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Thread: HOW to Improve your Reading Comprehension Skills

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    HOW to Improve your Reading Comprehension Skills

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    Hi Guys and Gals,
    When I took GMAT first time, I came to know that my biggest weakness lies in Reading Comprehension. URSULA helped me a lot in guiding about how to get maximum from RC questions. I tried to work on those strategies. You all can find those strategies in her one of the post. I will paste here the link later on. But I still found that my main problem is not the comprehension but the speed. Due to slow reading speed, I used to become panic, particularly at the end of test. So I found my main weakpoint. It was slow reading Speed. I did some research on it.
    Step - 1: Measure your current Reading Speed.
    Go to following Link. Take a Speed Reading Test. If it is less than 200 WPM, then you have to really think of increasing your Reading Speed. But Don't worry. Do not buy any Speed Reading Software. It is very expensive to increase your reading speed. Read my Step2 and Step3 below.
    http://www.readingsoft.com/

    Step - 2: How to Improve your Reading Speed.
    See my attachments HOW to Increase Speed - I, II, III
    Practise daily with those suggestions.

    Step - 3: How to Improve your Reading Comprehension.
    See my attachment HOW to improve Reading Comprehension.
    I will soon add some great articles closely resembling the GMAT level. I have taken them from The ECONOMIST, THE TIME, BBC and many other Websites. But the size is too large to Upload them here. But soon will find the way to do it.

    All the best guys.
    JamesBond007
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    Re: HOW to Improve your Reading Comprehension Skills

    Wonderful Post .Went through the material provided.I know what i have to do now,lots and lots of Practise.
    Thanks.
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    Re: HOW to Improve your Reading Comprehension Skills

    Thanks! Jamesbond.
    I took the speed test and my reading speed was 197 WPM with 82% comprehension.
    I have to improve immensely on my reading speed. Thanks a lot for the great post.
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    Re: HOW to Improve your Reading Comprehension Skills

    I think reading speed and comprehension are important for the RC, but IMO there is another factor: it is hard to explain in words exactly, but you need to "get the hang" of how ETS presents a RC question and its 5 accompanying answer choices.

    Getting the hang of it naturally involved doing the RC questions in the Official Guide, and reading the explainations for them. There are patterns in how ETS presents a question and the answer choices. Again, I could not state explictly what they are, but after doing several of the RC questions in the Official Guide, I began to sort of sense these patterns. Sometimes I was able to guess what answer was right and what was wrong by "gut feel". I was not 100% accurate, but was much better than 20% accurate (i.e. better than random guessing) by the time I had finished the Official Guide.

    What I am saying is, success in RC is about general reading speed and comprehension, a skill we all use everyday. But it is also about skills that are unique to the GMAT RC. Doing better in the RC involves both improving our gerneral reading skills, and learning the specific GMAT RC quirks.

    Sorry if this sounds a bit zen-like and mystical, but after working on all the Official Guide RC questions, hopefully you will develop this sense.
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    Re: HOW to Improve your Reading Comprehension Skills

    i got 260 wpm with 82%...
    one needs to be at around >300 wpm... (ideal would be ~450 wpm) bcoz RC passages in GMAT often range from 350-450 words.
    And one shud not spend more than 1 to 1.5 mins in reading a passage.

    My problem is tht by the time i come to Verbal section, i'm so much tired tht my mind starts wandering & i bovine mastication not concentrate on the RC.
    Because when i try to do standalone RCs (on PC) i get it almost 90% correct with an avg of less than 2 min per Q.

    I think apart form RC skills, we need to train our mind to concentrate during the 4hr gruelling session.

    James, it would b gud if u can share an article on "How to improve Concentration"

    ashish
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    Re: HOW to Improve your Reading Comprehension Skills

    Hi Friendlydragon,
    I understand your point. To become habitual to GMAR RC and its questioning patterns is sufficient criteria. But I strongly feel that non-native english speakers needs somethings more than this sufficient criteria and that is what I said in above post.
    High Reading speed with good comprehension is essential criteria for any compititative exam. You may not felt the need of this, may be because either you are native english speaker or have good english reading speed. There are many others, who fail in RC area of GMAT just because, they have very less English reading speed (in the range of 100-150). For them, high reading speed is must. Once they got the decent level of reading speed, at least 200 WPM, they can start trying for GMAT RC strategies.
    Let's look at it in other way. We have around 14 RC, 14 SC and 14 CR, SAY. all RC passages and questions and thier all 5 choices have as many as 2000 words. All CR questions contributes as many as 1500 words and SC, around 1000 words. Total words in Verbal section are aproximately 4500 to 5000. To read these many words, which have highly complicated and unusual structure, a slow reader will take 40 to 50 mins. Because, although a slow reader has 100 to 150 WPM speed, it reduces to less than 100 WPM when reading on computer. Adding to it, the sense of solving the GMAT test will further reduce the speed as a slow reader thinks that good comprehension is better at slow speed. Hence simply consuming 50+ mins in merely reading the text. When he will get the time to think? Everyone knows that each question requires at least a 30 sec to 60 sec for thinking. So total 41 mins requires minimum 20 to 30 mins. This will cross the 75 mins limit and hence all slow readers never could finish the entire test. They have to simply guess last 6-7 questions.
    On contrast to this, if high speed reader solving the test, he will have ample time to think compared to slow reader. Given that both, slow and high speed readers think at the same level, high speed reader will eventually get high score.
    So it is very essential to every test solver, that the reading speed is above 200 WPM while reading on computer, if he wanted to score 700+.
    What do you say? Am I right?

    Regards,
    JAmesBond007
    Last edited by jamesbond007; 08-13-2004 at 11:50 AM.
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    Re: HOW to Improve your Reading Comprehension Skills

    Thanks jamesbond for the wonderful analysis. I have found out that on my practice test i tend to get corrrect answers for the early question in the verbal section. however, because i spend on average 2 to 3minutes on these question, latter questions are unswered correctly. You have mase a good point ans analysis and I think if every testtaker will follow, it will help him/her improve upon verbal greatly. thanks agin for your analysis and the documents you sent.
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    Re: HOW to Improve your Reading Comprehension Skills

    FYI, I've followed the instructions off 007 and my speed for RC has increased quite substancialy (10min per RC of 4 questions in state of 15 min). If english isn't your first language, I really think it helps.

    Thanks 007 !
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    Re: HOW to Improve your Reading Comprehension Skills

    Hi 007
    I have downloaded the materials you provided. Thanks for sharing with everyone.
    My biggest problem in Verbal also was RC especially towards the end..keep my mind focussed was difficult.

    I took the speed test and it came to 221 WPM with 91% comprehension..which I guess ain't that bad..but I guess if improve it I will make a huge difference.
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    Re: HOW to Improve your Reading Comprehension Skills

    Hi Jamesbond007,

    Thanks for the link I scored a 190wpm with an accuracy of 75%. So, I guess there is some work to do.

    CU Swiss

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