How To Solve RCs For GMAT? [With Example RC]

How To Solve RCs For GMAT

In the GMAT, you can expect four RCs with three to four questions in every RC. Since you do not get any additional time to read them before you solve the questions, it becomes essential that you improve your reading skills so that you can understand the passage in the least amount of time. 

There is no easy way to improve your reading ability. You must practice reading from various materials online or from newspapers and magazines. Along with reading, you should also practice GMAT-level questions regularly.

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An excellent source for practising GMAT-level questions is GMATPoint’s Daily Targets. Here you will get five questions about Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning daily, which you will have to solve in a timed environment similar to the actual exam. Afterwards, you will also get video solutions for solving those questions from GMAT experts. Use this free resource to boost your GMAT scores now.

To solve an RC, the best way is through an example. We will take an RC from Daily Targets to show you how to approach GMAT-level RCs.

Sample RC From GMAT Daily Targets

For most people, death is hard to think about. In the journal NeuroImage in 2019, researchers described an experiment in which people viewed videos of faces, including their own, morphing into other faces over a six-second time span. Participants were instructed to press a button when they felt that the face had definitively changed to another person’s. Appearing over the faces were various words with negative and death-related connotations (such as grave). When participants saw their own faces with a death word, they usually pressed the button earlier than when they saw others’ faces accompanied by one, suggesting to the researchers that the participants tended to avoid associating death with themselves.

So we banish death from our thoughts. But this leads us to make choices in life that actually curtail our happiness. People who express more regrets tend to be those who postpone profound activities that yield meaning. This is probably because they realized too late that they had implicitly assumed life would always go on and on, so there’s always time to do these meaning-filled things. But when we focus on death, that increases the stakes at play in the present and clarifies what we should do with our time. By forcing ourselves to think about death, resources-use decisions change […] Facing discomfort and thinking seriously about the impermanence of your mortal life is important for making decisions that enhance your happiness.

There are other benefits. For example, paradoxical though it may seem, contemplating death can encourage positive thinking. People primed to think about their demise tended to focus on favourable emotional information around them and to interpret random words in a more congenial way.

Q1. It can be inferred from the findings of the experiment described by the researchers in the journal NeuroImage that

  1. Participants have a greater emotional response to their own faces compared to others’ faces.
  2. The association between death-related words and one’s own identity triggers discomfort and avoidance.
  3. Participants have a subconscious fear of death that influences their perception of face morphing.
  4. Death-related words have a stronger impact on participants’ decision-making than positive words.
  5. Participants exhibit a biased response when viewing their own faces due to self-preservation instincts.

Answer: The passage states that participants in the experiment pressed the button earlier when they saw their own faces accompanied by a death-related word. This suggests that the association between death-related words and one’s own identity triggered discomfort and avoidance, as participants reacted differently when the association was made with their own faces compared to others’ faces. The inference in Option B is correct in this regard.

The focus of the findings was on the association between death-related words and participants’ own identity rather than the emotional response to their own faces specifically [Option A].

The passage does not provide evidence or suggest that participants had a subconscious fear of death that influenced their perception of face morphing [Option C]. Similarly, there is no information about the impact of death-related words compared to positive words on participants’ decision-making [Option D] or self-preservation instincts [Option E].

Hence, Option B is the correct choice.

Q2. Which of the following best expresses the main point of the passage?

  1. Avoiding thoughts of death leads to curtailed happiness and a focus on meaningful activities.
  2. Contemplating death clarifies decision-making and improves life satisfaction.
  3. Associating death-related words with oneself encourages positive thinking and favourable emotional interpretations.
  4. Thinking about death increases the stakes at play and leads to resource-use decisions that enhance happiness.
  5. Postponing meaningful activities is a common regret among individuals who avoid thinking about death.

Answer: Options A and E: These choices touch upon tangential aspects and fail to emphasise the positive impact of thinking about death.

Option B: The phrase “clarifying decision-making” is a bit broader than the idea suggested in the passage. We are told that contemplating death impacts “resource-use decisions.” Whether or not we can extrapolate this effect to all decisions is debatable. Furthermore, the misplaced focus on “life satisfaction” allows us to eliminate this choice.

Option C: The presence of the phrase “favourable emotional interpretations” adds ambiguity – we can cross out this choice.

Option D: This option accurately summarizes the main point of the passage. The passage highlights that by forcing ourselves to think about death, our decisions regarding resource use and time allocation change, leading to choices that enhance happiness and make the most of our limited time.

Hence, Option D is the correct choice.

Q3. If true, which of the following statements would weaken the argument in the boldfaced portion?

  1. Participants primed with thoughts of death in an unrelated experiment demonstrated increased levels of anxiety and negative emotions.
  2. Studies have shown that individuals who frequently contemplate death are more likely to develop depressive tendencies.
  3. People who are reminded of their mortality tend to exhibit more risk-averse behaviour.
  4. Researchers conducting a similar experiment found that participants who were primed with thoughts of death showed no significant change in their emotional outlook.
  5. Individuals who have a heightened awareness of their mortality often experience a greater sense of urgency in achieving their goals.

Answer: The argument in the bold-faced portion suggests that contemplating death can encourage positive thinking. To weaken this argument, we need to find a statement that contradicts or undermines the idea that thoughts of death lead to positive outcomes. Option B weakens the argument by presenting evidence that individuals who frequently contemplate death are more likely to develop depressive tendencies, which contradicts the notion that thinking about death promotes positive thinking.

Option A, if true, doesn’t necessarily weaken the argument. The same can be said for Option C – it suggests that contemplating death can lead to more risk-averse behaviour, but it doesn’t contradict the possibility that it can also encourage positive thinking. Options D and E also present information that is irrelevant to the boldfaced portion.

Hence, Option B is the correct choice.

If you have found this article enlightening, then you should check out GMATPoint Daily targets for more of such quality RCs and QR questions.

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