The Old Knewton Blog

Non-native speakers and the GMAT

with 3 comments

Jose Ferreira is the Founder and CEO of Knewton.

In response to my last post on BeatTheGMAT, a commenter asked whether native English speakers have an advantage on the GMAT, and whether the test gives more weight to the verbal sections. Business schools care about both your math and your verbal skills. Math is a universal language, the same everywhere in the world. The verbal sections, on the other hand, are, simply put, in English. Native speakers will naturally have an advantage. It makes it harder for non-native speakers, but that disadvantage can be overcome.

Business schools are eager to attract international students. But if you’re going to function in English-speaking business environments, it’s reasonable to expect you to be able to have a command over the language. You might need to devote extra time to study and practice. You’ll have an easier time with the writing sections if you spend some time reading well-edited, grammatically correct English. Publications like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Economist will all help you absorb the correct use of idiomatic expressions.

There are certain qualities that business school admissions officers look for in applicants, regardless of nationality. Business schools like students to be competitive, driven, goal-oriented, analytical and extroverted—the classic “type A” personality. Shape your application to market at several of these qualities (assuming you have them). Once you’re in business school, no one will care if you have a thick accent as long as you speak and act confidently.


Written by Knewton

September 21, 2009 at 1:23 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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3 Responses

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  1. […] Visit The Knewton Blog for more. […]

  2. After I was ambushed by horrible verbal score in GMAT, I am searching for valuable inputs which could be precious to help build my foundation in English. But wherever I go I find only the ill not the remedy. Could you please tell me what specific ointment ESL people have to take? It is pretty nice to build reading habits, but what else apart from newspapers? I do not think newspapers are that much convoluted compare to GMAT or LSAT reading comprehensions.


    October 12, 2009 at 4:23 PM

  3. Newspapers are written at an eighth grade level for the most part. Magazines like The Economist and The New Yorker have more challenging vocabularies, sentence structures and idiomatic expressions that will give you better results for your efforts.


    October 16, 2009 at 8:37 PM

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