GMAT idioms list for better scoring

Updated on: Sep 11, 2023

An idiom is a phrase or expression with a different meaning than the literal sense. English speakers use idioms to express their thoughts in a creative and sometimes humorous way. These phrases and expressions sound normal to native speakers but might differ for others. The listener can understand idiomatic expressions by focusing on the whole phrase rather than the individual words. Using idioms during your GMAT exam would boost your performance and improve your score. You might find it challenging to incorporate these idiomatic expressions when you attend the exam, but regular practice and learning can help you perform well. Here we cover everything you need to know about GMAT idioms and make it a 'piece of cake' for you!

GMAT: An overview

The Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) is an exam for students planning to study MBA (Master of Business Administration) or other management studies. Over 2,400 educational institutions accept the GMAT exam pattern for admission into business schools in several countries worldwide. The GMAT exam is computer-adaptive; that is, the difficulty of the assessment depends on your performance. The AI adapts to your answers and determines the following question based on your performance. The exam is in two formats: GMAT Test Centre and GMAT Online.

GMAT Verbal Reasoning: An Overview

No. of questions36
Total duration (in minutes)65
Score range6-51

Data updated as of July 2023

GMAT Verbal Reasoning: Key highlights

  • No. of questions: 36
  • Duration: 65 minutes

The Verbal Reasoning section of the GMAT exam consists of 36 multiple-choice questions to evaluate your skills in reading and understanding written materials and expressing your ideas. The section is computer-adaptive.

GMAT Verbal Reasoning pattern 2023

There are three types of questions in the GMAT Verbal Reasoning section.

  • Reading comprehension
  • Critical reasoning
  • Sentence correction

GMAT Verbal Reasoning syllabus 2023

  • Reading comprehension - The question includes a passage to read and tests your ability to determine the main idea, supporting points, application, inferences, logical structure, and style of the written material. 
    The passage for the task can be based on subjects like social science and humanities, physical and biological sciences, and business.
  • Critical reasoning - The critical reasoning questions make you analyse and evaluate arguments and develop or identify a plan of action for the issue.
  • Sentence correction - This task determines your skill in correcting expressions in sentences. The question has a sentence for you to identify any error, with options to rephrase (or part of it). You should select the phrase with the best grammar, word choice, and sentence construction.

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Idioms for GMAT

Idioms are vital for GMAT Verbal Reasoning. The section tests idioms in reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction tasks. While native English speakers use idiomatic expressions with ease, people with other first languages might find it difficult to use these phrases. So study and prepare well with the GMAT idioms for better scoring. Here are some common GMAT idioms you need to know before the assessment.

GMAT idioms list

Idioms for GMATDefinitionExample
Account forTo provide a reason or explanation for something.The accountant must account for all the expenses in the report.
Agree onTo share the same opinion about something.The team members agreed on the best approach for the project.
Believe inTo have faith or confidence in something or someone.The coach believes in the team's potential to win the championship.
Aim atTo target or direct efforts towards a specific goal or objective.The marketing campaign aims at increasing brand awareness.
Apply forTo make a formal request or submit an application for something.He decided to apply for a scholarship to fund his education.
Arrive atTo reach or achieve a decision or conclusion.The researchers arrived at a groundbreaking conclusion.
Benefit fromTo gain an advantage or receive benefits from something.Students can benefit from attending the GMAT preparation course.
Assist withTo help or support someone in a particular task or activity.The assistant will assist the professor with the experiment.
Argue againstTo present reasons or evidence opposing a particular argument.The debater argued against the use of standardised testing in college admissions.
Ask forTo request or solicit something from someone.She asked for clarification on the confusing question.
Aware ofTo have knowledge or understanding of something.The candidate should be aware of the time constraints in the GMAT exam.
Belong toTo be the property or possession of someone or something.The book belongs to the library's reference collection.
Acquaint withTo make someone familiar with something or someone.The professor acquainted the students with the new theory.
Base onTo use something as a foundation or starting point for something else.The decision was based on extensive research and analysis.
Agree toTo give consent or acceptance to a proposal or request.The team agreed to the proposed changes in the project.
Attribute toTo ascribe or assign a cause or quality to something or someone.The success can be attributed to their hard work and dedication.
Care aboutTo be concerned or interested in something or someone.The organisation cares about the well-being of its employees.
Complain aboutTo express dissatisfaction or discontent regarding something.The students complained about the difficulty of the assignment.
Contribute toTo play a part in bringing about a particular result or outcome.The research findings contribute to the field of medicine.
Convince ofTo persuade someone to believe or be certain about something.The salesman convinced the customer of the product's benefits.
Count onTo rely or depend on someone or something.You can count on him to provide accurate information.
Deal withTo handle, manage, or address a particular situation or problem.The manager needs to deal with the customer's complaint.
Depend onTo rely on or be dependent on something or someone.The success of the project depends on effective teamwork.
Differ fromTo be dissimilar or distinct from something or someone.The new model differs from the previous one in terms of design.
Disapprove ofTo have an unfavourable opinion or judgment about something.The committee disapproved of the proposed budget plan.
Discuss withTo engage in conversation or consultation with someone.The professor discussed the topic with the students in the seminar.
Dream ofTo have a strong desire or aspiration for something.She dreams of pursuing an MBA from a top business school.
Excel inTo be exceptionally skilled or proficient in something.The student excelled in the quantitative section of the exam.
Expose toTo subject someone or something to a particular condition or environment.The internship program exposes students to real-world challenges.
Familiar withTo have knowledge or experience of something or someone.The candidate should be familiar with statistical analysis.
Focus onTo direct attention or concentration towards something.The speaker focused on the key aspects of the presentation.
Grateful forTo feel or show appreciation or thankfulness for something.The team was grateful for the support they received.
Hope forTo have a wish or desire for something to happen.She hopes for a high score to increase her chances of admission.
Insist onTo demand or assert firmly for something to be done or followed.The professor insisted on strict adherence to the guidelines.
Interfere withTo disrupt or hinder the normal course of something.The noise from the construction site interfered with their study.
Invest inTo allocate resources or money with the expectation of gaining a return.The company decided to invest in new technology for growth.
Laugh atTo express amusement or derision towards someone or something.The audience laughed at the comedian's jokes.
Listen toTo give attention and actively hear what someone is saying.Students should listen to the instructor's explanations carefully.
Long forTo have a strong desire or yearning for something.The student longs for a challenging academic environment.
Participate inTo take part or be involved in an activity, event, or discussion.The candidate actively participated in the group discussion.
Pray forTo offer a prayer or request divine assistance or guidance.They prayed for success in the exam.
Provide withTo supply or furnish someone with something.The professor provided the students with study materials.
React toTo respond or show a response to something.The candidate's ability to react to unexpected situations was tested.
Recover fromTo regain health, strength, or normality after an illness or setback.He managed to recover from a low score and achieved success.
Refer toTo mention or allude to something or someone.The speaker referred to recent research studies in the presentation.
Relate toTo connect or identify with something or someone.The students found it easy to relate to the professor's examples.
Remind ofTo cause someone to remember or think of something.The question reminds me of a similar problem we discussed.
Report onTo provide information or give an account of something.The journalist reported on the latest economic trends.
Respond toTo answer or reply to something or someone.The candidate should respond to the essay prompt effectively.
Rely onTo depend or trust in someone or something.The company relies on data analysis for decision-making.
Result inTo cause a particular outcome or consequence.The changes in the marketing strategy resulted in increased sales.
Search forTo look for or seek something or someone.The researcher is searching for a correlation between the variables.
Succeed inTo achieve or accomplish a goal or desired outcome.She succeeded in improving her GMAT score after rigorous preparation.
Sympathise withTo express compassion or understanding towards someone.The professor sympathised with the student's challenging situation.
Talk aboutTo discuss or converse about something.The speaker talked about the importance of time management.
Think ofTo consider or have thoughts about something.Have you thought of a suitable solution to the problem?
Trust inTo have confidence or faith in someone or something.The team trusts in their leader's abilities.
Warn aboutTo give notice or advice of potential danger or problem.The instructor warned the students about the difficult topics.
Worry aboutTo feel anxious or concerned about something.The student started to worry about the upcoming assessment.
Write aboutTo compose or create a written work on a particular subject.The essay prompt required the students to write about climate change.
Yearn forTo have a strong desire or longing for something.She yearns for an opportunity to study at a prestigious university.
Adapt toTo adjust or modify oneself or something to fit a new situation.The company must adapt to the changing market conditions.
Advocate forTo support or promote a cause or belief publicly.The NGO advocates for equal educational opportunities for all.
Aim forTo set a target or goal and strive to achieve it.The candidate aims for a perfect score on the entrance test.
Apply oneself toTo devote one's time and effort to a particular task or activity.He applied himself to mastering the concept.
Argue forTo present reasons or evidence supporting a particular argument.The debater argued for the benefits of renewable energy sources.

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More GMAT idioms list

Idioms for GMATDefinitionExample
Associate withTo spend time or be in the company of someone or a group.The professor likes to associate with accomplished scholars.
Attend toTo give attention to or deal with something or someone.The teacher asked the students to attend to their assignments.
Benefit byTo gain advantage or profit from something or someone.The students will benefit by practising mock language tests.
Collaborate withTo work together or cooperate with someone or a group.The two organisations collaborated on a research project.
Comply withTo conform or adhere to rules, regulations, or requests.The company must comply with the industry regulations.
Contribute towardsTo help or contribute to a particular cause or goal.The new research contributes towards understanding climate change.
Correspond withTo exchange letters, messages, or communications with someone.The student corresponded with the professor via email.
Depend uponTo rely or be dependent on something or someone.The success of the project depends upon effective teamwork.
Differ withTo have a disagreement or contrasting opinion about something.The researcher's findings differ from the established theories.
Disagree withTo have a different opinion or belief from someone.The student disagrees with the argument presented in the passage.
Engage inTo participate or become involved in an activity or conversation.The participant engaged in a lively discussion during the seminar.
Excel atTo be exceptionally skilled or proficient in something.The student excels at critical reasoning questions.
Exhibit atTo display or showcase something at an event or exhibition.The company plans to exhibit at the upcoming trade fair.
Experiment withTo try or test something new or different.The scientist will experiment with different variables in the study.
Familiarise oneself withTo become knowledgeable or acquainted with something.The candidate should familiarise themselves with the question types.
Focus uponTo concentrate or give special attention to something.The professor advised the students to focus on time management.
Grapple withTo struggle or wrestle with a difficult or complex problem.The team grappled with a complex case study during the workshop.
Hope toTo have an optimistic desire or expectation for something.The applicant hopes to secure admission into a top business school.
Insist uponTo demand or require something firmly or persistently.The tutor insists upon regular practice for GMAT quant questions.
Interact withTo communicate or engage with someone or a group.The manager interacts with clients to address their concerns.
Intervene inTo become involved or take action in a situation or dispute.The mediator decided to intervene in the negotiation process.
Invest time inTo allocate time or effort to something.She decided to invest time in studying GMAT math concepts.
Laugh aboutTo find amusement or humour in something.The group of friends laughed about the funny GMAT test anecdotes.
Listen forTo pay attention or be alert for a specific sound or information.During the lecture, listen for the professor's key points.
Long toTo have a strong desire or yearning for something.He longs to join a prestigious MBA program at Harvard.
Participate actively inTo take an active and engaged role in an activity or event.The student actively participated in the class discussion.
Plan forTo make arrangements or prepare for something.The project manager needs to plan for the upcoming GMAT study schedule.
Pray toTo address a prayer or request of a divine being or deity.She prays to do well on the GMAT exam and gain admission to her dream school.
Provide forTo supply or make provisions for something or someone.The university provides a variety of activities.
React towardsTo respond or behave in a particular way towards something.The candidate's reaction towards challenging questions demonstrated their analytical skills.

Frequently asked questions

Are idioms tested in GMAT?

Idiomatic expressions play an integral role in the GMAT exam. These phrases evaluate the candidate’s logical understanding of English by native speakers. Candidates can expect tasks with GMAT idioms in the verbal reasoning section.

Why are idioms important in GMAT?

Idioms sentences are important in the GMAT as they assess a candidate's understanding of idiomatic expressions commonly used in English. The verbal reasoning section, mainly sentence correction tasks, determines their ability to identify and correct grammatical errors related to idiomatic expressions. Idioms for GMAT are crucial for achieving a high verbal score as it shows a candidate's fluency in English.

What topics are tested on GMAT?

Here are the topics or sections you can find in the GMAT exam.

  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Integrated Reasoning

What are the hardest parts of the GMAT?

Many students find the quantitative reasoning section of the GMAT exam most challenging. Candidates often find it difficult as the section contains complex arithmetic problems and equations to determine logical and analytical skills.

Does the GMAT essay matter?

The Analytical Writing Analysis section in the GMAT exam determines the candidate's writing skills. But, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), GMAT will no longer have the writing task. Candidates can choose to take the analytical writing section, but the GMAC will stop providing the old exam version by June 2024.

How to learn idioms for GMAT?

  • GMAT idioms play a significant role in the verbal reasoning section. Become familiar with idiomatic expressions to answer sentence correction questions and improve your overall verbal score.
  • Begin with reading commonly used idioms. Make a GMAT idioms list and review them regularly for better learning.
  • Try to understand the meaning and use of idiomatic expressions. Read written materials like newspapers, magazines and practice tasks.
  • Use flashcards as a learning tool to improve your understanding of important Idioms. Write the idiom on one side and its meaning on the other side. Read these flashcards regularly to strengthen your knowledge and improve the use of idiomatic expressions.