GMAT RC tests you on 4 passages with about 14- 16 questions i.e 30% of the verbal section. Most students find this section quite time consuming and boring. In such a situation, though the section is scoring once you gain insights into these simple tips outlined below, it can slow you down on the test if you do not use the right approach.
As the name suggests, Reading comprehension is reading the given passage, understanding it and answering the questions that follow, sounds simple we have done it since our school days. Why then does this simple exercise bog you down - most complain “I don’t understand what I’m reading”, this can be main reason why you just tend to lose interest, most of the RC passages are attempted through guesswork which can go against your score. How then does one develop this interest in reading, as a human nature we read what we like or understand, hence what is very important is building familiarity with the topics or the subject matter that is tested.
As for GMAT, we can draw a list of subjects that are tested of you as a test taker:
· Life Sciences
· Minority related topics like women issues or Native Americans
· Business related topic based on economics ,finance etc
So we have one part of the puzzle here, can reading such topics help then - subscribe to American publications of news – Washington post, national geographic etc does help here.
What else can help here – Categorisation of the passages that I read will be next tip:
Typically, passages are broadly classified as (for the purpose of RC)
Is it possible to draw some correlation between the 2 points discussed above subjects and the type of passages , you sure can ..
We can easily link the subject to the type of passage –for e.g History passages typically tend to be either factual or narrative or Life science passages are mostly factual
this is not a rule but it can be used as a tip – as you solve more RC’s you will be able pull in more such correlations
What can help next – wouldn’t it plain and simple if someone just gave out the types of questions that would appear on the RC section. Here’s a hint , you very can find out these yourself
From the above tips – we can easily link the 3rd aspect i.e the types of questions but before we get there
Let us look at the anatomy of any passage in general , what do you find 3 main parts:
Introduction --à Body à Conclusion
Or in technical jargon Main point , Scope and the Tone of the passage
So , while reading the passage If you can identify these 3 aspects then you are almost there since most questions on RC revolve around these 3 aspects . When you read the passage however vague the subject at hand , look for these 3 pointers and you are sure to have hit the jackpot on your answers to the RC questions .
NOW the big finale , let us link all the three tips we discussed above
SUBJECTS TESTED -à TYPES of PASSAGES -à TYPES OF QUESTIONS
Yes , it was that simple , you can draw your own list of types of question s from the above equation
For e.g HISTORY Passage - FACTUAL – types of questions will be more on the scope i.e direct data type of questions like “ as per line 8 what is meant by “
Like wise use your judgement and as you solve more and more RC’s try and figure out how you correlate these above 3 tips .
Last but not the least , attempting RC’s needs you to have good speed techniques .
Having built familiarity with the subjects helps greatly as suggested in the first tip.
Next use the 3 S’ technique Scan , Skip and Skim .
SCAN – Give the passage one read , a must do – it is worth the time
SKIP It is best to skip unnecessary details especially in descriptive /narrative passages
SKIM for the 3 things – Main point ( first 2-3 lines) , Scope ( bandwidth of the passage )and Tone ( last few lines in the conclusion)
Use these strategies and watch your score on the RC section acing !!