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GMAT Club's Reading Comprehension Strategy Guide

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Re: GMAT Club's Reading Comprehension Strategy Guide  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2010, 09:01
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Thanks a lot!

My experience tells me that if I'm patient enough to read through the passage and jot down key words after each para, I could get the answers right.

So be patient and detail-minded!

Good luck to us!
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New post Updated on: 20 Apr 2010, 10:54
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Fundamental skills in reading.,

1. Find the main idea first: Even a small passage is trying to get a specific idea through. Skimming through the passage before you read it will give you some context of what the passage is about. Start with subject and then the specific topic of the subject. This read through of the text before you move in for the kill will help you grab the inner ideas well and help you to connect them with each other and place them in a larger context. This is a very simple skill to master. All you need to do is now whatever you read , paragraph by paragraph try and identify the main idea and the topic statement, i.e that one idea that captures the crux of the paragraph. This very simple activity develop your ability to round up an idea.It will help you distinguish between main idea and secondary details in a text, in other words the point being made and the data used to support or clarify that point. It will improve your paraphrasing skills and help you answer main idea questions.

2. Read actively: Active reading is asking questions while reading all the time.One major problem in test reading is maintaining the concentration level while reading difficult , unfamiliar text. This very simple habit of asking questions about whatever you are reading automatically ensures your involvement. Active reading is asking a question about whatever word you are reading. For example the text goes like this " it is one of the major reasons for that" active reading is asking what is "it" and what is "that". We are not talking about big fancy intelligent questions we are talking about " what is this" kind of questions. Asking questions you will often find the answer very easily since after all the answer is there in text but this activity will help you relate sentences and paragraph with each other. For example say the second paragraph of a passage starts with " this did not work too long" your active reading questions should be "what did not work too long" and since whatever we are talking about is in the previous paragraph and you are coming from that very paragraph so the answer will not take too long but it will refresh and consolidate what you have just read. Also you would have looked for the main idea of the previous paragraph so by active reading you just for a microsecond repeat the idea because a question was raised, if you know the answer while you see the word sentence already very good you are on the right track and are paying attention. So remember ask questions while you read.

3. Be aware of keywords: But, however , yet, since , therefore, because, on the other hand, though , although and many other words help connect two sentences or ideas. the word used tells us the relationship between the sentence we have read and the sentence we are about to read. In fact knowing keywords and their various functions gives you the magical reading power of prediction. For example a however or a but shows a change in reasoning or turnaround of logic whereas a therefore or a because indicate conclusion and reason respectively. ok try this " although Ponting is a great athlete......................." what do you come in the blank ? (a. another positive statement, b. a negative statement). Knowledge of keywords and paying attention and using active reading whenever you encounter them will go a long way in improving your comprehension.

4. Be aware of text structures : your keywords will help you establish patterns at both paragraph and passage level helping you fit all the pieces all together. Quickly identifying the pattern/structure helps you assimilate the information better since you already know what kind of information is going to be presented.A common structure that almost everybody is aware of is chronological where the information is presented in order of time. A passage may have an overall structure and a structure operating at paragraph level. Pattern recognition will go a long way in helping you make a cohesive whole of the ideas in the passage.

5. Improve your Argument analysis/Critical reasoning: Most expository text is trying to make a point , convince you of something so there will be plenty of arguments presented in the text and you will find questions pertaining to understanding , analysis and application of the arguments. Developing your critical reasoning skills is a necessary component of your reading skills.

6. Read as much as possible: Not technically a skill but a habit which is necessary for building great skills since the more you read the more practice you get in the above. You also see the keywords and usage and and hence develop your reading info database. Super Regular reading and from a wide variety of sources can to a certain extent the problem of unfamiliarity and fear. Plus reading is the surest fasted way to increase your intelligence both hardware and software.

Originally posted by takshzilabeta on 20 Apr 2010, 10:47.
Last edited by takshzilabeta on 20 Apr 2010, 10:54, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 20 Apr 2010, 10:48
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Reading well can make major improvements in your intelligence , Vocabulary , ideas base , emotional intelligence and your experience of the universe. here we look at some major basic ideas which can make a difference in your reading skills and therfore your ability to comprehend information quickly and accurately. The post is targetted at a test taker and thus the techniques and ideas that are discussed here are specific to expository text , i.e the kind of text you will see in the tests like CAT , GMAT , and other major general aptitude tests.

passages and texts in these tests are typically context less, i.e there is no headline like the way there is in a newspaper , the headline in the newspaper articles sets up the subject for us and even before you read the first line your brain has already localized the information and prepped you for further exploration. Your neurons dealing with the subject matter and related ideas are triggered quick and fast enabling smoother assimilation of information.

Some articles in a newspapers are continued ideas like a story going on for a few days , the newspapers which of course makes reading easier still since besides the neurons activated now the neurons needs were probably just activated the day before and thus being faster , to alight to work on the information. Following a test match of cricket interested readers will read one article after the other without any issues. Simple science so far.

Plus a story goes like our experience of time so that much easier to handle stories, movies , comics are all stories. Any continued bit of information your brain build its own story.

However in the exams following things change making it tougher than your usual paper reading.

1. no headlines , no story , no continuation , you have to read before you even figure out what’s going on
2. subject matter not of preference and liking , somebody who likes cricket does not like finance , somebody who lies finance does not understand history somebody who loves history struggles with philosophy and so on and so forth.
3. time pressure : the clock is ticking and you are not sitting on your pot and the passage
4. The Quality of text goes up :Newspapers are for the masses and the usage of language is colloquial to say the best, but more esoteric matters may be presented using words that you have not heard of or ideas that you are aware of .
5. here are questions: Specific , pointed , questions , checking fact/opinion distinction , ability to look for details , ability to see patterns in text , ability to analyze arguments make deductions , notice elements of style , speculate .


This is why that poor readers just find themselves out of their depths in quality english tests and even regular ficion/newspaper reader struggle to ace the subject. And let us tell you that it is an aceable subject.

Skilled readers however will manage fairly easily no matter what text presents itself. The need is to separate the skill from the habit. This is not to say that regular reading will not make a difference. parts of The skills required to overcome the above are bit by bit built and get developed automatically and the skill level should be almost directly proportional to the exposure. As mentioned earlier regular readers do fair better than poor readers for this very reason. remember it takes regular reading of couple of years at least to develop even sufficient skills.

Core reading skills however can be learnt fairly quickly by focusing on the broad major ideas that go into effective analytical reading. Post learning the core skills regular reading will work in an exponential manner in improving your skills and exam handling ability.
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New post 20 Apr 2010, 10:49
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What is Reading Comprehension ?



Understanding a written text means extracting the required information from it as effectively as possible. "Required information" depends on what we are reading and why we are reading. For example , the approached used while looking for 'computer peripherals" in the classified section would be very different from the one used in reading a harry potter novel. That is we automatically and without too much formal training use multiple reading strategies depending on what we are reading and why we are reading it.



What Do we Read ?

* Newspapers and Magazines (headlines, articles, editorials , opinions , classifieds , score cards, tv/movie listings)
* Specialized articles , reports , reviews , essays , business letters
* Handbook ,Textbook guidebooks
* Novels , short stories, tales , other literary texts and passages
* Advertisements , Brochures, Catalogues
* Recipies , how to instructions , posters , road signs , graffiti, menus , price lists , tickets and so much more.

Why we Read :

1. Reading for pleasure and general information, to keep your self updated with the world , novels , books , articles on your interest areas.
2. Reading for Specific information , looking for specific answers or reading from the point of view of analysis (exam reading)



how we read ?

Extensive reading : Reading longer texts like Novels , short stories for your own pleasure. Typically this is a fluency activity and the focus is on global understanding that is following the major elements of the story with sometimes a lot of detail only at the periphery of active focus. Though the details are not at the center of focus the overall data is going into the brain in a sequential , chornological manner and so memeory is of some significance her. Not remembering what happened in prisoner of Azkaban will be of some hindrance in reading latter Harry Potter books.

Intensive reading: Reading shorter texts to extract specific information. This is an accuracy activity with focus on detailsas well as global understanding , however memory is associated only till the act of intensive reading i.e you can read , analyze and forget the text.

Skimming :Quickly running one's eye over the text to gather the subject , general topic , global idea. This is what you do typically with newspapers in the first run through before you decide what articles to read and in what order.

Scanning: Quickly going through a text to find a specific piece of information , this is what you do when you look for a specific dal in the classifieds, much like the skill required to go through a dictionary .

The strategies are not mutually exclusive with each other and often work with each other and are needed to work together if one needs total control over his reading skills. For example while reading an exciting novel the reader would often skim through parts of the story and use extensive reading only in the portions that really excite the reader. Or while reading intensively one might need to go back a couple of paragraphs to better understand the data or answer a question and the reader would use his scanning skills to look for the general area of that information.


Specific Skills involved in reading.

Reading as a skill is made up of small tasks and activities which mesh together to give you the view of the text. If we need to improve our Reading Skills it is paramount that we understand what are the mini skills that go into making this over skill.Not surprisingly all the questions that come in the reading sections of aptitude tests , are designed to test these very skills and an examiner uses this very list to create menacing questions so take your time with this list and try and acquire most if not all of the following sub skills



* deducing the meaning and use of unfamiliar words using context and inference
* Understanding Explicitly stated information
* Understanding information when not explicitly stated
* Understanding relations within the sentence
* Understand relations between parts of text
* Understanding cohesion between parts of text through grammatical cohesion devices
* Interpreting text by going outside it
* Identifying main point and most important information in a text
* Distinguishing the main idea from supporting details
* Extracting important points to summarize
* Selective extraction of relevant point in the text
* Basic reference skills
* Skimming
* Scanning for specific information
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New post 20 Apr 2010, 10:52
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Keyword and transition phrases in reading.
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New post 14 May 2010, 09:43
Apart from Newspapers, I used to read online contents:
1. The Economist
2. Fast Company
3. Scientific America
4. Weird
5. Economic Times
6. Times of India

I really find articles on these sites exhaustive enough to practice for GMAT :)
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New post 14 May 2010, 09:50
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takshzilabeta wrote:
Keyword and transition phrases in reading.



Thanks for posting these! This is the right stuff for RC.
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New post 14 May 2010, 11:50
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Great post..
thanks
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New post 26 May 2010, 10:48
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Wow, BB, I just read your strategy as well as Rhyme's. They are quite the opposite, nevertheless, you both got similar verbal scores in the GMAT.

I think that each person should first get informed about the different alternatives of how to tackle each section, then try out the different strategies, and find out with which you one feels more comfortable, since the strategy that works for one person may not work well for other. So each should see for his own benefit what is best.

The good news is that in this forum there is so much information, a lot of tips and very well defined strategies for each section. If you really want to do well, everything is available. It just depends on you.

So thank you BB and all others who constantly post advice, tips, strategies, and stimulate in different ways each of us prospect GMAT takers.
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New post 03 Jun 2010, 10:02
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To understand see text analysis in action








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New post 04 Jun 2010, 08:41
wow .. this is realy very useful .. thx a ton ..
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New post 05 Jun 2010, 01:28
I tried following the strategy by BB. One way it helped me is that I didn't have to struggle to find the line/para where the answer might be located. However, I somehow take more than the required time to take notes. For a short passage (aprrox 45 lines) it takes me approx 5 minutes 30 seconds to take notes and then I am left with little time to asnwer the passage questions. The net result is that I mess up the RC :(

The notes are no doubt helpful but I guess I am not preparing them in a right way :(
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New post 19 Jun 2010, 12:53
This comparable to the amount of time I used to spend (maybe faster on short passages) but generally, I saved time on SC and CR to be able to use it for the RC. Either way, would suggest you get used to reading unfamiliar text and spend as much time reading as you can afford.

P.S. Kaplan, MGMAT, and PowerScore all suggest reading the entire passage. Not sure if it is a better approach but it is definitely more recommended one :wink:
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New post 30 Jun 2010, 04:15
i am weak in RC, thank you for sharing Tips.
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New post 12 Jul 2010, 09:30
cano wrote:
Wow, BB, I just read your strategy as well as Rhyme's. They are quite the opposite, nevertheless, you both got similar verbal scores in the GMAT.

I think that each person should first get informed about the different alternatives of how to tackle each section, then try out the different strategies, and find out with which you one feels more comfortable, since the strategy that works for one person may not work well for other. So each should see for his own benefit what is best.

The good news is that in this forum there is so much information, a lot of tips and very well defined strategies for each section. If you really want to do well, everything is available. It just depends on you.

So thank you BB and all others who constantly post advice, tips, strategies, and stimulate in different ways each of us prospect GMAT takers.


I definitely agree with this observation. I think the best process isn't to fall in love with a particular strategy at the outset. The prudent approach is to try as many strategies as possible (i.e., not reading to skimming to full reading to full reading + note taking) and determine for youself which strategy works best.

To be honest, I'm guilty of not following my own advice. I've tried probably only one approach -- albeit couple flavors of that one approach -- and it's very difficult to overcome my old "habits."

Like what my tennis coach always says to me: you always have to re-invent yourself to become better (essentially, breaking old habits to relearn new tricks so you can improve/expand your toolkit).
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New post 01 Aug 2010, 15:26
the strategies posted here sound pretty effective...but what if my vacabularies are limited...sometimes i found myself had no idea what the passage was about because i didn't know a few key words in the paragraph...any way to improve the amount of vacabularies for the GMAT in a short period of time ( 1 month)? thanks!
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New post 06 Aug 2010, 16:14
I ll definitely try the strategy!!!
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New post 07 Aug 2010, 08:21
thanks for the great tips. really helpful.
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New post 18 Aug 2010, 07:51
Even I agree that reading Paragraph properly and making notes in your own words helps (though it takes ample time but performance increases and one have a proper idea about the RC) but if someone has weak Vocab(as I am Non Native Speaker) it results in wrong answer choices selected so due you know any document that might cover most the Words that are common to GMAT.
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New post 22 Aug 2010, 02:30
This RC Strategies thread has been updated, mostly with links to various resources including the newly discovered You Tube videos about RC.
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Re: GMAT Club's Reading Comprehension Strategy Guide &nbs [#permalink] 22 Aug 2010, 02:30

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