In GMAT Verbal section, you have to answer 41 questions in 75 minutes, which means, you will get 1 minute and 82 seconds to answer each question. On an average, you will get 12-14 reading comprehension questions in GMAT. For the 700+ performers, GMAT reading comprehension is the best performing section. If you are planning to cross the 700 mark, focus on 100% accuracy in GMAT RC. We have covered strategies, secrets and Sample RC passages in our RC Guide. Here are some exercises from the book that will improve your reading comprehension:
1) Read from the Screen
This is a no brainer but many GMAT test takers get used to reading hard copies of GMAT study guides. In the actual GMAT test, you will be staring at a computer screen and noting down summary of passages. Even though you have a hard copy of the official Guide, get used to switching views between a monitor and a writing pad. You might think – “What is the big deal? I am used to staring at a monitor.” But you are not used to reading passages and answering questions about them in less than 2 minutes.
2) Read Dry Materials
If you have gone through a few GMAT RC practice questions, you will soon realize that the reading material is boring and you get quickly distracted. Practice for this scenario. When we are reading our favorite topic, we don’t need any effort to concentrate. But topics in GMAT RC are mostly from social sciences, physical or biological sciences and business related topics. For most MBA Aspirants, the Business related topics are easy to comprehend. You will get topics in marketing, economics, human resource management, and sales for Business related passages.
Here is a list of websites for some dry reading material (please note that if you have a background in biological science or physical science, read topics about marketing, economics, sales and HR management).
a) Science 20 (www.science20.com)
Example: "Arctic Grape" Genetically Altered Fruit, Escapes Public Approval
b) Scientific American Blogs (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com)
Example: Merging Black Holes May Be Detectable by 2017
c) Live Science - http://www.livescience.com/
Example: Will the US Really Experience a Violent Upheaval in 2020?
3) Write Fast Summaries
To start this exercise, visit your favorite news site – economist.com, cnn.com, wsj.com, bbc.co.uk etc.
a) Pick an article that has over 350 words.
b) Read the article in 1 minute
c) Switch off the monitor and take a notebook
d) Write a one paragraph summary of the passage
e) Switch on the monitor and read the article again. Compare the article with the summary you have just written. List the points that you have missed
f) What have you missed?
• Relationship between concepts
After you have mastered writing summaries about topics from news portals, switch to dry materials – social science, physical sciences and biological sciences
4) Learn Fast Reading
There are hundreds of books on fast reading. Don’t practice speed-reading when you have hardly 2 months to prepare for your GMAT. With performance monitoring and practice questions, your reading speed will naturally improve from an average of 200 words per minute to 350 words per minute. But the important point to note here is comprehension. With 250 words per minute, an adult reader has a comprehension of 70%. When you improve your speed to 350, comprehension should improve to at least 95%. Otherwise, speed-reading has no real value.
Concepts used in Speed Reading are beyond the scope of this book, but remember that the fundamental idea to improve speed is to avoid regressions. With regression or back skipping, we go back to previously read word or sentence and read them again, thinking that this practice improve comprehension. Studies have shown that this is a wasteful practice. In a nutshell, to improve reading speed
a) Practice capturing more words in one eye sweep
b) Rather than reading each word, practice capturing ideas/concepts with one eye sweep
c) Avoid fixing your vision to points at the end of an eye sweep. Keep moving your eye in a Z-Pattern
We recommend that you read Breakthrough Rapid Reading by Peter Kump to understand the technique better
5) Measure and Optimize your Speed
There is no point in reading hundreds of journals and passages if you are not improving your accuracy. From the very start, note down your scores in an excel sheet and measure your performance (timing and accuracy) on a daily basis. Here is one simple template that F1GMAT’s team has created for you.
6) Develop topic-based comprehension technique
We have often seen test takers struggle with a few subjects. For some, biological science is just not comprehensible, even after reading tens of passages. This is the time to develop an optimum technique. Maybe you are focusing too much on the passage and not on the question. Maybe you are slowing down when you encounter scientific terms or long words. Understanding why you are making mistakes for a particular topic.
One of our readers developed a technique where he notes down the first three letters and corresponding meaning (as he understood) of scientific terms or long words. After one read, when he encounters the words in the question, it becomes easier for him to understand the use of the word in the context of the passage. Most of the time, he will be guessing the meaning of the words based on the placement in the passage. But this technique has helped him improve his score in biological science passages.
Do you have any book that I can use to improve my GMAT RC score?
Glad that you asked. Read our Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension guide - cover to cover and you will learn to accurately answer each question in less than 1 minute and 50 seconds
Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide
After you read F1GMAT’s Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide, you will:
1. Complete GMAT RC Questions in less than 1 minute and 50 seconds
2. Read Faster
3. Take Notes Effectively
4. Collect and Interpret Facts
5. Speed up Summary Creation
6. Remember Information
7. Question the Author
8. Learn to answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Title question
9. Learn to Solve GMAT Reading Comprehension Main Idea Question
10.Learn to Solve GMAT Reading comprehension inference question
11. Learn to Solve GMAT Reading Comprehension Detail Questions
12. Learn to Organize passage in GMAT Reading Comprehension
13. Learn to Identify style/tone or attitude of the author
14. Learn to Improve GMAT Reading Comprehension Score
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
Download Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning