How to Prepare for Reading Comprehension on the GMAT

By BlogMgmt On Jul 26, 2018 In  Verbal Reading Comprehension General GMAT 


Preparing for reading comprehension on the GMAT is crucial because it makes up roughly a third of the questions. The passages are about 200-350 words in length and have 3-4 attached questions each. These passages come from scholarly articles from textbooks, journals, periodicals, etc. You are not expected to have any prior knowledge of the subject; however, your reading comprehension skills must be on par. We’ll discuss some strategies to prepare for the GMAT reading comprehension section.

Pace Yourself

With any standardized test including the GMAT, we tend to rush to finish it. Make sure you take your time and focus on the passage. Slowing down and take notes on the key concepts is a smart strategy. This will give you a better idea of the article’s focus and ideas. The style and tone the article is written in are also important. You may be asked to make inferences on something not explicitly stated. Make sure you take your time so that you do not overlook any key information in the articles.

Difficult Information

You are not expected to be an expert on the topic of the articles. With that being said, you may run into technical words or phrases you do not understand. This is done to test your reading comprehension abilities. Sometimes this will not matter, but other times these terms will be crucial to answering the questions properly. Make a note of these terms so that you can go back and review them if necessary. Use context clues to decipher this jargon as best as you can.


The author’s viewpoint is the most important part of the passage. Make sure you always keep the author’s main idea in mind when going through the passage. Whether they are arguing for something or informing you, the information will always trace back to the main idea. Additionally, if you do not have a strong grasp of the author’s viewpoint, it is difficult to answer the questions. The main idea is almost always stated in the first paragraph so reread that if necessary and develop a mental summary. This will give you something to fall back on. Always keep this summary in mind and think about how the other ideas relate to it. Remember, all of the information will be related to the main idea, so it is up to you to figure out how it is all connected.

While the reading comprehension section may seem intimidating, if you practice these strategies during your GMAT prep, you can be successful. If you're looking for a comprehensive GMAT prep course that will equip you with the skills you need, check out EMPOWERgmat’s GMAT prep course. Our course prepares you using real GMAT questions, and we guarantee results

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