4 Tricks that will Keep you focused on your GMAT Reading Comprehension

GMAT RC FocussedGMAT Reading Comprehension passages are complicated and boring texts that will test your concentration and stamina. It is easy to lose your focus after an energy draining AWA and Math section. Most GMAT test takers will start to zone out at this stage and will just stare at the screen, re-reading the same sentence again and again. This is a sure shot step to crash your GMAT 700+ dream.

Follow these four preparation and test day tricks and you will learn to keep your focus for a long duration of time

Start practicing GMAT-like texts

It’s obvious that a reading comp passage won’t be as thrilling as your favorite Dan Brown novel, but the GMAT actually makes RC passages boring on purpose. The test-makers go out of their way to make the text complex, and they like to use natural science and social science topics with which potential business-school students may not be familiar. To prepare yourself, start reading real-world texts that mimic GMAT passage structures. The Economist, Scientific American, and The Wall Street Journal are good places to start, and magazines like Time and Newsweek feature editorial articles that can help you learn to recognize authorial arguments. Get comfortable with this type of writing now so that the passages on test day seem familiar and manageable.

Be Efficient with Note taking

Writing quick notes will keep your brain naturally engaged and help you move through the passage deliberately (at Knewton, we call this process Active Reading). Jot down a quick summary for each paragraph and note the main ideas or theories mentioned in the passage. People often skip this note-taking step because they worry it takes too much time. But think about it this way: It’s much better to take a few extra seconds to jot down helpful notes than to waste potential minutes staring blankly at the screen. Plus, your notes will provide useful pre-phrases for some of the broader reading comprehension questions, which can actually help you save time in the long run.

Fast-forward to test day. What should you do if you’re in the middle of a reading comprehension passage and your brain is starting to wander?

Keep your Cool

Try to stay calm; panicking about your lack of focus will only make it harder to come back to the passage. Be patient with your brain – it’s working hard! If you feel glazed eyes starting to set in, look away from the passage. This might sound counter-intuitive – why am I turning away from the thing I’m supposed to be reading? – but think of it as hitting a reset button on your brain. Look away from the screen, take a deep breath, and then return to the passage. You’ll be amazed at how much a few quick seconds of break time can center you back on the task at hand.

Keep it interesting

Once you’ve taken those deep breaths and are ready to come back to the passage, don’t start reading the same sentence that tripped you up the last time. Go back a few sentences, or even to the previous paragraph, to the most recent idea that interested you. Your brain will be much more likely to reengage on an interesting thought than on one that was difficult to understand. Then, you can use your note-taking skills and Active Reading to stay focused throughout the rest of the passage.

With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to beat – or avoid – staring at the screen. Did you make it through this post without falling asleep? Then you’re well on your way to reading comprehension success!

Author : 

About Knewton

was a leading test prep company that helped thousands of GMAT test takers since 2008. As of 2014, Knewton has discontinued offering tutoring service.

Recommended GMAT Prep Resources

Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide
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Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide

After you read F1GMAT’s Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide, you will:

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12. Learn to Organize passage in GMAT Reading Comprehension   

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Download Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide

Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning

After you read F1GMAT’s Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning Guide, you will:

1) Learn to eliminate out of scope answer choices

2) Learn to spot logical fallacies

3) Learn to read questions by focusing on the holy trinity – premise, assumption, and conclusion.

4) Learn to disregard filler information

5) Complete GMAT CR Questions in less than 1 minute and 40 seconds

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