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Thread: How to Improve Your Reading Ability

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    How to Improve Your Reading Ability

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    Many students are curious about how to improve in Reading Comprehension. And rightly so. You have to deal with some tough passages in the Verbal section of the GMAT. Luckily, the answer is easy, but the actual improvement takes time.

    To improve in Reading Comprehension, and to improve your abilities across the rest of the Verbal section, you need to be reading everyday. Read. Read. Read. Simple say, but hard to stay dedicated to. The act of reading will expose you to proper English grammar, contemporary topics that will appear on the test, and acclimate you to some of the passages you will see on topics that you are not familiar with. You'll also be exposed to new vocabulary, new ways of organizing ideas, and new approaches to a topic.

    But this only happens if you reading the right material. You do not want to just read any old thing. You need to be reading the best passages and articles possible. That means you need to choose your sources wisely. I always recommend reading The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economists, and The MIT Technology Review. The articles in these new sources are not only stellar, but they are also what everyone in the business industry is reading. So you'll be preparing for the test by reading these news sources and you'll be preparing for business.

    Lastly, you need to practice focused, active reading. You need to read like your life depends on it, like a hungry bear waking from months of hibernation. You need to read with purpose. One way to activate your reading process is to ask yourself a set of questions every time you read. And ask yourself these questions multiple times as your reading. The answers may change as you read. So ask yourself:


    1. What is the main idea? You should be able to put this into a couple phrases, not necessarily a long sentence. Try to start at the broadest possible level and then narrow more and more. So start with the general topic, then try to figure out what the scope of the passage is. That is, if the passage is about dinosaurs, what part of dinosaurs are we talking about? Skeletons? Fossil records? Biology? Coloring? Why they disappeared? Relationship to modern day birds? Through this process you should be able to narrow and narrow until you have a good summation of the main idea.


    2. What is the structure and flow of the passage? This is what GMAT Pill was getting at. You need to pay attention to transition words in the passage. You need to think about where you have been and where you are going in the passage. How does this paragraph connect to the main idea? What's its purpose in terms of the main idea? And how was it connected to the previous paragraph? Through these questions, you will get a "road map" of the passage. You'll have a sense of what happens where. And you will have a better understanding of examples or reasons because you will know their purpose in terms of the main idea of the passage.


    3. What is the author's tone and what is the author's purpose? You always want to try and infer the author's opinion about the topic. The author's opinions and beliefs will leak into the passage and influence the word choice and position in the article. So pay attention to the positive or negative tone of the adjectives and adverbs in the passage. In terms of the author's purpose, we don't have to do too much work. There are really only four reasons that people write something: to entertain, to persuade, to inform, or to describe. Obviously, passages will have elements of all of these, but usually there is one main reason that author sat down to write what you are reading.

    I hope that you find these tips and resources useful.

    Happy studying!
    Kevin Rocci, GMAT Expert at Magoosh | https://gmat.magoosh.com/

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    Thanks Kevin, It was helpful. Need an advice on How to retain the concentration--Reading at a decent pace. If I read at fast pace, I miss finer details and If I do otherwise, I miss broader point. How to make a balance?

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    The best way to find a balance is to work on your pacing through lots of practice. Reading comp is one of those sections where you don't need to learn any new facts, so really the best way to study is to practice, practice, practice. Another way to do this is to integrate more complicated material, like the WSJ, economist or scientific journals, into your every day reading.

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