READING COMPREHENSION HELP! : General GMAT Questions and Strategies
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Joined: 08 Nov 2012
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22 May 2013, 18:13
Hello. I have been studying for the GMAT for a long time. I continue to struggle with reading comprehension. My scores vary all depending on these questions; when I guess well and get lucky on some questions its great but when I get these questions wrong its disastrous. My verbal scores on 8 tests have ranged from 34%-90%. I have a very short attention span which does not help my cause. I do my best to read difficult material (economist, Smithsonian , etc) but I still lose concentration and fail to capture the main ideas and details that are questioned on the test. I need to spend more time working with reading comprehension but I really dont know what is the best way to study. I get several questions wrong in a row which absolutely kills my score. With one of my MGMAT CAT test, I was in the 80% after 17 questions then got 11 questions wrong in a row to bring me down to 14%. I just did an OG Passage and set of questions and got all 5 wrong (all 300-600). This can be extremely difficult or impossible to recover from.

Whenever I get a difficult passage with scientific themes, I cannot grasp any of it and find myself guessing and hoping for the best. Beyond that and even with passages I feel that I can grasp, I really struggle with inference questions.
If you cannot understand the passage thats in front of you, how are you supposed to answer any type of question? You can be presented with a 400-500 level question and be totally lost.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can lengthen my attention span and improve my comprehension and accuracy with RC? I really want to improve. Thanks for your help & support and I will give kudos.
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24 May 2013, 08:58
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Richard0715 wrote:
Hello. I have been studying for the GMAT for a long time. I continue to struggle with reading comprehension. My scores vary all depending on these questions; when I guess well and get lucky on some questions its great but when I get these questions wrong its disastrous. My verbal scores on 8 tests have ranged from 34%-90%. I have a very short attention span which does not help my cause. I do my best to read difficult material (economist, Smithsonian , etc) but I still lose concentration and fail to capture the main ideas and details that are questioned on the test. I need to spend more time working with reading comprehension but I really dont know what is the best way to study. I get several questions wrong in a row which absolutely kills my score. With one of my MGMAT CAT test, I was in the 80% after 17 questions then got 11 questions wrong in a row to bring me down to 14%. I just did an OG Passage and set of questions and got all 5 wrong (all 300-600). This can be extremely difficult or impossible to recover from.

Whenever I get a difficult passage with scientific themes, I cannot grasp any of it and find myself guessing and hoping for the best. Beyond that and even with passages I feel that I can grasp, I really struggle with inference questions.
If you cannot understand the passage thats in front of you, how are you supposed to answer any type of question? You can be presented with a 400-500 level question and be totally lost.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can lengthen my attention span and improve my comprehension and accuracy with RC? I really want to improve. Thanks for your help & support and I will give kudos.

Hi Richard,

You are not alone and GMAT passage could be quite intimidating at times. The passages are intentionally made tough and may seem boring for many. If you are a science graduate you might find history passage boring or if your are from humanities background you might find science passages boring.

In order to develop a sound attention span you should read the passage critically. You can also consider a RC passage a big CR stimulus. Do not get distracted by the data, rather note the viewpoints of author or the groups discussed. If it is a science passage usually it is description of some biological mechanism or a critique of a research finding. Also I have seen that many history based passages have several viewpoints ( some people say, the feminists feel that, the party contends that.. etc.). When you read try to figure out in you mind the function that each sentence/ paragraph plays in the passage. While practice take infinite time to figure out these structural elements, then slowly time your self. The ultimate goal is to understand the passage which way you choose.

If you face problem in RC inference questions then, I guess you may also facing the same in CR inference questions. The solution is to practice the conclusion/ must be true/ inference based CR questions. Almost all the difficult questions in RC are inference questions. This will surely help you a lot in CR as well as in RC.

Also go through the following posts, they contain several RC strategies and practice questions. Reading Economist and NY time is surely going to help you so if you are doing so please continue. Note that improvement in RC will be slow, but if you follow the right strategies you will improve for sure.

Hope this helps,
Vercuels
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25 May 2013, 17:25
1
KUDOS
Richard0715 wrote:
Hello. I have been studying for the GMAT for a long time. I continue to struggle with reading comprehension. My scores vary all depending on these questions; when I guess well and get lucky on some questions its great but when I get these questions wrong its disastrous. My verbal scores on 8 tests have ranged from 34%-90%. I have a very short attention span which does not help my cause. I do my best to read difficult material (economist, Smithsonian , etc) but I still lose concentration and fail to capture the main ideas and details that are questioned on the test. I need to spend more time working with reading comprehension but I really dont know what is the best way to study. I get several questions wrong in a row which absolutely kills my score. With one of my MGMAT CAT test, I was in the 80% after 17 questions then got 11 questions wrong in a row to bring me down to 14%. I just did an OG Passage and set of questions and got all 5 wrong (all 300-600). This can be extremely difficult or impossible to recover from.

Whenever I get a difficult passage with scientific themes, I cannot grasp any of it and find myself guessing and hoping for the best. Beyond that and even with passages I feel that I can grasp, I really struggle with inference questions.
If you cannot understand the passage thats in front of you, how are you supposed to answer any type of question? You can be presented with a 400-500 level question and be totally lost.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can lengthen my attention span and improve my comprehension and accuracy with RC? I really want to improve. Thanks for your help & support and I will give kudos.

Hi Richard!

If you wish to improve your attention span, then start reading books/ articles that interest you, particularly the ones written in very simple language. Over a period of time you'll start to enjoy reading. Also while practicing RCs ,start with very easy passages and devise a method that suits you. After reading every paragraph just jot down the gist of it in your own words. Once you finish reading the entire passage just give it an appropriate topic ( the first one that comes to your mind without referring to the passage), reason why the author wrote the passage ( again the first one that comes to your mind) and what is the scope of the passage (e.g. the author talks about how birds migrate from one region to another ,but not the reason that they do so ). Again don't bother too much about the figures and the detailed information, you should just have an overall gist of the passage in your mind and an idea that if you need any specific information, in which paragraph would you find it.

Best of luck!
Vineeta
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