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Avoiding Reading Comp Mistakes

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Avoiding Reading Comp Mistakes [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2014, 22:30
Some advice that others have given me in regards to the reading comp section is to not focus on the details, but rather the underlying issue. However, I find myself instinctively over analyzing the details as I read. I end up missing the underlying purpose of the paragraph and passage.
Ultimately I understand the passages, but I'm not always able to apply my understanding to the questions. Particularly the inference and "according to the passage" type questions.

Also, I have never been very keen on science, so I've been finding it hard to focus while reading the science articles. Honestly, I find them boring...


Any suggestions on overcoming these barrier?
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Re: Avoiding Reading Comp Mistakes [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2014, 16:50
Expert's post
amy888 wrote:
Some advice that others have given me in regards to the reading comp section is to not focus on the details, but rather the underlying issue. However, I find myself instinctively over analyzing the details as I read. I end up missing the underlying purpose of the paragraph and passage.
Ultimately I understand the passages, but I'm not always able to apply my understanding to the questions. Particularly the inference and "according to the passage" type questions.

Also, I have never been very keen on science, so I've been finding it hard to focus while reading the science articles. Honestly, I find them boring...

Any suggestions on overcoming these barrier?

Dear amy888,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

First of all, here are a couple blogs you may find helpful:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-readi ... ully-once/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/inference- ... rehension/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/curiosity- ... n-success/

When you read for the "main idea", you should be able to summarize the main idea in ten words or fewer. Don't over-analyze. You really want the pith of the passage.

If science is not your favorite, then I have unpleasant advice for you. Dive into science reading. Start reading the magazine Scientific American from cover to cover, and read it as much as you can between now and the GMAT. It will be HARD WORK. By forcing yourself to do this hard work, you will build skills you need. Also, as crazy as this sounds, talk to scientists, to nerdy folks who love science. Maybe you have classmates with whom you are in touch who studied science. If you can even begin to get what turns them on about science, that will make it so much easier to digest what those passages are trying to convey.

Your statement, "Ultimately I understand the passages, but I'm not always able to apply my understanding to the questions" is something that students frequently say, and it makes me a little suspicious. If you can't apply your understanding to the questions, that probably means that, while you do understand some of the passage, you probably don't understand to the necessary depth. See this blog:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/understand ... rformance/

One way to build understanding is to do hard reading in general --- newspapers, news journals, science writings, textbooks in unfamiliar fields, etc. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-reading-list/

What the GMAT RC demands is very difficult. You can't afford to be a literalist or a fundamentalist. The difficult details are a trap --- you can get stuck there, and lose the forest for the trees. In each passage, there is a logical core from which all the details hang, and your primary job is to engage with this invisible logical core of the passage. Sometimes it's a little more explicit, and sometimes you really have to infer what the author's point is. Every passage is written by some intelligent person, often an academic of some kind, and that intelligent person fundamentally wants you to walk away from the passage informed about or convinced of one thing. Your job is to find that one thing.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
_________________

Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

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Re: Avoiding Reading Comp Mistakes   [#permalink] 25 Feb 2014, 16:50
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