# The Knewton Blog

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## Top 10 GMAT Reading Comprehension Tips

Posted in Test Prep on October 8, 2010 by

For many test-takers, the Reading Comprehension section is one of the trickiest parts of the GMAT. The passages are long, convoluted, and often boring — more likely to put you to sleep than to pique your interest in the midst of a 3.5 hour exam.

Lucky for you, we’ve put together a list of 10 concrete tips to help you conquer the beast that is GMAT Reading Comprehension. With these strategies in hand, you’ll whiz through those passages in no time — and answer the accompanying questions correctly to boot!

### 1. Don’t draw on outside knowledge.

Every answer can, and should, be found or inferred directly from the passage. If the subject of the passage seems obscure, don’t panic! Test-takers are not expected to know anything ahead of time about the topics covered on RC passages.

### 2.  Look out for logical keywords

Logical keywords, or direction indicators, are words that indicate to the reader what direction the author’s argument is taking. Keep an eye out for these as you read. Many of these keywords fall into two groups: those that indicate continuity (e.g. furthermore, in addition, also), and those that indicate contrast (e.g. despite, but, nevertheless).

### 3.  Learn how to recognize question types

Nearly all RC questions fall into three distinct categories. Global questions ask about the passage as a whole, detail questions require test-takers to locate and paraphrase a specific claim, and inference questions require test-takers to note implications not explicitly stated. Knowing what type of question you’re looking at will help you identify the most effective strategy to use.

### 4. Keep your perspectives straight!

As you read through GMAT passages, remember that many passages will provide multiple perspectives: One person will suggest a theory, and another will disagree with it in certain cases for a specific reason. Be sure to keep track of which side of the argument the author is on.

### 6. Practice RC skills in everyday reading

Occasionally, you will see questions on Reading Comprehension that ask you to identify the author’s tone, extend passage information to new situations, and/or determine how and why the passage is structured a certain way. Practice identifying the author’s tone when you’re reading newspaper articles, magazines, books, or blogs, and think about the author’s reasoning for using the structure s/he did.

### 7. Pay attention to context

This is especially important when dealing with detail questions. Before answering, read the sentence or lines referenced, as well as a few sentences before and after. In certain situations, context can make all the difference between a right and wrong answer choice.