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Intro to Reading Comprehension
Welcome to the GRE Reading Comprehension Intro. In this video we are going to talk about the different kinds of reading comprehension questions you can expect. And the actual layout of the verbal section and how the reading comprehension section questions will appear. That way you can anticipate and pace yourself better on the section.
So first off, the reading passage. How long is it? Which is of course, is always an important question from a pace standpoint. You can have a very short 80 word, reading prompt. Or you could have one that is as long as, sometimes even slightly longer, maybe 457 words long.
I think it’s the longest one that I’ve ever counted, so quite a range. Now the answers to these questions. This is important, will always be based on information in the passage. So, you do not have to bring it outside information nor should you begin to despair if you realize as is the case with many reading passages. That they are on some hopelessly obscure topic that you know nothing about.
Everyone is on an even playing field, and most people don’t know anything about that, and even if someone knows something about that, it doesn’t really matter. All the information that you need will be contained in the passage. In terms of the number of reading comprehension questions, they’re actually the exact same as the number of text completions and sentence equivalence questions.
Meaning there are ten each, 20 questions total. The order, and this is important, is always the same. And later in this video, I’m gonna show you exactly where you can expect the text completions. And where you can expect the reading comprehension questions. And this is really gonna help you from the pacing/strategizing standpoint.
Therefore, you’ll know how to better work through the section and pick off those questions that you feel most comfortable answering. First, though, let’s talk about the actual prompt format. Because, not every reading passage, as you got from the other slide, is the same length long, nor does every reading passage have the same number of questions after it.
So, let’s start with that Short reading passage. It’s about a 120, usually less than 140 words long, and usually has two. Though sometimes it even has three questions after it. Then there is the Medium passage which is usually around 190 to 250 words long, so it jumps up a little bit. And there’s usually I would say three questions if I had to find an average, but expect anything from two, sometimes even as many as four questions after Medium passage.
Finally, that leaves us wit the Long reading passage, which again is upwards of 450 words, but can range anywhere from 350 to 450. It is always followed, however, by four questions. So you know if you’re reading a Long reading passage, get ready for four questions, one after the other, relating to that passage. Finally, there’s something called the Paragraph argument, which is the one that accounts for the 80 words.
Meaning there usually aren’t too many words next to a paragraph argument. Also what’s important is there is always one question and never more to the Paragraph argument question type. Now, let’s talk about question format. Most of the question format will be what you’ve come to expect on almost every standardized test, and that is five possible answers, one of which Is correct.
So that’s business as usually. Where what is not as common or what is typical or very specific to the GRE is the Multiple-answer question. What this means is that there will always be three. Not four, five, six, etc., but exactly three answer choices. Any which can be correct.
So you could have answer choice, B. That could be an answer. You could have A and B or you could even have A, B, and C or some variation of two possible answer choices. It’s usually very straight forward that you’re dealing with a multiple answer question on the reading comprehension section because again there’s.
Always three possible answers, and they have these little brackets around them. Next there’s the Select-the-sentence question, this one’s actually very rare. Unlike the Multiple-answer question in which you may see two or three in a section, you may go through an entire section without even seeing a single select to set sentence question.. Again, this is where you look into the passage, and you actually highlight the question.
Now there is a separate module for this. Because I know this an odd question type, so you may wanna take a look at that module afterwards to see exactly what this question looks like. Now for the layout of the verbal section. Why this is important is anticipation pacing strategizing. You wanna know where the questions are so you can figure out how much time you can budget.
You will also have your strengths and weaknesses and if it turns out that reading comp after doing all these modules becomes one of your strengths, well it’s good to know that. Text Completion comes at the beginning, and you may wanna go directly to the reading comprehension section. Of course, this will depend on your skill set, but here we have the layout.
Reading comp is sandwiched between the vocab. And at the very end as well you also have reading comprehension. Now, where it gets a little bit more specific is the first round, questions 7 to 11, usually have the long passage. That is one of the sections you will see tested, they have the long passage and a paragraph argument.
Or two short passages. As for the long passage, you will only get one long passage. Per GRE tests. Meaning out of the two variable sections, only one will have that long passage. Which of course is good news given the length. 12 through 15 we know is the sentence equivalence, which will be followed by again, the other reading comprehension.
Which is usually consists of medium passages. And a paragraph argument. So if you count, you typically get two paragraph arguments per verbal section. You may actually do very well in reading comprehension. But before fear or trepidation when dealing with a paragraph argument. So it’s good to know where those occur.
In the verbal section. Now this is more or less what you’ll see every single time. There may be a slight variation in terms of the long passage coming between questions 16 and 20, could happen. But for the most part, this is what you’re likely to see, and you’ll always see text completion before the first batch of reading comprehension.
And you’ll always see reading comprehension last, with the sentence equivalents in between the two reading comprehension parts. The Takeaways from all of this, of course, is again the pacing. But it’s important to know your own strengths and weaknesses. RC can take longer for most than TC and SE but of course that depends on your own skill-set.
What I found though, is that students typically struggle with the triple blank text completions the most out of the text completions and sentence equivalents. And of course struggle the most in RC with either the tough long paragraph argument question or, and this shouldn’t be too surprising, the very long passage which in addition to having hard questions requires you to do a lot of reading. Now, to familiarize yourself with your strengths and weaknesses.
With the out layer, layout of the test. The way that you can expect sentence equivalence in between reading comprehension, et cetera, is to actually do practice tests. That way to don’t have to find yourself memorizing. What you just saw, you’ve actually experience it and you can already adapt your strategy to your strengths and your weaknesses.
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