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Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely

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Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 26 Apr 2018, 11:36
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I have tried almost all the strategy mentioned by majority of GMAT coaches and fellow test takers.
Based on my reading of 480 passages (8-9 passages per day for the last 2 months every evening :) ) I have come to the conclusion that the "BE A SCHOLAR- Read everything and make quick concise notes" strategy works the best (at least for me).

This is how "BE A SCHOLAR" Strategy works.
1) Look at the number of paragraphs of the passage. You will need as many distinct areas in your notebook to corresponds to these passages and "mapping" the Info given in each paragraphs.
2) Start reading the passage. FIRST LINE IS IMPORTANT. It gives an idea about what kind of passage you are dealing with.
3) After reading the first line go directly to to the last line of the passage. Do they correlate. Does there seems to be a flow or continuity. If yes, then it is very good ; If no then don't worry. Start readind the passage from top.
4) Make notes about each paragraph in the designated area , read everything, keeping in mind the transitional words such as since, however, but. Also keep in mind change in the context or topic when no such words are introduced.
5) Keep in mind the changing context and topics from one para to another. WRITE A NOTE TO YOURSELF WHEN THIS HAPPENS (CC= context change. NC= new idea) etc etc
6) Make infographics for long paragraphs with proper terms. THIS WORKS LIKE A CHARM WHEN YOU START ANSWERING QUESTIONS.
7) Make infographics when one info is connected to another info and then to another info. A small algorithm kind of pyramid structure or scattered boxes with directional arrows works best.
8) Use mathematical symbols such as = + @ # $ % liberally to shorten the long sentences and condense the idea
For example. If the passage reads - Interest rates are dependent on customer buying power and the prevalent economic climate.
Condense it as
Int. Rate = customer $$ + Eco. condtn (conditions)
Use diagrams as much as you can for example If a passage says - The potential difference in clouds results when positively charges ions move to the upper layers of the clouds creating a surplus of negatively charged particles in the denser lower layers of the clouds and thus creating an electrical imbalance.
Condense it using a hand made diagram
++++++++++++
+++++++++++VE

PD <----elctrkl imbal.

- - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - -VE

9) Again read the last line of the passage carefully. Now compare it with the mental Note you initially made about the passage. Does it fits the idea you had about the passage at the start of reading. Be careful even if the last line feels inconspicuous compared to the heavy info given in the passage. YOU MUST UNDERSTAND IT as it signifies the gist or summary of the passage

Voila you are done.

Another Important fact about "BE A SCHOLAR" strategy is the relatively high success rate with one time investment.
Just imagine you understood a passage completely and by sheer coincidence or design of the GMAT algorithm, you get 5 questions from the passage :-
Q 1) whats the passage about?
Q 2) based on the passage what can be inferred?
Q 3 ) the highlighted word signifies what in relation to the something else?
Q 4) The author is most likely to agree to which of the following statement?
Q 5) what is the tone of the passage?
Q 6) What is mentioned with regard to XYZ in the passaage?
Q7) what is not mentioned in regard to XYZ in the passage.

Now see, If you master the passage then you have 4-5 correct answers in your pocket just by investing a little time .
JUST IMAGINE GUYS 5 CORRECT ANSWERS !!
In verbal section where one answer can boost your potential score from 680 to 700, What difference can 5 correct answers make in your total ?? !!!
Trust me, the time invested in practicing RC is totally worth it.
Just mind the reading speed though, cos GMAT is a timed test and such speed will only come by reading as many varied passages as one can .

I admit this method takes a bit of time for the first 30 - 40 passages but later , you will develop your own symbols and shortcuts and would understand the entire passage just looking at your notebook. My earlier ERROR RATE was 3 incorrect in every 15-18 questions. Now it is 1 incorrect in 45-50 questions. Now i barely make a mistake in even the densest passage. The rare singular error happens when the answers are particularly similar and i miss something like "Except" or "Not" or "in, im" terms that reverses the meaning to opposite. (invalid valid impossible possible, practical impractical )

I am now proficient in decoding densest GMAT passages about political , business , science, ecology, social science and other fields.
I would like to suggest people who are just starting preparation to go for this approach.

FELLOW MEMBER'S SUGGESTIONS ARE MOST WELCOME
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Originally posted by LogicGuru1 on 08 Aug 2016, 03:25.
Last edited by LogicGuru1 on 26 Apr 2018, 11:36, edited 5 times in total.
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New post 08 Aug 2016, 05:42
@LogicGuru1 this is similar to what I have taught for 16 years and has worked like a charm for my clients.

However I focus more on paraphrasing, and using keywords, contrast, conclusions and commas as the basis for what you include in your road map.

Also I read the first sentence of each paragraph first to get a sense of what the files are in the filing cabinet before I start assimilating the data.

It takes a little upfront investment, but we are almost always able to come up with the answer before diving into the choices. Which has such a great impact on confidence and overall stamina.

I do think that one of the keys to the strategy is paraphrasing key parts of the passage, in your own words, just focusing on what you DO know and CAN understand and leaving the rest behind.

The reason for that is because the answers are a paraphrased version of the relevant text. If you've already paraphrased, then you're more receptive to those answers.

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Re: Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2016, 05:57
"Paraphrasing" - Yes exactly.
It surprises me how many answers can be derived if the reader has done paraphrasing and also pre-thinking (helps in those tricky inference questions)
I also absolutely agree about your "FIRST LINE THEORY" . It is indeed the starting point for filing relevant info and also gives a peek by foreshadowing things that will appear later in the passage either in form of confirmation, negation or comparison aided by extraneous information.
Also in unison with you about the Last Line . More often than not the closing remark ("LAST LINE") sums up the passage and paves way to answer the most common and generally the first question- "The passage talks about which of the following"?
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Re: Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2016, 06:09
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@LogicGuru1 I'm having fun geeking out with you over reading comp.

I used to recommend that my students read the first line AND the last line of each paragraph first, however as I'm sure you realize with some of those arts and literature passages the last sentence can be a total cluster.

It's kind of a gamble, sometimes it's a wonderful summary, sometimes it's a dense ugly mess. You kind of see what I mean?

So now I recommend that strategy if you are dead out of time. To just read the first sentence last sentence and use that information to answer the global questions. It really works well, however its optimal not to be against the wall like that in terms of timing.

I really like the strategy I have of skipping words. Basically just selecting the most relevant words out of the passage, and leaving the rest behind. So if they talk about Applewood Smoked Bacon, I'm writing down bacon.

This works equally well when it's something you're not familiar with. I read a study about how people literally stop learning once they run into a word that they don't know.

And so I encourage my clients to consciously let that go and just focus on what they can get out of it. And it's almost always enough.

Empowering to know that what you don't understand doesn't really matter.

Farrell Dyan Hehn, MBA
Admissions Consultant & Verbal Strategist MBAPrepCoach.com
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Re: Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2016, 21:08
LogicGuru1 wrote:
I have tried almost all the strategy mentioned by majority of GMAT coaches and fellow test takers.
Based on my reading of 480 passages (8-9 passages per day for the last 2 months every evening :) ) I have realised that the "BE A SCHOLAR- read everything and make quick notes" strategy works the best (at least for me).

This is how "BE A SCHOLAR" Strategy works.
1) Look at the number of paragraphs of the passage. You will need as many distinct areas in your notebook to corresponds to this passages.
2) Start reading the passage. FIRST LINE IS IMPORTANT. It gives an idea about what kind of passage you are dealing with
2) Make notes about each paragraph in the designated area , read everything, keeping in mind the transitional words such as since, however, but. Also keep in mind change in the context or topic when no such words are introduced.
3) Keep in mind the changing context and topics from one para to another. WRITE A NOTE TO YOURSELF WHEN THIS HAPPENS (CC= context change. NC= new idea) etc etc
4) Make infographics for long paragraphs with proper terms. THIS WORKS LIKE A CHARM WHEN YOU START ANSWERING QUESTIONS.
5) Make infographics when one info is connected to another info and then to another info. A small algorithm kind of pyramid structure or scattered boxes with directional arrows works best.
6) Read the last line of the passage carefully. Even if it feels inconspicuous compared to the heavy info given in the passage. UNDERSTAND IT.

Voila you are done.
I admit this method takes a bit of time for the first 30 - 40 passages but later , you will develop your own symbols and shortcuts and would understand the entire passage just looking at your notebook. My earlier ERROR RATE was 3 incorrect in every 15-18 questions. Now it is 1 incorrect in 45-50 questions. Now i barely make a mistake in even the densest passage. The rare singular error happens when the answers are particularly similar and i miss something like "Except" or "Not" or "in, im" terms that reverses the meaning to opposite. (invalid valid impossible possible, practical impractical )

I am now proficient in decoding densest GMAT passages about political , business , science, ecology, social science and other fields.

I would like to suggest people who are just starting preparation to go for this approach.

FELLOW MEMBER'S SUGGESTIONS ARE MOST WELCOME

Thanks for the update. Can you please share where you practice those RC passages .It would be great help if you could share those . Thanks in advance

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New post 08 Aug 2016, 21:25
@sabiri who are you addressing here? If you're talking to me, I practice them with my private clients. I've been considering doing podcasts but with admissions season upon us I'm swamped, will probably return to GMAT podcasting in February.

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Re: Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2016, 21:36
Thanks for the reply . As suggested by logic guru daily dose of 8-9 RC passages is required to master it .Also I would like to know where can I practice in this GMAT club forum . I came to know that there is millions of RC passages updated in the forum .

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Re: Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2016, 22:16
SabariGirish wrote:
Thanks for the update. Can you please share where you practice those RC passages .It would be great help if you could share those . Thanks in advance


SabariGirish,
There are hundreds of passages in the RC section here in gmatclub. Also there are a few downloadable pdf with hundreds of passages, in case you want to practise offline if your internet is down. Souvik, carcass and a few fellow members have uploaded a good amount of pdf files each with multiple passages and answers. I don't think there is a dearth of passage if you filter the RC section. The hard part is to maintain momentum, interest and motivation while coming across dry or tough passages. But with a little bit of dedication and perseverance RC can be mastered

BEST OF LUCK
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Re: Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2016, 12:42
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Another Important fact about "BE A SCHOLAR" strategy is the relatively high success rate with one time investment.

Just imagine you understood a passage completely and by sheer coincidence or design of the GMAT algorithm, you get 5 questions from the passage :-
Q 1) whats the passage about?
Q 2) based on the passage what can be inferred?
Q 3 ) the highlighted word signifies what in relation to the something else?
Q 4) The author is most likely to agree to which of the following statement?
Q 5) what is the tone of the passage?
Q 6) What is mentioned with regard to XYZ in the passaage?
Q7) what is not mentioned in regard to XYZ in the passage.

Now see, If you master the passage then you have 4-5 correct answers in your pocket just by investing a little time .
JUST IMAGINE GUYS 5 CORRECT ANSWERS !!
In verbal section where one answer can boost your potential score from 680 to 700, What difference can 5 correct answers make in your total ?? !!!
Trust me, the time invested in practicing RC is totally worth it.
Just mind the reading speed though, cos GMAT is a timed test and such speed will only come by reading as many varied passages as one can .
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Re: Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely [#permalink]

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New post 04 Apr 2018, 07:57
Your advice is really helpful for me! I have just finished reading all the passages in the OG 2017 in RC section. I know the feeling of one time understanding reading. It is very important not to reread the passage again and again as it is a total waste of time. So my experience from the practicing is to try to take it slow while reading the passage, pay most attention to the FIRST sentence as it always reflects exactly what the passage is all about. Then everything just comes very natural to me while I go ahead with the rest of the passage if I clearly get the point from the very first sentence.
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Re: Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely [#permalink]

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New post 06 Apr 2018, 00:17
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volknguyen wrote:
Your advice is really helpful for me! I have just finished reading all the passages in the OG 2017 in RC section. I know the feeling of one time understanding reading. It is very important not to reread the passage again and again as it is a total waste of time. So my experience from the practicing is to try to take it slow while reading the passage, pay most attention to the FIRST sentence as it always reflects exactly what the passage is all about. Then everything just comes very natural to me while I go ahead with the rest of the passage if I clearly get the point from the very first sentence.


Good to know that ... Also make sure whenever you read any sentence, you keep your attention on meaning changing words such as "however", "but", "conversely", "in contrast to" as well as argument strengthening words "in additional to ", "additionally", "moreover", "in the same vein" and so on. GMAT Passages sometimes starts with an idea but by using these abovementioned words they either develop the idea or argue against that idea.

Also make sure to map what information is being presented in what paragraph (para 1 , para 2, para 3). It will help you to target the correct paragraph in case if you have to revisit the passage to find the answer.

Also create small flow charts that shows the flow of information or idea with in the passage. It makes the understanding the entire passage easy.
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Re: Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely [#permalink]

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New post 06 Apr 2018, 03:58
LogicGuru1


Quote:
4) Make infographics for long paragraphs with proper terms. THIS WORKS LIKE A CHARM WHEN YOU START ANSWERING QUESTIONS.
5) Make infographics when one info is connected to another info and then to another info. A small algorithm kind of pyramid structure or scattered boxes with directional arrows works best.


Is this same as understanding structure/ argument elaborated in Manhattan CR/RC books?
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Re: Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely [#permalink]

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New post 06 Apr 2018, 12:14
adkikani wrote:
LogicGuru1


Quote:
4) Make infographics for long paragraphs with proper terms. THIS WORKS LIKE A CHARM WHEN YOU START ANSWERING QUESTIONS.
5) Make infographics when one info is connected to another info and then to another info. A small algorithm kind of pyramid structure or scattered boxes with directional arrows works best.


Is this same as understanding structure/ argument elaborated in Manhattan CR/RC books?


Cannot really comment on that because I did not followed Manhattan too heavily for RC (and not at all for CR)
If you find similarity between the two methods then I would totally agree with you. however mine is a homegrown method based on a lot of practice.
I won't be surprised if it matches with a lot of methods mentioned because it is as successful as any methods in coaching book :)

For the material I consulted and my preparation strategy search this post of mine ---> "gmat-750-end-of-journey-thank-you-all"

All the best
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Re: Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely [#permalink]

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New post 07 Apr 2018, 16:42
I like the approach where you suggest to take, what essentially are, shorthand notes or representations of your understanding of the consumed content. My question though is at what point should I engage in taking notes?

Would you advise doing it at the end of each paragraph summarizing the paras.? My concern with this strategy is that I am afraid I might lose the sense of flow of the author's core point and an understanding of "where is he going with this". On the flipside, if I do it at the end, I risk needing to re-read the previous paragraphs for the small details because that's how the mind consumes and retains information (FIFO - first in first out). Thoughts?
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Re: Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely [#permalink]

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New post 08 Apr 2018, 02:27
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sidvarma wrote:
I like the approach where you suggest to take, what essentially are, shorthand notes or representations of your understanding of the consumed content. My question though is at what point should I engage in taking notes?

Would you advise doing it at the end of each paragraph summarizing the paras.? My concern with this strategy is that I am afraid I might lose the sense of flow of the author's core point and an understanding of "where is he going with this". On the flipside, if I do it at the end, I risk needing to re-read the previous paragraphs for the small details because that's how the mind consumes and retains information (FIFO - first in first out). Thoughts?


My strategy was to first look at the number of paragraphs.. And then divide my page into the number of paragraphs(+1) . The additional space was for compensation and safety in case some corrections are needed. Then I would start reading the passage and I would take notes with every couple of lines. If it was a dense passage then every 3-4 lines and if it was easy then every 5-6 lines. Taking notes after each line is not recommended as it then turns essentially into an exercise in copying. It also deters from comprehending the passage deeply as the student get unnecessarily busy and bogged in something that is not useful.

The essence of Reading Comprehension is to either assimilate (or if you cant retain then map) the information given in the passage and recall it "correctly" as fast as you can. The final goal should always be to digest the information and retrieve it at will. Infographics, arrow diagrams and visual art are good for taking notes and for confirming/searching the answer. The century old suggestion -"If you write, it stays in mind" proves to be true and thats why its good to take notes.

Keep practicing to improve your speed and to gain exposure on the varied topics that GMAT might throw into your way.
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Re: Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely [#permalink]

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New post 08 Apr 2018, 09:46
LogicGuru1 wrote:
My strategy was to first look at the number of paragraphs.. And then divide my page into the number of paragraphs(+1) . The additional space was for compensation and safety in case some corrections are needed. Then I would start reading the passage and I would take notes with every couple of lines. If it was a dense passage then every 3-4 lines and if it was easy then every 5-6 lines. Taking notes after each line is not recommended as it then turns essentially into an exercise in copying. It also deters from comprehending the passage deeply as the student get unnecessarily busy and bogged in something that is not useful.


Hmm, interesting. I will try taking notes and see how that goes for me. Right now I am able to answer the 600-700 level questions on GMATClub with 90% accuracy in under 2 minutes without notes which may need improvement.
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Re: Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely [#permalink]

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New post 22 May 2018, 01:20
LogicGuru1 wrote:
volknguyen wrote:
Your advice is really helpful for me! I have just finished reading all the passages in the OG 2017 in RC section. I know the feeling of one time understanding reading. It is very important not to reread the passage again and again as it is a total waste of time. So my experience from the practicing is to try to take it slow while reading the passage, pay most attention to the FIRST sentence as it always reflects exactly what the passage is all about. Then everything just comes very natural to me while I go ahead with the rest of the passage if I clearly get the point from the very first sentence.


Good to know that ... Also make sure whenever you read any sentence, you keep your attention on meaning changing words such as "however", "but", "conversely", "in contrast to" as well as argument strengthening words "in additional to ", "additionally", "moreover", "in the same vein" and so on. GMAT Passages sometimes starts with an idea but by using these abovementioned words they either develop the idea or argue against that idea.

Also make sure to map what information is being presented in what paragraph (para 1 , para 2, para 3). It will help you to target the correct paragraph in case if you have to revisit the passage to find the answer.

Also create small flow charts that shows the flow of information or idea with in the passage. It makes the understanding the entire passage easy.


Yesterday I took a mock test and scored not too good in RC. To me, I found out that reading in a very comfortable mood will help me to get the right answer better. I think my note taking skill is not too good or I do not really train my brain to work simultaneously reading and taking note. While I read, if I only spend time reading and try to understand the key note of the passage, I find it more easily to remember and follow the flow of the passage. If I take note in the same time, it is really distracting.
Taking note really helps me in CR not in SC.
But you are right about heeding the transition words. I also want to note that I always make sure I never skip a sentence in the first paragraph to find the topic, the purpose, the main idea of the whole passage!
I will continue to practice and share my experience along the process here. Hope soon I can post my journey here :)

Thank you again for your very enthusiastic answer and helpful tips!
Re: Reading Comprehension Strategy :- Eliminate errors completely   [#permalink] 22 May 2018, 01:20
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