GMAT Verbal is like the proverbial Golden Goose – If practised right, it can take your score to the high 720s. But silly mistakes can utterly destroy your score and pull you down to the low 600s just as quickly. The typically confusing nature of the questions asked in GMAT Verbal can perplex even stout native speakers. After all, what most test-takers forget is that, much like Quant, Verbal, too, needs to be approached with sound logic rooted in a conceptual foundation. Only some, if any, can choose to overlook the weeks of practice verbal demands.
Consider this. More than two-thirds of the entire section – Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning – are made up of questions that don’t follow any rules or procedures for solving. The methodological ambiguity is designed to test your critical and analytical faculties – two of the most essential skills to succeed in an MBA program.
But this begs the question: If there are no rules and processes, what is there to learn? And how does one go about scoring a V40 without knowing the steps to do so?
The answer to this question is simple – Approach Verbal like you would do Quant. Just learning the concepts or the formulas will get you nowhere. You need to understand the application of each one. The ‘Why’ and the ‘How’ will get you answers, not the ‘What’.
So, let’s dive in!
The four secret strategies to finally improving your GMAT Verbal score
1. Deconstruct the hardest sentences
Our mentors have an unequivocal stand – Reading comprehension is the key to getting your GMAT Verbal score up. But if it’s just reading, how can you get better at it?
Verbal passages usually stem from scientific, academic, and journalistic texts. Unlike the usual poetic and literary prose we’re used to reading, these texts are meant to convey precise data as efficiently as possible. Often, this pattern can make the sentences harder to read. Add to it the high-level vocabulary expected of the GMAT, and you can see why you’re bound to lose marks in comprehension.
The good news is, even through all the obfuscation, each question has only one logical answer. To get to that logic, you must first deconstruct the sentences and break them down into their constituents – what is the subject? What is the modifying the subject? What is the relation between the subject and the verb? How are they connected? What is the tense?
Remember, you don’t have to deconstruct the sentence in the order given to you. Pick out individual words and phrases to detail their relationship with one another.
Once you have these details, you’ll be much better positioned to crack the meaning behind the sentence and get to the correct answer.
2. Read, understand, and infer as you would math
The Verbal section can be summed up quite nicely with this one sentence – It’s basically math with words.
Look at a mathematical equation:
Each symbol in the equation exemplifies the relationship between the different variables. + instructs you to add and / instructs you to divide. Also, notice how you don’t necessarily solve it from the left to the right. We first go for the brackets, then multiply it with B, and only then add it to A.
The sentences in Verbal have a similar mathematical precision to them. It all boils down to the objective transaction between the different parts of the sentence – transactions that follow simple rules. Decode that transaction, and you’re already halfway to a V40 score.
3. Understand why the wrong answer is wrong
Every time you read a question in Verbal, your mind starts whirring – You follow your process and eliminate the obviously wrong answers before you stumble on the remaining two options. Only one of them is right, but they both sound correct. You eventually pick the right answer and heave a sigh of relief.
But before moving on, here’s another step you should take. Analyse the choice that was wrong but seemed enticingly correct. Why did your mind think it could be right? What was in that choice that struck you? And why was that line of reasoning wrong?
It is these questions that will stump you on D-Day. But the answers will become much easier if you follow the right path with accurate justification.
4. Stay hungry, stay foolish
Asking the right questions is in itself a skill so hard to learn and yet the most critical one. Reading comprehension passages are littered with Easter eggs about the whys, the hows, and the whats. Don’t just read to answer the questions stated at the back. Read to understand the true intent of the author. Read to know what the author is thinking. What does the author want to convey? It sounds almost poetic, but it’ll put you in the right mindset to approach reading comprehension. If you know all the author’s secrets, there are no answers the author can hide anymore.
So question the author, find their secrets, and you’ll find it much easier to crack the questions at the back.
Scoring a 740 on your GMAT will require a >V40 score. These tips will put you on the right track to breach that score. But to get over the hump, you need more than just tips – You need one-on-one mentoring. IMS India has crafted a comprehensive GMAT Classroom program with 48 hours of intense classroom sessions, 15 full-length tests, and three one-on-one sessions with your mentors. These sessions can be used to devise test-taking strategies, understand concepts, analyse your mocks, and learn cool ways to elevate your score. With IMS, getting a V40 as your GMAT Verbal score will become much more manageable.