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# HOW TO READ A PASSAGE

Author Message
Intern
Status: available
Joined: 11 Jun 2015
Posts: 11
Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Marketing
GMAT 1: 650 Q50 V29

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01 Jul 2015, 12:32
7
3
The key to building a good roadmap for GMAT reading comprehension is to read the signs along the way. In a GMAT passage, those signs correspond to three types: red light, yellow light, and green light keywords. Knowing what to do when you spot one of these keywords is crucial to efficient and effective passage navigation and management.

First, let’s take a look at the “red light” areas in a passage. Just like encountering a red light when you’re driving, these passage keywords tell you to stop and take notice. Note the main idea being communicated by that information.

Contrast is key

Red light keywords tend to show contrast, emphasis, and opinion. Look for contrast words such as “however,” “despite,” “although,” and “but.” The wording may vary, but contrasts always entail recognizing that the passage is shifting in some significant way. These places are worthy of a note because they often form the basis for questions later on.

Emphasis, like contrast, appears in many different forms, but anytime you see extreme language in a passage, take note. For example, an author could point out that “ALL it takes for a product to be FULLY genericized is ONE court ruling,” and you would want to note that information briefly in your map.

Look for opinionated language

Opinion is another crucial “red light” area, and it is worthy of your full attention. When you see author opinion, often signaled by words such as “obviously,” “clearly,” “hence,” etc., stop and take note. Author opinion is linked to both the purpose of the passage and the main idea of the passage, both of which appear commonly in GMAT Reading Comprehension questions.

When given a clear author opinion, the purpose of the passage will be biased in some way, and a question asking about purpose will have a correct answer that starts with a biased verb such as “advocates,” “argues,” “rebuts,” etc. If there is very little or no opinion, then the purpose will be based on a neutral verb such as “explains,” “describes,” etc.

In addition, the author’s opinion about the scope of the passage forms the main idea of every reading. If you identify the author’s opinion or the lack of author opinion in the passage, you will be in good shape for these global purpose and main idea questions.

Along with author opinion, other opinions are also important to note. If you see the “critics” or “some believe,” that information is likely to show up in some form in a question. Because other opinions are often contrasted with the author’s opinion, these other opinions can also show up as incorrect choices when a question is asking for an author’s opinion.

Know when to stop

Red lights require your full attention, but what about those yellow lights? These keywords are intersections that require some discretion. When you come across a “hence” or a “therefore” in your drive through the passage, it’s time to make a decision.

If the keyword is connected with an opinion, especially an author opinion, stop and take note. However, if the keyword is connected with merely an example or minor detail, hit the gas.

Cruise through detailed passages

Finally, what happens at those green lights? Green light keywords are those that indicate continuation, such as “in addition,” “moreover,” and “also,” or indicate an example or illustration, such as “for example” and “for instance.” Green light keywords help form and indicate structure, but you shouldn’t belabor those points. Keep cruising and note the location of key details in your map—but you don’t need to distill these down to specifics. Register only enough so that if you need those details for a question, you now know where to go to find them.

Ensuring the reading comprehension section doesn’t take a toll on your GMAT score is all about seeing the patterns and taking control of the wheel. Drive your way to success on Test Day by setting up a roadmap that points directly to the information most commonly tested in the questions.

Do you have any tips for navigating your way to a winning GMAT score? Share your GMAT reading comprehension strategy in the comments.
SVP
Joined: 12 Dec 2016
Posts: 1875
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 700 Q49 V33
GPA: 3.64

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29 Mar 2017, 20:08
are there any specific examples for emphasis and opinion words?
Intern
Joined: 20 Aug 2016
Posts: 8
Location: India

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12 Apr 2017, 22:43
campus1995 wrote:
The key to building a good roadmap for GMAT reading comprehension is to read the signs along the way. In a GMAT passage, those signs correspond to three types: red light, yellow light, and green light keywords. Knowing what to do when you spot one of these keywords is crucial to efficient and effective passage navigation and management.

First, let’s take a look at the “red light” areas in a passage. Just like encountering a red light when you’re driving, these passage keywords tell you to stop and take notice. Note the main idea being communicated by that information.

Contrast is key

Red light keywords tend to show contrast, emphasis, and opinion. Look for contrast words such as “however,” “despite,” “although,” and “but.” The wording may vary, but contrasts always entail recognizing that the passage is shifting in some significant way. These places are worthy of a note because they often form the basis for questions later on.

Emphasis, like contrast, appears in many different forms, but anytime you see extreme language in a passage, take note. For example, an author could point out that “ALL it takes for a product to be FULLY genericized is ONE court ruling,” and you would want to note that information briefly in your map.

Look for opinionated language

Opinion is another crucial “red light” area, and it is worthy of your full attention. When you see author opinion, often signaled by words such as “obviously,” “clearly,” “hence,” etc., stop and take note. Author opinion is linked to both the purpose of the passage and the main idea of the passage, both of which appear commonly in GMAT Reading Comprehension questions.

When given a clear author opinion, the purpose of the passage will be biased in some way, and a question asking about purpose will have a correct answer that starts with a biased verb such as “advocates,” “argues,” “rebuts,” etc. If there is very little or no opinion, then the purpose will be based on a neutral verb such as “explains,” “describes,” etc.

In addition, the author’s opinion about the scope of the passage forms the main idea of every reading. If you identify the author’s opinion or the lack of author opinion in the passage, you will be in good shape for these global purpose and main idea questions.

Along with author opinion, other opinions are also important to note. If you see the “critics” or “some believe,” that information is likely to show up in some form in a question. Because other opinions are often contrasted with the author’s opinion, these other opinions can also show up as incorrect choices when a question is asking for an author’s opinion.

Know when to stop

Red lights require your full attention, but what about those yellow lights? These keywords are intersections that require some discretion. When you come across a “hence” or a “therefore” in your drive through the passage, it’s time to make a decision.

If the keyword is connected with an opinion, especially an author opinion, stop and take note. However, if the keyword is connected with merely an example or minor detail, hit the gas.

Cruise through detailed passages

Finally, what happens at those green lights? Green light keywords are those that indicate continuation, such as “in addition,” “moreover,” and “also,” or indicate an example or illustration, such as “for example” and “for instance.” Green light keywords help form and indicate structure, but you shouldn’t belabor those points. Keep cruising and note the location of key details in your map—but you don’t need to distill these down to specifics. Register only enough so that if you need those details for a question, you now know where to go to find them.

Ensuring the reading comprehension section doesn’t take a toll on your GMAT score is all about seeing the patterns and taking control of the wheel. Drive your way to success on Test Day by setting up a roadmap that points directly to the information most commonly tested in the questions.

Do you have any tips for navigating your way to a winning GMAT score? Share your GMAT reading comprehension strategy in the comments.

Appreciate the tips! Keeping a close watch on keyword has helped me in RC. Good to go!
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