Reading Comprehension

When Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth' earned awards and accolades and demonstrated Global Warming as a human-induced phenomenon, not many scientists looked beyond the research papers from 'US Global Change Research Program'. The 2006 documentary was a fodder to Global Warming alarmists, who forgot the fundamental fact that the average temperature has climbed by only 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 Degree Celsius) since global temperatures began to be monitored systematically from 1880.

The research by Andrew Dessler and his team from Texas A&M University has confirmed the previous debated theory that Water Vapor is the most contributing greenhouse gas, doubling the climate warming caused by the increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite became the first device to measure water vapor at all altitudes within the troposphere. Using AIRS, the scientists measured the humidity along the lowest 10 miles of the atmosphere. The level of humidity along with observation about carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases allowed researchers to grasp the interplay of the three major contributors of Global Warming. More than the increase in temperature, the compounding nature of Water Vapor is what worrying scientists around the world. Increase in water vapor leads to a warmer temperature that results in more water vapor emitted into the air.


Categories : Reading Comprehension

One GMAT Reading Comprehension question type that you will rarely encounter is the style or tone/attitude question. By style, the test creators are not asking you to compare the style of the prose to the works of some of the renowned authors. It’s another term used to describe the tone/attitude of the author.

GMAC selects passages that are respectful to communities, nations, leaders, even tyrants of notorious records. One reason for this is the source material. They are research papers and not op-eds.

Therefore, the chance that the bias of the author is translated to extreme qualifiers in passages is rare.

The clues are in the nature in which the author builds the case, and the selectivity with which she presents her evidence and counter-evidences to support the argument. It helps to know about the subject matter, but understanding how the author subtly uses qualifiers to describe a situation or a person, will allow GMAT test takers to spot the feeling of the author. They might be disguised as objective observation, but biases/feeling cannot be hidden behind facts. It will come out.

The question will be phrased as:

Which of the following best describes the tone of the passage?

The author’s attitude towards capitalism can be best described as:

With the quotes on statistics about “welfare capitalism” in lines 23-25,...

Categories : Reading Comprehension

GMAT RC Remembering InformationAlthough we recommend that test takers go back to the passage for facts or questions related to “quotes,” memory serves the crucial role of understanding the author’s point of view. Skim the passage when the questions are about “the main idea,” “tone,” “passage structure,” and “author’s stand,” but without comprehending the author’s point of view, reading in record time becomes a wasteful exercise.

You cannot improve your memory with a 3-month GMAT preparation, but you can improve in these four focus areas:

1) Motivation

When you perform any activity – reading or writing, the motivation to do it efficiently, influences your concentration. If you look at GMAT as a roadblock for completing the MBA application process, you are less likely to score in the competitive range. Instead, look at GMAT as a tool to solidify your position among the probable candidates, before the admission team evaluates essays, recommendation letters and interview performance. This small shift in approach drastically changes your outlook towards reading GMAT reading comprehension, even if that means reading some of the most boring texts about coral reefs, or a scientific...

Categories : Reading Comprehension

GMAT Speed ReadingWith world war II, 9-5 jobs emerged. Documentation became an integral part of an office job. Reading through hundreds of documents, and filtering the must have from the routine was one skill that Employers treasured. That is when in late 1950s, Evelyn Wood coined the term "speed reading". A researcher and a school teacher, Mrs. Wood was fascinated by the difference in reading speed of equally qualified professionals. In an act of desperately finishing a book, she used the sweeping motion of her hand to read chunks of sentences. This technique later became the basis for “Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Dynamics”.

While preparing for GMAT, Students are apprehensive about using speed reading courses citing lack of evidence in comprehension. The worry is qualified as aggressive reading in place of speed reading can decrease comprehension. Skimming Techniques help you answer ‘title of the passage’ question but is ineffective in details question and inference questions in some cases. A combination of speed reading and comprehensive reading is the solution.

Before you start adopting a technique:

1) Pick dense reading material

GMAT reading comprehension passages are about...

Categories : Reading Comprehension

GMAT Questioning The Author RCIn early 1990, Isabel Beck and Margarent McKeown pioneered a new reading comprehension technique - Questioning the Author. The technique involved critical questioning of the author, and his intentions. By focusing on the thought process and motivation behind the articles, readers were better equipped to recognize biases and how author manipulates facts while forming an opinion.

Here are 5 Steps to Question the Author

1) Find Author’s Knowledge

GMAT Reading comprehension questions require looking at the passage as a reference and finding the answers to the questions asked. There is no point in questioning the author’s knowledge except in cases where the question is about assumptions of the author.  Your knowledge about the subject matter would help you understand whether the author is misinterpreting facts to make a point. But in most cases, GMAT Reading Comprehension is as diverse in topic as ecological preservation, financial systems and rights of African-Americans. You are not expected to be scholars in these topic areas, and hence beating the Author on knowledge is less likely. But it helps to know more than the author to recognize the thoughts...

Categories : Reading Comprehension

GMAT RC Inference QuestionGMAT RC inference questions are one of the toughest question types. You can’t skim the content, and infer. When you see the question framed as: "It can be inferred from the passage that" or “author's which statement do you agree to..” or “What do you mean by the word or phrase” , they are variations of the Inference question type.

Strategies to Solve GMAT Reading Comprehension Inference Question Type

1) Locate

Inference questions are most likely to quote a statement, phrase, or a word used by the author. Locate the paragraph. Once you know the paragraph, it becomes easier for you to dissect the author’s thoughts depending upon how the author has structured the passage.

2) Main Idea

This is a shortcut that many test takers miss. Once you note down the paragraph that the question is referring, create the summary of each paragraph, including the paragraph that is

Categories : Reading Comprehension

GMAT Reading Comprehension FactsA common advice given to GMAT test takers is to ignore facts, and focus on the main idea and the intent of the author. Before you do that, understand the difference between relevant and irrelevant facts. The relevant ones come together to create the foundation for the main idea, therefore, instead of writing all of them, find patterns in facts and learn to discern the facts that convey a main idea from the ones that offer a context.

Fact Question

GMAT Fact questions are the easiest. Most of them are in quote format, or the line numbers are clearly mentioned. The reader has to go back to the paragraph or quickly scan the passage to find the matching text, and then address the question. Most test takers find it tedious to go back to the passage because they have a faulty assumption about their memory. They feel that they can remember relevant facts, and the 5-10 seconds required to scan the passage can be better used to answer the next question. Avoid this tendency. For all fact questions where a quote or a line number is mentioned, go back to

Categories : Reading Comprehension

GMAT Reading Comprehension Creating SummariesFor GMAT reading Comprehension, summarizing the passage or the paragraph is an essential skill that test takers have to develop during the preparation stage. Some of us have developed the instinct to find keywords, theme, and the intent of the author by reading 3-5 lines. Even for instinctive readers, performance in GMAT reading comprehension can be improved if they ask the 5 questions in sequential order.


This is the first question that test takers have to ask. Who is the subject of the paragraph/passage? Some authors start with the subject from the first paragraph itself while others go into the environment or circumstances before going into the subject of the passage. Understand the intent behind the buildup and focus on the person or group of people (community/company/nation) that the author is referring. Once the subject is shortlisted, it becomes easier to chart out the concepts covered in the passage, assumptions, tone, and main idea.


At least 30% of GMAT reading comprehension passages will have some reference to historical findings, events, and personalities. It is therefore in...

Categories : Reading Comprehension

Mastering GMAT Reading ComprehensionStaying still and reading 600 to 1000 word passages seem a daunting task for most. In regular reading, we skim the content, look for titles & sub-titles, and try to pick the gist of the passage. This process cannot be followed in GMAT Reading comprehension passages where answering the question require paying close attention to keywords, tone of the author, and other details embedded in the passage.

1) Read the Message not the Word

Even though GMAT RC requires test takers to pay close attention, reading every word and forcing yourself through the passage is a sign of a poor reader. Instead, read the passage for the message and not the word. If the passage has a question specific to a passage or the “word” used in the passage, you can always go back to the text and figure it out. Most questions will be related to the Main Idea of the passage, tone of the author, Title, Inference, Organization of the passage, and assumptions.

To go beyond the words, and read the message, you have to develop a habit of reading a line. This can be tricky early on and need practice. Even though you feel that you have missed important information our brains are receptive and much...

Categories : Reading Comprehension

GMAT Reading Comprehension Title QuestionStrategies to tackle GMAT Reading comprehension title questions are similar to handling GMAT Main idea questions. But they are not entirely the same. The best strategies to follow are:

1) Don't get lost in details

Skim through the details but pay special attention to the point that the author is trying to make. For science passages, understanding context would be more useful than noting down terminologies.

2) Summarize each paragraph

Summarize the central idea of each paragraph

3) Find the central theme

Find the central theme from the summaries of each paragraph

4) Eliminate and select
It is very difficult to paraphrase the title of the passage. Don't waste time doing it.  Go straight into the answer choices and analyze the title that suits the central idea of the passage. Eliminate the answer choice immediately (Use POE technique) if it is not in alignment with the central theme.

<Start of...

Categories : Reading Comprehension

GMAT RC Main IdeaWith GMAT Main Idea question, the test makers wants to understand how good you are in getting to the gist of the passage. The best strategies to follow are:

1) Don't get lost in the details

The most common mistake GMAT test takers make is taking the time to read the entire passage in detail and trying to understand every miniscule fact mentioned in the passage. This approach is counterproductive. Skip through the details and focus on the intent.

2) Summarize each paragraph

Once you have read the paragraphs, summarize each of them . The summary of each paragraph should cover the central idea of the paragraph.

3) Paraphrase the main summary

Try to paraphrase the main summary from the summaries of each paragraph. Sometimes the main idea is explicitly mentioned in one of the summaries and sometimes it would be hidden in the summaries.

4) Eliminate and Select

Now go through each answer options and eliminate options that are irrelevant, out of scope or that tries to...

Categories : Reading Comprehension

After four years of bloody fighting, the Civil War ceased in 1865 with the hope that the end of slavery would mark the beginning of equality and racial harmony. Consequently, three constitutional amendments were passed; starting with the 13th Amendment to end slavery, followed by one to give African Americans unfettered citizenship, and the final one to give African American males the right to vote. Nearly 100 years later, United States was still deeply divided. Racial Segregation was the norm, buttressed by various Jim Crow laws - named after the anonymous African American male. It ensured that all public facilities and state services were separated into "white" and "colored" spheres, with one sphere naturally enjoying an advantage over the other. White politicians passed laws that made voter registration more inaccessible to blacks and the number of African American voters nosedived drastically. Equal economic opportunities were denied to people of color. But what may have been the tipping point was unbridled aggression and violence - by the police, individuals and extremist groups like the now infamous Ku Klux Klan. From 1910 to 1970, nearly seven million African Americans left the South in the 'Great Migration.'

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had fought since 1909 to end discrimination with peaceful tools such as lawsuits, education, and...

Categories : Reading Comprehension

GMAT RC Detail QuestionGMAT Reading comprehension detail/specific questions are the easiest to crack. The best strategies to follow are:

1) Identify the question type:
When a question starts with "According to the passage” and "The passage states that ", you can be sure that this is a detail question type.

2) Identify the location: The question in most cases will refer to a line number, an event, a name or the author’s statement. Our focus should be to skim through the paragraphs and locate the line that the question is referring.

3) Use POE (process of elimination): technique to shortlist 2-3 answers and eliminate answer choices. When you eliminate the answer choices, focus on the scope of the paragraph and intent of the author.

<Start of Passage>

The Maastricht Treaty can be termed as the first formal treaty that led to the creation of European Union. The treaty was signed on Feb 7th 1992 and came to the existence on Nov 1st 1993. Denmark, France and Great Britain rejected the treaty in its original format. With...

Categories : Reading Comprehension

GMAT RC Organization PassageGMAT Reading comprehension organization of passage questions looks like

"Which of the following best describes the organization of the passage?"

"Which of the following best describes the organization of the first paragraph of the passage?"

"One function of the third paragraph is to...."

Follow these strategies to solve GMAT Organization of Passage Question

1) Read the paragraphs focusing on the structure of the thoughts

2) Note down the structure in paper

3) Eliminate and Select

<Start of Passage>

Barter, a method of exchanging goods and services, directly between individuals and Businesses, was prevalent from pre-historic times. The exchange was not limited to two entities, a Barter exchange system allowed a third party or broker to list the value of Goods/services, providing a better exchange rates for all participants.

During early 1,100 B.C, Chinese merchants began creating miniatures of tools/weapons as a convenient way of transacting. Although Chinese introduced the first recognizable currency coins, in 600 B.C., Lydia's King Alyattes officially...

The following Strategies in GMAT Reading Comprehension will influence the test taker's ability to cross 700

Aggressively read the whole text of the passage.

2. Read the passage within 3 minutes.

If you miss the main idea of the passage, you will certainly miss some of the questions.

3. Speed reading is crucial but it should not be at the expense of correctness.

4. Make brief notes on your noteboard

Do not write down facts, it will slow you down. Authors use facts to make a point.