Reading on the GMAT™: What’s It Like?

Reading on the GMAT™: What’s It Like?

The Graduate Management Admissions Test, or GMAT™, is an exam created by business schools to assess the critical thinking and higher-order reasoning skills of candidates preparing to pursue business master’s degrees or participate in management programs.

The exam consists of four sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The test is timed and the scores are used to determine a candidate’s readiness for graduate-level business coursework. In this blog, we’ll focus on the Verbal Reasoning section of the test, as it is used to assess a candidate’s reading comprehension, critical reading, and grammar skills.

Three Types of Questions in the Verbal Reasoning Section

The Verbal Reasoning section of the GMAT™ has 36 multiple-choice questions that must be completed in 65 minutes. This portion of the test evaluates reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and grammar skills. It is computer-adaptive, meaning that the rigor of the questions change as needed to meet the ability of the test-taker. Questions start out at a medium level of difficulty, becoming more challenging if the candidate answers correctly and becoming less challenging if the candidate answers incorrectly.

Reading Comprehension Questions

The Reading Comprehension questions will require you to read a passage and then apply the information from that passage to answer 3–4 questions. There are generally four of these 200- to 350-word reading passages in the Verbal Reasoning section. The passages are about a generic topic, often related to business or social science. Candidates do not need to have content-specific knowledge to be able to understand the passage; they are broad enough that specific knowledge of the subject matter is not necessary. Questions in this section may ask you to determine the main idea of the passage, evaluate the supporting details that are provided, make inferences, or draw conclusions. You may also be asked to apply the information provided in the passage to alternative situations. In other words, what is the pattern presented and how could it be applied in other instances.

Critical Reasoning Questions

The Critical Reasoning questions provide a short passage or scenario that you are asked to evaluate or draw inferences about in order to answer the questions. These questions measure your ability to reason and evaluate arguments.

Grammar Questions

The grammar assessment comes in the form of Sentence Correction questions whereby a sentence is provided, part of which may be underlined. You must determine which answer option produces the best, most effective sentence, free of grammatical mistakes or awkward or unclear wording. The expectation is that you are able to apply the standard conventions of grammar to the sentences and revise them in a way that elevates their clarity and enhances their meaning.

Although the Verbal Reasoning section is considered the part that assesses reading comprehension skills, all sections of the GMAT™ include some reading component.

You may be asked to read and analyze information provided in a variety of formats, you may need to read and analyze information provided on a graph or chart, and, of course, you will need to carefully read all of the questions and answer options for all of the questions on the test. So be sure to apply those careful, critical reading skills to all parts of the exam.

For more information and some valuable free practice questions and flashcards, check out Union Test Prep’s free practice for the GMAT™.

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