GMAT & MBA Admissions Blog

Reading Comprehension (Part 1: Question Frequency and Strategic Implications)

Posted by Lili Traviato on Sun, Mar 19, 2023 @ 11:00 AM

In this article, we’re going to discuss best reading comprehension practices for the GMAT exam. You can either read this article or watch this GMAT reading comprehension video on YouTube. To make things easier to digest, we’ve broken the contents of the video up into 3 parts. In this segment, hosted by one of MyGuru's most experienced GMAT tutors, we will specifically discuss the frequency and format of reading comprehension questions and their strategic implications. In segments 2 and 3, we’ll work through examples of reading comprehension questions and provide a clear outline of the reading comprehension process.


Question Frequency and Format

The verbal reasoning section of the GMAT exam includes three types of questions: reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. It is common to encounter three to four passages in the reading comprehension section, each followed by three to four questions, although there may be rare instances where a passage includes five questions. However, the question structure remains consistent regardless of the number of questions per passage. 

Strategic Implications

To achieve the average pace for each question in the verbal reasoning section of the GMAT exam, it is recommended to spend approximately 1 minute 45 seconds on each reading comprehension question. It is crucial to maintain this pace throughout the reading comprehension section to ensure consistency. However, for the integrated reasoning multi-source reasoning questions, it is advisable to allocate three minutes per question due to the abundance of information within the tabs. It is recommended to allocate a maximum of four minutes to read each passage and take notes along the way to aid in answering subsequent questions. It is important to ensure a full understanding of the passage before attempting to answer any questions. Additionally, the reading comprehension questions on the GMAT exam may have more questions associated with them than initially presented. Hence, it is essential to read the questions carefully and understand the underlying requirements before attempting to answer.


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The LSAT exam has an adaptivity function that allows it to adjust the level of difficulty based on your performance. This function also builds on your answers to the previous question, whether you got it right or wrong. Thus, it is crucial to take notes while reading the passage and use them to your advantage when answering subsequent questions. As the questions in the reading comprehension section are interconnected and build on each other, you cannot afford to skip any question. If you are running out of time, it is better to move on to the next question rather than rushing through an entire passage. A wrong answer in reading comprehension can lead to multiple wrong answers, which can severely impact your score. In contrast, you may skip some questions in critical reasoning, sentence correction, or integrated reasoning if you are behind pace as they are often independent questions. However, this approach is not feasible for reading comprehension questions as it can worsen the situation.


We hope this overview of the reading comprehension questions on the GMAT has empowered you to strategize with newfound confidence. Remember to read parts 2 and 3 of this article, where we will discuss the reading comprehension process and work through a few examples. 

To see all of our GMAT sentence correction videos, please check out our YouTube playlist. For further information about MyGuru's proven GMAT tutoring approach, visit the GMAT prep page on our website. To learn more about the GMAT and grad school admissions in general, visit our GMAT admissions blog

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Topics: GMAT reading comprehension, GMAT Blog, gmat strategies