There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the GMAT Vocabulary. What is this section and what do you need to know about it? Do you need to memorise a thousand complex words or phrases to ace the GMAT? In this article, we’ll help you navigate the choppy waters of this topic with ease.

First of all, the GMAT does not test you directly on your vocabulary — words or phrases.  It tests your reading, writing, and communication skills, but it does not necessarily focus on vocabulary testing. You need to, of course, have good knowledge of high-school and college-level English and must know how to form grammatically correct sentences. But, to get through the GMAT, you need not put extra effort into learning high-level words. 

You will encounter vocabulary mostly in the GMAT Verbal section. Hence, let us now briefly have a look at the Verbal Reasoning section first. 

Verbal Reasoning Section and GMAT Vocabulary:

The GMAT Verbal Reasoning section of the GMAT tests your ability to read and comprehend written material. In this section, you will have to reason and critique arguments, and correct the given material to express your ideas effectively in standard English. This section consists of 36 multiple-choice questions, which are to be answered within 65 minutes. 

There are three types of questions in this section:  

  • Reading Comprehension: This section measures your ability to understand logical relationships between significant points in the given passage. You are to interpret the given material and draw inferences from it. The topics discussed include — social sciences and humanities, physical or biological sciences, or a business-related field. 
  • Critical Reasoning:  This section measures your ability to make and evaluate arguments. You are given a short passage, around 100 words or less and are expected to choose the correct answer from the five options. You have to choose an answer that strengthens or weakens an argument.
  • Sentence Correction: Here, a part of the question or the entire sentence is underlined. You will be given five answer options to phrase the highlighted text. Your language proficiency — grammar, word choice and sentence structure — is measured here.

Let us now take a look at a few common words that you must know.

GMAT Vocabulary List 2020:

Below are a few common words that you will find in the GMAT exam, be it through instructions, questions or answer choices. An exact definition of each word is not required, but knowing their meaning and the context in which they can be used is necessary.

For each of the words below, we have explained how they can be used and also provided an example sentence.  Let’s get started.

  • Analyse: To examine something methodically and in detail to explain or interpret it. 

               Example: Reena was unable to analyse the given argument.

  • Assumption: A thing that is accepted as true without proof.

               Example: They made certain assumptions about the market before investing.

  • Bundle: A collection of things tied together.

               Example: Mary was carrying a bundle of envelopes. 

  • Cite: To refer to a source — a passage, book or author.

Example: Whenever you refer to an outside source of information, you must cite the source.

  • Claim: To assert something typically without proof or evidence.

Example: The foreign minister claimed that he was worried about our French diplomats.

  • Corroborate: To confirm or give support to a theory or statement.

               Example: The old man corroborated her account of the murder.

  • Dearth: A scarcity of something.

              Example: There is a dearth of the COVID-19 vaccine in India.

  • Faulty: Misleading because of flaws (of reasoning).

               Example: His logic was faulty.

  • Imply: To indicate the truth or existence of something by suggestion.

              Example: He implied that Mrinal might have been the last person to meet Shyam.

  • Infer: To deduce or conclude from evidence and reasoning.

Example: Based on the case findings, we can infer that there has been a significant rise in the number of homicides.

  • Maintain: To cause or enable a situation to continue.

               Example: The school must maintain a close link between parents and teachers

  • Mitigate: To lessen or diminish.

              Example: Drainage schemes have helped mitigate the water logging issues.

  • Paradox: A seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition.

              Example: It is paradoxical, for there can be so much poverty in such a rich country.

  • Posit: To put forward as fact or basis of an argument.

              Example: The republican view posits a perfectible human nature.

  • Premise: A statement or proposition from which another follows as a conclusion.

             Example: The new bill passed in the Rajya Sabha was based on the premise that all people are not equal.

  • Redundant: No longer needed.

              Example: Many old skills, like pottery, have become redundant today.

  • Sufficient: Enough or adequate.

              Example: They have sufficient water to survive.

  • Undermine: To weaken or invalidate something.

               Example: He undermined my authority.

  • Validate: To check or prove the validity or accuracy of.

               Example: You must validate your research.

  • Warranted: To justify or necessitate a course of action.

               Example: Due to her insolence, I believe her mother’s anger was warranted.

Now that we have taken a look at a few Vocab words, let us focus on how you can improve your GMAT Vocabulary.

How to Improve Your GMAT Vocab?

It is understandable that not all are fluent in the English language. While some of you may be confident with reading and writing, you might not be communicating. Irrespective of the issue, if you are a student who is not confident with the English language, there are many ways that can help you improve.

  1. Take Up Mock/Practice Tests 

Students can improve their vocabulary skills by taking the mock/practise test from the GMAT website. By taking these tests, you will know what to expect in the GMAT exam and will definitely improve your confidence.

  1. Develop a Habit of Reading 

Nothing is more effective than reading to improve your vocabulary. Read newspapers, magazines, books, articles, blogs — develop this habit and see the change. You will learn new words and different ways to form a sentence which will ultimately help you.

  1. Practice Writing

Writing is a different ball game, even for those who have a good vocabulary, because writing not only involves the usage of words but also the knowledge of how to form sentences to hold the reader’s attention. Keep a journal and try making sentences out of the words that are used in the GMAT vocab. 

  1. Use Learning Tools Like the GMAT Flashcards

GMAT flashcards are an excellent tool for learning. These have some information, which you can use every day to familiarise yourself with the language used in the test. The flashcards are included in the official GMAT guide. This guide is very useful when preparing for the test. 

  1. Learn a New Word Every Day 

It never hurts to learn new words, even those not on the GMAT vocabulary list. When you come across any new words or phrases, look into a dictionary, find their meaning and then try to use them in a sentence. By creating a GMAT word list every day while practising, you enhance your vocabulary; thereby, making you more confident while writing and communicating your thoughts in English.

To conclude, the GMAT does not test your vocabulary directly. But to understand the questions in the sections, you will need good knowledge of the language. The above points explain how to begin the preparation for the GMAT Vocabulary test. You need to improve your English vocabulary so that you can take the GMAT exam with confidence.

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GMAT Vocabulary

Take this quick GMAT quiz to test your familiarity with GMAT verbal questions

1 / 3

Unlike many of the double agents who preceded him, the motivation of Aldrich Ames to turn to spying was not because he was attracted to communism.

2 / 3

Investors seeking to reduce their risk should not invest in worker cooperatives, which are cooperatives owned and self-managed by its workers. Because, worker cooperatives require workers to devote their time on management decision-making and investment strategy, tasks that are not directly productive. Furthermore, such cooperatives have fewer extensive divisions of labor than do privately or publicly held companies, which have a board that exclusively functions to make management decisions and work on investment strategy. Such inefficiencies can lead to low profitability, and thus increase the risk for investors. 

Which one of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument’s claim about investing in worker cooperatives?

3 / 3

 The fossilized remains of Stella, an animal specimen suspected to be part of a 30-eon old species, is so small in size compared to many other animals thought to be of the same species, and so some scientists have argued that Stella represents a different species.

Your score is

The average score is 22%



  1. Under what GMAT section will I get questions that test my vocabulary?

Your vocabulary will be tested primarily in the Verbal Reasoning section of the GMAT. A good vocabulary will also help you succeed in the Analytical Writing Assessment section.

  1. How can I improve my vocabulary?

You can improve your vocabulary by reading newspaper articles in reputable publications as well as classic literature.

  1. Will the GMAT ask direct vocabulary questions?

No, you will not get questions directly about vocabulary, but it is an important aspect of the exam nonetheless.

Good Luck!


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