GMAT Reading Comprehension Questions

Written by Kelly Granson. Posted in GMAT Study Guide

GMAT Reading Comprehension Questions

On the test day, you will have to read 3-4 GMAT Reading Comprehension passages, accompanied by three or four questions each. The passages will be about 20-40 lines (or 150-400 words) and you can expect to answer around 13 such questions. You can see questions of this type at any point in the Verbal section of the GMAT, but all questions related to the same passage will go together. You'll see one question at a time, and you won't be able to go back to the previous question onсe you've submitted your answer.

The main purpose of GMAT Reading Comprehension questions is to test your ability to:

  • determine the main idea, topic or purpose of the passage
  • analyze the structure of the text
  • determine ideas implied, but not stated, by the author
  • draw inferences based on the information provided in the text
  • determine the author's tone or attitude

GMAT Reading Comprehension passages usually deal with politics, science or business. You will not be familiar with some issues discussed in those passages and you don't have to be. In fact, if you see that you are acquainted with the topic discussed in a Reading Comprehension passage, do not assume anything from your own knowledge. Base your answers solely on the information provided in the passage.

Some of the GMAT passages are difficult and may contain a lot of scientific terminology; do not get frustrated when you see a text like that. Usually, harder texts have easier questions.

GMAT Reading Comprehension questions consist of the following:

  1. Passage. As was mentioned, the passage usually has 20-40 lines and can deal with any subject in any field. Passages will appear on the left side of your screen, and in some cases, when the passage is long, you will have to scroll vertically.
  2. Question.
  3. Five answer choices. Some answers are irrelevant, some are tempting, but only one is correct.

Your Approach to GMAT Reading Comprehension Questions

  1. Read the first paragraph carefully. It often contains the main idea and purpose of the text. Also, it gives an idea about the topic and scope of the passage.
  2. Note keywords that help you understand the logical flow of the passage. For example, "however" means contradiction, "in contrast" means comparison etc. These words can help you better understand the structure and the author's reasoning.
  3. If time is running out and you have just a couple of minutes left, skim the passage. Read only the first sentence of each paragraph. The first sentences will usually give you an idea of what the paragraph is about.
  4. GMAT Reading Comprehension questions are not very hard but the passages can be very complicated and filled with scientific concepts. You don't have to understand every single word, as the questions are designed so that the answer is in the text. However, if you see that you cannot understand the main point or idea of the passage, your English needs improvement. Read newspapers, scientific, social or economic articles and look up the unknown words. This should help you improve your comprehension skills.
  5. When you have selected the correct answer, make sure it answers the question asked. In Reading Comprehension questions, a wrong answer may be true based on the text but provide information irrelevant to the particular question you have been asked.
  6. The correct answer is based on the passage; don't evaluate answer choices based on your knowledge of the topic.
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