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HOW TO DESTROY READING COMPREHENSION PASSAGES BY RHYME

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New post 17 Aug 2014, 20:28
Give credit where credit is due... this post is gold.
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New post 07 Oct 2014, 22:50
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I don`t think this strategy works with 1-2 paragraph RC`s which we are seeing lately.Any evolution for this strat??
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New post 27 Oct 2014, 12:53
nice post .. does help understand the quick way to dismantle the question !!!
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New post 16 Nov 2014, 06:08
great post! thank you for the help
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New post 30 Nov 2014, 06:42
Has anyone posted the strategies to attack the infer questions? That's my main struggle area, in addition to comprehending convoluted sentences.
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New post 07 Dec 2014, 05:11
This is a very interesting discussion! I would say that RC is the hardest part of the entire GMAT, at least this is the part most of Optimus Prep's students are struggling with...It is great to see how many different approaches re existing
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New post 25 Jan 2015, 13:40
This strategy indeed works for some passages and many different (but not all) types of questions.

See OG 2015, page 392: I could answer all questions of this passage without reading more than the 1st paragraph and some parts of the other ones (in total less than 20, or so, lines, I would say).

However, for some passages and specially for some certain types of questions this strategy does not, simply, work, and one has to read the entire passage in some cases to be able to answer to some sorts of questions.
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New post 30 Jan 2015, 02:25
I also agree with this approach.

1) For long passages, it is good to have an outline. The 1st par is introducing you to the topic. It makes sense to read it, because you also get an idea of the tone of the text.
2) The first sentences make it easier for you to find what you are looking for later on, when answering the questions.
3) Chances are that for some of the questions you will have an almost 100% clear idea of what the answer is, so you won't have to go back to the whole text if you have notes. My notes usually look like this:
---This is the first sentene of each paragraph---
- Note 1, these notes include some words, which you can see very easily WITHOUT reading, later on.
- Note 2, it could look like this: religion --> stupid --> spaghetti monster
- Note 3, or like this 1985, birth date, BUTwas wrong
4) For text difficult to comprehend (economics - I am a psychologist... - physics, space buggars etc) you at least have some structure to direct your thinking later on and at least reject some answer options. Most importantly, you skim (not read but look) for key words (e.g., bond, capital, equilibrium price) and just go back there to look for a potential answer.
5) For those like me that have no problem compreheding but a HUGE problem remaining focused throught a long text (especially since these texts are an excellent way to DIE from PURE BOREDOM), this actually helps break them into smaller texts and TREAT them as such; it then becomes less nerv breaking...

One piece of advice: Also pay attention to the outline of the last paragraph of a text. Sometimes, especially when a text is argumentative, you get the tone of the author and his opinion or even conclusion.
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New post 14 Apr 2015, 19:22
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hey Rhyme

Any thoughts on how to adapt this method for double paragraph passages where the paragraphs are long and dense?
This method works like a charm for 5 paragraph passages but it is kinda confusing to use in 2 paragraph passages...

How about instead of reading the whole first paragraph just read the first and last sentence?Do you think this is a effective way of solving the problem?
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New post 15 Apr 2015, 06:36
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Good information. Thanks for it.
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New post 26 Aug 2015, 10:10
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Hi Rhyme,

Your approach is just fantastic. Though initially i am taking lot of time reading the passage. I am noting down every third word i guess. Can you please help me out explaining how to take out words from the paragraph efficiently ?

Also such long passages are a pain. Can you please take example of this passage :
two-modes-of-argumentation-have-been-used-on-behalf-of-55102.html

How to counter such long paragraphs? I laid down my arms before it.
At first reading it just went over my head. I tried to follow approach suggested, but getting the gist of such a long passage (that too from social science :( ) with only few words in paragraphs is getting difficult.
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New post 26 Sep 2015, 00:42
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Dear Rhyme
I knew you did say gudbye to this community and no longer keep track with all responses on this thread, however i still wanna say thank you Rhyme! This strategy is really a miracle that closes my unbalance between my Q and V scores quickly. Before that I failed so many time in RCs test and practices, even trying lots of tips and strategies ( include "the entire passage very carefully first"). This approach really not work for me
Can you imagine my recent mock test in verbal section when i've got 1 right answer/ 12 questions ( RCs), even I put alot of time and efforts, trying to understand the meaning of the whole passage, re-reading the answer to find why i cant not get the right one, but mistakes are somewhere repeated and repeated, I felt supper frustrated after completing each test.
Fortunately, I found and followed your Rhyme's method and it's a quite confuse and doubtful at first because i wondered how you can manage time and accuracy of the answers by taking note key words , paraphrasing 1st paragraph, skimming....under time constraint.
But, it's amazingly and conversely to what i was thinking. I started to work out with almost passage in Veritas gmat practice. It's beautiful where my results are showing more than 75% in total as a quick improvement. Also,I realized this approach may not work well for some INFERENCE questions that i have to stop at these a bit longer to locate the real messages of author and passage conveying.
Now i really like to use craft papers to write notes ( about 2-3 minutes) to brief the main ideas and flow of every passgages that i go thru. By this way, my brain is always activated to work and remember stuffs in RCs more effectively, so i can confidently manage time better and solve the questions accurately.
And yeahh....Juz few weeks left for my real test. Keep practice, practice and pratice and cant wait to be drunk some days hehe :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
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New post 07 Dec 2015, 11:45
This article was written in 2006. Any takers that this method still works with 2016 RC passages and questions?

Thanks in advance!
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New post 26 Jan 2016, 03:12
I've written 2 CATs in the latest version of the GMATPrep mock (TEST PACK 1) and the official GMAT. I can vouch for this method.
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New post 16 Feb 2016, 02:27
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Can someone please help to solve the below passage using rhyme's method? I am still confused on how to apply the method to the below kind of passages

Two works published in 1984 demonstrate contrasting approaches to writing the history of United States women. Buel and Buel's biography of MaryFish (1736-1818) makes little effort to place her story in the context of recent historiography on women. Lebsock, meanwhile, attempts not only to write the history of women in one southern community, but also to redirect two decades of historiographical debate as to whether women gained or lost status in the nineteenth century as compared with the eighteenth century. Although both books offer the reader the opportunity to assess this controversy regarding women's status, only Lebsock's deals with it directly. She examines several different aspects of women's status, helping to refine and resolve the issues. She concludes that while women gained autonomy in some areas, especially in the private sphere, they lost it in many aspects of the economic sphere. More importantly, she shows that the debate itself depends on frame of reference: in many respects, women lost power in relation to men, for example, as certain jobs (delivering babies, supervising schools) were taken over by men. Yet women also gained power in comparison with their previous status, owning a higher proportion of real estate, for example. In contrast, Buel and Buel's biography provides ample raw material for questioning the myth, fostered by some historians, of a colonial golden age in the eighteenth century but does not give the reader much guidance in analyzing the controversy over women's status.

Q1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A) examine two sides of a historiographical debate
(B) call into question an author's approach to a
historiographical debate
(C) examine one author's approach to a
historiographical debate
(D) discuss two authors' works in relationship to a
historiographical debate
(E) explain the prevalent perspective on a
historiographical debate


Q2. The passage suggests that Buel and Buel's biography
of Mary Fish provides evidence for which of the
following views of women's history?
(A) Women have lost power in relation to men since
the colonial era.
(B) Women of the colonial era were not as likelyto
be concerned with their status as were women
in the nineteenth century.
(C) The colonial era was not as favorable for women
as some historians have believed.
(D) Women had more economic autonomy in the
colonial era than in the nineteenth century.
(E) Women's occupations were generally more
respected in the colonial era than in the
nineteenth century.

I have provided only two of the questions

1. D
2. C
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New post 16 Feb 2016, 08:05
anujagarwal11

Answers :

Q1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A) examine two sides of a historiographical debate --> Though this looks ok, since two works are discussed, but debate is not on the work, rather the works of two authors address the debate.
(B) call into question an author's approach to a
historiographical debate --> an author ? No, the passage talks about two works
(C) examine one author's approach to a
historiographical debate --> again one author ? No, the passage talks about two works
(D) discuss two authors' works in relationship to a
historiographical debate --> This looks perfect
(E) explain the prevalent perspective on a
historiographical debate --> This makes more generalised primary purpose.




Q2. The passage suggests that Buel and Buel's biography
of Mary Fish provides evidence for which of the
following views of women's history?

This is specific question, so you will have to look at the specific location in passage : Last line

(A) Women have lost power in relation to men since
the colonial era. --> The last line doesn't talk about men
(B) Women of the colonial era were not as likely to
be concerned with their status as were women
in the nineteenth century. --> no comparison is made with the nineteenth century
(C) The colonial era was not as favorable for women
as some historians have believed. --> This looks perfect
(D) Women had more economic autonomy in the
colonial era than in the nineteenth century. --> B&Bs work questions the myth of status of women rather than giving evidence of more economic autonomy of women.
(E) Women's occupations were generally more
respected in the colonial era than in the
nineteenth century. --> No mention of the occupation.

C comes out clear winner.
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New post 16 Feb 2016, 08:13
vivekgautam1 wrote:
anujagarwal11

Answers :

Q1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A) examine two sides of a historiographical debate --> Though this looks ok, since two works are discussed, but debate is not on the work, rather the works of two authors address the debate.
(B) call into question an author's approach to a
historiographical debate --> an author ? No, the passage talks about two works
(C) examine one author's approach to a
historiographical debate --> again one author ? No, the passage talks about two works
(D) discuss two authors' works in relationship to a
historiographical debate --> This looks perfect
(E) explain the prevalent perspective on a
historiographical debate --> This makes more generalised primary purpose.




Q2. The passage suggests that Buel and Buel's biography
of Mary Fish provides evidence for which of the
following views of women's history?

This is specific question, so you will have to look at the specific location in passage : Last line

(A) Women have lost power in relation to men since
the colonial era. --> The last line doesn't talk about men
(B) Women of the colonial era were not as likely to
be concerned with their status as were women
in the nineteenth century. --> no comparison is made with the nineteenth century
(C) The colonial era was not as favorable for women
as some historians have believed. --> This looks perfect
(D) Women had more economic autonomy in the
colonial era than in the nineteenth century. --> B&Bs work questions the myth of status of women rather than giving evidence of more economic autonomy of women.
(E) Women's occupations were generally more
respected in the colonial era than in the
nineteenth century. --> No mention of the occupation.

C comes out clear winner.



This passage is completely factual. The author presents facts about both the works, but he has no opinion (+/-) in the passage. So, it's more of a discussuion, so the primary purpose is Discussion on two works
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New post 17 Feb 2016, 07:35
An extinction event (also known as a mass extinction or biotic crisis) is a widespread and rapid decrease in the amount of life on earth. Such an event is identified by a sharp change in the diversity and abundance of macroscopic life. It occurs when the rate of extinction increases with respect to the rate of speciation. Because the majority of diversity and biomass on Earth is microbial, and thus difficult to measure, recorded extinction events affect the easily observed, biologically complex component of the biosphere rather than the total diversity and abundance of life.

Over 98% of documented species are now extinct, but extinction occurs at a very uneven rate. Based on the fossil record, the background rate of extinctions on Earth is about two to five taxonomic families of marine invertebrates and vertebrates every million years. Marine fossils are mostly used to measure extinction rates because of their superior fossil record and stratigraphic range compared to land organism fossils.

Since life began on Earth, the five major mass extinctions have significantly exceeded the background extinction rate for animal and plant species. The most recent, the Cretaceous–Paleocene extinction event, which occurred approximately 66 million years ago, was a large-scale mass extinction of animal and plant species in a geologically short period of time. In the past 540 million years, during each of these five major events, over 50% of animal and plant species died. Mass extinctions seem to be a Phanerozoic-era phenomenon, with extinction rates low before large complex organisms arose.

Q1: It can be inferred from the passage that:

a) in an extinction event, there is a dramatic decrease in microbial life on earth.

b) over 90% of easily observed, biologically complex species become extinct during a biotic crisis.

c) the background extinction rate of animal and plant species is well below 50%.

d) marine fossils are easier to find and thus more useful to those studying mass extinction events.

e) new species do not emerge during a mass extinction event.


Q2 : The author would most probably agree with which of the following statements?

a) The diversity of microbial life has changed dramatically during mass extinction events.

b) The Cretaceous–Paleocene extinction event was the most significant in the past 540 million years.

c) There were many mass extinction events prior to 540 million years ago.

d) Extinction rates have varied widely over the past 540 million years.

e) Mass extinctions are less likely now than in the past 540 million years.[/box_out]

Q3: It can be inferred from the passage that the Phanerozoic era was:

a) a time period that existed before 540 million years ago.

b) a time period during which few new species emerged.

c) a time period before the Cretaceous–Paleocene era.

d) a time period during which large, complex organisms existed.

e) a time period during which fewer than 50% of animal and plant species died.[/box_out]

Q4: The primary purpose of the passage is to:

a) warn readers about the possible dangers of mass extinction events.

b ) discuss the causes of a particular scientific phenomenon.

c) present new evidence to support the theory of mass extinction events.

d) describe an important scientific and historical occurrence

e) suggest that mass extinctions are likely to continue in the future.

Please explain this passage
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New post 05 May 2016, 12:27
Hey...thanks great post....

Please suggest me a way to approach passages such as the one given below:

I got the first 3 absolutely completely wrong.

When literary periods are defined on the basis of men’s writing, women’s writing must be
forcibly assimilated into an irrelevant grid: a Renaissance that is not a renaissance for women, a
Romantic period in which women played very little part, a modernism with which women
conflict. Simultaneously, the history of women’s writing has been suppressed, leaving large,
mysterious gaps in accounts of the development of various genres. Feminist criticism is
beginning to correct this situation. Margaret Anne Doody, for example, suggests that during
“the period between the death of Richardson and the appearance of the novels of Scott and
Austen,” which has “been regarded as a dead period,” late-eighteenth-century women writers
actually developed “the paradigm for women’s fiction of the nineteenth century—something
hardly less than the paradigm of the nineteenth-century novel itself.” Feminist critics have also
pointed out that the twentieth-century writer Virginia Woolf belonged to a tradition other than
modernism and that this tradition surfaces in her work precisely where criticism has hitherto
found obscurities, evasions, implausibilities, and imperfections.

24. It can be inferred from the passage that the author views the division of literature
into periods based on men’s writing as an approach that
(A) makes distinctions among literary periods ambiguous
(B) is appropriate for evaluating only premodern literature
(C) was misunderstood until the advent of feminist criticism
(D) provides a valuable basis from which feminist criticism has evolved
(E) obscures women’s contributions to literature

25. The passage suggests which of the following about Virginia Woolf’s work?
I. Nonfeminist criticism of it has been flawed.
II. Critics have treated it as part of modernism.
III. It is based on the work of late-eighteenth-century women writers.
(A) I only
(B) II only
(C) I and II only
(D) II and III only
(E) I, II and III

26. The author quotes Doody most probably in order to illustrate
(A) a contribution that feminist criticism can make to literary criticism
(B) a modernist approach that conflicts with women’s writing
(C) writing by a woman which had previously been ignored
(D) the hitherto overlooked significance of Scott’s and Austen’s novels
(E) a standard system of defining literary periods

27. The passage provides information that answers which of the following questions?
(A) In what tradition do feminist critics usually place Virginia Woolf?
(B) What are the main themes of women’s fiction of the nineteenth century?
(C) What events motivated the feminist reinterpretation of literary history?
(D) How has the period between Richardson’s death and Scott’s and Austen’s
novels traditionally been regarded by critics?
(E) How was the development of the nineteenth-century novel affected by
women’s fiction in the same century?
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New post Updated on: 23 Aug 2016, 22:48
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RC IS SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE IN YOU OR YOU DON'T.
READ ONCE CAREFULLY AND BE A SCHOLAR..
DONT BE USIAN BOLT. YOU WONT BE ABLE TO ANSWER A SINGLE QUESTION IF YOU BELIEVE IN SPEED READING AND CURSORY GLANCES.
PAUSE FOR A FEW SECONDS IF FANCY UNKNOW WORD COMES. FIGURE OUT A GUESSTIMATE MEANING BASED ON CONTEXT.
KEEP READING . TAKE NOTES PARAGRAPH WISE AND THE ANSWER. YOU WILL GET IT RIGHT (GIVEN YOU KNOW WHAT RC IS ALL ABOUT).
IT ALL ABOUT MAPPING. WHAT INFO IS DISTRIBUTED IN WHAT PASSAGE.


rhyme wrote:
HOW TO DESTROY READING COMPREHENSION PASSAGES BY RHYME

There is a magic bullet for RC passages.

What? There's a magic bullet? Surely you lie rhyme!

I do not. Here it is: Don't read the passage.

Suprised? It works. The primary purpose of the RC passages are not to test your knowledge of grammar or theories or anything like that - they test your ability to RETAIN INFORMATION. Problem is, you've got a few minutes to read a passage on some of the most boring crap ever, and you somehow have to remember it? It can't be done.

So, how do you beat the RC down to it's knees and kick it in the groin?

You only read parts of it.

Lets try this with a long passage attached. (DONT READ IT YET!!)

Oh good god, thats atrociously long! So what do you do?

Step 1: Read the first paragraph and rewrite the key points. Rewrite in your own words.
Step 2: Read the first sentence of each subsequent paragraph. Rewrite in your own words.
Step 2a: SKIM the paragraph looking for key words - names, dates, key words. Write these down underneath the key sentence you wrote for each paragraph.
Step 3: Answer the questions.


NOW TRY THIS ON THE ATTACHED PASSAGE BEFORE YOU READ MY NOTES BELOW

What did your notes look like?

My notes might look something like this:


Black Death severe epidemic, ravaged 14th cent Europe. Intrigured scholars since Gasquet 1893 study. Gasquet contends epidemic intensified political / religious upheaval that ended middle ages. Later, Coulton agreed but oddly attributed a good thing to the BD - propersity as a result of less competition for food, shelter and crap.

1930s, Evgeny Kosminksy claimed epedemic as not a key player.
World War, Marxist, fedualism

Role of BD also challenged in other way.
Twigg, Sherwburry, trade ship, havoc, bubonic, nile, 1912

Although Twigg cites conditions needed for BD, he ignores too much and is faulty in his logic.
Speculation, fault, trade ship, rodents, animals, europe


..........................


Now I've boiled the entire thing down to a few sentences. Try re-reading the first sentences now if you are confused about the point of the passage. Whats the passage saying? DB was bad, lots of people have studied it, one guy argues it helped end the middle ages, some other guy said it helped foster prosperity, someone else argued against that, some other guys cahllenged it too, some guy named Twig is wrong. Ok, so the authors talking about the DB, and specifically some different theories about it. No problem.

What happens though when you get the question:

"Which of the following statements is most compatible with Kosminksy's approach to history as it is presented in the passage?"


Easy. Find Kosminsky in your notes. Oh, there he is, in the second paragraph. Ok, now go look back at the second paragraph. Find his name. Read ONE sentence around his name. If you don't see the answer, read TWO sentences. If it's not in either of those sentences, see if his name comes up somewhere else in the passage. The answers to the specific questions become REALLY REALLY EASY if you use this method. Why? The GMAT LOVES to test your ability to remember the impossible.

What are the answer choices for this question?

Quote:

(a) The middle ages were ended primarily by the religious and political upheaval in fourteen century europe
(b) The economic consequences of the BD included increased competition for food, shelter and work.
(c) European history cannot be studied in isolation from that of hte rest of hte world
(d) The number of deaths in the fourtheenth century has been exaggerated
(e) The significance of the black death is best explained within the context of evolving economic systems.


Do you see the GMAT's trap? They do this ALL the time with specific questions like this one. "OOOH OOH I REMEMBER READING ABOUT HOW THE MIDDLE AGES WERE ENDED BY RELIGIOUS UPHEAVAL... ILL PICK THAT." Or, maybe you don't remember that and you pick B becuase IT LOOKS FAMILIAR AND YOU REMEMBER IT. How many names came up in this passage? A half dozen? Evgency, Coulton, Gasquet, Twigg, Shrewsbury! The gmat is trying to trick you to do one of two things - either (A) pick based on what you remember or (B) worse, make you go back and re-read half the Oops passage.

You will do neither of these.

Now, go back and read only two sentences around the word Evgeny Kosminsky. Do you see the answer? There's only one possible answer that even COMES CLOSE. Lets say you have no FRICKING CLUE what the hell Kosminsky is trying to say, even if you HAVE NO Oops CLUE, there's only one option that has a very similar word to those two sentences. "economic" and "economically". How easy did that become?

Now what if they asked you a general question?

Quote:

The passage is primarily concerned with:

A) Demonstrating the relationship with the bubonic plague and the black death
B) Interpreting historical and scientific works on the black death
C) Employing the black death as a case study of disease transmission in medieval Europe
D) Presenting aspects of past and current debate on teh historical importance of the black death
e) Analyzing differences between capitalist and marxist interpretations of the historical signficance of the black death


No !@(*!(#@ problem. Remember how you broke down the passage in to a few sentences? What did it say? Did you write bubonic plague anywhere? No, not in any of your key sentences. Eliminate A. Is there any mention of case studies anywhere? No not really, so eliminate C. Did you write down anything about capitalists? No, eliminate E. Ok, so you are down to B and D. Look back at your sentences - is the author interpreting things for you or just telling you that there are different views? In other words, is he interpreting or presenting? He's presenting. Answer is D.

Did you get both these questions right? Hopefully you did. Did you notice how you never actually read the !@(#!(@ passage?. Cool eh?

I really hope that made some sense. In my mind, this is the fullproof way of DESTROYING the RC on the GMAT. You can obliterate it if you take the time to do this stuff. Oh and don't forget, its much faster to read twelve sentences than to read 70.

Someone pointed out a stickied verbal thread called "USeful verbal documents" or something like that. In there, it says this about RC:

Quote:

Try to read the whole text of the passage once, if possible. Many people think you should just skim the passage or read the first lines of every paragraph, and not to read the passage. We believe this is an error: if you misunderstand the main idea of the passage, you will certainly get at least some of the questions wrong. Give the passage one good read, taking no more than 3 minutes to read all of the text. Do not read the passage more than once – that wastes too much time. If you have not understood it completely, try to answer the questions anyway.


A few comments. First, I'm not advocating you skim the passage. I'm advocating you read the entire first paragraph and the first sentence of each subsequent one, and then skim. What I find shocking in the advice above are two things:

1) "If you don't the main idea of the passage you will certainly get at least some of the questions wrong."

Not necessarily. This is only true if you get a bunch of general questions, but you are EQUALLY likely to get a bunch of specific questions - where your understanding of the whole passage is not important.

2) "Do not read the passage more than once – that wastes too much time. If you have not understood it completely, try to answer the questions anyway."

Good Lord. Who came up with this strategy? Read the whole thing once, if you don't understand it, try anyway! You want to talk about a sure fire way of NOT getting things right? Think about it... the whole POINT of RC is to test your ability to retain information, the whole POINT of the questions is to try and force you to go back multiple times and re-read sections again and again. According to the strategy posted in the word doc in that thread, you should just read it once and then "do your best"? Sorry, but this has got to be some of the worst advice I could imagine.

Reading the whole passage once will do a few things:

(1) It will take more time than my method, AND you won't have any notes at the end!
(2) You will GUARANTEE confusion. There is a reason the GMAT picks dry scientific passages and not passages from some Tom Clancy novel. (Even though those suck too). It's because they are PACKED with information, often TERTIARY information - it's meant to be hard to digest this stuff. On top of it, they suggest 3 minutes to read AND understand the text?

The advice they give sounds familiar. It sounds like Kaplan. Read the whole thing! Then take notes! Then answer questions! HAY GUYZ, ITS 75 MINUTES YOU KNOW? It's crazy advice.

Theres one more thing I want to say about RC.

You know those questions about "The author infers....." or "It can be inferred...." ?

I'm going to try and find an example of this tonight if I can, but when they say that, they really DONT want you to infer much. They really just want you to find what the author said. I can't explain this very well without an example, but I will look for one. If anyone knows of one in the book somewhere, just PM me it or give me a page/probl # or post it here.

_________________

Posting an answer without an explanation is "GOD COMPLEX". The world doesn't need any more gods. Please explain you answers properly.
FINAL GOODBYE :- 17th SEPTEMBER 2016. .. 16 March 2017 - I am back but for all purposes please consider me semi-retired.


Originally posted by LogicGuru1 on 23 Jun 2016, 12:15.
Last edited by LogicGuru1 on 23 Aug 2016, 22:48, edited 1 time in total.
HOW TO DESTROY READING COMPREHENSION PASSAGES BY RHYME &nbs [#permalink] 23 Jun 2016, 12:15

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