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Introduction to GMAT Verbal

Fact: The GMAT Verbal section is 75 minutes long.

Fact: Like the Quantitative section, the Verbal section is Computer Adaptive, which means the test will be adjusting the difficulty as you move through the section.

Fact: The Verbal section has 41 multiple choice questions.

Fact: There are three question types on the Verbal Section: (1) Reading Comprehension (RC); (2) Critical Reasoning; and (3) Sentence Correction.  These three types will be roughly evenly distributed, so you will have 13-14 of each of the three kinds in a typical Verbal section.

Fact: the Verbal score, along with the Quantitative score, determines your Total 200 – 800 GMAT score.  The AWA and IR sections have separate scores and are not included in the Total GMAT score.


Why does the GMAT have a Verbal Section?

The facile answer is: Of course the GMAT has a Verbal section, because that’s more or less the norm for standardized tests.  The PSAT, the SAT, the ACT, the GRE, the LSAT, and even the MCAT all involve a Verbal or English section, so why wouldn’t the GMAT?

A deeper answer is: To be a truly successful executive in the modern business world, one needs a wide variety of skills, but undeniably, some of the essential skills are verbal skills.

In a recent case, on a company conference call, Herbalife executives did not have ready answers to probing questions posed by hedge fund manager David Einhorn, and as a result, Herbalife’s stock dropped 24% in two days!! (,   That’s an extreme example of how not saying the right thing at the right time can be problematic in the business world, but clearly the more frequently one can say the right thing at the right time, the more likely one will be successful as an executive!

All of business involves selling, and selling almost always involves presenting words and interpreting words. Both the seller and the buyer need to have sophisticated verbal skills to negotiate the finer points of selling at almost any level.

Finally, there is the simple issue of establishing credibility.  No matter how intelligent you are, folks who know you only through your writing will have a low opinion of you if your writing is full of grammatical errors!  Similarly, if the arguments you pose are vulnerable to obvious objections, you are unlikely to be persuasive even if you are right!  Being successful in business means making a good first impression on new people time and time again, and clearly that involves verbal skills.

1) Reading Comprehension Question

2) Critical Reasoning Question

3) Sentence Correction Question


About the Author

Mike McGarry is a Content Developer for Magoosh with over 20 years of teaching experience and a BS in Physics and an MA in Religion, both from Harvard. He enjoys hitting foosballs into orbit, and despite having no obvious cranial deficiency, he insists on rooting for the NY Mets. Follow him on Google+!

6 Responses to Introduction to GMAT Verbal

  1. GMAT Centric August 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Strong verbal and communication skills are critical to enjoying success in all areas of business. Having worked in finance for many years, I have seen firsthand many talented individuals have their careers held back by poor communication skills. While acing the verbal section of the GMAT will not guarantee entrance to your school of choice, it will certainly help!!

    • Mike
      Mike August 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      Yes. Thank you very much for your confirmation of these ideas. Best of luck to you!
      Mike :-)

      • GMAT Centric August 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

        Thanks Mike, just came across this site and it is really great!! I will be coming back to check out more of your features.

        • Mike
          Mike August 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

          Dear GMAT Centric: I’m glad you like it. In particular, check out the eBooks and the Android/iPhone apps.
          Mike :-)

  2. anoop July 31, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    75 minutes! you sure?

Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will approve and respond to comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! :) If your comment was not approved, it likely did not adhere to these guidelines. If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

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