Introduction to Reading Comprehension for the GRE

دوره: GRE Test- Practice & Study Guide / فصل: GRE Verbal Reasoning- About the Verbal Reasoning Section / درس 2

GRE Test- Practice & Study Guide

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Introduction to Reading Comprehension for the GRE

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Learn about the Reading Comprehension questions on the GRE revised General Test. This lesson covers the passages, the questions, and some general strategy tips.

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Reading Comprehension

On the GRE, reading comprehension questions ask you to find and analyze information and arguments presented in a passage. These questions will make up roughly half of the total questions on the verbal reasoning sections of the test.

Reading comprehension questions always start with a passage: anywhere from one to several paragraphs followed by one to six multiple-choice questions that test your understanding of the material in the passage.

These questions don’t ask you to remember anything from outside classes; everything you need to know is right there in the passage. But that doesn’t make them easy! In this lesson, we’ll go over the passages, the questions and some strategies for managing them.

Passage & Questions

Before you look at any actual reading comprehension questions, you’ll have to read a passage. So, before getting into the questions themselves, here’s what you’ll see on the readings.

You’ll get somewhere around ten passages, which are typically pretty short. Most of them will be a single paragraph, but some of them will be longer, multi-paragraph passages. The topics of the passages can be almost anything, but you’ll be able to understand them without any specialist knowledge. For example, you might get a passage about the moon landings, but you won’t have to know any astronomy or astrophysics to answer the questions - all the facts and subject-matter information you need will be right there in the passage.

After reading the passage, you’ll move on to the questions. Each passage can have anywhere from one to six questions. Most of the questions are the typical multiple-choice format with several choices and one correct answer. Some of them ask you to pick more than one answer, and some of them ask you to pick a sentence from the passage instead of picking from a list of answers.

The questions ask you only about the information in the passage, but you aren’t just regurgitating it. You’ll have to do all kinds of things with it. For example, sometimes you’ll have to make inferences or consider alternatives to the author’s arguments. You might have to follow statements to their logical conclusion or summarize the main point of part of the argument. The questions aren’t easy just because you don’t need specialized knowledge to answer them!

Strategy

Now you’re familiar with the format of the test; it’s time to talk strategy. Test-taking strategy on the GRE can get you everywhere - here’s how to do it on the reading comprehension questions.

Don’t skip the passage. This sometimes works for tests with less involved reading comprehension questions, like the SAT, but it’s rarely a good idea for the GRE because many of the questions require you to understand the passage as a whole.

Read the passage for the argument. Don’t worry about trying to remember every fact or detail. The passage will be there as you answer the questions; you can look back at it if you need to. Instead, think about the way the argument of the passage is structured: What is the author’s main point? Where is the key evidence?

Approach the questions in this order: question, passage, answer choices. First read the question, but don’t look at the answer choices. Then find the answer in the passage. Then go back to the answer choices and pick the one that matches your answer. This will help you avoid trap answers that ‘look right’ but aren’t.

Skip when necessary. You don’t get extra points for hard questions, so if a question is just too painful, skip it, and use that time more wisely somewhere else. You can come back to any question on the section later if you have time, and the computer-delivered test has a feature that lets you mark questions for review, so you can see which ones you wanted to look over again.

Even if you skip a question, mark at least a random answer for everything. You aren’t docked points for wrong answers, so you might as well guess and hope that chance is on your side.

Lesson Summary

In this lesson, you learned about the reading comprehension questions on the GRE revised General Test. These questions make up roughly half the questions in each verbal reasoning section.

You’ll get approximately ten passages, each with one to six questions. Most of the questions will be traditional multiple-choice questions, but some will have more than one correct answer or ask you to highlight a sentence in the passage instead of choosing an answer from a list.

When you approach the passages, you don’t have to read them for every single detail, but pay attention to the argument and supporting points. Then approach each question by reading the question, finding the answer in the passage, and then choosing the answer choice that matches your own answer most closely. This will help you avoid trap answers. Don’t be afraid to skip questions that are too hard for you. Hard questions don’t get you any more points than easy ones, so just mark a random answer, and use your precious time somewhere else.

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