciences & humanities, or the physical & biological sciences.

Critical Reasoning

Critical reasoning questions on the GMAT assess your ability to evaluate arguments, make arguments, and formulate a plan of action. These questions are based on short reading passages that are generally less than 100 words. Test takers may be asked things like why the argument is flawed, which answer strengthens or weakens an argument, or damages/strongly supports the argument.

Sentence Correction

For the sentence correction portion of the test, students will be expected to correct expressions to ensure that they are structurally and grammatically sound. They will also need to evaluate if the sentence effectively expresses an idea clearly and grammatically. Sentence correction questions on the GMAT are represented by a sentence with underlined portions. From there, students must choose the best phrasing of the underlined section. This requires knowledge of word choice, sentence construction, and grammar.

The Princeton Review offers a few great examples of each of these types of questions here. There are examples for the essays, math, and integrated reading portion of the GMAT as well. The examples are free, but students can also check out their booktest prep course, or free full-length practice tests

GMAT Prep Courses

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In our How To Improve Your Writing Skills Article, we discussed several books and study guides that offer a low-cost way to prepare for the GMAT. Courses from reputable educational resource companies are another reliable resource for preparing in all areas of the GMAT, including working on your verbal skills.

Magoosh

With Magoosh, students receive a year of support for less than $300. There is an extensive online resource section that includes video lessons, practice questions, study schedules, two full practice exams, and diagnostic tests. An impressive 50 point score improvement guarantee can give test-takers an added level of confidence in this study program. The online downside to this comprehensive option is that it does not include essay grading.

GMAT Official Starter Kit

The GMAT Official Starter Kit is great for students on a budget because it is free! This kit comes with two full-length practice exams and 90 additional study questions, all right from the source that creates the Graduate Management Admissions Test or GMAT. This free resource is not enough to fully prepare for the exam, but GMAT Official has several low-cost and content-specific study options to further your practice.

Kaplan

Kaplan offers two price points for their GMAT prep program. Currently, this four-month resource costs $599 for the self-paced version or $1,249 for live instruction. This is one of the pricier GMAT prep options, but they do have much to offer. Nine full-practice exams and over 2,500 practice questions give students ample opportunity to level up their skills. Kaplan-specific resources such as test prep books, 24/7 access to video lessons on the GMAT channel, and exclusive technology from QBank that adapts to your level are all also included.

The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review is a premier educational ranking agency. They also offer a variety of free and paid-for test prep materials. The price for this program ranges from $1,200- $1,500 for four months of support. Students who have already earned a 620 or higher on the GMAT can enroll in the GMAT 700+ course, which comes with a guaranteed score of 700 or more and includes 47 hours of instruction. The GMAT Fundamentals course is an excellent choice for those preparing to take the test for the first time.

Action Plans

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Studying for the GMAT can be a stressful experience. Still, if you think about how you will use these skills during an Online MBA program or your future job, it can put things into perspective.

Reading comprehension is an obvious benefit when considering graduate school. As an MBA student, you will be asked to utilize critical thinking skills from the get-go. Having the ability to thoroughly review and understand material will also make it easier to prepare for presentations, keep up with office memos, and utilize manuals correctly. Looking at statements or problems objectively is an essential skill for managers. Spending the time now to level up in this area will definitely pay off.

And now it is time to start working towards proficiency in your verbal skills.

First, you need to set your calendar. Check the dates of when you need your applications in to your preferred business schools and when you can schedule your GMAT. Make sure you give room to retake the test if need be. This will give you your timeframe that you have for studying.

Second, you need to pick your study tools. Assess your time frame, your study preference, and your budget. But don’t let time get away from you. Pick a tool that works for you and dive in. Now is your time.

Finding a balance between work, study, and career goals can be tough. Our How to Maintain Balance In Business School article may have some great tips for creating systems and habits that help you succeed.