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GMAT Tactics for Verbal Section

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By Paul Lundquist| Kaplan GMAT Trainer

As you evaluate answer choices on GMAT Reading Comprehension questions, keep in mind that the language that the test-makers use in incorrect answers is often similar to the language that people use when they are exaggerating or lying. The same kind of language that would make you doubt the veracity of someone’s account should also make you suspicious of answer choices on the GMAT. There are three categories of language that should make you doubt an answer choice on the GMAT.

The first and most obvious category involves words that are extreme by their very nature. Words such as “all” or “none” or “every” are what I call “100% words”. These words don’t allow for any exceptions. This type of language is often used in conversation when someone wants to exaggerate. Exaggeration may be acceptable in casual conversation, but it’s unlikely to be correct on the GMAT. Please keep in mind, however, that extreme words should be evaluated in context as there may be other words in the sentence that soften the extreme words, making them more acceptable than they otherwise would have been.

Another type of language that should make you suspicious is overly dramatic language. Answer choices that refer excitedly to “dramatic developments” or “whole new areas of discovery” are unlikely to be correct. Correct answers on the GMAT are usually moderately worded, conveying little by way of emotion.

Finally, be suspicious of any language that would make either the author or anyone who is mentioned in the passage look bad. For example, be wary of answers saying that someone has “wrongly” done something, that they are to “blame’, or that their ideas have been “discredited”. If you wouldn’t want it said about you, it probably won’t be said in a correct answer on the GMAT.

In conclusion, remember that the same language that would raise red flags in conversation should also make you suspicious of wrong answers on the GMAT exam.

Mr. Paul Lundquist

Kaplan GMAT Trainer

MBA, Thunderbird School of Global Management

BA in Political Science, North Park University           

  • Nearly two decades of teaching with Kaplan in Hong Kong
  • Consistently rated as a highly effective instructor
  • Scored in the 96th percentile on the GMAT exam
  • Holds MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University
  • BA degree holder in Political Science from North Park University in Chicago
  • Have over 20 years of teaching experience in GMAT and GRE as well as guidance to essay coaching in graduate school applications
  • Have developed own unique skills in solving GMAT quantitative questions in a much efficient way

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