6 Tricky (But Important!) Tips for GMAT Reading Comprehension
1. You don’t have to understand (or read) the whole passage
The only things you need to understand about the passage are what’s asked about in the questions. To that extent, on your first go through, read through the passage just enough so you understand the general outline and where you can find things in the passage. This is especially true with the passages that are so boring or technical that you can’t read through the whole thing.
2. Practice your word search skills
Generally speaking, there are two sorts of questions: questions that ask about a specific part of the passage, and questions that ask about the passage more generally. If the question starts with: “theory B states…”, skim through the passage until you get to the part that talks about theory B, and read what theory B states! And read it carefully, because it’s guaranteed that the answers will be all be slight variations on what theory B actually states.
3. Be familiar with how passages are structured
This is something that will only come with practice, but you have to understand the general ways in which passages are structured. That way, when you’re asked to find something that’s not directly stated in the passage, like the conclusion or the author’s purpose, you’ll be able to use your knowledge to focus on reading the parts of the passage that contain the information you’re looking for.
4.Pay close attention to what type of passage it is
There are a few different types of passages on the GMAT: author presents both sides, author presents one side, and author advocates for one side. It is especially important to note the difference between the last two when the dreaded “primary purpose” question comes up. This will allow to quickly eliminate the wrong answers, and even, sometimes, just pick the right one.
5.Your answer should be the obvious one
Oftentimes, people hesitate in choosing what they know is the right answer because they’re worried that it’s too obvious. They want to pick the answer that’s about what the passage really means, not the one that’s actually what it means. Don’t fall into that trap! Pick the answer that’s right, and obviously right, and you won’t go wrong.
6.Watch the time
The hardest part about GMAT reading for slow readers is time management. There’s a lot to read, it’s dense, and then you have to answer questions on top of that. So, you need to watch the time. If you find yourself coming up short on time, start spending less and less time reading the passage at first before you go straight into the questions. And when in doubt, guess! There’s no use spending too much time on a difficult question now, when there are easy questions ahead.
What to do after you’ve read these tips
So, now you’ve read these GMAT Reading Comprehension tips and you’re ready to go? Great! Email me at the address in the header and I’ll set you up with a diagnostic test and an introductory meeting. My name’s Trevor Klee; I’m a Boston GMAT tutor who scored 750 on my GMAT and I’d be happy to get you scoring the same. Alternatively, check out my other posts in the sidebar!