Beat The Gmat RC Flashcards

Terms Definitions
Analyzing RC Passage
• WHY is the author writing?

• WHAT is being said?

• WHO is speaking? Is the author’s showing his own point of view or critiquing an expert’s point of view?

• HOW does the author accomplish his goal?
• Watch for transition triggers. Transition triggers change the tone or direction of a passage. They often represent a shift in view between two experts cited in a passage.

• Examples of transition triggers include however, but, although, etc.
• GMAT inferences go only a tiny bit further than what is said in the passage.

• When choosing answers, eliminate exaggerations or offensive or extreme words.
Two Types of Questions
• Global (pertain to entire passage):
Main idea, Structure

• Local (specific, pertain to a small segment of passage)
Yin-Yang Shift
• A very common RC structure is for one expert or view to be introduced, and then, shortly thereafter, a contradictory expert or view is presented.

• Look for this yin-yang shift.

• Yin words: Generally, the old view, the widespread belief, most X believe, etc.

• Yang words: However, but, on the other hand, etc.
Indisputable Answers
• The answer choice that is high specific and unequivocal is usually wrong.

• VAGUE, BROAD or GENERAL answers are often best.

• Look for signpost words like perhaps and may in answer choices.
Indisputable Words
• Nice vague words: usually, sometimes, may, can, some, most

• Too unequivocal—BAD!
always, most, everybody, all, complete, never
Strong emotions
• Avoid strong emotions.

• Avoid words like: scornful, envious, overly enthusiastic, resolve, etc.
• Make mental roadmap of passage.

• Get a sense of the paragraph and argument structure.

• On your scratch paper, jot down notes such as:
Para 1: Old view
Para 2: New theory
Para 3: Why combo of Old view and New theory is likely best.
• ETS respects professionals, America.
• Avoid disparaging answers.

• Respectful answers about minorities always.

• No prejudiced answers.
Be mindful of:
• Topic
• Scope—narrowing of topic
• Author’s purpose
• Structure
• Author’s voice—fact from opinion
Main Idea
• Thesis: personal interpretation
bolstered by evidence.
Global Questions
• Stay within topic and scope.
• Recognize author’s overall intentions,
idea, passage structure, purpose.
• Two types of inferences:
• Regular inference. EXPLAIN? HELP?
• Agreement: “Author/Character/Group
would agree with…”
Explicit Detail
• For explicit detail questions, the answer can be pinpointed in the text.

• Save time by noting where defined terms, vocabulary words or dates are first introduced. Detail questions will likely focus on such things.
• Scope involves the overall reach and feel of the entire passage.

• Nouns and verbs contained in the correct answer must be consistent with tone/scope. If they are too weak/strong, they are probably wrong and should be eliminated.
Logic and Active Reading
As you read, think about why the author /
test makers do something in the manner that they have:
• Cite a source
• Bring up detail
• Introduce a defined term or vocabulary word
• Structures the passage as he has
1. Read actively and don’t skim.
2. Create a mental roadmap: label paragraphs, look for signpost words.
3. Note main idea, structure, tone
4. Attack questions.
• Scope is the aspect of the topic (subject matter) that the author discusses in the passage.
• Inferences are suggested by passage. Remind yourself whether the inferences given as answer choices are positive, negative or neutral.
• Incorrect inferences:
– Distort
– Are superfluous, contradictory, outside of scope
V RC Qualify
• To qualify a claim is to weaken or soften it.
• Focus on your reading on the broad idea of the passage, not every specific fact.

• That said, note where overly-specific facts are first introduced, so you can zero in on them if there is a detail question later.
• Anticipate what’s next by looking for signpost words.

• Is the author about to change course? Agree with an expert? Disagree with the view expounded in the previous passages? Cement an idea just presented?
Signpost Words: Supporting, Continuing Points
• Additional point signposts: furthermore, in addition, also, too.

• Additional example signposts: similarly, likewise, for example.

• Structural signposts: first, second, third.

• Conclusion signposts: thus, therefore, in conclusion
V RC Direction Change Signposts
• although, though, even though

• but

• despite, in spite of

• except

• however, nevertheless

• unless

• while
V RC Main Idea
• Always be searching for the main idea of a passage as you read.
V RC Specific Questions
Decoy answers for local RC questions:

• Refer to wrong part of passage

• Make sense but are not mentioned in passage

• Are refuted directly in the passage

• Stray away from passage’s scope

• Misinterpret the main point of the author in that section
A strategy for RC:
• Read for author’s purpose and main idea.

• Note where specific examples pop up, but don’t spend too much time fully understanding specifics
• Paraphrase the structure, tone of the passage.

• Don’t over-invest time.

• Spend max of 4 min. on reading, 1 min. per question.
General Questions
Decoy answers for global RC questions are:
• Too specific
• Too broad
• Too extreme
• Not relevant
• Decoy answers for strengthen/weaken questions:
• Out of scope
• Weaken instead of strengthen, vice versa
• Logical answer but not mentioned or supported in passage (bring in outside info when there’s a correct answer among the choices already)
V RC How to Spot a Good Answer
• A correct answer choice:
• Paraphrases text in terms of language style or meaning
• Is nice (not overly-controversial)
• Is not extreme (stays within scope, author intent). Does not overly pinpoint.
V RC Words to Avoid in RC
Answer Choices
• all
• always
• never
• will
• everyone,
• no one, nobody
• most, least
• absolutely
• impossible
V RC Specific Details
• Note the location and purpose of intricate details, theories or vocabulary words, but do not attempt to memorize or even fully understand those details unless a question specifically asks about them.
Good Words for RC
Answer Choices
• some, many
• often
• sometimes, rarely
• can, could, may,
• some people
• few people
• more, less
• likely, possibly
• doubtful, unlikely
Topic and Scope
Always be mindful of TOPIC and SCOPE: Topic and scope can often be determined in the first paragraph of a passage. As soon as you find them, list them on your scratch paper.

• Topic: General subject Examples: black holes, factory safety

• Scope: Narrowing of topic Examples: logistics of viewing formation of black holes; analysis of industrial rules across different historical eras

• The conclusion paragraph will also reveal the scope if it is not immediately obvious in the first paragraph.
V RC Specific Details
• Note the location and purpose of intricate details, theories or vocabulary words, but do not attempt to memorize or even fully understand those details unless a question specifically asks about them.
Purpose, Main Idea
• Be mindful of author’s PURPOSE and MAIN IDEA.
• Note that the overall purpose and main idea can differ from the views of a specific expert in a passage.
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