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GMAT Reading vs. Everyday Reading: Change Your GMAT Reading Strategy

Posted in Test Prep on March 24, 2011 by

If you’ve taken a look at any GMAT Reading Comprehension skills, you’ve probably figured out that GMAT passages are, on the whole, much more difficult to read than passages you’d find in a novel, newspaper article, or blog post. (Check out our other GMAT Reading vs. Everyday Reading posts for more.)

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

What makes GMAT passages feel so long?

What makes GMAT passages such a pain to read?


The combination of these elements — modifiers, nominalizations (the use of a verb, adjective, or adverb as the head of a noun phrase), and adjective/noun combinations — make GMAT passages convoluted and hard to read. These are all part of the test-makers’ master plan to confuse you.

Don’t let it work! Instead, change your GMAT strategy.


The more aware of these nominalizations and adjective/noun combinations you are, the easier it will be for you to ignore them while reading and find the passage’s main idea.

Let’s see how this works in action. Take a look at this passage:

There’s a lot of intimidating vocabulary in there, but if you don’t let it bother you, the passage is far less challenging. So what can we do to master a passage with tough vocabulary?



Here’s a list of “logic words” with which to familiarize yourself. These words might also help you on the Critical Reasoning and AWA sections of the GMAT!

Also familiarize yourself with “business words”. These words will come in handy for the rest of your career!

In the end, your performance on the Reading Comprehension section of the GMAT is heavily dependent on your perception of the exam. If you think of GMAT passages as a “verbal puzzle” instead of a work of literature designed to entertain you, you’ll be much less likely to lose your cool when you hit the first difficult question.

The next time you take a CAT, try reading actively, efficiently, logically, and precisely, and you should see positive results.