When it comes to the Verbal section of the GMAT, there is no doubt that your reasoning skills are the key to succeed, but you still need to have a certain level of knowledge of the English language in order to get a high score. Here is when non-native English speakers may find it a bit more challenging. Candidates with weaker language skills are at a disadvantage but don’t worry! Here are a few ways to improve your English before you take the exam:
The GMAT does not test you on your speaking or listening skills. To succeed at the GMAT, the main skill you MUST improve is your reading ability. Go through the test preparation material but also read about current events in newspapers and magazines. Make sure you understand what you are reading, regardless of some words that maybe you didn’t catch. Focus on reading comprehension, re-read sentences and paragraphs, and use a dictionary when necessary. You won’t be able to learn all the English words that exist, so it is important you try to understand words from context too. Understanding what’s around that word will help you derive its meaning. So again, focus on reading comprehension. Pay attention to grammar structures. For example, if you see a pronoun in a sentence, match it with the noun that it is replacing. It might seem slow at first, but you will get better everyday.
The Economist, Scientific America, and New York Times articles are a good sources to read every day. The difficulty of the texts is similar to those that you will encounter at the GMAT. Read about topics that interest you.
Set a goal for each day. For example, we advise that you read one to two articles in English everyday (this does not count studying verbal problems for the GMAT). Also, you need to organize the content you are learning. For this, you can create a list of new words, especially if those words are often repeated throughout GMAT material. Here you can incorporate flashcards too! When writing your flashcard, always include a sentence as an example of how to use the word (if the examples you choose are relatable to you in real life, this will help you memorize them). You can include other concepts other than just words and their meaning: idioms, verbs in different tenses, etc.
These are just a few ideas to help you work on your skills. Other ways of studying and practicing, such as speaking English, watching TV shows, might suit you too. Be patient and recognize that this type of learning is a rather slow process.