Ask Kate: What Does GMAT Score Say About My Strengths and Weaknesses?

A Decent Verbal Is Essential To A Good GMAT Score.



Hi Kate
I just prepared the GMAT for 1 month and hurried to take it yesterday. First I am Chinese so I’m not a native English speaker. I have been out of school and haven’t taken any test for over 10 years. When I was in university I felt like I was really bad with math and it has never been my strong point and on the other hand I have been excellent with languages and scored definitely the top 10% in any English tests(8 on ELTS without preparation).
I had time to focus and prepare for the Quantitative section for 3 days in total last month and I scored 49 there(also found it very easy) however a incredibly low score of 29 on verbal. I score 38 in my prep tests. I somehow really don’t understand what this means since my biggest concern about going to business school was that I would struggle with the mathematics. So according to the GMAT score I actually suck at languages and good with quantitative?

StrengthsHi Lisa,
Congratulations on the 49 for quant. You’re in good shape there. While it doesn’t mean that you are good at mathematics, it does mean that you’re good enough for bschool.

The verbal is a problem. The 29 doesn’t mean you’re bad with languages, but it does indicate that you have trouble synthesizing material in English. Synthesis is a much higher order skill than proficiency. Since your writing here doesn’t demonstrate terrible use of language, there’s no reason to think you can’t fix your GMAT with appropriate help. If you’re going to get a coach, consider LSAT Logical Reasoning Experts as well as GMAT Verbal Tutors (very few GMAT tutors can do both Verbal and Quant well). Ask for example scaled score changes. Expect to take 5-8 weeks to make significant progress – that assumes you can put in 12-15 hours a week of study time.

If you need to tackle this on your own, my Critical Reasoning Book (available to the public in 2 weeks) and Logical Reasoning texts for LSAT prep are likely to be a good use of your time. Here’s the caveat: you may have bombed the Sentence Correction and your other areas are fine. If that’s the case, you need a decent grammar guide and a practical lesson on grammar. For comparison, I typically cover that with a student in 1-3 lessons. Miss Mentor’s Little Black Book of Grammar is a decent guide available at Amazon.

You can clean this up. One of my students just jumped from 34 to 47 on Verbal (8 weeks total – the first 7 of which didn’t look like that much progress had been made). That’s extremely rare, but I’ve had several 34 to 43 and 28/29 to 38 so at the very least you can get to a point that the verbal won’t embarrass you. Good luck!


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