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How to approach GMAT Reading Comprehension

The long, dense passages on the GMAT can be rather daunting but you can improve your score with a few techniques. If you are not already close to your reading goal, then I suggest you attempt to practice for short bursts daily. Unlike the math and the sentence completion sections, you can't just memorize a few rules and see instant improvement.

Here are some techniques to get you started:

  1. Force yourself to find the answer in the passage. It is really hard to standardize a verbal test. You are generally rephrasing something that is already on the page without changing the meaning. If the answer had to be deduced via interpretation, everybody could make arguments for their own answer being equally correct.

  2. Work on your vocabulary. Highlight any words you don't understand in practice problems and add them to your list. Write your own sentences to go with them. Consider playing

  3. Play around with reading the question or even the question and answers before the passage. Having a question in mind can help you slog through the denser passages. Focused reading, with a specific question in mind, has been shown to increase comprehension and speed.

  4. Start easy then work your way up to harder questions. This is a great resource to practice from:

  5. Learn to speed read. Scanning is a skill that takes time to hone. Aim for a speed of 400 WPM (though you only want to read as fast as you can while maintaining 100% comprehension). Test out your speed here:

  6. Practice with this website starting on level 6: You can keep a log of the date, level, story #, WPM, and comprehension %.

  7. Additionally, try to force yourself to read faster by using the cursor to guide your eyes. Most people read at the speed they speak. You can read much faster when you use a visual aid. You can also copy and paste practice passages into

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