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# Verbal Advantage - LEARN TO DESTROY READING COMP & BOOST VERBAL PACING

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EMPOWERgmat Instructor
Joined: 23 Feb 2015
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Updated on: 26 Aug 2019, 02:06
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2015 Verbal Advantage: LEARN TO DESTROY READING COMP & BOOST VERBAL PACING
By Max Peterson, EMPOWERgmat

• “The passage is hard.”
• “I have trouble with RC pacing.”
• “How much time should I spend reading a passage?”

You're looking at a list of three of the most common phrases that have been written in this forum (and in our inbox from visitors who are just about to start their training with EMPOWERgmat Course). If any of these concerns sounds familiar to you, then there is some good news - they CAN be properly addressed. The solution involves clear steps that can be accomplished with focus, discipline, and the right training.

Get A Grip - Put RC Into A Winning Perspective
Interest in the topic of the passage, and in the author's agenda, will help make a significant improvement in how you handle the majority of RC questions. GMAT Test Takers receive four passages on test day, and most Test Takers find at least 3 of the passages to be boring, complex, and/or intimidating. These are all symptoms of a ‘bad choice’ on the Test Taker’s part. For some reason, if a topic doesn't immediately grab a Test Taker, a ‘block’ occurs, and the content becomes painful, anxiety-inducing drudgery.

We can put the GMAT Reading Comp assignment in perspective though. Executing proper RC reading will take you about 16 minutes of total time to read your four passages. Being interested in 4 topics for a total investment of about 16 minutes can radically improve:

• Your GMAT score, and by extension:
• Your likelihood of getting better financial awards, scholarships, etc.
• Your odds of getting an awesome job offer

FROM 16 MINUTES!

That overall potential reward is an opportunity of a lifetime. Reading comp isn't something to fear or loathe, it's something to savor and relish. It's one of the greatest deals that life affords us! Be 100% engaged for this brief window of time, and they GMAT will open up an untold opportunity for you. RC is a precious gift, if you make it one.

To properly understand the ‘scope’ of developing the proper RC skills, we have to take a good look at the other (harsh) end of the spectrum: what happens if you hear someone say that they CAN’T be curious about a random array of topics for a few minutes…?

Maybe Business School just isn't right for THAT person. Business School programs will pummel students with a staggering array of Case Studies, lessons and readings right from the outset. Students will be called upon to proffer an opinion in front of classmates. Students will also be assigned to a group of peers and will be responsible to research subjects that many people will likely find un-interesting (unless that same student commits to making the subject interesting…).

The Reading Comp Magic Bullet: INTEREST
So then, the next question is - can you find a way to be passionately interested (and curious) about what the author is trying to convey, regardless of topic? Given all of the potential benefits, the answer to the question should be a resounding YES.

Get into the passages by really trying to connect with the passage and content. By spending more time investing in the passage, and building your RC Ladder, you'll be able to dramatically power through the questions faster AND concurrently boost your accuracy.

You must remember that ‘interest’ is a ‘choice’ – it’s generated by curiosity, and you CAN arouse curiosity about ANYTHING at a moment’s notice. Simply engaging a passage with your own curiosity is a revolutionary force with RC (and can play a role in other aspects of the GMAT, including CR, IR and wordy Quant questions).

So, now that you see the exciting stakes of being an engaged, curious reader, it's probably obvious that with Reading Comp, you HAVE TO take interest in the passage. So how exactly can you do that?

In the EMPOWERgmat Course, we train users with a specific, easy-to-implement set of tools to mechanize the interest process. Here are some of the ‘elements’ of that process:

Pretend the clock isn't running - That will prevent you from rushing and having to waste time with unnecessary re-reading (to be fair, some re-reading is required, particularly with Detail questions). Under timed pressure, most people instinctively read a little faster, and that extra speed makes the subject matter feel ‘murky.’ The crazy aspect of all of this is if we were to time the actual difference between when you read the passage with (and without) concern for time, the difference is about 15-30 seconds of total time. That's it! The extra time it takes to read a passage the right way isn't as much as it may seem. On top of that, when you factor in the time saved by avoiding most re-reading later on, you will ultimately save LOTS of time by properly investing in that initial read-through.

Be genuinely curious about the topic and the author's perspective - Ask questions, such as: do I agree? Do I disagree? Is that likely to work, or not work? Is this thing any good (or not)?

By reading actively, you'll have TOTAL command of the passage, and the questions will be considerably easier to answer. By investing some more time and energy with the prompt, you'll be able to boost your overall pacing and accuracy.

Some re-reading is OK. However, NEVER, EVER, EVER wait until you're deep into the passage before you realize you haven't connected with the prompt. If necessary, start over as soon as you can. If you ever feel as though the first sentence is getting away from you, start over. Trying to continue on as though everything is just fine will lead to a total waste of time, a lack of that solid understanding you need, and a lack of confidence when you move to the questions. Nearly all Verbal 99th-percentilers will admit to feeling a bit lost after the first sentence (or two) on certain passages. They then STOP and reread (rather than letting a whole paragraph or passage go by in the foolhardy hope that it'll just somehow magically crystallize). You have to invest in the passages, and you have to do so from the start. Again, you'll more than make up that time with the questions since they'll be easier to deal with. You'll not only be more efficient, but also more effective.

Other Essential RC Skills
• Can you identify each question type within RC (and CR)? You need to be able to.
• Do you know EXACTLY what type of information each question type requires of you? You need to.
• Can you spot the common wrong answer types in RC and CR? Needless to say, that skill becomes far more valuable in subtle or difficult questions.
• DON'T read to retain the details. Read to know the role the details play in the passage (eg. The author just provided 2 examples of the implementation of a certain policy; here, we have a description of an outdated model and reasons why it’s outdated, etc.).

Want to Change? What you need to demand of yourself:
I also like to stress that you have to see yourself as training for the GMAT rather than just studying for it. The GMAT is an event that you need to rehearse for, so it's not just about what you know, it's also about the work that you do and how you think. That's why you're going to want to be OBSESSED with your training to be able to apply the EMPOWERgmat tactics during your practice and on the real GMAT.

You need to TRAIN to possess an assassin's intensity with every passage you read. It's a decision within your power to make, using the tools above (along with others that you can train to master). For more on how to train (rather than just study) for the GMAT, see these EMPOWERgmat Articles:

Verbal Advantage: GMAT Assassin's Manifesto - Master Content & Tactics

Verbal Advantage - Manifesto Pt. II: The 90th Percentile Mindset

We look forward to helping you crush the GMAT and get you ready to apply to your target schools!

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Originally posted by EMPOWERgmatVerbal on 27 Jul 2015, 14:54.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 26 Aug 2019, 02:06, edited 1 time in total.
Updated - Complete topic (284).
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
Joined: 23 Feb 2015
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31 Jul 2015, 17:33
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AA2014 wrote:

Hi AA2014,

Once more, your questions are remarkably well in sync with the post series! Check out these articles about how to replace clunky habits with powerful ones and how to bring an assassin's attitude to RC and the rest of the test:

Verbal Advantage: GMAT Assassin's Manifesto - Master Content & Tactics

Verbal Advantage - Manifesto Pt. II: The 90th Percentile Mindset
_________________
"Students study. GMAT assassins train."

The Course Used By GMAT Club Moderators To Earn 750+

souvik101990 Score: 760 Q50 V42 ★★★★★
ENGRTOMBA2018 Score: 750 Q49 V44 ★★★★★
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31 Jul 2015, 07:41
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29 Oct 2019, 13:38
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

Want to see all other topics I dig out? Follow me (click follow button on profile). You will receive a summary of all topics I bump in your profile area as well as via email.
Re: Verbal Advantage - LEARN TO DESTROY READING COMP & BOOST VERBAL PACING   [#permalink] 29 Oct 2019, 13:38