GMAT Impact: The Master Resource List for Reading Comprehension (Part 4 of 4)

When it comes to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. In this weekly blog series, Manhattan GMAT’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

Part 1 of this series covered how to read Reading Comprehension (RC), and Part 2 introduced the first two major question types: Main Idea and Specific Detail. In Part 3, we discusses Inference questions and Why questions. If you have not already done so, start by reading those posts, and then continue with this final post in the series.

Put It All Together

All right, now you have all of the pieces:

  • What to read and what not to read
  • How to find the main point
  • How to answer Main Idea, Specific Detail, Inference and Why questions

Let’s test out your skills! This first article talks about how to read tough science passages. The sample passage was taken from the free set of questions that comes with GMATPrep.

Next, test out your understanding of the passage on this Inference question, and then try out this Why question.


As I mentioned earlier, we really do not have much time to read RC passages. Aim for about two to two and a half minutes on shorter passages and closer to three minutes for longer ones. Of course, you cannot possibly read everything closely and carefully in such a short time frame—but that is not your goal! As discussed in the How to Read section, our goal is to get the big picture on that first read-through.

Aim to answer main idea questions in about one minute. You can spend up to two minutes on the more specific questions. In particular, if you run across an Except question, expect to spend pretty close to two minutes; Except questions nearly always take a while.

As always, be aware of your overall time. If you find that you are running behind, skip one question entirely; do not try to save 30 seconds each on a bunch of questions. Also, if RC is your weakest verbal area and you also struggle with speed, consider guessing immediately on one question per passage and spreading your time over the remaining questions.

Great, I Have Mastered RC!

Let’s test that theory, shall we? Your next step is to implement all of these techniques on your next practice test while also managing your timing well. Good luck!

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