For all prospective GMAT examinees struggling with the Verbal section: Read!
Reading a quality periodical is one way to beef up your verbal score and maybe even have some interesting things to talk about during an interview. Jargon filled articles with complex sentences and foreign ideas are very similar to GMAT Reading Comp passages, Critical Reading Prompts, and Sentence Correction problems. Think about it this way: when you exercise, varying your workout gives you the most bang for your buck as it stimulates different muscle groups and systems in the body. This same principle can be applied to studying for the GMAT. Look outside of traditional test materials to push yourself to that next level.
Consistent reading will improve your ability to analyze information, synthesize main topics/main ideas, and analyze assumptions. You will become more accustomed to complex sentence structures and the ways that arguments are structured. Lastly, you will improve your vocabulary which is not directly tested on the GMAT but certainly comes into play. This kind of practice is applicable to both the Reading Comp and the Critical Reasoning sections.
Sentence Correction can also benefit. One way that we differentiate a good sentence from a bad one is by comparing the sentence to the storehouse of sentences that we have read or heard in our lifetime. If you have a great mental library of grammar to reference then you will have a good barometer for SC. If you do not then you may struggle. Continuously reading is a great way to add to your mental library, and hone your barometer. It is one thing to study idiom lists but experiencing them in the wild, in context, can only benefit you on the test, and later on in school. A combination of memorization and additional context is the ideal.
All that said, it is insufficient to read an article passively. It is as important that you be an active reader as it is to be an active studier. Always question what you are reading. Always seek comprehension. Do not skip sentences and ideas because they seem complex. Look up the words you don’t know. The more you challenge yourself the more you will get out of the reading. You may even start to enjoy the challenge and then you have developed a virtuous habit.
You might be wondering what to read – good question. In my not so humble opinion The Economist is a great choice as it combines great writing along with sharp commentary. It has a business focus but covers a range of topics. It has enough density to challenge most people but you do not need much technical knowledge to approach the business articles. My suggestion is to pick articles on subjects that you know nothing about. The Economist is a weekly magazine also available online and on mobile devices, with a number of articles offered free of charge.
Bell Curves GMAT Teacher