Lesson: Reading Comprehension General Strategy

Comment on Reading Comprehension General Strategy

Hi Brent,

Currently I need 4 to 5 min to read a passage, please suggest way to improve reading speed. Also I tend to write big summary
gmat-admin's picture

Increasing one's reading speed is not easy. So, rather than read faster (and drastically reduce your comprehension), you may need to spend some time experimenting with different strategies to see which one best suits your memory, reading speed and English proficiency.

For example, you may need to look for questions in the Verbal section where you immediately guess and then use that extra time to ensure better RC accuracy. For example, some CR questions have incredibly long passages and very long answer choices. This might be an excellent candidate for guessing.

Keep in mind that this is a Plan B strategy. Of course, it's best to answer every question. I'm just talking about situations in which it's really hard for students to complete the Verbal section in 75 minutes.

Hi Brent,

I read really slow (have Dyslexia). So, I really need to find the best strategy. Have you ever saw tips for cases like this? Can you send some links?

BTW congrats for making the narrative of the videos so good for controlling the playback speed. e-gmat and optimus lost me there.

gmat-admin's picture

That's a tough one.

All I can say is that it's super important to take good (yet concise) notes so that you can avoid having to re-read any part(s) of the passage.

That said, it's quite possible that you might qualify to get extra time to complete the test. More here: http://www.mba.com/global/frequently-asked-questions/about-gmat-test-tak...

Hi Brent,

Could you tell me what constitutes a long and a short passage for GMAT.

On average how many words are in each of them?

I ask this because when I ready articles e.g. from NY times I do it with timer. After finishing I try to see how slow or fast I am because I am not a native speaker and RC takes more time than it normally does for other test-takers.

Thank you in advance,

Hi Brent,

Thank you very much,

Good answer (as always)))

Hi Brent,

Can you explain please why A, B are wrong and C is correct? I have a hard time understanding the passage to answer the question.

Does the author imply which of the following about the ability of the researchers mentioned in line 18 to predict earthquakes?


In the text there is nothing said about time or place of occurrence, but only about the magnitude.

In which line it is said that the researchers are unable to foreshadow time and place?

Thank you in advance,
gmat-admin's picture

Question link: https://gmatclub.com/forum/in-1971-researchers-hoping-to-predict-earthqu...

A. They can identify when an earthquake is likely to occur but not how large it will be.
B. They can identify the regions where earthquakes are likely to occur but not when they will occur.
C. They are unable to determine either the time or the place that earthquakes are likely to occur.

Line 18: Researchers initially reported success in identifying these possible precursors, but subsequent analyses of their data proved disheartening.
Bad news!!

Next we're told that, while MOST large earthquakes are preceded by tremors, these tremors can also occur WITHOUT being followed by an earthquake.
In other words, tremors MAY or MAY NOT predict an impending earthquake. Eliminate A.

Later in the passage, we see two researchers predict (with a 95% probability) that an earthquake will occur in a certain REGION in a certain time, BUT no earthquake occurs.Eliminate B.

Answer choice C best fits here.

Hi Brent,

Thank you for your time,

You convinced me about A, but B is still vague,

"In a study of earthquake-prone
sites" - isn't it evidence that researchers are able at least to know where the earthquakes can occur. If yes then B must be also correct.

What do you think?
gmat-admin's picture

If researchers predict (with a very high likelihood) that an earthquake will occur in a certain region at a certain time, BUT no earthquake occurs, we can't then say that researchers can identify the regions where earthquakes are likely to occur.

An "earthquake-prone" area is just an area with characteristics conducive to earthquakes. I'm not sure we can say that earthquakes in the region are likely. For example, Golden Retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia, but that doesn't mean my brother's Golden Retriever is likely to have hip dysplasia.

Thank you very much Brent

Very helpful

Hi Brent, thanks a lot for your work and this great material, the best and the clearest of all in the web.I would like to ask you, according to all your experience, what would be a recommended time to spend for each reading passage and for solving each question?, I find it difficult to keep a pace given the different difficulties, but I think that having an average time for the reading and one for the questions could make the difference to manage the time during the test. Thanks.!!
gmat-admin's picture

Thanks for the kind words about my course!

- For short passages, I suggest that you read the passage in about 2.5 minutes, and then devote about 1 minute to answer each of the three corresponding questions.

- For long passages, I suggest that you read the passage in about 3.5 minutes, and then devote about 1 minute to answer each of the four corresponding questions.


Great!, now I have a parameter to compare and to improve my reading pace. Thank you so much for your help!!

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