GMAT is aimed to test your various skills and how effectively you can apply them in different situations. Reading Comprehension, which takes up around one-third of the verbal section in a GMAT exam, can be one of the most time-consuming sections of the entire test set. Why? Because it requires you to read the passages over and over to find the answers to the follow-up questions.Reading comprehension can cost you valuable time on the GMAT exam, if not done strategically. 

In this context, we have lined up the best 7 strategies to master the Reading Comprehension section in a GMAT exam:

Practice Pacing Yourself

Pacing is an important strategy that can help you manage your time while doing Reading Comprehension questions. Reading Comprehension tends to take more time than the other sections as the questions are framed in a lengthier manner. Therefore, it becomes all the more important to allocate time between sections and even within the Reading Comprehension section depending on the length of the question. A good practice would be to spend 

  • 6 minutes on a short passage with 3 questions, 

  • 8 minutes on a long passage with 4 questions. 

  • 2-3 minutes should be spent on the initial reading, 

The rest of the time should be spent on the questions. 

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Identify the Main Idea

Main Idea questions are typically aimed to test your comprehension ability and discern the main point or purpose of a passage. To tackle a Main Idea question, you need to ensure that you do not get lost in the individual threads of information; rather try to see the picture as a whole. The best way to do that is to write down the purpose of the passage right after you read the same and before reading the first question. This way you will be able to retain the essence of information from the passage and not get sidetracked by any of the questions.In cases where it is not easy to distinguish the main idea from the passage, try re-reading the introduction or the conclusion. There is a very high chance that the author may reiterate their point in either the opening or closing sentence of the passage.


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Pay attention to transition words and phrases

Transition words and phrases are used to track the connection between ideas within a passage. The importance of understanding transition words or phrases comes into play when doing Reading Comprehension. Even if the passage consists of technically rich information or jargon, it is the transition words and phrases that help us understand the meaning of the passage. There are 5 types of transitional words and phrases that you should know before you attempt GMAT:

  • Certain words such as "therefore", "why", and "thus" and expressions such as "consequently" are used to represent cause and effect.

  • Phrases like “for instance” and “in fact" adds evidence

  • Agreeing/further expounding upon the same argument, look at the words like “similarly” and “furthermore” and phrases like “in addition.”

  • Words like “nevertheless”, “yet,” “however,”  and phrases like “on the other hand” or “in reality” are used in contrast and opposition cases.

  • Phrases like “all in all” and “in essence,” “thus”, etc indicate conclusion.

Don't Match Words to Find Answers

Trying to match words to find the correct answers can be a misleading tactic students unknowingly make. The question makers will try to trap you into choosing the wrong answer that sounds right, instead of the right answer that may sound wrong. To avoid the fallacy of matching words to find answers, you should try to look at what sounds right or wrong and go into the meaning of the words and the logic of the argument. Don’t eliminate answers with words that do not match with what is given in the passage; instead, look at the meaning of the words to find the correct answer.

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Make a Mental Summary

Find and make a mental note of the ‘key idea’ behind the paragraph as early as possible when tackling a Reading Comprehension section. Usually, Reading Comprehension passages would follow a similar pattern - an introductory paragraph about the key idea, a second paragraph that goes into more elaboration of the key idea, and a concluding paragraph with a takeaway or call to action.    Try to make a mental summary of the key idea and how it relates to the other points in the passage.As you do a mental summary, try to answer two essential questions, what is being said and why?

Abbreviation Jargon

Jargon can be an unnerving sight in a GMAT exam. Learn to not fall into the void of jargon and manage it by abbreviating it to the first letter of each word. This way you will not get distracted by reading the whole name every time, which can also help you subconsciously save time and effort as well. Keep in mind that jargon is just a decoy to unnerve and distract you from the passage. There is no other relevance to the jargon and you can easily avoid the trap by using made-up abbreviations.

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Take Notes

Making use of the scratchboard on the GMAT screen is not just for the Quant section; rather it can be a very useful tool in taking notes for Reading Comprehension.    Deploy your note-taking skills with the help of the scratchboard on the screen when you don’t have time to write down lengthy notes. Your notes should be brief, concise, and comprehensive. 

These are just a few strategies that can help you ace the Reading Comprehension section of GMAT with flying colors. For more tips and strategies to score better marks in your GMAT exams, contact Sage Educational services and book a free consultation. Sage offers the best GMAT classes in Dubai with unique learning programs and excellent learning materials.