The verbal section of the GMAT exam has been considered to be one of the most difficult sections by many of the aspirants. This may be attributed majorly to the fact that most individuals do not have the habit of reading and therefore have very limited grammatical skills. The verbal section aims to evaluate if a candidate possesses basic grammar competencies so that he/she is able to adapt to learning in a challenging environment for the MBA program. Most of the individuals who attempt the exam are non-native speakers of English thereby making the scores of the verbal section a crucial element in the admissions process. The verbal section is composed of 3 main categories:
- Reading comprehension
- Sentence correction
- Critical Reasoning
Although all of the topics aim to evaluate your proficiency in grammar, the RC section aims at also testing your skills of observing relevant information in a passage and answering questions that pertain to the same. Therefore often it has been wrongly perceived that the RC which requires more time on account of the long passages is also a difficult section in the GMAT exam. This is not true in most cases however and there are several techniques which an individual can adapt to maneuver his way through this section of the exam.
The RC passages are of varying lengths and will require you to pay utmost attention while reading the passage. You must also keep in mind that there is a limited time period for the exam and hence you have to be cautious while completing this section. At the same time you should not skim lest you will overlook some important details leading to losing precious points on your overall GMAT score. The topics of the passages in the GMAT exam will be based on a wide range of subjects but do remember that the intent of the exam is to not test your knowledge on the particular topic but to judge your skills of analyzing the passage and grasping the main idea which the author is trying to convey. Another useful strategy which you can adopt is to read the question first before you read the passage. This way you will know what information to look for while reading the passage which will help you save time. Make sure you are abreast of current events so that you will have a basic idea about them if such content does appear in the passages of the RC. The questions which follow in the RC usually ask you about the tone of the passage, the inferences that you make and evidences to support your answer, so it is crucial to pay active attention while reading. One more effective way to recall the information from the passage is to summarize the content in your own words. It is definitely easier to remember the details when you abridge the content yourself. You could alternatively also make notes while you read which will assist you to break down the content of tough RC passages in a quicker and efficient manner.
It is recommended to actively engage yourself in any content you are reading even if it is about subjects which you have no knowledge about like – Genetics, Politics, Chemistry, Finance etc. We tend to pay more attention to details and have a better comprehension when we are interested in the content that we are reading.
The best way to truly equip yourself to handle such topics is to practice on a regular basis with the GMAT prep tests. The GMAT Prep contains two complete practice tests which will assist you with your preparation for this section. Since this mock exam is from GMAC- the creators of the GMAT exam themselves it is recommended that you opt for attempting the same. It will enable you to get acquainted with the type of questions which are usually asked in the exam.
Some other valuable techniques which you can adopt are to first deduce the number of passages which you will read and accordingly map out the important details of the passages. Usually the first and last lines of the passage are significant and will require you to read them with utmost attention. Also be on the lookout for transitional words like – Since, however, but etc. Keep making notes about any changes in views throughout the passage and about any new ideas which are mentioned as well. Begin making infographics for long passages with words which you are accustomed to viewing generally, this is certain to assist in improving your performance in the RC section of the exam. These infographics can also be connected to one another according to the context of the passage. This will help you to understand the flow of the content in a better manner and you will not have to refer back to it each time while answering questions. While reading you can practice to leave out or skip reading certain adjectives of words like – Beautiful red sun where you can make note of only the word sun which would be necessary and relevant according to the context. Form a habit of reading passages and try to answer general questions like – What’s the passage about?, What is the tone of the passage?, Based on the passage what can be inferred? Etc. Even though they seem like basic questions it is sometimes trickier to solve when you have a complicated paragraph or a passage which is about a topic you are not aware about. In such scenarios it is advised that you get familiar by practicing the above mentioned questions before the exam so that you are able to adapt the same approach to any passage and answer them without any difficulties.
Thus it becomes easy to decipher any RC passages in the verbal section of the GMAT exam provided you select the appropriate steps to study and answer the questions.
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