GMAT Verbal Notes GMAT Notes | EduRev

GMAT : GMAT Verbal Notes GMAT Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


For more material and information, please visit Tai Lieu Du Hoc at 
www.tailieuduhoc.org 
 Page 1 7/9/2006 
GMAT Verbal Notes 
 
READING COMPREHENSION STRATEGY ......................................................................................... 2 
PREPARATION STRATEGY ......................................................................................................................... 2 
General Strategies for Reading Comprehension .................................................................................. 2 
Six most important types of RC Questions ............................................................................................ 3 
TEST TAKING STARTEGY........................................................................................................................... 6 
SENTENCE CORRECTION STRATEGY ............................................................................................... 7 
PREPARATION STRATEGY ......................................................................................................................... 7 
The 8 Major Errors Of GMAT English................................................................................................. 7 
1) Pronoun error.............................................................................................................................. 7 
2) Misplaced Modifier (modifiers must stay close to home) ............................................................ 8 
3) Parallel Construction .................................................................................................................. 8 
4) Verb Tense................................................................................................................................... 9 
5) Subject-Verb agreement errors ................................................................................................. 10 
6) Parallelism (Apples + Oranges) ............................................................................................... 12 
7) Quantity Words.......................................................................................................................... 13 
8) Idioms........................................................................................................................................ 13 
IDIOMATIC PREPOSITION USAGE................................................................................................. 17 
CRITICAL REASONING......................................................................................................................... 43 
CRITICAL REASONING STRATEGY .......................................................................................................... 44 
APPENDIX A. ABSOLUTE PHRASES: INTRODUCTION ................................................................ 48 
APPENDIX B. SUBJECT/VERB INVERSION ...................................................................................... 50 
APPENDIX C. PREPOSITIONS.............................................................................................................. 55 
 
 
 
 
Page 2


For more material and information, please visit Tai Lieu Du Hoc at 
www.tailieuduhoc.org 
 Page 1 7/9/2006 
GMAT Verbal Notes 
 
READING COMPREHENSION STRATEGY ......................................................................................... 2 
PREPARATION STRATEGY ......................................................................................................................... 2 
General Strategies for Reading Comprehension .................................................................................. 2 
Six most important types of RC Questions ............................................................................................ 3 
TEST TAKING STARTEGY........................................................................................................................... 6 
SENTENCE CORRECTION STRATEGY ............................................................................................... 7 
PREPARATION STRATEGY ......................................................................................................................... 7 
The 8 Major Errors Of GMAT English................................................................................................. 7 
1) Pronoun error.............................................................................................................................. 7 
2) Misplaced Modifier (modifiers must stay close to home) ............................................................ 8 
3) Parallel Construction .................................................................................................................. 8 
4) Verb Tense................................................................................................................................... 9 
5) Subject-Verb agreement errors ................................................................................................. 10 
6) Parallelism (Apples + Oranges) ............................................................................................... 12 
7) Quantity Words.......................................................................................................................... 13 
8) Idioms........................................................................................................................................ 13 
IDIOMATIC PREPOSITION USAGE................................................................................................. 17 
CRITICAL REASONING......................................................................................................................... 43 
CRITICAL REASONING STRATEGY .......................................................................................................... 44 
APPENDIX A. ABSOLUTE PHRASES: INTRODUCTION ................................................................ 48 
APPENDIX B. SUBJECT/VERB INVERSION ...................................................................................... 50 
APPENDIX C. PREPOSITIONS.............................................................................................................. 55 
 
 
 
 
For more material and information, please visit Tai Lieu Du Hoc at 
www.tailieuduhoc.org 
 Page 2 7/9/2006 
Reading Comprehension Strategy 
Preparation Strategy 
General Strategies for Reading Comprehension 
 
1. Try to read the whole text of the passage once, if possible. Many people think you should 
just skim the passage or read the first lines of every paragraph, and not to read the passage. 
We believe this is an error: if you misunderstand the main idea of the passage, you will 
certainly get at least some of the questions wrong. Give the passage one good read, taking 
no more than 3 minutes to read all of the text. Do not read the passage more than once – that 
wastes too much time. If you have not understood it completely, try to answer the questions 
anyway. Note: this point of reading the whole passage is important for test-takers whose first 
language is not English, provided that they can read the passage in 3 minutes or less.  
 
2. Make brief notes on the text on your scrap paper. As we will see below in greater detail, 
you should write down a couple of words on A) the Main Idea or Primary Purpose, B) 
Organization/Structure of the passage, and C) the Tone or Attitude of the author (if 
applicable). You just need a few words for each of these areas, and altogether it should not 
take longer than 30 seconds to write down.  
 
3. Remember that the tone or attitude of the passage is usually respectful and moderate, 
never going to extremes of praise nor criticism. ETS obtains its Reading Comprehension 
passages from real articles about real academics and professionals. So the tone of the 
articles, even when there is criticism in the passage toward an academic or her work, is 
always balanced and moderate. In the same vein, articles that deal with minorities or ethnic 
groups are almost always positive and sympathetic.  
 
4. Look out for structural words that tell you the important ideas or transitions in a 
passage.  
 
Continue the Idea Words Conclusion 
Words 
Contradiction (Yin-Yang) Words 
 
 Similarly 
 Moreover 
 Additionally 
 In the same way 
 Likewise 
 Thus 
 Therefore 
 Hence 
 So 
 In summary 
 In conclusion 
 
 Neverthless 
 Nonetheless 
 However 
 But 
 Although 
 Though 
 Even though 
 Notwithstanding 
 Yet 
 Despite 
 In spite of 
 On the one hand…on the other 
hand 
 While 
 Unlike 
 Traditional view / Modern View 
 Before /After 
 Generally 
Page 3


For more material and information, please visit Tai Lieu Du Hoc at 
www.tailieuduhoc.org 
 Page 1 7/9/2006 
GMAT Verbal Notes 
 
READING COMPREHENSION STRATEGY ......................................................................................... 2 
PREPARATION STRATEGY ......................................................................................................................... 2 
General Strategies for Reading Comprehension .................................................................................. 2 
Six most important types of RC Questions ............................................................................................ 3 
TEST TAKING STARTEGY........................................................................................................................... 6 
SENTENCE CORRECTION STRATEGY ............................................................................................... 7 
PREPARATION STRATEGY ......................................................................................................................... 7 
The 8 Major Errors Of GMAT English................................................................................................. 7 
1) Pronoun error.............................................................................................................................. 7 
2) Misplaced Modifier (modifiers must stay close to home) ............................................................ 8 
3) Parallel Construction .................................................................................................................. 8 
4) Verb Tense................................................................................................................................... 9 
5) Subject-Verb agreement errors ................................................................................................. 10 
6) Parallelism (Apples + Oranges) ............................................................................................... 12 
7) Quantity Words.......................................................................................................................... 13 
8) Idioms........................................................................................................................................ 13 
IDIOMATIC PREPOSITION USAGE................................................................................................. 17 
CRITICAL REASONING......................................................................................................................... 43 
CRITICAL REASONING STRATEGY .......................................................................................................... 44 
APPENDIX A. ABSOLUTE PHRASES: INTRODUCTION ................................................................ 48 
APPENDIX B. SUBJECT/VERB INVERSION ...................................................................................... 50 
APPENDIX C. PREPOSITIONS.............................................................................................................. 55 
 
 
 
 
For more material and information, please visit Tai Lieu Du Hoc at 
www.tailieuduhoc.org 
 Page 2 7/9/2006 
Reading Comprehension Strategy 
Preparation Strategy 
General Strategies for Reading Comprehension 
 
1. Try to read the whole text of the passage once, if possible. Many people think you should 
just skim the passage or read the first lines of every paragraph, and not to read the passage. 
We believe this is an error: if you misunderstand the main idea of the passage, you will 
certainly get at least some of the questions wrong. Give the passage one good read, taking 
no more than 3 minutes to read all of the text. Do not read the passage more than once – that 
wastes too much time. If you have not understood it completely, try to answer the questions 
anyway. Note: this point of reading the whole passage is important for test-takers whose first 
language is not English, provided that they can read the passage in 3 minutes or less.  
 
2. Make brief notes on the text on your scrap paper. As we will see below in greater detail, 
you should write down a couple of words on A) the Main Idea or Primary Purpose, B) 
Organization/Structure of the passage, and C) the Tone or Attitude of the author (if 
applicable). You just need a few words for each of these areas, and altogether it should not 
take longer than 30 seconds to write down.  
 
3. Remember that the tone or attitude of the passage is usually respectful and moderate, 
never going to extremes of praise nor criticism. ETS obtains its Reading Comprehension 
passages from real articles about real academics and professionals. So the tone of the 
articles, even when there is criticism in the passage toward an academic or her work, is 
always balanced and moderate. In the same vein, articles that deal with minorities or ethnic 
groups are almost always positive and sympathetic.  
 
4. Look out for structural words that tell you the important ideas or transitions in a 
passage.  
 
Continue the Idea Words Conclusion 
Words 
Contradiction (Yin-Yang) Words 
 
 Similarly 
 Moreover 
 Additionally 
 In the same way 
 Likewise 
 Thus 
 Therefore 
 Hence 
 So 
 In summary 
 In conclusion 
 
 Neverthless 
 Nonetheless 
 However 
 But 
 Although 
 Though 
 Even though 
 Notwithstanding 
 Yet 
 Despite 
 In spite of 
 On the one hand…on the other 
hand 
 While 
 Unlike 
 Traditional view / Modern View 
 Before /After 
 Generally 
For more material and information, please visit Tai Lieu Du Hoc at 
www.tailieuduhoc.org 
 Page 3 7/9/2006 
 Most people think… 
 
5. Go back to the text of the passage for the answers. Many test-takers fail to return to the 
text of the passage to look for the correct answers. They rely solely on their memories and 
understanding of the passage after having read or skimmed it. Wrong. ETS is counting on 
that. Go back to the text to look for information to answer the questions. Nine times out of ten, 
the answer lies within the passage. 
 
Six most important types of RC Questions 
There are 6 most important types of questions for Reading Comprehension: 
 
1. Main Idea/Primary Purpose Questions 
Many people believe there is no difference between the main or central idea of the passage 
and the primary purpose of the author of the passage. This is simply not true. Let's take a 
look at the subtle but important difference between them: 
 
Main Idea 
The question might look something like this: 
 
 "Which of the following best states the central idea of the passage?" 
 "Which of the following most accurately states the main idea of the passage?" 
 "Which of the following is the principal topic of the passage?" 
 "The main topic of the passage is...." 
 
Primary Purpose 
The question might look like this: 
 
 "The primary purpose of this passage is to..." 
 "The primary purpose of the passage as a whole is to..." 
 "The primary focus of this passage is on which of the following?" 
 "The main concern of the passage is to..." 
 "In the passage, the author is primarily interested in...." 
 "The passage is chiefly concerned with..." 
 
 
Strategy: 
Main Idea: Look in the first and last paragraphs for the main idea. Any conclusion words 
like therefore, thus, so, hence, etc. that you see are most likely introducing the main idea. 
The correct answer will say the same thing as it says in the text, but using different words. 
The Main Idea is not always stated explicitly in the passage – in fact, more likely than not, it is 
not stated explicitly. Therefore, in order to answer this type of question when it is more 
implicit: 
 
Re-read the first line of every passage, and the last line of the first and last paragraphs. This 
should give you the general structure or outline of the argument, with which you can answer 
the Main Idea question. 
After determining the general structure or content of the argument, eliminate answer choices 
that are too broad or too specific, i.e. answer choices that go beyond the content of the 
passage, or that deal with content only discussed in one paragraph of the passage. 
Make brief notes – a couple of words- regarding the Main Idea on the text on your scrap 
paper while you read. 
 
Page 4


For more material and information, please visit Tai Lieu Du Hoc at 
www.tailieuduhoc.org 
 Page 1 7/9/2006 
GMAT Verbal Notes 
 
READING COMPREHENSION STRATEGY ......................................................................................... 2 
PREPARATION STRATEGY ......................................................................................................................... 2 
General Strategies for Reading Comprehension .................................................................................. 2 
Six most important types of RC Questions ............................................................................................ 3 
TEST TAKING STARTEGY........................................................................................................................... 6 
SENTENCE CORRECTION STRATEGY ............................................................................................... 7 
PREPARATION STRATEGY ......................................................................................................................... 7 
The 8 Major Errors Of GMAT English................................................................................................. 7 
1) Pronoun error.............................................................................................................................. 7 
2) Misplaced Modifier (modifiers must stay close to home) ............................................................ 8 
3) Parallel Construction .................................................................................................................. 8 
4) Verb Tense................................................................................................................................... 9 
5) Subject-Verb agreement errors ................................................................................................. 10 
6) Parallelism (Apples + Oranges) ............................................................................................... 12 
7) Quantity Words.......................................................................................................................... 13 
8) Idioms........................................................................................................................................ 13 
IDIOMATIC PREPOSITION USAGE................................................................................................. 17 
CRITICAL REASONING......................................................................................................................... 43 
CRITICAL REASONING STRATEGY .......................................................................................................... 44 
APPENDIX A. ABSOLUTE PHRASES: INTRODUCTION ................................................................ 48 
APPENDIX B. SUBJECT/VERB INVERSION ...................................................................................... 50 
APPENDIX C. PREPOSITIONS.............................................................................................................. 55 
 
 
 
 
For more material and information, please visit Tai Lieu Du Hoc at 
www.tailieuduhoc.org 
 Page 2 7/9/2006 
Reading Comprehension Strategy 
Preparation Strategy 
General Strategies for Reading Comprehension 
 
1. Try to read the whole text of the passage once, if possible. Many people think you should 
just skim the passage or read the first lines of every paragraph, and not to read the passage. 
We believe this is an error: if you misunderstand the main idea of the passage, you will 
certainly get at least some of the questions wrong. Give the passage one good read, taking 
no more than 3 minutes to read all of the text. Do not read the passage more than once – that 
wastes too much time. If you have not understood it completely, try to answer the questions 
anyway. Note: this point of reading the whole passage is important for test-takers whose first 
language is not English, provided that they can read the passage in 3 minutes or less.  
 
2. Make brief notes on the text on your scrap paper. As we will see below in greater detail, 
you should write down a couple of words on A) the Main Idea or Primary Purpose, B) 
Organization/Structure of the passage, and C) the Tone or Attitude of the author (if 
applicable). You just need a few words for each of these areas, and altogether it should not 
take longer than 30 seconds to write down.  
 
3. Remember that the tone or attitude of the passage is usually respectful and moderate, 
never going to extremes of praise nor criticism. ETS obtains its Reading Comprehension 
passages from real articles about real academics and professionals. So the tone of the 
articles, even when there is criticism in the passage toward an academic or her work, is 
always balanced and moderate. In the same vein, articles that deal with minorities or ethnic 
groups are almost always positive and sympathetic.  
 
4. Look out for structural words that tell you the important ideas or transitions in a 
passage.  
 
Continue the Idea Words Conclusion 
Words 
Contradiction (Yin-Yang) Words 
 
 Similarly 
 Moreover 
 Additionally 
 In the same way 
 Likewise 
 Thus 
 Therefore 
 Hence 
 So 
 In summary 
 In conclusion 
 
 Neverthless 
 Nonetheless 
 However 
 But 
 Although 
 Though 
 Even though 
 Notwithstanding 
 Yet 
 Despite 
 In spite of 
 On the one hand…on the other 
hand 
 While 
 Unlike 
 Traditional view / Modern View 
 Before /After 
 Generally 
For more material and information, please visit Tai Lieu Du Hoc at 
www.tailieuduhoc.org 
 Page 3 7/9/2006 
 Most people think… 
 
5. Go back to the text of the passage for the answers. Many test-takers fail to return to the 
text of the passage to look for the correct answers. They rely solely on their memories and 
understanding of the passage after having read or skimmed it. Wrong. ETS is counting on 
that. Go back to the text to look for information to answer the questions. Nine times out of ten, 
the answer lies within the passage. 
 
Six most important types of RC Questions 
There are 6 most important types of questions for Reading Comprehension: 
 
1. Main Idea/Primary Purpose Questions 
Many people believe there is no difference between the main or central idea of the passage 
and the primary purpose of the author of the passage. This is simply not true. Let's take a 
look at the subtle but important difference between them: 
 
Main Idea 
The question might look something like this: 
 
 "Which of the following best states the central idea of the passage?" 
 "Which of the following most accurately states the main idea of the passage?" 
 "Which of the following is the principal topic of the passage?" 
 "The main topic of the passage is...." 
 
Primary Purpose 
The question might look like this: 
 
 "The primary purpose of this passage is to..." 
 "The primary purpose of the passage as a whole is to..." 
 "The primary focus of this passage is on which of the following?" 
 "The main concern of the passage is to..." 
 "In the passage, the author is primarily interested in...." 
 "The passage is chiefly concerned with..." 
 
 
Strategy: 
Main Idea: Look in the first and last paragraphs for the main idea. Any conclusion words 
like therefore, thus, so, hence, etc. that you see are most likely introducing the main idea. 
The correct answer will say the same thing as it says in the text, but using different words. 
The Main Idea is not always stated explicitly in the passage – in fact, more likely than not, it is 
not stated explicitly. Therefore, in order to answer this type of question when it is more 
implicit: 
 
Re-read the first line of every passage, and the last line of the first and last paragraphs. This 
should give you the general structure or outline of the argument, with which you can answer 
the Main Idea question. 
After determining the general structure or content of the argument, eliminate answer choices 
that are too broad or too specific, i.e. answer choices that go beyond the content of the 
passage, or that deal with content only discussed in one paragraph of the passage. 
Make brief notes – a couple of words- regarding the Main Idea on the text on your scrap 
paper while you read. 
 
For more material and information, please visit Tai Lieu Du Hoc at 
www.tailieuduhoc.org 
 Page 4 7/9/2006 
Primary Purpose: What is the author trying to do? What is his intention? If he is evaluating a 
theory, then the answer could be something like "Discuss an interpretation". Note that the 
correct answer would deal with "an interpretation", because the author is only dealing with 
one theory. If the Primary Purpose is to criticize 2 new books, then his intention or his 
primary purpose might be to "Critique new studies". Again, as in Main Idea questions, re-read 
the first line of every passage, and the last line of the first and last paragraphs. This should 
give you the general structure or outline of the argument, with which you can answer the 
Primary Purpose question. 
Note: A good main idea or primary purpose does not go beyond the scope of the passage, 
nor does it limit itself to discussing only one part of the passage. 
 
 
2. Title Questions  
Title questions are very similar to Main Idea questions, though are less common. The 
passages in the real GMAT will not have titles. The title question might look like this: 
 
"Which of the following titles best summarizes the passage as a whole?" 
 
Strategy: 
Treat this as a Main Idea question. A good title sums up the central idea of a passage. 
Therefore, in order to answer this type of question: 
 
1. Look in the first and last paragraphs for the main idea. Any conclusion words like 
therefore, thus, so, hence, etc. that you see are most likely introducing the Main 
Idea/Title. The correct answer will say the same thing as it says in the text, but using 
different words. 
2. Re-read the first line of every passage, and the last line of the first and last paragraphs. 
This should give you the general structure or outline of the argument, with which you can 
answer the Title question. 
3. Make brief notes – a couple of words- regarding the Title on the text on your scrap paper 
while you read. 
4. After determining the general structure or content of the argument, eliminate answer 
choices that are too broad or too specific, i.e. answer choices that go beyond the content 
of the passage, or that deal with content only discussed in one paragraph of the passage. 
 
3. Specific Detail or Target questions 
 
Specific Detail or Target questions are probably the most common types of questions, and 
the easiest to answer. The question might look like this: 
 
"According to the passage,...." 
"The passage states that ...." 
 
Strategy 
The Specific Detail or Target that we are looking for could be a Line Number, or a Name or 
Date. Go to the Line Number or Name or Date, and then read several lines above and below 
it. Find the answer choice that basically says the same thing as in the passage, though 
usually with different words or word order. 
 
4. Inference or Assumption Questions 
This is probably the most difficult type of Reading Comprehension problem. The questions 
might look like this: 
 "It can be inferred that the author makes which of the following assumptions?" 
 "Which is an assumption underlying the last sentence of the passage?" 
Page 5


For more material and information, please visit Tai Lieu Du Hoc at 
www.tailieuduhoc.org 
 Page 1 7/9/2006 
GMAT Verbal Notes 
 
READING COMPREHENSION STRATEGY ......................................................................................... 2 
PREPARATION STRATEGY ......................................................................................................................... 2 
General Strategies for Reading Comprehension .................................................................................. 2 
Six most important types of RC Questions ............................................................................................ 3 
TEST TAKING STARTEGY........................................................................................................................... 6 
SENTENCE CORRECTION STRATEGY ............................................................................................... 7 
PREPARATION STRATEGY ......................................................................................................................... 7 
The 8 Major Errors Of GMAT English................................................................................................. 7 
1) Pronoun error.............................................................................................................................. 7 
2) Misplaced Modifier (modifiers must stay close to home) ............................................................ 8 
3) Parallel Construction .................................................................................................................. 8 
4) Verb Tense................................................................................................................................... 9 
5) Subject-Verb agreement errors ................................................................................................. 10 
6) Parallelism (Apples + Oranges) ............................................................................................... 12 
7) Quantity Words.......................................................................................................................... 13 
8) Idioms........................................................................................................................................ 13 
IDIOMATIC PREPOSITION USAGE................................................................................................. 17 
CRITICAL REASONING......................................................................................................................... 43 
CRITICAL REASONING STRATEGY .......................................................................................................... 44 
APPENDIX A. ABSOLUTE PHRASES: INTRODUCTION ................................................................ 48 
APPENDIX B. SUBJECT/VERB INVERSION ...................................................................................... 50 
APPENDIX C. PREPOSITIONS.............................................................................................................. 55 
 
 
 
 
For more material and information, please visit Tai Lieu Du Hoc at 
www.tailieuduhoc.org 
 Page 2 7/9/2006 
Reading Comprehension Strategy 
Preparation Strategy 
General Strategies for Reading Comprehension 
 
1. Try to read the whole text of the passage once, if possible. Many people think you should 
just skim the passage or read the first lines of every paragraph, and not to read the passage. 
We believe this is an error: if you misunderstand the main idea of the passage, you will 
certainly get at least some of the questions wrong. Give the passage one good read, taking 
no more than 3 minutes to read all of the text. Do not read the passage more than once – that 
wastes too much time. If you have not understood it completely, try to answer the questions 
anyway. Note: this point of reading the whole passage is important for test-takers whose first 
language is not English, provided that they can read the passage in 3 minutes or less.  
 
2. Make brief notes on the text on your scrap paper. As we will see below in greater detail, 
you should write down a couple of words on A) the Main Idea or Primary Purpose, B) 
Organization/Structure of the passage, and C) the Tone or Attitude of the author (if 
applicable). You just need a few words for each of these areas, and altogether it should not 
take longer than 30 seconds to write down.  
 
3. Remember that the tone or attitude of the passage is usually respectful and moderate, 
never going to extremes of praise nor criticism. ETS obtains its Reading Comprehension 
passages from real articles about real academics and professionals. So the tone of the 
articles, even when there is criticism in the passage toward an academic or her work, is 
always balanced and moderate. In the same vein, articles that deal with minorities or ethnic 
groups are almost always positive and sympathetic.  
 
4. Look out for structural words that tell you the important ideas or transitions in a 
passage.  
 
Continue the Idea Words Conclusion 
Words 
Contradiction (Yin-Yang) Words 
 
 Similarly 
 Moreover 
 Additionally 
 In the same way 
 Likewise 
 Thus 
 Therefore 
 Hence 
 So 
 In summary 
 In conclusion 
 
 Neverthless 
 Nonetheless 
 However 
 But 
 Although 
 Though 
 Even though 
 Notwithstanding 
 Yet 
 Despite 
 In spite of 
 On the one hand…on the other 
hand 
 While 
 Unlike 
 Traditional view / Modern View 
 Before /After 
 Generally 
For more material and information, please visit Tai Lieu Du Hoc at 
www.tailieuduhoc.org 
 Page 3 7/9/2006 
 Most people think… 
 
5. Go back to the text of the passage for the answers. Many test-takers fail to return to the 
text of the passage to look for the correct answers. They rely solely on their memories and 
understanding of the passage after having read or skimmed it. Wrong. ETS is counting on 
that. Go back to the text to look for information to answer the questions. Nine times out of ten, 
the answer lies within the passage. 
 
Six most important types of RC Questions 
There are 6 most important types of questions for Reading Comprehension: 
 
1. Main Idea/Primary Purpose Questions 
Many people believe there is no difference between the main or central idea of the passage 
and the primary purpose of the author of the passage. This is simply not true. Let's take a 
look at the subtle but important difference between them: 
 
Main Idea 
The question might look something like this: 
 
 "Which of the following best states the central idea of the passage?" 
 "Which of the following most accurately states the main idea of the passage?" 
 "Which of the following is the principal topic of the passage?" 
 "The main topic of the passage is...." 
 
Primary Purpose 
The question might look like this: 
 
 "The primary purpose of this passage is to..." 
 "The primary purpose of the passage as a whole is to..." 
 "The primary focus of this passage is on which of the following?" 
 "The main concern of the passage is to..." 
 "In the passage, the author is primarily interested in...." 
 "The passage is chiefly concerned with..." 
 
 
Strategy: 
Main Idea: Look in the first and last paragraphs for the main idea. Any conclusion words 
like therefore, thus, so, hence, etc. that you see are most likely introducing the main idea. 
The correct answer will say the same thing as it says in the text, but using different words. 
The Main Idea is not always stated explicitly in the passage – in fact, more likely than not, it is 
not stated explicitly. Therefore, in order to answer this type of question when it is more 
implicit: 
 
Re-read the first line of every passage, and the last line of the first and last paragraphs. This 
should give you the general structure or outline of the argument, with which you can answer 
the Main Idea question. 
After determining the general structure or content of the argument, eliminate answer choices 
that are too broad or too specific, i.e. answer choices that go beyond the content of the 
passage, or that deal with content only discussed in one paragraph of the passage. 
Make brief notes – a couple of words- regarding the Main Idea on the text on your scrap 
paper while you read. 
 
For more material and information, please visit Tai Lieu Du Hoc at 
www.tailieuduhoc.org 
 Page 4 7/9/2006 
Primary Purpose: What is the author trying to do? What is his intention? If he is evaluating a 
theory, then the answer could be something like "Discuss an interpretation". Note that the 
correct answer would deal with "an interpretation", because the author is only dealing with 
one theory. If the Primary Purpose is to criticize 2 new books, then his intention or his 
primary purpose might be to "Critique new studies". Again, as in Main Idea questions, re-read 
the first line of every passage, and the last line of the first and last paragraphs. This should 
give you the general structure or outline of the argument, with which you can answer the 
Primary Purpose question. 
Note: A good main idea or primary purpose does not go beyond the scope of the passage, 
nor does it limit itself to discussing only one part of the passage. 
 
 
2. Title Questions  
Title questions are very similar to Main Idea questions, though are less common. The 
passages in the real GMAT will not have titles. The title question might look like this: 
 
"Which of the following titles best summarizes the passage as a whole?" 
 
Strategy: 
Treat this as a Main Idea question. A good title sums up the central idea of a passage. 
Therefore, in order to answer this type of question: 
 
1. Look in the first and last paragraphs for the main idea. Any conclusion words like 
therefore, thus, so, hence, etc. that you see are most likely introducing the Main 
Idea/Title. The correct answer will say the same thing as it says in the text, but using 
different words. 
2. Re-read the first line of every passage, and the last line of the first and last paragraphs. 
This should give you the general structure or outline of the argument, with which you can 
answer the Title question. 
3. Make brief notes – a couple of words- regarding the Title on the text on your scrap paper 
while you read. 
4. After determining the general structure or content of the argument, eliminate answer 
choices that are too broad or too specific, i.e. answer choices that go beyond the content 
of the passage, or that deal with content only discussed in one paragraph of the passage. 
 
3. Specific Detail or Target questions 
 
Specific Detail or Target questions are probably the most common types of questions, and 
the easiest to answer. The question might look like this: 
 
"According to the passage,...." 
"The passage states that ...." 
 
Strategy 
The Specific Detail or Target that we are looking for could be a Line Number, or a Name or 
Date. Go to the Line Number or Name or Date, and then read several lines above and below 
it. Find the answer choice that basically says the same thing as in the passage, though 
usually with different words or word order. 
 
4. Inference or Assumption Questions 
This is probably the most difficult type of Reading Comprehension problem. The questions 
might look like this: 
 "It can be inferred that the author makes which of the following assumptions?" 
 "Which is an assumption underlying the last sentence of the passage?" 
For more material and information, please visit Tai Lieu Du Hoc at 
www.tailieuduhoc.org 
 Page 5 7/9/2006 
 "Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the hypothesis mentioned in 
lines 17-19?" 
 "With which of the following statements regarding chaos theory would the author be 
most likely to agree?" 
 
Strategy: 
First, treat this type of problem as a Specific Target question. Look for a target in the 
question, find it in the text, and then look above and below it. Often you do not have to infer 
very much, the answer remains within the text. 
If the answer must be inferred and is not stated explicitly within the text, then choose the 
answer choice that can be inferred or assumed from the information given. Again, you should 
not have to infer very much – only one or two logical steps removed from the information in 
the passage. 
Make sure that the answer choice you decide on does not violate or contradict the Main Idea 
of the passage - if it does, the answer choice is probably wrong. 
 
 
5. Attitude or Tone of the passage Questions 
 
The question might look like this: 
"The author's attitude towards Morgan's theory could best be described as one of ..." 
 
Strategy: 
Look for descriptive words, adjectives or adverbs, that could tell you the author's attitude. For 
example, the words unfortunately or flaw suggest a negative connotation, while strength or 
valuable emphasize the positive. Make brief notes – a couple of words- regarding the Tone of 
the text on your scrap paper while you read. Additionally, keep in mind that the author's 
attitude toward a theory, book, or ethnic group will almost always be respectful, even when 
somewhat critical. 
 
 
6. Organization of the passage questions 
The question might look like this: 
 "Which of the following best describes the organization of the passage?" 
 "Which of the following best describes the organization of the first paragraph of the 
passage?" 
 "One function of the third paragraph is to...." 
 
Strategy: 
Re-read the first line of every passage, and the last line of the first and last paragraphs. This 
should give you the general structure or outline of the argument, with which you can answer 
the question. Remember to make brief notes about the structure of the text on your scrap 
paper. If you are looking for the organization of one paragraph, read the first and second 
sentence of the paragraph. That will give you a rough idea of what is the structure or 
organization of the paragraph. 
Some tips about reading passages: 
a. Read the whole text of the passage once. 
b. Make brief notes about the text on your scrap paper. 
c. Remember that the tone or attitude of the passage is usually respectful and moderate, 
never going to extremes of praise nor criticism. 
d. Look out for structural words that tell you the important ideas or transitions in a passage. 
e. Go back to the text of the passage for the answers to specific questions. 
 
 
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