Will Idioms be tested on the GMAT ?
December 16, 2011
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December 16, 2011
A couple of months ago there was this huge confusion about whether idioms had been removed completely from the Sentence Correction section of the GMAT. This confusion was fuelled primarily by some leading test prep companies who had attended the GMAC Test Prep summit in the US and who attributed this announcement to Dr Lawrence Rudner, GMAC’s chief psychometrician. Subsequently there were clarifications and then clarifications for the earlier ‘clarifications’ and the students were a confused lot.
At Aristotle Prep we have always believed that the best way to find out what’s happening on the GMAT is to ask either those who have taken the test or those who control the test i.e. the GMAC. Accordingly we sent a mail to the GMAC requesting for more clarity on this issue of idioms. It was suggested to us that we get this issue clarified by Dr Rudner in person by attending one of the GMAC test prep summits in some other part of the world. We were sent invites for the test prep summit in Asia and our team attended the same recently.
Here is Dr Rudners’s response when our team questioned him on the issue of Idioms – “When somebody asked me at one of the test prep summits whether GMAT tests you on idioms I heard idioms as US-centric phrases that non-natives may not be conversant with such as ‘to do an end run’ or ‘to hold the line’ but they heard idioms as combination of words that must be used together to be correct such as ‘regard as’ or ‘prohibit from’. Obviously these phrases will still be tested; it is the American Idioms that will not be tested at all. Please tell all your students that the English idioms will still be tested by the GMAT.”
However Dr Rudner also clearly stated that the stress now is more on the meanings of sentences, so in a lot of the options there will be more than one grammatically correct option but only one that gets the meaning right.
So the final word is that idioms are still very much being tested by the GMAT. In fact a lot of the test takers that we have spoken to over the last couple of months have told us that they definitely got one or two questions which had an idiom error amongst others. The stress though is much more on meanings now. You’ll find a lot of questions testing you on meaning in the New SC Question Bank that we released in October.
P.S. – There were a lot of other interesting things that our team discussed with Dr Rudner during the summit, including how a CAT actually works, and Dr Rudner pleasantly surprised us with his response. More on that soon!
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