GMAT Reading Comprehension: Overview & Question Samples

Instructor: Joseph Madison

Joseph received his Doctorate from UMUC in Management. He retired from the Army after 23 years of service, working in intelligence, behavioral health, and entertainment.

This lesson will discuss the verbal section within the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). We will review what the reading comprehension questions are and provide some examples.

GMAT Verbal Section

The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is an exam that many universities require in order to be considered for admission into a Graduate business degree. The exam is broken down into 4 parts:

  • Integrative reasoning
  • Quantitative
  • Analytical essay
  • Verbal

The verbal section of the GMAT has 41 questions, which must be answered in 75 minutes. The verbal section is scored 0-60. Within the verbal section there are 3 types of questions:

  • Critical Reasoning
  • Sentence Correction
  • Reading Comprehension

We will be solely delving into the reading comprehension questions within this section.

Reading Comprehension Synopsis

Each reading comprehension problem consists of a passage from a journal, book, or article that must be read, followed by 2-4 questions to be answered about the passage. These questions allow test takers to demonstrate a solid understanding of words and statements, along with their ability to see logical relationships between points and concepts, to draw inferences from facts and statements, and to follow the development of quantitative concepts as they are presented within the passages.

When reading the passages provided, it will be good to break the information down into easy-to-handle chunks. For example, you will want to assess the main and supporting ideas. Pick out the thesis statement, if there is one, and determine if the information provided is assuming anything or inferring anything. This will help you answer the questions posed about the passage itself. There is scratch paper provided; notating important points about the text can be helpful.

Question Examples

The following passages and questions are similar to what can be found on the GMAT.

Passage 1

''And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning----

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.'' - F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Question 1

What does the green light stand for within this passage?

A. Love

B. Money

C. The Future

D. Despair

Answer: C

Passage: ''Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.''

Question 2

What does Fitzgerald use to help the reader visualize the feelings of Gatsby?

A. Fitzgerald uses analogies to help the reader see Gatsby's feelings.

B. Fitzgerald uses colors to help the reader see Gatsby's feelings.

C. Fitzgerald uses inference to help the reader see Gatsby's feelings.

D. Fitzgerald uses metaphor to help the reader see Gatsby's feelings.

Answer: B

Passage: ''...I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn...''

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