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# Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers?

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Re: Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2011, 22:09
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I feel there's no point arguing on this topic because we are on GMAT's turf and we have to play with GMAT's rules. PERIOD

Secondly, Q45 is 99%tile not because GMAT makers have made it so but it has automatically become disproportionate, since there are many international test takers who score well in Quant, which has pushed 99%tile to Q51, and relatively score less on Verbal Section. This has messed up the scoring system, according to me.

GMAT makers are subject to integrity and I firmly think there is no bias towards any native or non-native speakers. Even if there is, we can't do much about it.
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Re: Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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11 Jul 2011, 10:08
Interesting post.............I believe there are some factors for this bias towards Verbals
1) Demand and supply as truly mentioned by gmatpill
2) What if less people scored high on quants...then the results would be different...it would be highly biased towards those from Engg./Quant. background than against the rest
3) In the current global climate, English is the only language whose knowledge is considered essential to CONNECT with the WORLD...so logically you need to have a good grasp of English
4) English grammar is not tested --> What is tested is the LOGIC (even in SC section, yes even here)..How you can effectively communicate your ideas unambiguously in the most concise manner without violating the basic tenets of grammar...In my opinion, you do not need to be a grammar freak for getting all SC right...Because I have seen that GMAC gives higher weightage on LOGIC evn if some outer rules of Grammar are violated(The basic and most important ones, of course cannot be violated)

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Re: Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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11 Jul 2011, 17:28
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walker wrote:
My 2 cents. GMAT tries to predict your academic success in b-school. Why? CR+RC+SC is almost equal to cases: you need read carefully, fast, be critical and write a good write-up. So if you fail due to language barrier, you will fail in school for the same reason. Believe me, it is not easy to be a non-native English speaker in b-school and GMAT helps you to be prepared. You can't imagine how difficult it is for the person who have never spoken English before. I was in your shoes with 25% success rate in SC after 2 months of intensive GMAT classes. So, don't try to find excuses, just do as much as you can to learn English, not just for good score, but for ability to get much more from b-school later. By the way, I'm not talking just about academic success. For first 3 months I hated myself that I didn't spend more time on English because I can't socialize, express myself properly and so on.

You are the man! I got this idea after ~15 days of the preparation. I was feeling sick to start with. While reading RC/CRs, I used to be like WTF?... I just don't know what this means. What if I misinterpret it? Will I get all the questions wrong? Will all the time spent reading this passage be in-vain as I will get all questions wrong anyways? Even worse when in the 1st line of the RC you hit some unknown (for you but common among the native speakers) word(s) that you have no freaking clue what-so-ever. That's a very depressing scenario. And EVERY non-native speaker goes through that. Just keep chugging! It only gets easier and you start making right assumptions of these GMAT's tricky words, whose meanings are sometimes not that difficult to guess.

Anyhow, point I am trying to make is - GMAT IS A NECESSITY FOR MBA (period!). In the past couple of months, I can't even imagine how much I have improved. I feel good about myself. I have written few recommendation for promotions of my colleagues in last 15 days, and I can see a drastic difference in my presentation of ideas and my choice of words. I did an interview of a candidate 10 days ago and wrote a full review of the candidate (that's a normal protocol at our work) - In my 5 years, I have never written such a review; My CTO sent me email the next day appraising it whole-heartedly, thanking me and saying one of the best reviews he has read. What I used to consider flamboyant while reading/writing, is now soothing to me! I am enjoying the whole experience more than ever. No matter what happens, I know GMAT is teaching me many things and even if few consider GMAT biased, I praise it WHOLE-HEARTEDLY. In modern era, ENGLISH IS THE MUST!

My one and only advice - ENJOY the experience! Feel as-if GMAT is doing you a favor by making you learn the MOST IMP aspect of your being a professional (period!).
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Re: Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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11 Jul 2011, 18:01
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I do not think GMAT discriminates with non-English speakers. Gmat basically tests our analytical and communication skills and having proper verbal ability is one of the things which can certainly make a person better business person. TOP MBA programs require a test which gives verbal and analytical ability of a person. Both verbal and quant section of GMAT tests your logical ability and your ability to infer something from a limited amount of data. GMAT being a test of america naturally comes in english language, when international test takers are taking Gmat, they essentially want to take admission in the universities in which learning medium is english, so it is imperative that they know standard english.
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Re: Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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28 May 2012, 12:47
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Hello everyone, I'm a recent addition to the GMAT Club and a newbie in every way! I have been going through the numerous posts, reading the various advice tips offered, as well as gaining insight into this test. So I came across this post and I wanted to share a photo that I believe pictorially represents the views being put forth.
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Re: Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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31 May 2012, 12:12
Quote:
By the way-2, here is another question: why verbal score outweights the quantative score in overall GMAT score?
I mean GMAT scaled score of Q40 V45 is higher than CMAT scaled score of Q45 V40. Why?!

Hello! I am a Manhattan GMAT instructor and I can answer this.

The GMAT was not *designed* to have verbal count more than quant (at least at the high ranges) -- this phenomenon is simply the result of the fact that, globally, more GMAT test takers get very high quant scores than very high verbal scores.

Simply put, if you get a 45Q, you are in a club with quite a lot of people! If you get a 45V, you are in a much more exclusive club! Some of that is for exactly the reasons detailed in this forum -- native English speakers, or those who got a very good education in English, tend to score better in verbal.

That said, some of my very best verbal students are non-native speakers (at the end of the Manhattan GMAT Foundations of GMAT Verbal book, I include a letter from one of my former students who is Indian and who got a 780), and some of my native-speaking students are very confused that they are doing so poorly in verbal. (As I always tell them, if you think what you hear on TV is proper written English, you will get a B- performance, at best.)

Sometimes, having to learn rules explicitly is superior to feeling like you've just known something all your life. For instance, many native speakers have never thought about the simple little fact that regular verbs in English have an "s" when singular and no "s" when plural. This, of course, is exactly the OPPOSITE of what someone learning English for the first time would expect!

I'll just add one more thing -- some commenters think the GMAT shouldn't require science reading! Of course, a huge number of MBAs go into tech-related fields! And, of course, most businesses you might end up working for are, er ... *about* something other than business.

Good luck! I really respect the students who've come through my classroom and have put in a huge amount of effort to master the nuances of the English language, and to be able to comprehend graduate-level reading on any topic.

Sincerely,
Jennifer
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Re: Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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31 May 2012, 14:11
JenDziura wrote:
Quote:
By the way-2, here is another question: why verbal score outweights the quantative score in overall GMAT score?
I mean GMAT scaled score of Q40 V45 is higher than CMAT scaled score of Q45 V40. Why?!

Hello! I am a Manhattan GMAT instructor and I can answer this.

The GMAT was not *designed* to have verbal count more than quant (at least at the high ranges) -- this phenomenon is simply the result of the fact that, globally, more GMAT test takers get very high quant scores than very high verbal scores.

Simply put, if you get a 45Q, you are in a club with quite a lot of people! If you get a 45V, you are in a much more exclusive club! Some of that is for exactly the reasons detailed in this forum -- native English speakers, or those who got a very good education in English, tend to score better in verbal.

That said, some of my very best verbal students are non-native speakers (at the end of the Manhattan GMAT Foundations of GMAT Verbal book, I include a letter from one of my former students who is Indian and who got a 780), and some of my native-speaking students are very confused that they are doing so poorly in verbal. (As I always tell them, if you think what you hear on TV is proper written English, you will get a B- performance, at best.)

Sometimes, having to learn rules explicitly is superior to feeling like you've just known something all your life. For instance, many native speakers have never thought about the simple little fact that regular verbs in English have an "s" when singular and no "s" when plural. This, of course, is exactly the OPPOSITE of what someone learning English for the first time would expect!

I'll just add one more thing -- some commenters think the GMAT shouldn't require science reading! Of course, a huge number of MBAs go into tech-related fields! And, of course, most businesses you might end up working for are, er ... *about* something other than business.

Good luck! I really respect the students who've come through my classroom and have put in a huge amount of effort to master the nuances of the English language, and to be able to comprehend graduate-level reading on any topic.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

What about the skewed tilt in the favor of "idioms"? How do you take that into account?

Though Indians may look non-native, most of them taking GMAT have been studying English since childhood; it's a British legacy. India has many different languages, and as such, English is the lingua franca of the country.
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Re: Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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31 May 2012, 20:14
Quote:
What about the skewed tilt in the favor of "idioms"? How do you take that into account?

Though Indians may look non-native, most of them taking GMAT have been studying English since childhood; it's a British legacy. India has many different languages, and as such, English is the lingua franca of the country.

Hi there,

Idioms are being de-emphasized by GMAC in favor of more questions that hinge on meaning, which I think makes sense. (Not that my opinion is very important! If the GMAT wanted us all to learn to hop on one foot while patting our heads, I would teach people to do that.)

I have been to India, albeit briefly. I could write all day about the idiomatic differences between US and Indian English! Of course, many expressions in Indian English are closer to the original British (for some reason, Americans think that "thrice" is a very snooty word, whereas in India and the UK, it's just a normal word, like "twice.") Stores in India have "timings" instead of "hours"; one "gives" an exam rather than "takes" one. A Citibank ATM in Bangalore informed me, "Your transaction is getting done," which just sounds funny to an American (in the US, it would probably say, "Your transaction is being processed.") Of course, it makes perfect sense to "prepone" a meeting. (Maybe now you can tell a little something about the kind of person who becomes a GMAT instructor!)

In short, there are all kinds of nuances that are interesting, but I find that these sorts of things simply do not come up on the GMAT.

Idioms that DO come up include, for instance, "capable OF" and "ability TO" (you cannot be capable to do something, or have the ability of doing something). I think anyone who learns English in the UK, Australia, India, the US, or elsewhere would/should know that.

Separately from one's GMAT studies, it is worth considering whether there is value in learning to write more like an (educated) American if one intends to work in the US. That, I cannot answer.

But I think the GMAT is moving in the right direction by including more problems about meaning. We have numerous posts about this topic on the Manhattan GMAT blog -- I'm new so I can't seem to post links, but google "Meaning is Mean! A GMATPrep Sentence Correction Problem" for a nice example.

Sincerely,
Jennifer
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Re: Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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31 May 2012, 21:46
Disclaimer/Caveat: I am a non-native speaker of the language AND run a training company that focuses on GMAT Verbal.

Interesting thread that got picked up by the GMATClub Newsletter. My \$0.02 on this.

1) GMAT does not test vocabulary. Someone mentioned GRE - check that to get an idea how tough it can get! Even if you don't understand a few words that's okay - you can always put it in context and figure out what it means.

2) In SC I feel non-native speakers sometimes have an advantage because when you speak in your native language you really don't think noun-verb-gerund-yada yada! Heck it is almost impossible - you just intuitively know what is right and what is not. So as a non-native speaker you can actually look at it and says well this is a modifier, this modifies this noun etc. I mean SC can actually be like math in some cases. A bunch of rules you need to follow.

3) Actually on a higher score, SC doesn't really test you so much on strict rules of grammar but more on how you are able to apply yourself to a context. It is about logic and figuring out what the sentence means. If you apply logic then the rules of grammar will make sense. But if you apply just the rules of grammar then it will not be logical.

4) CR has little to do with English skills actually and is a direct application of logic. Infact in my classes the teaching usually veers around day to day analogies we are all comfortable dealing with. Once you start looking at it from that perspective CR is really interesting AND easy to solve.

5) RC is about processing power - your ability to digest a dense passage and answer questions that are inferential. To be frank this is a function of your brain power. If you are a native speaker perhaps you expend less power and if you are non-native you perhaps spend more mental currency. Apart from that I really don't see how this is different from say data interpretation, which I think non-natives are good at.

Coming back to the original post I think Indians (and to some extent, based on what I know, even Chinese, and Russians) are good at math because of 2 reasons (a) a culture that places more emphasis on learning the rules than questioning the status quo (b) focus on math because softer-skills, and and liberal arts were never considered important. So when you look at an SC question you were not able to answer instead of internalizing the problem (i.e. this is stuff I need to figure out) we tend to externalize the problem (i.e. maybe there is a rule of grammar that I did not know). I think it is this attitude which stops us from scoring high on the test more than anything else.

I am sorry if I ended up stereotyping but these are my thoughts on the matter,

Arun
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Re: Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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01 Jun 2012, 11:39
My two cents worth of thought:
I am not a native English speaker. I have quite high abilities to deal with number properties questions involving for example divisibility properties. But I cannot distinguish between very fine nuances in sentence correction, and I am not an expert in English grammar for sure. So, am I a good candidate to be acccepted to an MBA school? (I am now even wondering whether my last sentence is correct English...) It seems that none of the above is relevant. The demand is really high, and candidates are not able to influence the selection criteria. So, really it won't harm to improve your thinking abilities by doing some basic math and improving your English, is just a bonus. It seems that I am a fatalist...if you cannot get into the desired business school, it means you are not supposed to be there... think of an alternative. It means, you must do something else.
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Re: Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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02 Jun 2012, 09:02
This Thread is very interesting. Alot of great viewpoints have been expressed thus far. As a native speaker I do emphasize with non native speakers taking the GMAT. The material in the verbal section must be tough to get through for anyone let alone someone who speaks english as a second or third language. However, what about the advantage it seems non english speakers possess on the quant section? US Citizens who were born and raised here spent k to 12 education learning english, and most of us dont even understand nor use the language correctly. Also other countries tend to prepare applicants much better in terms of quant. It is a long known fact that in the US are students are struggling in math and sciences. ( I can't think of a single math teacher I had in k-12 that actually had a bachelors in mathematics) I mention all of this because both sides are forced to play catch up when studying for the GMAT. Upon looking at what the GMAT covers I have had to purchase Bob Miller's Algebra and Geometry books to assist my studying in the quant section.I live right outside of Detroit,MI. 50% of the population in Detroit is functionally illiterate. That means it is extremely likely anyone who would take the GMAT from this area would be at a great disadvantage in terms of verbal as well and these are people who grew up speaking only english. Based on any applicant or tester's life experiences, they will come to the exam with certain advantages and disadvantages. From these previous experiences during the time of GMAT prep we spot our weaknesses and we strive to make them our strengths.

*Random Notes * Standardized tests aren't perfect by any means Testing African American Students by Asa Hilliard is an amazing book detailing the biased that can/is involved in standardized testing practices, read it in college, must read for anyone interested in diving deeper into this topic.

Also here is the source i used for mentioning 50% of Detroit is functionally illiterate.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/07/detroit-illiteracy-nearly-half-education_n_858307.html
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Re: Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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02 Jun 2012, 23:32
JenDziura wrote:
Hi there,

................................

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Jennifer,

I agree with most of what you said.

It was a trap I had set for you, and you went straight for it. We do agree that just knowing English is not enough; a person need to know American English. This becomes more of an issue when someone is stuck between two choices that hinge on nuances that are not so clear to a non-native. Even in Quant section there are many questions that depend upon verbal tricks.

I don't agree that GMAT is unfair to non-natives, but rather believe that native American English speakers have an advantage in the test. Historically, GMAT was designed for American Schools that wanted a standardized tests for admissions. Now, all over the world, schools are relying on GMAT. This fact alone speaks for the beauty of the tests.

GMAT is phasing out idioms, and that may level the playing field in some respect, but there is a long road ahead.

Regards,
someone somewhere in middle of little nothings
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Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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27 Jul 2014, 12:06
This thread was an interesting read. Even though it's more than two years old, I just had to post a reply.

Does anyone know whether the situation has changed in the past few years? I understand and write English pretty well, and it is a rare case that I don't know a word or can't guess its meaning with high enough accuracy. However, I find that I spend a lot more time reading the passages than I would if they were in my native language. This is true in both the verbal and the quant part of the test. I wonder if the GMAT Prep verbal questions and passages are representative of what I'll encounter in the real test about two weeks from now...

By the way, how common is the word "reciprocal" in standard English? I stumbled across it in the quant part of today's practise test, and had no idea what it meant. I had to make an educated guess that wasn't so educated after all; I thought that it meant the first degree of the number (as in, the number to the power of one). Turned out it means the inverse of a number. The question itself was extremely simple, probably 500-600 level, so I felt kinda bad about my failure to infer the meaning of reciprocal.
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Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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07 Jan 2015, 05:15
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Disclaimer : Following is a hypothetical statement. I collected some information and correlated them to reach at following hypothesis. Therefore, do not rely 100% on it. I believe, following hypothesis has potential to offer us missing piece of GMAT puzzle.

Few Facts:
Post MBA salaries and quality of life in countries such as India are quite low, and in addition, good colleges that take GMAT scores are few. Under this scenario most of the educated "Indian IT male" prefer to do MBA from countries such as USA. Further, it is quite apparent that Indians are good at quants and most of them are smart enough to command concepts of SC in few month, concepts published in official verbal material.

Hypothesis:
Considering above mentioned facts and my experiences with GMAT, I have reached on this conclusion that GMAC is trying to curb population explosion from India by making verbal section tough. To make verbal section tough GMAC has created a separate question set for Indians -- in past many Indian test takers from India reported that questions appearing in exam were very different from questions published by GMAC so far. Also, I have observed that as your attempts increases, questions appearing in exam get more streamlined with questions published in official guide -- means after your second attempt you will start seeing familiar official pattern of SC questions in test. Therefore, If you want to score best in this test in your first or second attempt then you should take this test from USA, Singapore or Australia, markets where local demand and supply for MBA degree is in balance. In these countries test takers mostly claim that MGMAT SC guide is more than sufficient to score best in SC (OR VERBAL), whereas in India test takers are going crazy in search of question types appearing in exam. Further, in OG15 GMAC has not released "new variety" of questions, a variety that usually occur in verbal section of Indian test takers, because such variety does not exist for other nationals. Hence, bottom line for Indians is do not spend years in preparing for GMAT simply give more attempts in a year.
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Re: Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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11 Dec 2016, 23:52
Hi all. Fascinating thread. I'm also non-native speaker, and English is also my third language (first two - Kazakh and Russian). I agree that in some cases GMAT really discriminates non-native speakers, specially, in terms of RC. While SC is looking not too complicated even for non-native speaker (just learn the rules and follow the instructions). CR, in my opinion, is not about English, but more about logic. There is no doubt that Verbal part is going to be much more challenging for non-native speakers rather than for native speakers. So, my opinion is - yes, it discriminates, but still it's possible for non-native speaker crack verbal. Anyway, it doesn't matter, because this debates won't solve none of our problems. Then the decision should be just to study hard.

Right now I'm trying to crack RC, and it's really challenging for me. I have just 50%-70% of success, and I think that it's pretty bad... but anyway, I'll try.

I don't agree with statement that:

Quote:
I'll just add one more thing -- some commenters think the GMAT shouldn't require science reading! Of course, a huge number of MBAs go into tech-related fields! And, of course, most businesses you might end up working for are, er ... *about* something other than business.

Because, yes, being consultant (I mean after MBA) I can face problems outside of management, business and economics vocabulary scope, but I'm trying to pass GMAT with aim to enroll to MBA program to learn things not in astronomy and biology areas, but in business area. And I will expand my biology and astronomy vocabulary later. I'm pretty sure that if I don't know some animal, chemistry, astronomy, history or insect vocabulary right now, it won't correlate at all with my potential success in MBA and business areas.

But for non-native speakers in terms of whole application process isn't it an advantage that we know more than one language?
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Re: Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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23 May 2017, 04:43
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PTK wrote:
nonameee wrote:
frank1 wrote:
If it really works as language test, why are international students required to take TOEFL in addition to taking GMAT.

That's something I could never understand. Language wise the GMAT is a much more difficult test than the TOEFL. Yet, international students have to take the TOEFL as well and pay additional money for one more test.

I may agree with you, since GMAT tests language ability as well. However, TOEFL has listening and speaking sections, these sections GMAT does not have.
RC in gmat is much harder than in TOEFL.
Some universities even for Ms degree do not require GMAT, only TOEFL, and TOEFL score requirements may start from 61 points.
I think most of internationl students would agree to exlude from GMAT the verbal part.

Nevertheless, I agree with WALKER, that english proficiency is very important for MBA degree. (just imagine you are an associte in IB or management consulting company and there are ridiculous ERRORS in your presentation, funny isn't it?
Without doubts, english proficiency would increase significantly, while studying/staying two years on campus in english language environment, but still the pre-MBA strong level of English is required.

sorry but I do not agree with WALKER. Im working in quantitative portfolio management and I want to enrol for a Master in FINANCE (not biology, not archaeology) at a Business School. So where is the point of reading paragraphs about fishes, flowers, and all this wired stuff. Not understanding these particular paragraphs doesn't necessarily mean that Im struggling with english. I got 8 in IELTS, I read dozens of high quality finance books in english at ease, economist, financial times and so on and so forth. But when its comes to gmat and its about cosmic space and in order to answer the questions it is essential to understand particular words its sometimes just impossible for me to get the answer right. Till today I don't see the point of native speakers taking the verbal part (I'm sorry guys but its ridiculous easy) You can bash me for that but just try to do such a paragraph in german and then we can come back to this discussion. Gmat discriminates non-natives. Period! Where is the point doing TOELFS or IELTS ???? anyway it doesn't help so as non-native you just have to go hard or home.....

saying that, good luck with the german version.....

Sieben der folgenden Aussagen entsprechen dem Inhalt des Artikels „Biologischer Zündstoff“.
Ordnen Sie die Aussagen den jeweiligen Textabschnitten (11–16) zu. Eine Aussage ist bereits als Beispiel markiert und zugeordnet. Zwei Aussagen passen nicht. Markieren Sie Ihre Lösungen auf dem Antwortbogen.

Beispiel
0 Energiegewinnung aus Pflanzen führt, so die Annahme,
zu einer ausgeglichenen Kohlendioxid-Bilanz.
Aussagen
a Das Verfahren zur Gewinnung von BTL-Kraftstoff ist derzeit noch
zu kostspielig.

Die moderne Zivilisation auf einen nachhaltigen Weg zu bringen, gleicht mehr und mehr dem Versuch, ei- nen Deich zu halten, gegen den die Flut drückt. Hat man gerade noch mit bloßen Händen den einen Riss gestopft, tun sich daneben schon die nächsten auf. Der jüngste Fall: Pflanzen als Energiequelle der Zu- kunft. Vor zwei Jahren noch gepriesen, vergeht nun kaum ein Monat, in dem nicht Umwelt- und Entwick- lungsorganisationen vor dramatischen Konsequenzen für Klima, Umwelt und Ernährungssicherheit warnen.
Beispiel
Die Idee klang bestechend: Anstatt fossile Energieträger wie Kohle und Erdöl zu verbrennen und damit zusätzliches Kohlendioxid in die Atmosphäre zu blasen, könnte man Energie und Kraftstoffe aus Pflanzen gewinnen. Die Lösung wäre klimaneutral, weil dabei nur das CO2 freigesetzt wird, das die Pflanzen für ihr Wachstum zuvor der Atmosphäre entnommen haben. Anders als das endliche Erdöl wachsen Pflanzen nach. Und aus Bauern könnten „Energiewirte“ werden, die eine neue Einkommensquelle erschließen. Eine Win-win-Situation – für Umwelt, Verkehr, Wirtschaft und Arbeit.
Der erste Imageschaden kam mit der soge- nannten „Tortilla-Krise“. Weil die USA für ihre ehrgeizigen Bioethanol-Pläne mehr Mais benötigten, als sie selbst pro- duzieren konnten, wurde in Mexiko dazugekauft – wo- raufhin dort die Preise anzogen und Tortillas aus Maismehl, die Grundlage der mexikanischen Küche, in kurzer Zeit immer teurer wurden. Aus Biokraftstoffen wurden „Agro- Kraftstoffe“, landwirtschaftliche Erzeugnisse, die eigentlich auf den Teller gehören, aber im Tank landen.
Dazu kamen Berichte, in Malaysia oder Bra- silien – das schon seit Jahrzehnten im großen Stil Bioetha- nol aus Zuckerrohr herstellt – weiche der ohnehin schon bedrohte Regenwald neuen Monokulturen aus Energie- pflanzen. Einmalige Lebensräume der Erde, die eine schier unvorstellbare Vielfalt von Arten beherbergten, würden im Namen von Ökologie und Klimaschutz vernichtet. „Bio- kraftstoffe sind ein Angriff auf die Biodiversität“, wetterte die Umweltkoryphäe Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker.
Für einen weiteren Kratzer im Lack sorgte jetzt die Wissenschaft. Der niederländische Chemie-Nobel- preisträger Paul Crutzen hatte mit Kollegen die Emissionen von Lachgas (N2O) untersucht, die durch den Einsatz von Kunstdünger auf Biospritfeldern entstehen. Lachgas ist fast
300-mal treibhauswirksamer als CO2. Ergebnis: Die Treib- hauswirksamkeit von Biodiesel aus Raps sei 70 Prozent größer als die von fossilem Diesel, bei Mais seien es 50 Prozent. Nur Zuckerrohr schneide besser ab. Die Studie ist zwar um- stritten; Kritiker werfen Crutzen vor, von veralteten Dünge- methoden und Rapssorten ausgegangen zu sein. Doch nun befand auch eine OECD-Studie, die USA, Kanada und die EU könnten ihre verkehrsbedingten Treibhausgasemissionen bis 2015 mittels Biosprit nur um 0,8 Prozent senken.
Einen Ausweg könnte das Verfahren „Biomass to Liquid“ (BTL) bieten. Bei diesem Verfahren gelingt es, Bio- masse in Gas zu verwandeln und dessen Moleküle dann in die des gewünschten Kraftstoffs. So entsteht etwa syntheti- scher Diesel, der dieselben Eigenschaften wie Diesel aus Erdöl hat. Weil anders als bei Biodiesel oder Pflanzenöl keine Nahrungspflanzen benötigt werden, spricht man von „Bio- kraftstoffen der zweiten Generation“. BTL verwertet vor allem Holz, Stroh und andere Biomasse. Das verwendete Holz kommt zum Teil als sogenanntes Restholz aus dem Wald oder wird von schnell wachsenden Bäumen wie beispielsweise Pappeln gewonnen. Bei diesem BTL-Kraftstoff fallen laut einer Schweizer Studie 40 bis 60 Prozent weniger Treibhaus- gase an als bei fossilem Diesel; wird Waldrestholz verwendet, ist die Bilanz noch günstiger.
Gerade für die Luftfahrt wäre der BTL-Kraft- stoff eine Alternative, da herkömmliche Biokraftstoffe in Flughöhen mit Temperaturen um minus 50 Grad zähflüssig werden. Das BTL-Verfahren ermöglichte aber synthetisches Kerosin mit den gleichen Eigenschaften wie das bisherige herzustellen. Um damit den weltweiten Flugverkehr im heu- tigen Umfang aufrechtzuerhalten, wäre allerdings eine Fläche für den Holzanbau von 120 Millionen Hektar nötig, dreimal größer als Deutschland. Deshalb setzen Flugzeughersteller wie Boeing auf Kerosin aus Algen, die neuerdings als Klima- retter und unerschöpfliche Energiequelle gepriesen werden.
Eine Patentlösung für Bioenergie aus Pflanzen gibt es nicht. Was in Europa ökologisch machbar ist, kann sich anderswo als fatal erweisen. Wenn etwa in Afrika Ener- giepflanzen für den Export in großen Monokulturen angebaut werden sollen, verknappt dies weiter das Trinkwasser auf ei- nem ohnehin trockenen Kontinent. Sogar eine genügsame und nicht essbare Pflanze wie die Jatropha, die seit Kurzem als Energiepflanze für südliche Breiten Schlagzeilen macht, wird zum Problem, wenn internationale Konzerne sie plötz- lich im großen Stil auf fruchtbarem Ackerland anbauen wollen. Richtig genutzt könnte Jatropha aber als regionaler Energielieferant die Abhängigkeit von Ölimporten lindern. Außerdem verbessert sie in ausgelaugten Böden nach einigen Jahren den Wasserhaushalt.
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Re: Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers? [#permalink]

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23 May 2017, 08:27
daviddaviddavid completely agree with you. I was also wondering how passages about birds and fishes will help me in business
Re: Does the GMAT discriminate non-english speakers?   [#permalink] 23 May 2017, 08:27

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