By Apex GMAT
Contributor: Irena Georgieva
The GMAT is notorious for its grueling quantitative section, but many test takers also struggle with the verbal section–especially non-native English speakers. A high verbal score will boost your overall score and enhance your critical thinking skills, bringing you one step closer to your dream job.
So how can you improve your score? Don’t worry. We’re here to help.
1. Start with the basics
To avoid running into difficulties in the GMAT verbal section, familiarize yourself with English grammar and style. If you aren’t confident in your grammar skills, start by reviewing English grammar from the beginning to master the basics–and don’t forget to practice! Try solving a few grammar questions to see if you can apply the skills you learned. If you need more time, take it. Study diligently. This first step is paramount to verbal prep.
2. Learn to distinguish between different writing styles
The verbal section isn’t just about grammar. To get a high score, you’ll also need to take writing style into account. Consider the sentences the woman ran here and she darted over. The meanings are similar, but elements such as context, tone, and word choice may be different. Think in terms of the most appropriate answer given the surrounding text. And be sure to read carefully!
3. Read, read, read. And did we mention read again?
In addition to the official GMAT guide, we advise clients to read on a daily basis to strengthen vocabulary and comprehension skills. Explore news sources like The Economist, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal–these publications often cover topics that you’re likely to encounter on the GMAT, and you can keep tabs on current events while you study. News sources provide good examples of the kind of writing style, vocabulary, and tone you’ll find on the GMAT, as well as unfamiliar idioms and phrasal verbs.
4. Make flashcards
Speaking of idioms and phrasal verbs, flashcards can be great tools for learning new vocabulary. GMAT flashcards are available for purchase, or you can make your own cards at home. Keep track of the words you’re struggling with and review them daily. With hard work and repetition, you’ll improve your verbal score and expand your vocabulary.
5. Try private tutoring
If you’re still having trouble with the verbal section, consider hiring a private tutor. It’s OK to be picky–it’s important to work with an instructor who meets your needs. A good tutor will consider your history with the GMAT, address your concerns, and develop a personalized study plan to maximize your strengths and address your weaknesses. With effective test prep, your score will improve before you know it.