GMAT Verbal Reasoning Section Overview

Verbal Reasoning Section Overview

The purpose of the Verbal Reasoning section of the GMAT is to measure your competency in reading and comprehending written material, reasoning and evaluating arguments, and correcting writing for clarity in standard written English.

You will be given 65 minutes to complete 36 questions, budgeting you just under roughly two minutes per question. There are six experimental questions which do not count towards your score, however, there is no way to know while taking the test which questions are for credit and which ones are not, so you should treat each question as equally important.

The test is adaptive, meaning that each question is assigned a difficulty level, and you will be presented with questions based on your performance on the previous question. The score will also change throughout the exam based on your performance as opposed to being scored at the end. Note that because of this, it is detrimental to miss many questions at the end of the exam because of time mismanagement.

Question Types in the Verbal Reasoning Section

There are three types of questions you will encounter on the Verbal Reasoning section of the GMAT: Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Sentence Correction. In the Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning sections, you will be given a passage of information to read and then answer questions about. You will not need to study any specific subject material.

  • Reading Comprehension Questions

    Reading Comprehension questions will start off with a passage about a topic. You are expected to read the passage and then answer 3 to 4 questions about the passage.

    This part of the exam is similar to others you have probably encountered thus far on other standardized tests. You are being evaluated for your ability to:

    • Find and summarize the main idea of the passage

    • Differentiate between ideas implied by the author and those plainly stated

    • Infer information based on other facts or information presented

    • Analyze the structure

    • Identify the author's attitude and tone regarding the topic.

    You can expect to see passages on social science, business, historical events, and science. These are generally written in an academic and neutral tone.

  • Critical Reasoning Questions

    A Critical Reasoning question will also start with a passage, although this passage will be a written argument. You will then answer one multiple-choice question about the argument presented. You are looking for something that either weakens or strengthens the argument being made. First, you will want to understand the argument's structure, then find the conclusion being made. Once you have done that, you can determine what evidence is presented to support the conclusion. Finally, you will want to find any assumptions being made about the evidence which may lead the author to jump to a conclusion.

    These questions are known for tricky wording, so it is imperative to read the passage and answer choices closely.

  • Sentence Correction Questions

    Sentence Correction questions test your knowledge of written standard English grammar. You will be presented with a sentence that has some portion (or all) of it underlined. You then select the best version of the underlined portion of the sentence in the multiple-choice responses below.

    These sentences are generally very long with a lot of added to detail, which can make them confusing, even for native English speakers who have a decent grasp on grammar. Because of that, these questions can be deceptively difficult if you have not practiced them in advance.