Tips to tackle the Reading Comprehension section of the GMAT
Posted on June 18, 2020
Reading Comprehension or RC is one of the questions in the verbal reasoning section of the GMAT exam. The first thing you should do when tackling this section is to read the passage and take some notes before you get down to answering the questions at the end of the passage.
Here we share some strategies on reading the passage so that you are all set to answer the questions at the end.
- Set a time limit for reading the passage
When you set down to read a passage you must set a time limit, the initial read through should not be more than 2 or 3 minutes. When you are reading the passage try to take some short notes.
You must also set a time limit when answering the questions, general questions should take about one minute while specific questions should take about 1.5 to 2 minutes. The goal is to get a broad overview of the passage on your first reading.
- Understand the central idea
The other goal in your initial read-through should be to understand the point the passage is making which is the basic topic that is being discussed in the passage. The point is the main idea on which the passage is based on.
In the initial read-through, you must be able to infer the central idea of the passage.
The next step is to understand the purpose of each paragraph in the passage. Each paragraph will usually have a distinct purpose or message which can be found in the first or second sentence of the paragraph.
This will also help you make a mental picture of the main point in each paragraph. This will be of great help when you are reading the questions because you will know where you can find the answers.
- Take your notes
Make it a habit to take notes with abbreviations. Remember the point of taking notes is to just remind yourself of the main points so that you can answer the questions. You will not come back to the passage in the future, so you do not require detailed notes.
- Do not make attempts to understand the details
The essence of the questions at the end of the RC passage should guide your approach to reading the passage.
You will be asked to answer only half of the questions related to the passage in the GMAT. This knowledge should decide how you do the initial read-through of the passage.
Therefore, it is important to understand the central idea or the point in the passage. This will be prevalent in the entire passage and sometimes every question. If you know where this central idea exists in each paragraph, then it will be easier to answer the questions.
To sum up, the best way to tackle the RC section of the GMAT is to try not to understand every single line in the passage, you will be only wasting your time. Instead, try to find the central idea of the passage and the point in each paragraph in the passage. You should practice taking notes with abbreviations and making a mental note of where the main ideas in the passage are so that you find it easy to answer the questions.
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