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GMATVERBAL SECTIONReading Comprehension

Reading comprehension questions measure your ability to understand, analyze, and apply information
and concepts in written form.
READING COMPREHENSION TESTING POINTS

Ability to understand words and statements in the reading passages, as well as overall
comprehension.
Ability to understand logical relationships between particular points and concepts in the passages.
Ability to draw inferences from facts and statements in reading passages.
Ability to understand and follow the development of quantitative concepts that are presented in
verbal material.

FACTS ABOUT READING COMPREHENSION PASSAGES


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Passages can treat any subject (no prior knowledge necessary).


Material is taken out of context.
Passages are edited (deliberately, professionally to serve tests purposes).
Passages test comprehension, not speed reading (theyre deliberately dense, rendering
speed-reading ineffective).
5. Careful reading is required (mental magnifying glass)
3 LEVELS OF READING
EASY QUESTIONS TEST FIRST LEVEL OF COMPREHENSIONON THE LINES
Main Idea questions require only a superficial reading of the passage.
Appreciation of general theme.
When answering questions at this level, skim the passage by reading the first and last sentences of
each paragraph.
INTERMEDIATE QUESTIONS TESTS SECOND LEVEL OF COMPREHENSIONBETWEEN THE LINES
Specific Detail and Logical Structure questions require an intermediate level of reading.
Understanding of specific points.
You should read the entire passage, but dont waste time on specific points unless answering specific
questions. For these types of items, its best to refer back to the passage.
DIFFICULT QUESTIONS TEST THIRD LEVEL OF COMPREHENSIONBEYOND THE LINES
Implied Idea, Further Application, and Attitude/Tone questions require the deepest level of reading
and comprehension.
Evaluation of, or judgment on, the text.
When answering questions at this level, read the passage very carefullyscour.

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTION CATEGORIES


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Main idea questions


Specific detail questions
Logical structure questions
Implied idea questions
Further application questions
Attitude/Tone questions

MAIN IDEA QUESTIONSCENTRAL THEME THAT UNIFIES PASSAGE


Look for words/phrases such as main point, primary, or central.
Which of the following is the main point of the passage?
The primary purpose of the passage is to . . .
The author is primarily concerned with . . .
Which of the following titles best describes the content of the passage?
MAIN IDEA ANSWERS SUMMARIZEWhatever the form of a Main Idea question, the answer will
summarize the main theme of the selection without going beyond the scope of the passage.
Hint: Incorrect Main Idea answer choices are either too broad or too limited.
SPECIFIC DETAIL QUESTIONPOINT MENTIONED BY THE AUTHOR AS PART OF OVERALL
DEVELOPMENT OF PASSAGES MAIN THEME
Look for phrases such as stated in the passage or mentioned in the passage.
The author mentions which of the following?
According to the author (or passage) . . .
The author provides information that would answer which of the following questions?
SPECIFIC DETAIL ANSWERS ARE EXPLICITThe correct choice for a Specific Detail question must both
be explicitly mentioned in the passage and answer the question asked.
Hint: Often, Specific Detail questions refer to specific line numbers, paragraphs, specific names, dates or
times, capitalized phrases, and unusual words or terminology. When a question stem mentions these
locator words, waste no time! Go directly to the passage and find the locator words. That is typically
where you will find the answer for which you are looking.
LOGICAL STRUCTURE QUESTIONSOVERALL PASSAGE DEVELOPMENT/ROLE PLAYED BY SPECIFIC
DETAIL
Look for phrases such as in order to or proceeds by.
The author develops the passage primarily by . . .
The author proceeds primarily by . . .

The author mentions . . . in order to . . .


Which of the following best describes why the author introduces . . . ?
LOGICAL STRUCTURE QUESTIONS ARE BASED ON WHOLE PICTUREA Logical Structure question that
asks about the overall development of the passage should be treated like a Main Idea question.
Hint: The key to answering a Logical Structure question is to locate the needed reference and ask why:
Why did the author do this? The answer will best describe the structure of the selection.
IMPLIED IDEA QUESTIONSWHAT CAN BE LOGICALLY INFERRED FROM PASSAGE
Look for phrases such as inferred from or implies that.
The passage implies that . . .
The author uses the phrase _____ to mean . . .
It can be inferred from the passage that . . .
Which of the following can be inferred from the passage?
IMPLIED IDEA ANSWERS ARE INFERRED, NOT STATEDTo answer an Implied Idea question, look for a
choice that is logically supported by the passage; it will not be specifically mentioned in the passage
the reader must infer the answer.
Hint:

Impliedsuggested, hinted at, indirectly/obscurely stated


Inferredconcluded, deduced, assumed, surmised, supposed

FURTHER APPLICATION QUESTIONSTAKE TO NEXT STEP, APPLY TO NEW SITUATION


Look for phrases such as most likely, least likely, or best supported.
With which of the following statements would the author most likely agree?
The author would probably consider which of the following a good example of her theory?
The passage is most probably taken from which of the following sources?
FURTHER APPLICATION ANSWERS GO BEYOND THE PASSAGETo answer a Further Application
question, find the answer choice that is best supported by the information provided in the passage; the
answer will apply the supplied information to a new situation.
TONE QUESTIONSAUTHORIAL ATTITUDE
The tone of the passage can best be described as . . .
The author regards . . . as . . .
Which of the following best describes the authors attitude toward . . . ?
ATTITUDE/TONE ANSWERS CAN BE ORDEREDFinding answers to Attitude/Tone questions is easiest
after the answer choices have been arranged in some kind of order (positive to negative or vice versa).