Click the link below to apply this tools learned to a sample question:fresh-passage-pricing-in-the-21st-century-134472.html
According to OG – each RC passage is a unified whole – that is, the individual sentences and paragraphs support and develop one main idea or central point which the student must identify
. In this article, we will discuss a technique called Paragraph Summaries to arrive at the main point of RC passage. First let’s see some characteristics of the main point:
1. It is a single line statement that expresses the intent of the entire passage
2. It is broad: scope spans the entire passage and is not limited to an example or paragraph in the passage.
3. It is precise: It most likely will not contain any specific detail that is outlined in the passage
Keep the above in mind. We will use these as we evaluate the correct and incorrect answer choices in our example. Definitions
Here are some definitions that we will follow in this article to make reading simple and enjoyable:
1. Passage: The entire RC passage for which have to identify the main point.
2. Paragraph: For passages with multiple paragraphs, a paragraph is defined as a group of lines that are isolated by delimiters. For long passages without spatial delimiters (essentially passages with one paragraph) – a group of 3-4 lines that express a unique idea.Paragraph Summaries and Main Point
So what is paragraph summary and how does it relate to the main point of the passage. A paragraph summary is a single line statement that summarizes the paragraph. Assuming that a passage has multiple paragraphs, the main point of your passage is basically a summary of paragraph summaries. Let’s consider a simple example in which the paragraph summaries have already been synthesized and devise the passage’s main point.Applying it to GMATPrep Problem
Hopefully you would have reviewed the passage and the Main Point question. Here is how I would approach the problem.
if you are looking for a detailed analysis of how I arrived at paragraph summaries.
Below is the main poin
t that I came up with by combining individual passage summaries. Note we call this - Prethinking Main PointLet’s now evaluate the answer choices and see how we can use the ‘Prethinking’ to come up with the answer. Characteristics of incorrect Answer Choices
Now that we have solved the example above, let’s review some of the characteristics of incorrect answer choices. There are 4 kind of incorrect answer choices in Main Point questions.
1) Out of Scope (OSC)
: These answer choices go beyond the scope of the passage and lists things that may be related to the subject of the passage but are not discussed in the passage. For example, choice A above is out of scope because it talks about emancipation of women from grief and poverty – a topic not discussed in the passage. OSC answer choice aims to try to exploit your common knowledge about the topic to force you to choose it as the correct answer. OSC choices may seem an attractive option if you have not read the passage well or understood it completely. However, OSC answer choices are relatively easy to discard if you have understood the passage well.
2) Partially scope
: This answer choice will list some things that are relevant and mentioned in the passage. However, the scope of this answer choice will not cover the entire passage or author’s intent for that matter and will be limited to one or more, but not all, paragraphs. An example of the same is choice C – which only talks about information presented in paragraph 1. Note this choice may seem extremely attractive since it may present information that is factually consistent with the passage. But remember – Main Point needs to encompass the scope of entire passage.
: This answer choice states the main purpose but in reverse order. For example, if the purpose of the passage were to outline the benefits of cooking then the opposite answer choice would state the purpose as the downside/drawbacks of cooking. Choice B in the example above falls in this category.
t: Test makers will sometimes create an answer choice that will embody the purpose of the passage but will add a modifier to that purpose that makes the entire answer choice inconsistent with the passage. Choice E above comes close to this.CORE SKILLS THAT YOU NEED TO MASTER
You are bound to encounter up to 4 main point questions in your exam. The core skills required to answer these questions are listed below.
1. Ability to Summarize
: The ability to summarize paragraphs in a few words. The summary must be short and accurate.
: The ability to combine paragraph summaries and come up with passage summary.
: not a very big factor, but you need to have a basic understanding of most terms used in the language summary to select the correct language. For example, you need to know what evaluate means and how is it different from advocate.
: Even when you do the above 3 correctly, the main point that you come up with during your Prethinking may not be the main point of the passage. Hence, you need the ability to evaluate the answer choices and select the one that is closest to the one that you came up with during Prethinking. Also, to be absolutely certain, you need to reject the remaining 4 for good reasons.HOW TO ACE ANSWERING MAIN POINT QUESTIONS
Whenever you answer a main point question incorrectly, ask yourself – which core skill did I falter on? As you solve more and more questions, you may find that you make mistakes because you are not as strong in one or more core skills. This would help you isolate the problem and devise a plan to work on it. For example, if you find out that you are able to Prethink the main point correctly but still you make a mistake, then you can be certain that you either lack the ability to evaluate the answer choices or are not as conversant with the terminology. Then you can focus only on strengthening these skills to improve your accuracyTake the e-GMAT RC Free trial to practice more (7-8 more passages)
Aiming to score 760+ on the GMAT? Attend our free webinars to learn how to:
[*] Master Number Properties
[*] Ace Critical Reasoning
The webinars will start at 7 AM PST on the 11th and 12th of July, 2015.