Reading Comprehension Question Strategies
1. Do not expect to be completely familiar with material presented in the passages make sure you understand what is being asked.
You may find some passages easier to understand than others, but all passages are designed to present a challenge. If you have some familiarity with the material presented in a passage, do not let this knowledge influence your choice of answers to the questions. Answer all questions on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage itself.
2. Analyze each passage carefully, because the questions require you to have a specific and detailed understanding of the passages.
You may find it easier to analyze a passage first before moving to the questions. Alternatively, you may prefer to skim the passage the first time and read more carefully once you understand the questions. You may even want to read the question before reading the passage. You should choose the method most suitable for you.
3. Focus on key words and phrases, trying to maintain an overall sense of what is discussed in the passage.
Keep the following in mind:
- Note how each fact relates to an idea or an argument
- Note where the passage moves from one idea to the next
- Distinguish the passage’s main idea from its supporting ideas
- Determine what conclusions are reached and why
4.Read the questions carefully, making sure you understand what is asked.
An answer choice that accurately restates information in the passage may be incorrect if it does not answer the question. Refer back to the passage for clarification if you need to.
5. Read all the answer choices carefully.
Never assume that you have selected the best answer without first reading all the choices.
6. Select the choice that answers the question best in terms of the information given in the passage.
Do not rely on outside knowledge of the material to help you answer the questions.
7. Gain a detailed understanding of the passage before answering questions.
Remember that comprehension—not speed—is the critical success factor on the Reading Comprehension section. Make every effort to avoid losing the sense of what is being discussed. If you get lost, you will have to go back over the material, which is a waste of your limited time.
Critical Reasoning Question Strategies
1. Be certain you understand the statement or set of statements on which a question is based. Pay close attention to:
- What is put forward as factual information
- What is not said but necessarily follows from what is said
- What is claimed to follow from facts that have been put forward
- How well those claims are substantiated
When reading the arguments, it is important to determine how sound the reasoning is. However, it is not necessary to pass judgment on the actual truth of anything put forward as factual information.
2. If a question is based on an argument, identify which part of the argument is its conclusion.
The conclusion does not necessarily come at the end of the text of the argument; it may appear somewhere in the middle or even at the beginning. Be alert to clues in the text that one of the statements is not simply asserted but is said to follow logically from another statement (or other statements) in the text.
3. Determine exactly what the question is asking.
It might be helpful to read the question first, before you read the material on which it is based. For example, an argument may appear to have an obvious flaw, and you may expect to be asked to detect that flaw; but the question may ask you to recognize the answer choice that does not describe a weakness in the argument.
4. Read all the answer choices carefully.
It sounds obvious, but do not assume that a given answer is the best one without first reading all the choices.
Sentence Correction Question Strategies
1. Read the entire sentence carefully.
Try to understand the specific idea or relationship the sentence intended to express.
2. Evaluate the underlined part of the sentence.
Because the part of the sentence that may be incorrect is underlined, concentrate on evaluating that part for errors and possible corrections before you read the answer choices.
3. Read each answer choice carefully.
The first choice always repeats the underlined part of the original sentence. Choose it if you think the sentence is best as it stands—but only after you’ve examined all the other choices.
4. Try to determine how to correct what you consider to be wrong with the original sentence.
Some of the answer choices may change things that are not wrong, whereas others may not change everything that is wrong.
5. Make sure that you evaluate the sentence and the choices thoroughly.
Pay attention to general clarity, grammatical and idiomatic usage, economy and precision of language, and appropriateness of diction.
6. Read the whole sentence, substituting the choice that you prefer for the underlined passage.
An answer choice may be wrong because it does not fit grammatically or structurally with the rest of the sentence. Remember that some sentences will require no correction. When the given sentence requires no correction, choose the first answer choice.