Too Slow on Reading Comprehension?

reading timing too slow

RC numbers are pretty good, especially on the easy to medium passages, but, man, they are taking way too long.

The reading. The questions themselves.

This will never work within the time constraints of the test.

So what can you do in order to speed up RC so that you have chance of getting through it at an appropriate pace while still having a high hit rate?

Usually the answer is simple: improve your fundamental reading skills. 

I know, probably not exactly what you were looking for.

Yes, there are reading strategies and frameworks to help make you more efficient, to help you highlight the key information in the passages. And this will certainly net you some improvement.

Thing is though, if the basic reading skills aren’t there you will likely have a limit on the improvement you will be able to make with strategy alone.

So what’s the secret to improving your basic reading skills?

Read more. A lot more. Read things that are challenging. And read actively for 100% comprehension. No skimming!

Take your time. Soak in the words, sentences, paragraphs, pages, chapters, articles, and books and derive meaning.

This will not only help your reading comprehension but also your CR and SC.

One easy way to get started is to read a challenging article every day.

We have a series of Economist articles that we recommend to our GMAT tutoring students in order to boost reading skills.

You don’t have to read the Economist.

There are many other great options.

Just focus on in-depth, challenging texts.

You can also pick up a novel to read in the evenings instead of watching the new stranger things (that can wait until after GMAT prep!).

What if I am getting through the reading quickly but take forever on the questions?

If you have read thoroughly and truly understood the passage then, for the most part, getting through the answer choices should be relatively quick.

Do you find yourself re-reading a ton?

Struggling between choices?

Not having a good sense of direction with the answers?

It’s likely that you need to read more slowly (for now).

Go slower on the passage and you will be quicker (and likely more accurate) getting through the answer choices.

You need to find the speed that works for you.

One little test to see if you are truly understanding what you are reading: after you are done with a passage you should already know the main idea and the primary purpose of the passage.

If you are fuzzy on those then your comprehension was too low and likely you need to slow down.

There is such a thing as too slow as well

Sometimes people are afraid that they will miss something so over focus on each and every word. That isn’t helpful either.

You can practice your reading pace with, you guessed it, challenging non-test prep texts.

Reading is a great habit to get into anyways and better RC skills will serve you well during your MBA and beyond.