How To Crack Tough RC Passages?

In the world of GRE, reading comprehension passages that you encounter can fall under the bucket of long, short, complex, simple but in the world of a GRE aspirant, an RC passage might fall into long, complex, boring, confusing, opaque categories, isn’t it? If you agree with the latter and need one sure shot trick to dissect and understand it, perhaps you should be at Hogwarts roaming around in dark robes and conjuring up spells! On the other hand, in the real world of GREedge what we can tell you is how to interpret long complex RC passages and answer the trailing questions.

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Divide and Rule.

The bigger the better does not hold well with RC passage especially when it is loaded with a difficult vocabulary. When y ou look at a passage, you should understand that a paragraph is a flow of ideas presented to you by the author in a logical sequence. The mantra is to break a long paragraph into those meaningful fragments mentally and then try to decipher the underlying meaning of each and every part. One thing to note here is, if you have a good knowledge of punctuation and conjunctions you definitely are at an edge over others. The art of comprehending a paragraph is most of the times a game of punctuation, conjunctions and vocabulary. Once divided into smaller parts, extract individual ideas and then the most important thing comes: to relate different ideas and form an overall understanding of the paragraph.

What is the question?

If you thought understanding a passage is all you need to do, well not really! You also need to understand the type of questions asked: main-idea, vocabulary based, conclusion based or support the argument. Every type needs a different approach to answer. If you ask me how? Well, let us say the question is a simple ‘replace the sentence from the passage with a suitable word’; for this you need to be really good with your vocabulary! For understanding the central idea, you will have to dig deeper into each and every paragraph and read the passage from the author’s perspective and not your own! The conclusion based questions, on the other hand would test your understanding of the paragraph and will take much of your time. To cut it short, you need to identify which type of questions you are most comfortable and accurate with and then try to focus on the questions where you are not good at. But, in the end if you think a particular question is taking more time than expected you can always skip to the next one! Yes, that’s the benefit of sectional adaptive in GRE (but, that does not mean that you skip every other difficult question!).

Need for Speed.

Good news for those of you who do a good amount of reading every day! You would definitely have a better pace to read and comprehend. But is that enough? Along with the rate at which you read content what is also important is to understand the flow of ideas in that content! Needless to say a better grip over vocabulary will give you a stronger tool to fight RC. You also need to identify which type of question you encounter and accordingly decide how much time you need to put into answering it. Let me give you an example, if the question is a simple vocabulary based it should take the least time while the conclusion based questions would take you the longest. Every other type will fall somewhere in between. So I would suggest you to keep on identifying the questions and the average time spent on each type of question as you practice RC passages. ETS provides a number of RC passages to practice and at the same time you can practice with GREedge where you can get a detailed feedback after every practice session. So until you master RC, keep on practicing!


In fact if you have more queries particularly regarding GRE Reading Comprehensions, please post your question/doubt as comments below. Our Verbal Experts will get back to you and provide all the possible solutions.

Happy Learning with GREedge!

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