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    Reading Comprehension
  left_arrow I: Introduction
  II: The Challenge
  III: The Five Steps  
  IV: Question Types
  V: Tips
  VI: Sample Questions



Tips for Finding the Right Answer



"Scope" refers to
1. Specificity. The answers to most GMAT questions will be of a medium scope. Don't choose overly broad answers that the passage can't support. Take a look at this example.

The author is primarily concerned with:

A. Penguin mating patterns
B. Antarctic Penguins
Birds of the world
D. Penguin behavior and life cycle
E. Animals of the southern hemisphere

is likely to be correct as it is closest to medium scope. It deals with an animal and its habitat, but is neither too narrow nor too broad. It fits nicely in between:

Animals of the southern hemisphere
Birds of the world
Penguin behavior and life cycle
Penguin mating patterns

Watch out for words such as all, never, always, or only. These qualifiers are strong, and usually are outside a passage's scope. Just think how hard it would be to write a short passage that argued:

All climate change is a result of human activities. (Really, all of it? Every last bit?)
Every new medical treatment improves the quality of medical care (No screw-ups at all, huh?)
Only the Federal government can improve public school education (What about states? Individuals?)

Look for answers that use "some, most, or many." These qualifiers indicate a limited scope.

Does every reading comprehension question have one correct answer and four incorrect answers?

Yes, you say? Well... not exactly. Rather, there is one best answer and four not-so-good answers. For example, main idea questions generally have one or two answers that are partly correct, but flawed in some way. A wrong answer to the question What is the main idea? might summarize the main idea of only one part of the passage.

Your goal is to pick the best answer to the question, not hunt for the One True Answer. By eliminating the worst answers, you at least improve your chances to guess correctly.

Unless you are highly pressed for time, always read all answer choices before making a decision. An answer that seems basically right could be rendered incomplete by a better choice. Therefore, don't answer the question until you have read every answer choice and are sure you have found the best answer. Do not ask yourself if an answer is correct. Ask yourself if it is better than the other choices.


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IV: Question Types

VI: Sample Questions