GMAT Reading Comprehension requires some solid reading skills. Practice your reading with The Economist (scroll down for article links)!
So you want to improve your GMAT Reading Comprehension? You have come to the right place! Today we're going to discuss using Economist articles to improve your GMAT reading comprehension and GMAT verbal as a whole.
Let’s assume that you are already covering the GMAT Reading Comprehension basics with a general reading strategy and a familiarity with GMAT Reading Comprehension question types. You are methodically working through the official GMAT verbal materials and are supplementing your GMAT verbal prep with LSAT materials. You're also keeping track of any trends in your mistakes. Getting main idea questions wrong? Line reference? Author point of view? Great! Good job keeping your studying on the up and up. You are on your way to GMAT reading comprehension stardom and with that to achieving a stellar GMAT verbal score.
But let’s agree on something: success on the GMAT Reading Comprehension is largely based on the accuracy and efficiency of your reading not test prep strategy. If you slice through classic Russian literature like its swiss cheese you probably need little to no test prep to obliterate the GMAT RC. If your reading is weak then you will have a tough time on GMAT Reading Comprehension and GMAT verbal regardless of how much test prep practice you do. Still, just because you may not be a naturally gifted reader doesn't mean that you can't improve your basic reading skills.
So what can you do to practice your reading? Well, you guessed it: READ!
But what you may ask? Anything challenging will probably help. To Atlantic GMAT tutoring students students we suggest the Economist as the level of reading, the grammar structures, and the density of the texts are similar to those in the GMAT Reading Comprehension. Also, the topics in the Economist are varied so that you can get comfortable with a variety of subjects (hate science passages? Well, time to read a bunch of science articles!). Finally, a certain number of Economist articles are free!
With all GMAT studying consistency is key so I would recommend reading one article per day. Over 3 months of studying this Economist GMAT reading practice can really add up and not only make a meaningful difference in your basic reading skills but provide a boost to your GMAT Reading Comprehension and GMAT verbal performance.
Is your GMAT verbal completely hopeless or stuck in the high 20s/low 30s? If you're seeking a competitive GMAT score 3 months may not cut it. You might need 6 months or even a year. Really? Yes. Here's another article on GMAT verbal improvement that I wrote for Poets and Quants discussing long term GMAT verbal studying especially as it relates to improving reading skills.
A few things that will help your Economist GMAT Verbal preparation:
1. Read for 100% comprehension. Read at a pace that allows you to understand everything. Re-read sentences and paragraphs that you find confusing. Digest as you read (chew your food). Think. Pause. Think again. Use a dictionary to look up unfamiliar words. This may be very slow at first but you need to learn to walk before you can run. In your GMAT preparation it is critical to find that balance of speed and accuracy that works for you.
2. Consider how the author structures his/her arguments. What is the main idea? How is it supported? What are the facts? What are the opinions? What are the assumptions? This reading can also help you improve your GMAT critical reasoning.
3. Pay attention to grammar structures. If you see a list take a look at the parallelism. If you see a pronoun match it to the noun that it is replacing. Confirm verb agreement. Analyze comparisons. Practice removing structurally unnecessary modifiers so that you reveal the bare bones of the sentence. Consider why the present/past perfect is used. This sentence structure analysis can help you improve on GMAT Sentence Correction.
Be an active reader. In the internet age of the 24 hours news cycle, twitter, facebook, instagram, and whatever else most people have gotten used to skimming snippets of information. For the GMAT verbal section we have to train ourselves for a more focused analysis of longer texts.
How about a little quiz on the articles to make sure that you understood what you were reading? You got it! I have been creating Economist GMAT reading comprehension questions for Atlantic students. This process has really helped them improve their GMAT verbal scores. There are 9 economist GMAT reading comprehension challenges with questions and an additional 17 articles with paragraph summaries and the main idea and primary purpose defined so you can check whether you really understood the point of the articles. You can find the questions and links to the articles here (for more than three articles per week you'll need an Economist subscription):
Remember, GMAT verbal improvement takes time. One of the biggest challenges is being patient. I know that it is really tough to motivate yourself to keep up with GMAT verbal studying when you are not seeing the positive results in your GMAT scores. Realize that the results can take weeks and even months to materialize. The only way to see the results is to keep going:)