The Leading Independent Resource for Top-tier MBA Candidates
• SCHOOL PROFILES

Home » News » GMAT » GMAT Tips » GMAT - Verbal » GMAT Tip: The Top 5 Strategies for GMAT Reading Comprehension (Part 1)

GMAT Tip: The Top 5 Strategies for GMAT Reading Comprehension (Part 1)

Today’s GMAT tip comes from Manhattan Review Germany, a provider of GMAT Prep courses in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich. In this article, they reveal Manhattan Review’s best 5 strategies for tackling GMAT Reading Comprehension questions. In fact, the tip is so detailed that we had to split it into two parts!

Reading Comprehension is probably the least fun part of the GMAT. The texts are frequently turgid, their subject matter is arcane, the questions are difficult to understand and the answer choices seem indistinguishable. Nonetheless, there is no way to avoid Reading Comprehension. There will be at least three, maybe four, passages to read in the test and at least 12, maybe 14, questions to answer in total. So it is good to go in with a positive attitude and with a clear strategy to extract maximum points in the minimum amount of time. Here are five tips to guide you:

2. Anticipate the kinds of questions you will be asked

You are not reading for enlightenment, intellectual stimulation or entertainment. You are reading for one purpose only: to answer questions set by the Graduate Management Admission Council. Therefore, don’t try to understand every single thing the author says or memorize every point he makes. You only have to extract enough information to be able to answer the GMAT questions. That means you need to understand the main argument and to know where to find the evidence on which the author is basing his conclusions.Read the passage in anticipation of answering three types of questions:First, there are Main Idea questions such as: What is the author’s central point? Why has the author written this text? What is the author’s tone? How has the author chosen to convey his argument? How has the author organized the passage?

Second, there are the Supplementary Idea questions. Such questions focus on the details of the argument, on the evidence that the author presents to support his contentions. Such questions often, but not always, start with the phrase “According to the author/the passage…”

Third, there are the Inference questions. Such questions focus on what is implicit in the text, on what the author appears to be suggesting but not necessarily stating baldly.  Such questions are often of the form: What is the author’s attitude to X? Why does the author mention Y? How might the author respond to argument Z?

4. Don’t sweat the details

Unlike the incorrect answer choices in Sentence Correction, and to a lesser extent in Critical Reasoning, those in Reading Comprehension can’t be identified and hence dismissed so easily. So here’s a guide on how to spot answer choices that can be ruled out right away as incorrect.  Avoid

a)   Answer choices that use categorical words such as “only,” “all,” “always,” “never” and “exclusively.”

b)   Answer choices that make use of information that doesn’t appear in the text.

c)    Answer choices in which not every single fact mentioned is correct.

d)   Answer choices in which correct facts are mentioned but they are not mentioned in the correct order. The GMAT likes to mix up cause and effect.

e)   Answer choices that ask you to make value judgments. Any answer choice that asks you to affirm that one method/approach/style of management/school of thought is “better,” “more successful,” “more efficient” or “more efficient” than another will be incorrect.

f)     Answer choices that sound unnecessarily contentious. Beware answers that include statements smacking of political incorrectness.

Stay tuned for the second part of Manhattan Review’s best 5 strategies for GMAT Reading Comprehension when we go over the strategies in the context of a full-fledged example. In the meantime, you can start practicing for the test immediately by taking a free GMAT practice test at the Manhattan Review website.

Posted in: GMAT - Verbal, GMAT Tips