• GMAT Test: The 1 GMAT Strategy You Need To Know

Many GMAT students mistakenly believe that focusing their study on math is the best strategy to raising their GMAT score.

Sure, if you have a known weakness in math you’ll need to brush up on your math skills and logic. And yes, the GMAT math is significantly more difficult than the SAT math (more emphasis on logic and structuring the problem rather than on pure calculation).

But at the end of the day, doing well on the VERBAL section is more important to your overall GMAT score than if you did equally well on the MATH section–this is ESPECIALLY true in the 700+ range. If you are targeting this score range, you MUST polish up your verbal section–particularly the reading comprehension part.

GMAT Verbal Importance

Don’t believe me? Let’s look at some data focusing on the highest levels of scoring: 700+ range

Perfect GMAT Verbal Score

If you score 99th percentile in Verbal (49V), and your Quant score is…

• 39M = 57th percentile = Total (730, 96th percentile)
• 41M = 63th percentile = Total (730, 96th percentile)
• 43M = 70th percentile = Total (740, 97th percentile)

Notice it does not matter how many extra points this student can get on quant. In the end, her score is around the same score of 730 whether her math score is 39 or 43. Doing well in Verbal pays off!

Now is the opposite true? What if a student scores outrageously well in Quant but average in Verbal?

Perfect GMAT Math Quant Score

If you score 99th percentile in Math (51V), and your Verbal score is…

• 30V = 57th percentile = Total (670, 85th percentile)
• 32V = 65th percentile = Total (690, 88th percentile)
• 34V = 70th percentile = Total (710, 92nd percentile)

Notice doing extremely well in quant does not guarantee you a good score. In fact, an average score in the 57th percentile for verbal and a perfect quant score only give you a (670, 85th percentile). Doing well in Quant is good, but not as good as doing well in Verbal!

Let me say that again:

Doing well in Quant is good, but not as good as doing well in Verbal!

This is almost ridiculous! A high quant score and average verbal score yields a LOWER score than a high verbal score and an average quant score!

Indeed, the GMAT is biased towards success on the verbal section!!

Why would the GMAT creators do this??

My best guess is one of supply and demand (ah yes, how relevant to an exam for business school). The influx of non-native English speakers from international countries who are strong in quant but weak in verbal and just the plain fact there are more people that are great at quant (where there is always a correct answer) than the numer of people who are familiar with the idiomatic intricacies of the English language and inductive reasoning.

But whatever the TRUE reason is, it does NOT matter. What does matter is what this bias in the GMAT means to you. If your verbal abilities are not strong, then you MUST improve them.

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I still don’t believe you. Show me proof that verbal is really that important.

OK, since you asked for it – here’s an official score report from a student who took the GMAT 4 times.

Notice he was stuck at 620 even though he pretty much aced the GMAT Quant section with Q49. There’s not too much higher this student could have gone with quant. All the improvement had to have come from the verbal side in order for him to break 700 – and that’s exactly what he did.
OK, I believe you. I need to improve my verbal score. But will studying necessarily improve my score?

Yes and no. Depends on how you study. There are people who spend 6 months studying and do not see any improvements on their score. And then there are those (including me but also many others, I’m sure) who scored in the 70th percentile and then studied for 2 weeks and scored in the 98th percentile on the real thing.

You need to target your studying. There are 3 sections to the verbal:
1) Sentence Correction
2) Critical Reasoning

By far, the easiest way to boost your score quickly is to ACE the Sentence Correction part of the exam. It’s easier than you think. While the GMAT test makers have unlimited imagination in making questions for critical reasoning and reading comprehension, they can only test you on sentence correction in so many ways. If you master all possible TYPES of questions on the sentence correction AND VARIATIONS on those concepts, then you can go into the test with CONFIDENCE that you will ace the entire sentence correction part of the exam.

You need to take a different mindset when preparing for critical reasoning and reading comprehension. Yes, there are some tips and tricks you can use to help guide you through these sections, but it is much more difficult for any prep program or service to teach you reasoning.

I strongly believe that ANYBODY can master the sentence correction section, but NOT anybody can master the reading comprehension or critical reasoning.

Recommended GMAT Prep Resources

GMAT Questions – Great list of practice questions that GMAT Pill helps to answer for you!
GMAT Test Dates – So when do you have to take the GMAT?
GMAT Pill Vs Kaplan and ManhattanGMAT – A look at how the GMAT Prep market looks like so you can figure out where you want to be
Manhattan GMAT A Goldman Sachs Analyst compares his personal experience first with ManhattanGMAT, then with GMAT Pilll
GMAT Scores – a look at the 4 scores you receive on your GMAT score report

See Pricing for GMAT Pill

Verbal Questions: Sentence Correction | Critical Reasoning | Reading Comprehension
Quant Videos: Problem Solving | Data Sufficiency

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27 responses to “GMAT Test: The 1 GMAT Strategy You Need To Know”

1. Jeff

This is some groundbreaking stuff..good to know

2. homes3243

Does that mean engineers like me have to fight an uphill battle?

3. Dennis

Rodman is a tool

4. Jaideep Joshi

How do I get your prep material?

5. Jaideep, We've gotten tons of email asking about that. We are working like crazy to finalize the product, edit in last details, and gather testimonials. We'll send an announcement to the email list when it's ready.

Zeke

I'm taking the test in a few weeks. Can I just pay you a little extra to get it now so I have time to study it?

7. Helen

thanks a lot your articles and videos are a tremendous help..looking forward to more..please be quick!

8. Aaks

Any plans to publish Reading Comprehension pill anytime soon? RC & DS drags my scores down.

9. I've been getting emails about Google Chrome and the videos. Turns out Google pushed a new version of their browser just today to eveyone. You'll have to reinstall Flash player to see everything. Works fine in IE.

10. Paul

Hi Zeke,

I am taken GMAT a couple of times. Scored 580 and 600. In quants I scored off well, but did very bad in english. Received a raw score of 21. I have been through almost all books available in the market. Pls advice me what should I do. Thanks very much.

11. Roselyn

hi i had nice experince from an article it was really good, i think it was on sentence correction

12. Kal

I know a lot of people are skeptical but the information above is true. My weakness was always Quant and I struggled to get as high a score as possible. But then I realized I could get a higher score by improving Verbal. I ended up getting a 750 on the test.

13. GMATPill

Mady, we don't accept extra money, but if you would like to participate in our Early User Program for a discounted price in exchange for your feedback and testimonial, please message me directly: zeke@gmatpill.com

14. GMATPill

Aaks, DS will be released in the next week or two–tentatively at midnight on August 31. Sit tight. We won't have RC ready any time soon, but certainly take a look at CR and SC pills–they are a very useful resource for our students.

15. GMATPill

Congratulations, Kal. Indeed–the verbal section is critical.

16. GMATPill

17. GMATPill

Well, that's what this site is all about! Watch the free videos and see if they fit your learning style. If you like what you see, you'll definitely learn a lot inside. Check it out!

18. Raj Aryan

Hi Zeke,
I understand that doing well on Verbal is important or critical, but isn't it also true that the adcomm is looking for a balanced score rather than just a high GMAT score.. say of example in my case the GMAT score is 690 (88%ile) V42, Q42 which is only 59%ile for Quant and 95%ile Verbal, several folks are recommending me to retake as the score is really unbalanced. What is your recommendation?
Thanks!

19. Chiranjiv

want to buy the SC pill, but on logging -in , i am always prompted to buy the full version… Pls help

20. GMATPill

Indeed–balance is critical. Retaking at 690 could be risky but we do have students exactly in your shoes. Kang, for example, was at 690, entirely due to his 50Q score. But with our verbal course alone, he was able to jump to 760 and get a \$50,000 scholarship. We interviewed him here–take a look:
http://www.gmatpill.com/the-gmat-pill-method/179-

21. GMATPill

You can purchase verbal/quant packages and individuals sections here:
https://www.gmatpill.com/amember/signup-secure.ph

22. Charlotte

I don't know if this is right, you don't seem to be comparing equal scores for each (verbal are higher than quant in those tables), you should compare 99% for Q or V with the same % of V or Q, as below:

If you score 99th percentile in Verbal (49V), and your Quant score is…

39M = 57th percentile = Total 720
41M = 63th percentile = Total 730
43M = 70th percentile = Total 750

The inverse:

39V = Total 740
41V = Total 750
43V = Total 760

So slight difference but still more or less the same to me…

23. GMATPill

Charlotte,
They key is to look at the percentiles (the 57th, 63rd, and 70th). Flipping 39M to 39V is not really the same effect as the other way around because the verbal score generally is out of a 45-46 max, whereas the math score is out of a 50-51 max

So, flipping 39M to 39V is actually increasing the % ranking and can't really be accurately compared.

24. GMATPill

Update: RC Pill was released: http://www.gmatpill.com/practice-questions-explan

25. Heather

I agree that verbal gets you farther, but not with the actual scores used. I scored 99% on verbal and 38 math, and only scored 690. Gotta improve my math score since I can't really increase the verbal!

26. GMATPill

Well, congrats on the 99% for verbal.

Note that if in terms of percentile ranking, if you had performed equally well on math as you did on verbal (and vice versa) – your overall score would likely be closer to a 670 or even 660.

At the end of the day, you still want a balanced score so go for that improvement in Quant!

27. Enrique Candelaria

Maybe i to am a Engineer and the Verbal section is killing me .