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by Kaplan Test Prep & Admissions | March 10, 2009


The GMAT Verbal Section

Time: 75 minutes
Question Types:
Critical Reasoning
Reading Comprehension
Sentence Correction

Critical Reasoning

Critical Reasoning tests your analytical skills. You will be presented with a short argument and a question relating to it. By "argument" we don't mean a verbal free-for-all--but rather a short piece of text where a writer makes an assertion or states a point of view and then tries to support it. You will be expected to find the answer choice that strengthens or weakens the argument. You may also be asked to find an assumption the argument makes or make an inference yourself.

To do well on these questions, you need to understand the structure of each argument. Identify what the writer's conclusion is, what evidence he or she presents to support it, and what assumptions are made to jump from evidence to conclusion. Think about this for each question before you look at the answer choices. Otherwise, the intentionally tricky wording of the answers may confuse you. Click here for sample Critical Reasoning questions

Sentence Correction

Sentence Correction tests your knowledge of standard written English. You will be shown a sentence, often very long and contorted. A part or all of the sentence is underlined. You will be asked to find the best version of the underlined section out of the original version or one of four alternatives.

For each question, it's important that you read the original sentence carefully before looking at the answers. If you spot an error, eliminate Choice (A) right away. It always restates the language of the original. You may very well be able to "hear" whether the original sentence is correct using the instinctive "ear" that you've developed by speaking and reading English. Click here for sample Sentence Correction questions

Reading Comprehension

When reading a passage, remember that you're not trying to memorize all the information in it. Instead, first read through it strategically, identifying the general topic, the author's purpose, his or her "voice," and the scope of the passage--how broadly or narrowly the writer treats a subject.

For instance, in a passage about industrial safety regulations, the writer may focus on a specific aspect of this general topic or may treat the topic with a broader scope; for instance, relating it to the history of regulations and perhaps also comparing safety regulations to other regulatory activities. Read through each passage before looking at the questions so you don't get unduly confused. Click here for sample Reading Comprehension questions

For more information about GMAT preparation and business school applications, please see

Preparing for the GMAT Verbal Section

Preparation is extremely important for the GMAT exam, which is a computer-adaptive exam and therefore requires specific strategies and sufficient practice to become comfortable with the format and testing experience. When preparing for the GMAT verbal section, you will want to spend some time reviewing the grammar content tested on the exam, as well as learn a variety of strategies for common question types.

Realistic practice will make a difference in your comfort level with the exam and your skill with particular question types. Whether you decide on private tutoring, a classroom course, or online preparation, make sure that you allow sufficient time to prepare for the GMAT exam in order to get the score you need for your target business school. For more information about GMAT preparation and business school applications, please see

About Kaplan Test Prep & Admissions

Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, a division of Kaplan, Inc., is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With 4,000 classroom locations worldwide, a comprehensive menu of online offerings and a complete array of books and software, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 80 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as English language and professional licensing exams.

To prepare students for the GMAT exam, we offer a variety of comprehensive, realistic preparation options, including: one-on-one private tutoring, classroom courses with flexible schedules, Advanced classes for high-scoring students, online courses for the ultimate option in flexibility, and admissions consulting to help you submit compelling applications to business school. Our website features tips on each aspect of the business school application, free GMAT practice, and free event listings.

Our mission is to help every student realize their potential and achieve their educational and career goals. We're eager for the opportunity to help you do the same.


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