View Full Version : timed reading comprehension tests: Tips? Tricks?

01-02-17, 03:10 PM
I'm preparing to take the GRE and while I am generally a good test taker the reading comprehension portion is a problem for me now that the GRE is computer based.

Short Version of my Question:
- I have to read a complicated sentence 2-4 times before understanding it.
- Paper test: I underline & take notes = works for me.
- Computer based test: notes on scratch paper take too long & I lose my place = bad for a timed test
- Tips, tricks to get through it?

Optional Long Overly Wordy Version of my Question (I bet you've guessed I'm inattentive type with a splash of hyper) :D

In paper form I underline important things as I read & make short notes in the margins. On the computer I obviously can't do that - I've tried taking notes on scratch paper as I go but it still took too long & I kept losing my place in the passage (and on the GRE computer practice tests I can't highlight anything to "mark" my place so I assume I can't do that on the real test either?).

When reading things I tend to "read" a sentence but then realize I didn't really let it filter into my brain so then I go back & have to re-read it. At that point I'll get a general idea but in a complicated test-type reading comp passage I'll have to go back & re-read it once more, slowly, sometimes going back a word or two as I go along before I understand the sentence.

Clearly that takes too long on a timed test. Any tips, tricks, etc? I feel like taking notes on scratch paper is my best bet but I don't know how to do it quickly enough & I don't know how to do it without losing my place :(

01-02-17, 03:46 PM
I suggest you look into the courses for people who come from a foreign-language background and who are doing this kind of test in English. Find out what kinds of tips and tricks they count on.

01-02-17, 05:51 PM
Is this a new section that they have added or are you talking about understand thr questions in the three standard sections? Well the sections that were standard when it took gre eons ago: verbal, numerical and analytical..

If that's what you are talking about then the main issues with reading comprehension I assume are probably in the analytical section. I did make notes in that section and also drew diagrams

Also i think what might help is doing lots and lots of practice tests. A lot of the questions are quite similar so it might help to.look at a lot of sample questions in advance when you've got plenty of time to.understand the question...though time here is a risk of nit reading the actual question properly but substituting it with something you remember from practicing. Still...I think for me that helped a lot.

01-09-17, 12:13 PM

I took the test a few days ago & got a high enough score for the department I'm in (I'm doing this program where I am finishing my last year for my B.S. while also doing my first year of an M.S. program so I don't need to compete with anyone in terms of GRE score since I'm already "in" & working on my thesis but I did still need to get the required minimum scores on the GRE).

Like Fuzzy12 said I ended up doing tons of timed practice tests and that helped A LOT because there are 3 types of questions in the verbal: 1) complete the sentence 2) choose 2 words that make a sentence have the same meaning and 3) the dreaded reading comp.

I discovered I can do #1 & #2 quite quickly - so I started doing those first, skipping over reading comp questions, until everything was done except reading comp. Then I did the reading comp questions with the shortest passages first.

Unfortunately, it was a bad day ADHD-wise for me. Which stinks because I'd been on a good roll for at least a week prior. I realized at one point that in the section I was supposed to choose 2 words I had only been choosing 1 and had to go back :umm1::( However, all the practicing helped me not totally panic & at least I noticed before time was up.

The math section I went too slow on and could not finish in time. I'm actually really excellent at math but I cannot do it quickly. Plus, despite a lot of studying, I came across a few things I had not studied at all & had not done since high school 18 years ago.

Anyways, if anyone is ever having the same issues, does a search and finds this thread, you can PM me if you'd like :)

Letching Gray
01-11-17, 04:01 PM
You did a great job explaining the nature of your challenge. You were concise, articulate and easy to follow. "Optional Long Overly Wordy Version of my Question (I bet you've guessed I'm inattentive type with a splash of hyper)" You fooled me.

Congratulations on achieving the results you needed to continue in the program. Striving for your M.S. while completing your B.S. smacks of a fine, dedicated student, to say the least.

A thought: testing reading comprehension can be a bit deceiving, a little skewed at best, in reality. Certain writing styles and topics are easier than others to process depending on the person reading the information.

You are impressive, my friend. :D

05-04-17, 02:52 AM
Is there no provision for extra time for people with LD/ADHD? There seemed to be more time allowed in university tests.