Tips & Tricks for Short GMAT Reading Comprehension Passages

Tips & Tricks for Short GMAT Reading Comprehension Passages

Reading Comprehension in GMAT Verbal have passages which are of typically 200-250 words and have three questions. Here are a few tips to solve RC easily.

Sometimes, you get stuck in a short RC passage and before you know it, it has taken up 15 minutes of your time. And you had budgeted only half of that time for the passage. After all, the best-laid plans can fail. Short passages are structured differently. There might not be a definite beginning, introduction, and end that are common in other passages.

What are the tricks that can help you with short passages?

Read it once. Take notes.

The GMAT verbal syllabus consists of different lengths of Reading Comprehension. The shorter RC passages are either one or two paragraphs long. Practicing with longer passages tunes your eyes to look for structural elements. You should look for structural elements that define the concept, introduce the concept, detail the argument and conclude the idea. Examples of structural words are “however, or “yet”. Framing the key concepts in your own words will also assist you to recall the passage in an easier manner. Another useful tip is to engross yourself in the passage because this is a way for you to start paying attention to what you are reading instead of skimming through it. We have become accustomed to the limited passive reading we do which is constrained to online articles and social media. Although this type of reading will not assist in the RC, therefore, it is recommended that you adopt active reading to grasp the key concepts and make notes of the same. This permits you to refer back at any point of time instead of going through the entire passage. You will be able to classify Key words and words signifying the main idea which the author is trying to convey in the passage.

The first sentence of each paragraph holds the key text in these 1 or 2 paragraph passages. So, spend time understanding these sentences. They would assist you to answer the questions in a simpler way.

Read the questions first and Visualize the passage

In case you don’t understand much of the context from the initial glance, move to the questions. Then, from the questions, retrace the lines that correspond to the questions. This tip will help you, especially with short passages because you will not be lost in a sea of information when you are looking for something in particular. This is a useful tactic wherein you can read the questions first and then go back to the relevant part of the passage to answer the question. The reverse strategy need not be used at all times because for short passages it is recommended you read the entire section. When you read the complete passage you will be able to understand the message the author is trying to convey and if you are given an inference question you will be able to answer that as well. This may not be possible if you skip reading the passage itself. One more approach which you could use is to visualize the passage in your mind. In general, we tend to comprehend any information if it is in a visual format. Although this may seem to be a very unorthodox method it will surely assist you when you come across a complex/complicated passage or it deals with a topic you are not much aware of. This way you will be able to retain much more information about the passage. You have to note that the tone of the passage will never be too strong or complex. You should look out for phrases which are descriptive in nature to help you decipher the content of the passage.

Pacing yourself

If the passage is really short, you may try reading the questions first and then come back to the passage. Since the passage is short if you read it from the perspective of answering the questions it might work out in your favor. Now, this is a good strategy for short passages because a read of the entire passage will not take much time and you can easily spot the right parts of the passage to correspond to each question. And since these are short passages you should practice allocating appropriate time for the passage and for answering the questions following the passage as well. This way you will not lose precious time reading or re-reading the passage. Although sometimes the time taken could vary it is important to stick to a time frame when answering questions in RC. You should also practice RC’s in a timed setting so that you are accustomed to such passages.

Don’t emphasize on strategies.

So, the content you follow says that you need to find the answers to certain types of questions in certain places of the passage. It might not work out with exceptions like short, one paragraph passages. Typically, these passages have only 3-4 questions and each sentence matters in forming answers to each of these questions. So, look at the passage with unbiased eyes and follow a brute force method to find answers. Read each word of each answer option before you choose your answer. Remember that it is always prudent to answer the questions from the information given in the passage only, don’t try to include any outside information. While choosing the answers from the given choices you could try implementing the process of elimination to help you arrive at the correct answer. In some cases, the simplest and most uncomplicated option will be the right answer.

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