All About The GMAT

Verbal Ability

The VERBAL Section on the GMAT has 41 questions to be answered in 75 minutes.

The break – up of the Question types are as follows:

  1. Critical Reasoning - 12 to 14 CR Questions
  2. Reading Comprehension - 12 to 14 RC Questions
  3. Sentence Correction - 13 to 19 Questions.

In this question type, broadly, a paragraph is given followed by a single question.

The Question types are based on 2 parameters:

  1. Structure or Construction of an argument
    1. Identifying reason or premise
    2. Identifying the conclusion
    3. Identifying the assumption
    4. Identifying the inference
    5. Identifying or resolving the logical flaw
    6. Identifying or resolving the logical paradox or contradiction
    7. Identifying the true or false statement
  2. Formulation or Evaluation of a plan
    1. Which strengthens the argument?
    2. Which weakens the argument?
    3. Which extends the logic of the author?
    4. Which is similar or parallel to the reasoning of the author?

Some sample questions are given below:

  1. Which of the following best completes the passage below? Many firms do not yet seem aware of the revolutionary implications of newly empowered consumers. It is true that the vast majority of people still go to shops for most purchases. Before doing that, however, most have used the internet. The differences between the virtual and the brick-and-mortar worlds do not worry consumers. But they should worry companies. Many consumers first encounter a firm through its website, and yet _______.
  2. (A) consumers are unlikely ever to become wholly calculating.
    (B) some businesses have embraced the internet wholeheartedly, and been rewarded for it
    (C) for too many firms, their online presence remains a low priority
    (D) companies are not fully aware of how to give a favourable impression of themselves
    (E) companies withhold facts that can enable prospective consumers to make a more informed decision

  3. Brazilians assert that their region is agriculture's paradise. The Savannahs are ideal for growing soya, Brazil's biggest agricultural commodity Brazil is also the world's largest exporter of coffee, orange juice and sugar. Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the claim of the Brazilians?
  4. (A) Full liberalization would boost the real value of agricultural output by 34%.
    (B) Drought affected farmers badly during the latest growing season.
    (C) Unlike its competitors, Brazil is not running out of land.
    (D) With decades of investment in research and development, Brazil has enhanced its natural endowments.
    (E) Brazil's politicians think that industrial development is the mark of an advanced country.

  5. People are throwing themselves off the Golden Gate Bridge at the rate of two a month, which makes it the most popular place in the world for suicide. Many San Franciscans think that the solution is to put up a simple barrier. The Psychiatric Foundation of California, which has adopted the barrier as its cause, has heard several arguments against a barrier, the most persistent has been that people would simply kill themselves somewhere else, so why bother?Which of the following, if true, would cast the most serious doubt on the validity of the arguments?
  6. (A) A few have survived suicide attempts at the bridge.
    (B) Most suicides are impulsive and therefore preventable.
    (C) Preventing suicides anywhere should be the goal of all parties in question.
    (D) Building a barrier is very expensive and nearly unaffordable.
    (E) A barrier would adversely impact the artistic appeal of the bridge.

  7. There are three important stages in building a strong brand. The first is to have a deep insight into what customers really want. The second is relentless attention to making such products. Get the first two right, and the third follows as a matter of course, consumer become part of the marketing and sales force. Which of the following conclusions can most properly be drawn from the information above?
  8. (A) Keeping customers happy is the goal of brand management.
    (B) Most suicides are impulsive and therefore preventable.
    (C) Preventing suicides anywhere should be the goal of all parties in question.
    (D) Word of mouth remains the most powerful form of product promotion.
    (E) Brand-building is possible only if continuing advances in product quality are possible.

In this question type, a passage is given followed by 3 to 8 questions. The RC passages vary from 250 to 400 words. The themes can be: Economics, Women and Pottery, Culture and Communities, Scientific progress, Social development, Marketing Communication, Biography etc. Question types include organization of the passage, explicit meaning, implicit meaning, central idea or purpose, and critical reasoning based. Also some simple inference questions can be asked. These are based on a highlighted part of the passage.

A sample passage with questions are given below:

Scientists from Ohio State University have found a way to measure distance to objects three times farther away in outer space than previously possible, by discovering that a rare type of giant star could make an excellent signpost for distances up to 300 million light years and beyond.

This new technique using so called "ultra long period cepheids" (ULP cepheids) could work for galaxies that are much farther away than M33.

Cepheid variables, which are giant stars that pulse in brightness, have long been used as reference points for measuring distances in the nearby universe, according to Jonathan Bird, doctoral student in astronomy at Ohio State.

Classical cepheids are bright, but beyond 100 million light years from Earth, their signal gets lost among other bright stars. Astronomers had also long suspected that ULP cepheids don't evolve the same way as other cepheids.

In this study, however, the Ohio State team found the first evidence of a ULP cepheid evolving as a more classical cepheid does. Bird revealed that a rare and even brighter class of cepheid-one that pulses very slowly can potentially be used as a beacon to measure distances three times father than their classical counterparts.

Krzysztof Stanek, professor of astronomy at Ohio State, applied a direct measurement technique in 2006, when he used the light emerging from a binary star system in the galaxy M33 to measure the distance to that galaxy for the first time.

  1. What according to the passage is/are the characteristics of 'ULP cepheids which make them helpful in measuring very long distances of galaxies?
  2. (i) There are no bright stars in between which causes their signals to be lost.
    (ii) The ULP cepheid are brighter than classical cepheid.
    (iii) The ULP cepheid pulse very slowly.
    (iv) The ULP cepheid are larger than classical Cepheid.

    (A) only I, II and III
    (B) I, II, III and iv
    (C) only II, III and iv
    (D) only II and III
    (E) only II

  3. The discovery of a ULP cepheid has, besides providing a new signpost to measure long distances,
  4. (A) led to the discovery of a new galaxy
    (B) proved that the distances measured earlier were wrong
    (C) altered the astromers views on how ULP cepheid evolved
    (D) confirmed the presence of galaxies farther away than the known galaxy M33.
    (E) broken the belief that classical cepheid are not bright.

The direction for this type of question would be: “In each of the following sentences a part or whole of it is underlined. Beneath the sentence, you will find five ways of phrasing the same. The first answer choice repeats the original; the other four are different. If you think the original phrasing is best, choose the first answer; otherwise choose one of the others.”

The errors can be:

  1. Errors in parts of speech
  2. Errors in Subject Verb Agreement
  3. Errors in Tenses and Auxiliaries
  4. Errors in Modifiers and Degrees of comparisons
  5. Errors in Parallelism and Sentence Construction
  6. Errors in Diction and Idiomatic word usage etc.

A sample question of this type would be:

  1. It is not surprising that in a country in which a substantial section of the people accounting for one-fifth of the population and segregated for centuries remain poor, ill-treated humiliated and discriminating, against state intervention is the only antidote even after six decades of democratic governance under a republican Constitution.
  2. (A) accounting for one-fifth of the population and segregated for centuries, remain poor, ill-treated humiliated and discriminating against
    (B) accounting for one-fifth of the population and segregated since centuries, remain poor, ill-treated, humiliated and discriminated,
    (C) accounting for one-fifths of the population and segregated from centuries, remain poor, ill-treated, humiliated and discriminated against,
    (D) accounting for one-fifth of the population and segregated for centuries, remain poor, ill-treated, humiliated and discriminated against,
    (E) account for one-fifth of the population and segregated for centuries remained poor, ill-treated humiliated and discriminating.