GMAT Verbal Reading Comprehension Basics
The GMAT reading comprehension questions are just one of the three types on the Verbal section of the GMAT test. (The other two types are critical reasoning and sentence corrections.) These types of questions aren't the toughest on the Verbal section (that's what the critical reasoning questions are all about), but they are definitely tougher than the sentence completions! Here's what you need to know:
Reading Comprehension Format
The 12 – 13 GMAT Verbal reading comprehension questions are divided into four different sets. Each one of the sets has a passage up to 350 words, followed by 3 or 4 questions related to the passage. The passages can be about social sciences, physical or biological sciences, and business-related areas like marketing, economics, etc.
Reading Comprehension Skills Tested
So, what skills do you need to brush up on to score well on this section? Take a look:
- Basic reading comprehension: Can you understand terminology and vocabulary in context?
- Evaluation skills: Can you determine the strong points and importance of arguments and ideas in a passage?
- Making inferences: Can you reach a general conclusion based on facts in the text?
- Understanding quantitative data: Can you interpret numerical data or use simple arithmetic to reach conclusions in a passage?
Reading Comprehension Directions
Before your first reading comprehension question, you'll receive the following instructions. If you need to see them again at any time while testing, just click the "Help" button at the top of the page.
The questions in this group are based on the content of a passage. After reading the passage, choose the best answer to each question. Answer all questions following the passage on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage.
Reading Comprehension Example
This example is taken from the mba website:
Schools expect textbooks to be a valuable source of information for students. My research suggests, however, that textbooks that address the place of Native Americans within the history of the United States distort history to suit a particular cultural value system. In some textbooks, for example, settlers are pictured as more humane, complex, skillful, and wise than Native Americans. In essence, textbooks stereotype and depreciate the numerous Native American cultures while reinforcing the attitude that the European conquest of the New World denotes the superiority of European cultures. Although textbooks evaluate Native American architecture, political systems, and homemaking, I contend that they do it from an ethnocentric, European perspective without recognizing that other perspectives are possible.
One argument against my contention asserts that, by nature, textbooks are culturally biased and that I am simply underestimating children's ability to see through these biases. Some researchers even claim that by the time students are in high school, they know they cannot take textbooks literally. Yet substantial evidence exists to the contrary. Two researchers, for example, have conducted studies that suggest that children's attitudes about particular cultures are strongly influenced by the textbooks used in schools. Given this, an ongoing, careful review of how school textbooks depict Native Americans is certainly warranted.
Which of the following would most logically be the topic of the paragraph immediately following the passage?
- specific ways to evaluate the biases of United States history textbooks
- the centrality of the teacher's role in United States history courses
- nontraditional methods of teaching United States history
- the contributions of European immigrants to the development of the United States
- ways in which parents influence children's political attitudes