How to Ace GMAT RC ? Part 2

How to Ace GMAT RC? Part 2

Now that we have understood the examiner’s mindset behind giving RC on the GMAT (check out Part 1 of the series), let’s look at some mistakes while reading the RC passages in Part 2 of this series.

Q: Can we read GMAT RCs fast? Can we just skim and still be able to answer?

A common mistake I see students making is that they try to rush through the RC without understanding the main points.

GMAT is an exam you cannot just hack and get away with. Reading some particular lines, leaving everything else in the passage, and still scoring a 700+ is highly unlikely.

While we cannot spend a lot of time understanding every word and sentence, we have to make an effort to understand the main arguments and how they are related. We really need to “Comprehend” what we “Read” to crack the “Reading Comprehension” in the GMAT Verbal section.

So, what is the correct way to read the GMAT passages?

  1. Understand the Structure: GMAT RCs have a certain structure. Whether they are from History and Literature, Science, etc., most of them have a main argument, and then the supporting arguments, examples, contradictory arguments, etc., are given. This approach is a core part of GMAT Verbal strategies.
  2. Identify Main Opinions: Read some lines and try to understand the main opinion in those lines.
  3. Track Developing Opinions: Then, look out for the next developing opinion.
  4. Analyze Relationships: Understand how these opinions are related to one another. Are they supporting each other? Are they contradictory? Is it a cause-effect situation? etc.
  5. Focus on Main Points: You don’t have to understand every word, but you do need to catch these main opinions and stitch them together (we do this extensively in our GMAT tutoring services) to be able to answer the questions that follow.

Q: What should I do if I get saturated after 2 passages (or even less)? Does reading American Journals etc. help to build reading stamina?

In my experience with GMAT coaching, reading books and American journals are helpful only in cases where the student’s daily reading is almost zero and the student cannot read even 2-3 simple paragraphs in a flow.

While reading books and newspapers are essential for building awareness about the world, if a student is reading American papers only for GMAT purposes, I feel it is a very long-term solution and not quite suitable when the GMAT deadline is around the corner.

What should we do instead, to build good reading stamina?

  1. Practice RCs Regularly: Solve 4-5 RCs back-to-back. This builds familiarity with the GMAT Verbal section.
  2. Use Official Material: Make sure that the RCs you pick are from GMAC Official material only. We must train ourselves to become better at grasping the GMAT-specific structure and language of the RC.
  3. Develop a Reading Strategy: Have a good reading strategy and practice it over and over in different genres and lengths of the RC to judge whether it is working for you. Personalized GMAT coaching can help you develop these strategies.
  4. Daily Practice: Practice 3-4 RCs every day to build comfort with the passages. Gradually, you will see a massive improvement, leading to GMAT success.

Coming up next: How should we solve the questions? What are the common mistakes while analyzing the options? What should we do to get higher accuracy in the RC questions?

Watch out for RC question-solving strategies in Part 3.

How to Ace GMAT RC ? Part 1