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RC Notes and Strategy

RC Basics Reading Comprehension on the GMAT evaluates your ability to:

1. Understand words and statements

The test does not test vocabulary, but it does require you to understand certain specialized terms in context

2. Understand logical relationships between points and concepts

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understand arguments evaluate the relative importance of points and concepts in a passage

3. Draw inferences from facts and statements


draw conclusions from the facts presented in the passage

4. Understand and follow the development of quantitative concepts as they are presented

in written material How to tackle a RC passage? 7 Steps as explained in MGMAT RC strategy book.
1. Engage with the reading material.
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Pretend that the stuff you are reading is really interesting. Pretend that you really like the given material.

2. Look out for the main idea, a simple story from what you are reading.
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Simple story is the core meaning or gist of the passage. Rephrase or simplify each passage in your own words. Look out for some twists in the passage. Keep it simple, stupid.

3. Simplify and imagine what the words are referring to.

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Visualize what an important word represents. But, don't bring in too many outside ideas.

4. Unpack the beginning.

The first few sentences of every paragraph supply a critical information for the text that follows.

5. Link to the previously read text.


Ask about the meaning and purpose of what you are reading.

6. Pay attention to signal words.


Some words may turn over an idea just described in previous few lines.

7. Increase the speed as we go towards the end.

How to read analytically? Analytical reading involves breaking down reading passages into their component parts and understanding how these parts function individually and how they contribute to the entirety of the passage.
1. Purpose: 1. Why did a writer compose a particular passage? 2. What goal did he or she seek to accomplish by writing the piece? 2. Organization: 1. How does the writer attempt to accomplish the purpose? 2. What types of information are used in the passage and how is the passage

3. Main Idea: 1. What is the passages ultimate point? 2. The purpose and the structure of the passage contribute to an understanding of

its main idea. Structure of an RC passage: You can expect to nd an introductory paragraph detailing the basic topic of the essay, body paragraphs containing supporting details and evidence, and some form of conclusion. Introduction:
1. Most important part of the passage 2. writer lays out the most basic information 3. this information is what the passage is about and why the author thinks said topic is

worth writing about

4. As soon as you can gather the what and the why of the passage from the

introduction, you can move on to the rest of the passage Body Paragraphs:
1. further develop the authors main idea 2. help achieve the authors purpose by providing supporting details, examples, and

3. read body paragraphs analytically
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look at the information in the paragraph and ask yourself how it furthers the main idea Why did the author include this piece of evidence or this example? The topic sentence (first couple of sentences) of the body paragraph usually is one of the most important Rest of the body paragraph gives some details. Try to figure out why the author is providing all the information. focus on the sentences that frame the facts, evidence, and examples Look at what the author says before and after the facts, but dont read the lines in between too deeply In order to understand the authors agenda, we need to understand the con text surrounding the example, not necessarily the example itself.

4. Put this information together and see where you stand with the passage so far

1. Most of the passages in GMAT have a conclusion paragraph. 2. A conclusion paragraph that neatly summarizes the authors main point and

helps resolve the purpose of the piece.

3. Some passages wont have a proper conclusion. But the author will give some indication

of how ideas in the passage get wrapped up. 4. Treat these paragraphs as body paragraphs.
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how the information the author includes resolves or explains the information presented read the end of the paragraph to see what the authors nal word is.

Analysis of a passage:
1. the main idea comes from integrating all parts of the passage

do not confuse the information in the introduction with the main idea

2. When thinking about the purpose, try to imagine what the potential audience for the

passage would look like


you need to think about all parts of the passage when addressing the purpose

3. How is the passage organized?


Just go through, paragraph by paragraph, and see what the author does.

4. From the rst paragraph, you are reading to nd the answer to two questions: what is

the author writing about and why is it important? 5. Most of the crucial information comes at the beginning of each paragraph and at the end of the passage as a whole. The Purpose Main types of purposes found on GMAT passages:
1. Explain: simplest and most straightforward passages 1. author is attempting to inform the reader about a certain topic 2. author accomplishes this by simply detailing the major points of interest about

the topic. 3. The introduction provides the reader with the topic and perhaps some background information. 4. Each body paragraph enumerates or details an aspect of the topic 5. The conclusion doesnt add much in the way of crucial information; usually it just adds more detail or summarizes what was said previously.
2. Evaluate: take a topic and then analyze its strengths or weaknesses 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

The author then comes to some conclusion about the subject. starts out by framing the issue or subject under consideration body paragraphs address strengths or weaknesses or both related to the issue The conclusion offers authors final judgement on the topic the evaluating author will generally strike a neutral tone

3. Persuade: attempt to convince the reader of the necessity or value in some course of

1. 2. 3. 4.

Contain a description of a problem or an issue A discussion of why the proposed solution is appropriate. Starts out by introducing some issue under consideration Body paragraphs contain:

supporting evidence for a particular point of view critiques of the opposing point of view

5. The persuasive author denitely has an agenda. The conclusion will make it

clear which position the author supports.

4. Compare/Contrast: the author compares or contrasts two or more ideas about a subject 1. overlap with the evaluate and persuade purposes, as the author often

concludes that one of the ideas is superior to the others

2. The introductions of these passages generally mention two or more theories,

ideas, or points of view. 3. The body paragraphs then compare these ideas, either by dealing with multiple issues in each paragraph or by devoting a paragraph to each main viewpoint 4. The conclusion may evaluate the opposing ideas or the author may end the passage without taking a strong stand on any one of the proposals. Structure
1. The structure of the passage can help you nd the main idea and purpose. 2. Topic sentences and concluding sentences are very important when reading analytically. 3. the author indicates this key information in the middle of body paragraphs by using

certain key words.

1. change of direction words and phrases: despite, how-ever, although, yet,

but, etc 2. When you see these words, devote some attention to the ideas presented at that point in the paragraph 3. these words indicate a contrast or change from what the author said before. 4. they indicate an important shift in the authors argument or reasoning.
4. words and phrases such as for example, additionally, and furthermore typically

indicate that the information following will simply continue the point or argument the author has previously made. 5. words and phrases that emphasize the authors point: consequently, and so, thus, in conclusion, therefore, etc.
1. the information following will be important to the authors purpose and main

idea. RC Strategy Roughly 14 RC questions on GMAT.

1. Read the Passage Analytically.

1. 2. 3. 4.

Do not read the entire passage word for word. Reading the entire passage is inefcient. analyze the passage and nd its organization, main idea, and purpose Jot this information down on your scratch paper

2. Assess the Question. 1. Assess the question and gure out what information you need to nd in the

passage. 2. Types of questions:

i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi.

Main Idea Supporting Idea Inference Applying the information Logical structure Tone and Style

3. Use the Passage to Answer the Question. 3. the best answer to the question is based on the information in the passage. 4. answering questions based on common sense or your outside knowledge is not

allowed. 5. use information in the passage to support your answer. 6. From the clues in the questions, gure out exactly where to look for the answer. Analysis of each question type:
1. Main Idea 1. These questions simply ask you to state the main idea 2. You should already have a decent idea of the main idea from your analytical

reading. 3. The answer to a main idea question should reect the major points of the entire passage, not just one part.
2. Supporting Idea 1. These questions ask you to focus on the specic ideas and examples presented

in the passage
2. nd the particular lines in which the author discusses the supporting idea asked

about in the question.

3. Inference

1. based on the text, but instead ask to infer from the information provided in the 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

passage. inferences are statements that must be true based on the facts Dont stray too far from the information in the text. inference questions tend to be open-ended; from reading the question, it may not be obvious where exactly in the passage you should look for the answer. An inference is not merely a guess or a hunch. Inferences on the GMAT need to be supported by the passage. use the information in the passage to draw an inference When the question doesnt give you much help guring out where to look, go to the answer choices. Take each choice one by one and see if you can prove it to be true based on the passage.

4. Applying Information 1. require us to gure out what the passage states about a particular topic 2. apply that information to answer choices that contain new information. 3. presents new information in the answer choices, but the best answer is still

based directly on the passage. 4. you must rst refer to the passage and gure out what information you need, and then analyze the answer choices to nd the one that matches the question task.
5. Logical Structure 1. logical structure questions ask you to gure out why the author used a

particular example or how the parts of the passage t together. 2. these questions test your understanding of why an author includes certain information. 3. go back to the passage and look at the context in which the line or lines appear. 4. Ask yourself why the author may have included the lines or what the lines contribute to the paragraph as a whole.
6. Style and Tone 1. Tone refers to an authors feelings about the topic. 2. When a passage does display some semblance of tone, the tone should be fairly

mild 3. You wont nd any angry rants or humorous stories on the GMAT. 4. you must be sure that you nd evidence in the passage for a particular tone. Dont rely on your feelings about a passage; you need to nd con crete support. 5. Evidence of tone comes not from the nature of the content of a passage but instead from what the author says about that content.

Analysis of Wrong Answers the wrong answers are cleverly designed to make you pick them.
1. Right Words, Wrong Meaning 1. uses words and phrases from the passage 2. but rearranges them so that the meaning is different from that of the passage. 3. Oftentimes, the best answer uses a lot of paraphrases of the information in the

passage. Using paraphrases helps disguise the right answer. 4. read each answer choice carefully; go back to the passage and make sure both the passage and the answer really say what you think they say 5. when in doubt, avoid answers that seem to quote the passage verbatim. 6. appears most frequently on supporting idea, inference, and logical structure questions.
2. Going Too Far 1. takes information from the passage 2. expands it far beyond what the author actually said 3. frequently use absolute terms such as always, never, impossible, best,

and worst. 4. The best answer will say no more than what the passage says. 5. appears most frequently on supporting idea, inference, and tone questions.
3. Doesnt Go Far Enough 1. some choices dont go far enough 2. accounts for part of the information in the passage but leaves out certain major

details. 3. appears frequently on main idea and applying information questions

4. Doesnt Answer the Question 1. tricky because the answer choice is in fact true based on the information in the

passage, but does not answer the question asked

2. make sure you know exactly what the question wants you to nd before you

start reading information in the passage. 3. appears on supporting idea, logical structure, and inference questions.
5. Quotes the Wrong Part of the Passage 1. they quote information from a part of the passage that isnt relevant to the

question being asked.

2. Unless the question specically asks you to connect different parts of the

passage together, dont. 3. More often than not, the best answer simply reports what the author says. 4. appears on supporting idea and inference questions.