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The One Thing That COULD Actually Kill Your Score During The Verbal Section

By Max Peterson On Aug 28, 2015 In  Verbal Study Plans General GMAT 


Many GMAT Test Takers view the percentiles (that are associated with the Quant and Verbal sections of the Test) with some confusion. Seeing that a Q40 is about the 50th percentile in the Quant section while a V40 is about the 90th percentile in the Verbal section will lead most readers to question why those results are what they are.

The answer is relatively simple though – the broader pool of Test Takers is stronger at Quant than they are at Verbal. However, when you put all of those strong ‘Quant thinkers’ together, and order their results using percentiles, a Q40 just does not represent as strong of a performance (relative to everyone else’s performances in Quant) as a V40 does (relative to everyone else’s performances Verbal).

Whether you realize it or not, the Verbal section of the GMAT is just as predictable and standardized as the Quant section is, so you CAN train to score at a high level. However, there IS one specific thing that COULD kill your score as you’re working through the Verbal section on Test Day: the wrong attitude.

Having the proper Test-taking “attitude” is essential to scoring at a high level on the GMAT. The GMAT is going to take you the better part of 4 hours to complete, regardless of how you score. Knowing that you’re going to be in that Computer Lab for such a long period of time, you should demand excellence of yourself for the ENTIRE length of the Test. Since the Verbal section is the final 75 minutes of Test Day, fatigue can play a big factor in your performance and your attitude though.  That one specific challenge that could kill you will almost certainly occur during the Verbal section.

You will, at some point, think to yourself… “I JUST WANT THIS TEST TO BE OVER!!!” The moment that thought crosses your mind is the moment that you are about to get killed. 

To score at the coveted 700+ level overall, you MUST earn a relatively high Verbal score. If your ‘priorities’ shift from ‘be strategic, take the proper notes, work hard, get the correct answer in an efficient fashion, etc.’ to ‘I just want this Test to be over – get me out of here…’, then you’ll probably be amazed at how quickly your “new goal” will be accomplished.  Of course, you’ll end up sacrificing your original goal (to score at a high level; the one that you’ve been working months to accomplish), but that’s the trade-off when you allow yourself to think in that way. 

When/if that thought occurs, you should stop what you’re doing, sit back in your chair, close your eyes and take several deep breaths. Don’t worry about the 10 seconds that this will take – it’s time well spent to self-correct your mindset. Top MBA thinkers are NOT allowed to give up after three and a half hours of work. They’re not allowed to say ‘I just want this job to be over.” To get an invite to your first-choice Business School (and the job and career that follow), there are many ‘steps’ involved - successfully working through the FULL GMAT (from beginning to end) is one of them. Think about these ideas as you work through your practice CATs. Build up your proper response ‘skills’ for when that negative thought crosses your mind during the Verbal section (or better yet, work to eliminate it entirely). There are plenty of points to be had during the Verbal section, but you have to stay active, and in the right mindset, to get those points – YOUR points.

GMAT Assassins aren’t born, they’re made,


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