GMAT Reading Comprehension is an important component of the exam, which is used for assessing the analytical and reasoning skills of the candidates. The section evaluates the ability to understand and analyze complex passages from different fields, mostly from business, science, and history. So how can you improve on the GMAT Reading Comprehension? Getting a high score in this section requires from you not only strong reading skills but also critical thinking, time management, detail orientation, and logical reasoning. 

The 3 Types of GMAT Reading Comprehension Passages

  1. Business passages provide reasoning from economic theories, international trade, market characteristics, the stories behind the companies, etc. Besides that, it often introduces the behavior of consumers and corporations, unemployment and inflation, supply and demand, etc. The critics of particular approaches or theories may also appear in business-related passages.
  2. Science passages are usually the most challenging to understand, as they may include lots of unknown terms. They often introduce topics from biology, physics, astrophysics, etc. However, they don’t require an in-depth understanding of these fields. Basic knowledge of these disciplines is both enough. This passage may include critics of a particular theory or the explanation given about various phenomena.
  3. History passages are oriented on less known historical events, the discussions and controversial opinions about them, and changing over time. Most complex versions may include the analysis provided by multiple historians and comparing their theories. Quite often, historical passages on the GMAT exam focus on marginalized groups in the terms of economic, social, or political conditions.

How to Improve on The GMAT Reading Comprehension?

Identify Keywords

Being able to carefully identify key phrases in the passages, and providing obvious cues of the information, is one of the most beneficial skills to develop before the exam. This is important not only for understanding the logic behind the author’s reasoning, but also to draw valid inferences from it. This skill plays an essential role when it comes to correctly answering inference questions, answers of which are not directly provided within the article, but are inferred from clues given by the author.

Become an Active Reader, Take Notes

To perform well in GMAT reading comprehension, it is crucial to adopt an active reading approach. It involves reading with full engagement, understanding the reason for each paragraph, and seeing connections between them. Always follow the three-track strategy:

what the passage says  |  what the author is doing  |  what the author/subjects think

Taking short notes about the main idea and reason of the paragraph, with identifying the keywords, will later make it easier to quickly look for the answers to the given questions. 

Skim Details

Usually, the reading comprehension passage of the GMAT exam is full of the details, such as the dates, locations, names, etc. However, not all of them are important for answering the questions given below. Most of them are used to distract the candidates’ attention from the central point of the story. You won’t be able to remember each of them, and it’s even better not to try. Rather, we suggest you pay attention to why the detail is given – whether it supports an argument, weakens it, etc. Additionally, it would be quite beneficial to remember where (in which paragraph) these details are given, so you to quickly return if a question is asked about them. 

Abbreviate Big Words

The GMAT exam reading passages are usually full of complex vocabulary, which might appear quite challenging to understand. Abbreviating big words or names of the persons, locations, etc. can save time during the exam and help you not to get distracted and focus more on the meaning of the paragraph. Try not to get bogged down by unfamiliar names, but rather abbreviate them and pay attention to the logic behind the connection of the sentences and the paragraph as a whole. 

Practice With More Difficult Materials

For the majority of people, the level of anxiety increases during the exam quite a lot, which often allows us to present our knowledge and ability less than usual. Fortunately, overcoming this challenge is possible by practicing at home with more difficult texts than what is generally expected on the exam. Together with that, since time is an essential deciding factor for each segment of the exam, try to give yourself 5-10 minutes less for each section at home, to improve your ability of time management and reading/understanding quickly under the pressure. 

Understand The Questions

The wording of the questions sometimes is challenging on the GMAT exam. However, when you understand them correctly, you will spot the right answer right away. This skill allows the candidates to read the paragraphs with a particular purpose and pay attention to the sentences, providing the possible answers. Understanding the purpose of the question is an essential part of a strategic approach, efficient reading, properly looking for the answer, and accurate answering. 

FAQs about The GMAT

What happens if I fail any part of the exam?

The GMAT exam does not have a pass/fail outcome, but it provides scaled scores, ranging differently for each section. Total GMAT scores range from 200 to 800. Therefore, if you don’t perform well on one section, it will affect the overall score and not hinder you from passing the exam.

How many times can I take the GMAT?

You can take the GMAT exam 5 times maximum in a rolling 12-month period, regardless of the format. In your lifetime, you can take the exam up to eight times in total. Note, that there is a 16-day waiting period between the exams of the same format, but there is none if you switch the formats (for example, from the testing center to online or vice versa).

If you are looking for professionals to help you improve on the GMAT reading comprehension, head to our official website and book a 30-minute complimentary call with our 770+ scoring tutors now!

Contributor: Ana Rurua