GMAT Verbal Section - Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension Questions

According to the GMAT, the passages used in the Reading Comprehension questions in the Verbal section are no more than 350 words long. That is the only metric about these questions set in stone. Some passages might be much shorter than that. There are always multiple questions following each passage, usually three to four, depending on the length of the passage, but some test takers have reported passages followed by five or six questions. It's also hard to guess how many reading comprehension passages might appear in one test. There could be four, there could be less. The challenge with the Reading Comprehension questions is that they can be time consuming, especially if the passage is on the long side or is complicated or dense in its detail.

According to the GMAT's official site, the topics in Reading Comprehension passages may concern social sciences, physical or biological sciences, or business related issues like marketing, economics or human resource management. No specific knowledge of the subjects covered in the passages is required. In fact, if a test taker has specific knowledge of one of the subject areas discussed, it is important to remember to answer questions based on the information stated or implied in the passage and not any outside knowledge.

In this section, an answer to the first question following a passage prompts the second question. It is not possible to go back to change answers but the passage stays on one side of the screen until all questions related to it are completed.

There are different theories about how to approach this section. Some recommend skimming the passages. However, reading the passage carefully the first time and then checking back for things that aren't certain seems to be most effective. There are several types of questions that follow passages. Some are factual questions. These might be tricky, so read carefully. Some might be inferential questions that might as the test taker to make assumptions based on the information.

One example would be a question that asks, if there were one more paragraph in this passage, what would it most likely be about? There might also be questions that ask about the main idea or theme. In some cases two of the choices might be very similar so consider them carefully.