GMAT reading comprehension questions are often the most overlooked when future test takers are preparing for the exam. There seems to be a certain level of comfort with these questions that instills a false sense of security. This overconfidence is probably because similar questions appear on the SAT, ACT, and most standard state exams. If a person takes a practice GMAT exam, it is likely that, from a percentage correct standpoint, the reading comprehension questions are where they fare best.

Why then would anyone be reluctant to prepare for these questions and build on their strong suit? The answer is most likely boredom. Let’s be honest. Many GMAT reading comprehension questions are flat-out boring. You start by reading a long tedious passage about a topic for which you care very little. Then, you are asked to recall certain things from the passage. The problem is that you can’t recall much of anything, but your instinct tells you to try and answer the questions anyway. This is how incorrect answers are born.

Here are some quick tips for handling any GMAT reading comprehension passage:

It’s an Open-Book Test

Use the computer screen to refer back to the passage to locate the exact spot in the GMAT reading comprehension passage where the answer can be found. If an answer choice cannot be directly supported by the passage, it is incorrect and should be eliminated from consideration. If you are certain the answer choice must be correct, and yet still cannot find support for it at a specific place in the passage, then it is a really good wrong answer. The test writer should be congratulated.

Read the Context

When heading back to the passage to find the answer to each question, spend some time reading several of the lines above and below the portion where you expect to find the answer. A clever test-writing technique is to include words in a question that can be misinterpreted by only re-reading the one line of the passage containing those words. Read for context, and not just for key words.

You Have the Answer

After reading a GMAT reading comprehension question and returning to the passage, express an answer to yourself in your own words. This is a powerful tool. With practice, you will find that this will allow you to eliminate all but the correct answer simply by comparing each one to what you came up with yourself.

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