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GMAT Reading vs. Everyday Reading

Posted in Test Prep on February 14, 2011 by

If you’ve started studying for the GMAT, you’ve probably figured out that tackling Reading Comprehension passages on the GMAT is quite different from reading a novel, a news article or a blog.

If you’re looking to enhance your GMAT reading comp skills, the best thing you can do for yourself is to understand what makes GMAT passages tricky and develop strategies for processing complex information, so that you can attack the questions efficiently.

So, what exactly makes GMAT passages challenging?

Here’s a sample of some of the passage topics you’ll find on the GMAT Reading Comprehension section:

Those topics may still seem like they cover quite a range. So what kind of subjects won’t appear on the GMAT?

As you can see, the GMAT tends to steer clear of passages that concern current trends or commonly-taught subject matter, as well as “fun” topics (like dolphin facts!). Here’s why:

Now that you have a sense of the GMAT’s preferred subject matter, let’s talk about what the test does to make each of these topics challenging.

Esoteric subjects and a focus on quantitative relationships aren’t the only things that make these passages tricky. GMAT passages are also challenging because of what they lack.

GMAT passages are missing a number of characteristics that would make them much easier to read and understand. Here’s what differentiates GMAT passages from, say, prose in a novel.

Considering all of the above, here’s a tip that might help you approach the GMAT in the right way:

Looking for additional resources? Here’s the kind of reading material that will help you get into the right mindset for the exam.

Check out the online versions of the publications above:

The New York Times

The Atlantic

Science News

New Scientist

The Economist

BusinessWeek