Many a dreams fall flat right at the altar of entrance tests and prospective students’ journey is abruptly cut short. Invariably, students either have QA or VA as their stronger areas as they head right into the exam hall without giving a second thought. Verbal Ability section proves to be the nemesis for students who are otherwise able to get the so-called ‘perfect score’ in Quantitative Aptitude. Reading Comprehension can be the saviour in such a scenario. Over the internet, you will find a multitude of pages dedicated to enhancing your skills in solving VA questions. However, smart strategy to select questions matters the most. Reading Comprehension passages can be the panacea but making a mention of picking the right kind of questions from the RC passages would be digressing from the topic.
Read widely or wisely?
It is often advisable to read on a wide range of subjects. You have an option to ‘read widely or wisely’. If you are lacking in VA skills or unable to score more, it is primarily due to poor reading habits in leisure time. Conventionally, ‘read widely’ is the phrase ingrained into your minds to easily derive meaning from sentences that may otherwise be verbose. However, it is essential to understand the gist of the passage. Philosophy, of the Freudian kind; Finance and economics, following the trite yet functional advice of reading business newspapers, abstract passages of the kind that would make your head ache if not for an ability to read between the lines or to make sense of a sentence without knowing the meaning of the words. As we spare a thought for those who would rather solve QA questions than skim through reading material that they may not take a liking for, ‘Read Wisely’ is what they are to be told rather than handing them tomes that would arm them with enough ammunition to sail through in a section that otherwise may stall their journey in its tracks.
Question selection and technique
Given that the RC questions constitute a major chunk of the VA section even in ‘Computer Adaptive Tests’ like the GMAT, if the above has been done and there is still a long way to go before the vocabulary can do the talking for the one taking the exam, one would find oneself at ease, choosing and marking an option such that both the VA and QA scores would come on par.
Inference questions can be rather unreliable for those not having the requisite skill developed, but we leave that for another article, here the emphasis being on answering those that leave little room for interpretation by the examiner in a manner that may tilt the scale in a direction that will not bring the desired results. Inference questions that require a recollection of what one has read in the last few minutes but may find it difficult to locate in the passage if one doesn’t see it as a significant snippet of information; these are the kind of questions you would need to answer. Paraphrasing technique comes in handy once you are past the hurdle of training your mind on handling questions on a wide range of topics that passages deal with. Whether it is increasing your reading speed or using the opposite meaning technique in sentence completion, all these are required to ensure that RC passages act as the enabler for an excellent VA score.