The GMAT Reading Comprehension section is, basically, a much harder version of those in the SAT and ACT exams. The GMAT focuses more upon disputes and arguments (the legal process is based on an adversarial trial process, so this makes sense).
This course will teach you to “read between the lines.” Much of the reading techniques we discuss was already covered in our Critical Reasoning chapter, soyou should review Critical Reasoning first. The Reading Comprehension section is much like Critical Reasoning, but with a longer attention span for its 250+ word passages.
The Challenge: evaluate perspectives
View reading comprehension passages as if they were a reality TV show where you have been dropped in a rain forest with no clues where you are or how to proceed. On the GMAT, a reading passage will be dropped in front of you and you will have no background on it whatsoever:
- You don’t know what the title is.
- You don’t know who the author is.
- You don’t have enough time to fully read it.
- You can’t see the paragraphs before or after the essay.
- You don’t know when or where it was published.
- The content is dense, boring, esoteric, and jargon-filled and covers a topic about which you have little knowledge (or interest).
….And your mastery of those 450 words will determine your future business school and career options.
#1 Strategy: Look for Perspectives
Reading comprehension essays are just long arguments with two or more opposing positions. The key process to understanding the essays and solving the questions is to discern the conflicting arguments.
Reading for a Purpose
The passages are intentionally jargon-filled and dense. In school you were taught to read for detail, but on the GMAT you would run out of time doing that. In order to perform well on this test, you will have to re-learn how to read.
Most traditional financial-market analysis studies ignore financial markets’ deficiencies in allocation because of analysts’ inherent preferences for the simple model of perfect competition.
That’s just one sentence. You will have to process and parse through sentence after sentence like that while also preparing for the questions that follow. If you know beforehand, however, what to look for, what to cue in on, and what to ignore in a passage, you will be able to stay in control and not get bogged down.
You are not reading the passages for pleasure or to acquire knowledge; you are reading for the singular purpose of answering the questions as efficiently and accurately as possible. To help you do this, we’ve created a five-step methodology.