How Difficult is GMAT Reading Comprehension Preparation

    Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
    Study Abroad Expert

    If you are an Indian student preparing for GMAT then mostly it is inevitable that you find adversities approaching your way in the verbal reasoning section. It is comprehensible for an Indian student who does not generally come across reading comprehension like that despite having a strong knowledge of English. It often happens that the student is in a dilemma as to why they are still lagging behind in the GMAT Verbalsection especially. Let us find a quick-fix to this coherent issue.

    But first, let us get into a quick introduction to the reading comprehension part of the GMAT exam. The GMAT exam conducted by GMAC has four sections to it – 

    Test SectionTime limit/ No. of QuestionsQuestion TypesScore Range
    Analytical Writing Assessment1 Question; Time allotted: 30 minutesInquiry of an argument0-6
    Integrated Reasoning12 Questions; Time allotted: 30 minutesGraphics interpretation;
    Table Analysis;
    Multi-source Reasoning;
    Two-Part Analysis
    Quantitative Reasoning31 Questions; Time allotted: 62 minutesData Sufficiency;
    Verbal Reasoning36 Questions; Time Allotted: 65 minutesReading Comprehension;
    Critical reasoning;
    Sentence Correction

    Solving GMAT’s reading comprehension part has been hectic for a majority of the students. In the reading comprehension section the analysis is done of the student based on how well they can perceive the whole passage, the rational statements hidden, and eventually pen it down in their own understood words. 

    What All Are Exactly Examined In This Particular Section?

    It is the test taker’s ability to recognize the plausible statements present in the passage, decode them, portray their own views through statements, and support them. And lastly, their style of writing is highly taken into consideration. 

    Reading Comprehension Sections Illustrated:

    GMAT reading comprehension section is divided into four passages but you often witness three of five of them. In each passage one will come across three to four questions pinned – this makes way for 16 questions to be answered precisely. It can thus be concluded that around one-third of GMAT’s AWA section is comprised of reading comprehension. There will be two questions of roughly 200 words and two of 300. It is to be noted that GMAT is a Computer-Adaptive Test (CAT). 

    Presentation Affability:

    The candidate should notice the manner of presentation of the computer-adaptive test for it might be difficult and confusing for few who are not accustomed to it. The reading comprehension passage will be eyed on one side the screen and the question on the other. There will be one question at a time and students need to know that once they have pressed the next button they cannot backslide. 

    Approaches to Play Safe with Reading Comprehension:

    Now it is time to start with the passage and the students generally tend to grasp the whole passage from the first para. The reading comprehension passages are majorly conventional. The second part is being used for establishing the third person’s viewpoint. And the last one to portray their own stand on that topic. 

    Thereby, it can be ascertained that these following questions are to be recognized even before proceeding with the main four:

    Ques. What is the main subject of the passage?

    Focus point: The student should probe deep into the main idea behind the passage.

    Ques. What is the outlook of the passage?

    Focus Point: Concentrate on finding a specific goal.

    Ques. What is the aim of the passage?

    Focus point: What is the motive behind writing this passage?

    Ques. What points would you curate after studying this passage?

    These few questions will de-clutter the complexities that one has regarding reading comprehension of GMAT, at least too some extent. The student by now has strategized the sequences of formulating the answers. Now, they should move toward perceiving the theories that the author has tried to either convey to the audience or is themselves antithetical about. Understanding the mindset of the author makes you solve the passage in the easiest manner. 

    Quick Solution: If you are stuck in any particular sentence because of a tone of dissent in it, always continue reading and never go on running after it. If you pause, it will break the sync and will wash away all the jibe that you create till then after reading the passage.

    To What Extent Can GMAT RC Section Be Arduous?

    It can really get on your nerves when the passages are out of the world tricky and you just cannot seem to find the proper answer to it. If you are feeling so? Then let us tell you, that is exactly what the test makers want you to feel – confused and lost. 

    The passage can be the most lifeless one: Imagine the pain suffered by an MBA aspirant when they come across a tremendously boring science subject matter – that is exactly what the reading comprehension will display so as to choose the cream layer of students. One very intelligent decision to make is to go for the uncommon topic which majority of the students will not go for. GMAT question makers are quite tricky ones, they provide questions on topics like business, technology, education, genetics, disease and more, which are contrary to what the management students study or will study. It takes the student a prolonged time to understand thereby weakening them. 

    A drawn-out focus on the screen: A prolonged focus on the computer screen is definitely going to weaken those eyes especially when there are time limits on each section. The GMAT exam is an on-spot exam which means the students have to be prompt in their answers. Whatever they see is on the screen and requires instant attention to answer correctly. It is all true but, it’s also advisable to take a slight break for only two to three seconds to ensure a refreshment – so look away from the monitor for three seconds.

    Missing out on the slightest mistake: This is a prevalent issue faced by the GMAT preparers that no matter how hard they try they miss out on a word or so, which turns out to be the mistake to be corrected. One actually needs to be impeccable but more than that – calm. Handling so many arguments along with pinning down the single most astonishing mistake is quite a task. 

    Preparation Tips to Ease the Pain

    Knowing how straining the GMAT preparation can be, here are few tips to help you out with the reading comprehension part:

    Time Management

    GMAT is all about how well the test taker manages time to attempt the most questions. Always make a complete plan for your time management and its implementation. Never spend more than 2.5 minutes and 3.5 minutes for short and long passages respectively. During practice at home, always keep a timer to find out the exact time required to complete reading the essays.


    It is always recommended to give the passage a thorough reading once and carefully and SKIM through. Many times what students do is skim, without realizing the fact that they are overlooking minor yet vital details. Curating the main idea always helps the student to leave aside the not-so-important details. It is always advisable to go through the questions at first so that one can remember which sections of the passage are important to notice. 

    The competence in finding the main idea is what saves time. It is expected for the reading comprehension passage to be tough so it is encouraged to find the difference between the main idea and the pillaring details. It is your task to find exactly what is making the passages so tricky and curate strategies on your own.

    Taking Notes

    Many test-takers find it difficult to take notes while reading passages. As test takers have already studied the questions, therefore it will be easier for the test takers to map questions along with the passages. This practice skill will make your exam preparation quite efficient.

    Strong knowledge in Vocabulary

    Read articles, journals, novels of all kinds to understand the wide range of passages that can be excerpted in the GMAT RC section. It will help the test takers to interpret the main idea, supporting ideas and inferences very easily. A good reading will always help in learning vocabulary. 



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