Jargon includes two categories of words that you should avoid. First is the specialized vocabulary of a group, such as that used by a group of people such as doctors, lawyers, or baseball coaches. Second is the overly inflated or complex language that burdens many student essays. You will not impress anyone with big words that do not fit the tone or context of your essay, especially if you misuse them.

If you are not certain of a word’s meaning or appropriateness, leave it out. An appropriate word, even a simple one, will add impact to your argument. Ask yourself “Would a reader in a different field be able to understand exactly what I mean from the words I’ve chosen?” “Is there any way I can say the same thing more simply?”

MBA candidates are particularly prone to using MBA jargon. When you go to business school, you will find that MBAs have a language of their own with words such as “incentivize” or “M & A”. Indeed, you will find that a large part of the lasting benefit of business school is learning the proper MBA language so that you will better relate with the MBAs who dominate the business world. For now, however, the GMAT is not the place for MBA jargon or any jargon for that matter.

Replace jargon with the words in parenthesis:

  • optimize
  • time frame
  • utilize (use)
  • finalize (end, complete)
  • conceptualize (imagine, think)
  • maximize
  • originate (start, begin)
  • facilitate (help, speed up)
  • bottom line
  • parameter (boundary, limit)
  • user-friendly (responsive, flexible, easy-to-understand)
  • input/output
  • blindside
  • downside
  • ongoing (continuing)

Your essay graders may not be up to date on the latest trendy abbreviations. Also, avoid lazy and sloppy statements like

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