Prepare for the Verbal Reasoning Section

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Verbal Reasoning Question Types, Strategies, and Resources 

The Verbal Reasoning section of the GMAT® exam measures your ability to read and comprehend written material, to reason and evaluate arguments, and to correct written material to express ideas effectively in English. You will have 65 minutes to complete 36 multiple-choice questions. There are three types of questions: Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Sentence Correction.

Your best performance starts with practicing with real GMAT questions from past exams using your FREE GMAT Official Starter Kit + Practice Exams 1 & 2. The Starter Kit includes tips and strategies for the Verbal section as well as 45 Verbal practice questions. You'll also have free access to two full-length, computer adaptive practice exams that use the same scoring algorithm as the real exam.

Review the Guide to GMAT Exam Materials to find even more tools to help you prepare.

Reading Comprehension Question Strategies

Each Reading Comprehension question is based on a passage’s content. After reading the passage, you will answer questions requiring you to interpret material in the passage, draw inferences from it, or apply it to a further context.

The passages discuss topics, such as social sciences, humanities, physical or biological sciences, and business. You don’t need specialized knowledge on the subject matter to understand the passages or answer the questions.

  • Make sure you understand what’s being asked. An answer may be wrong if it doesn’t answer the question–even if it accurately restates information from the passage.
  • Answer all questions based on what the passage states or implies. Even if you are familiar with a passage’s topic, don’t let this influence your answer choice. Consider what the question asks, and what the passage actually says.
  • Read all the choices carefully before choosing an answer.
  • Gain a detailed understanding of the passage before answering the questions. Understanding, not speed, is the critical factor in reading comprehension.

Critical Reasoning Question Strategies

Critical Reasoning questions measure your skills in making an argument, evaluating an argument, and formulating a plan of action. The questions are based on materials drawn from a variety of sources. You don’t need to be familiar with the subject matter to answer correctly.

You will read a short passage, usually fewer than 100 words, and then answer a question related to the argument. For example, you may be asked to identify an answer choice that strengthens (or weakens) an argument, draw an inference or conclusion from the short passage, or complete the argument.

  • Be certain you understand the statement or set of statements on which a question is based. Specifically, you will look for what is factual, what claims can be substantiated; and what is not said, but necessarily follows from what is said.
  • If a question is based on an argument, identify which part of the argument is its conclusion. It’s not necessarily at the end of the passage. It may appear somewhere in the middle,, or even at the beginning.
  • Determine exactly what the question is asking. Read the question first, so you know what to look for. Then read the material on which the question is based.
  • Read all the answer choices carefully. The obvious choice may not be the right answer.

Sentence Correction Question Strategies

Each Sentence Correction question presents a sentence in which,  part of which is underlined. Beneath the sentence you will find five ways of phrasing the underlined part. The first way repeats the original, while the other four are different. You will determine if the original is the best choice, or whether one of the others is better.

When you choose your answer, pay attention to grammar, word choice, and sentence construction. The best answer is the one that produces the most effective sentence–one that is clear, exact, and free of grammatical errors.

  • Read the entire sentence carefully. Try to understand the intention behind the sentence.
  • Evaluate the underlined part of the sentence. Focus on that part, seeking errors and corrections before you read your answer choices.
  • Determine how well each choice corrects the original sentence. Do the other choices fix what you consider to be wrong with the original sentence?
  • Consider all aspects of the sentence correctness and effectiveness. You will be looking for general clarity, grammatical and idiomatic usage, language economy and precision, and appropriate diction.
  • Substitute your answer choice back into the sentence. Remember that some sentences will require no corrections. Does your choice fit with the rest of the sentence?

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