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GMAT Reading Comprehension – Quick Guide

Reading Comprehension is one of the three areas tested in GMAT Verbal section. This quick reference guide will help you prepare for GMAT Verbal Reading Comprehension Section.

Majority passages should be on Business, few on social science, humanity, physical and biological science etc

Question types

  1. Main Idea – Title/statement best describes the passage

  2. Supporting Idea – specific details in the passage

  3. Inferences – must be true based on the details in the passage

  4. Applying Passage information – applying passage information to the context from real word

  5. Logical Structure – overall structure of the passage or why a detail or paragraph was included.

  6. Style and Tone – author's attitude towards the topic

Exam Strategy

  • Read the passage looking for Main idea, purpose and structure. Continue to ask what and why. Look for big picture and ignore details.

  • Read as fast as you can to retain. Take notes, if required.

  • Topic sentence (usually first sentence) and concluding sentence (usually last sentence) is very important.

  • Read body paragraph asking why author included it. Try to skim thru body paragraph quickly.

  • Keep looking for change using direction words (despite, however, yet, but, although etc). Read the statements and see if structure changes.

  • You can generally skim continuation statements (Look for words for example, additionally, furthermore etc). These indicate details.

  • Look for conclusion statement (statement after conclusion word such as thus, therefore, consequently, hence etc OR the statement before evidence words because, since etc ) and read as these add to main idea and purpose. The statements before conclusion words and after evidence words include details and can be skimmed.

RC Tips

  • The tone of GMAT passages should be generally mild.

  • Extreme choices (includes all, always, never etc) are usually wrong. Moderate choices (includes some, sometimes, often etc) are usually right.

 Types of passages

  • Explain – Author details information about the topic. The introductory paragraph will usually state topic. Body paragraph will add additional points and aspect of topic. The conclusion paragraph will summarize.

  • Evaluate – The author takes a topic and analyze strength/weakness and come to conclusion. Introductory paragraph states topic. Body paragraphs state strength/weakness. The tone in body paragraph is neutral. Final paragraph states conclusion.

  • Persuade – The author states the issue and persuades readers why certain solution is appropriate. The introductory paragraph will state topic. Body paragraphs will state persuasive arguments. Final paragraph concludes the position.

  • Compare/Contrast – The author compares/contrast two ideas. The author introduces two ideas in introductory paragraph. Compare these ideas in body paragraphs. The final paragraph concludes one side or advantages/disadvantages of both sides.


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