The PCAT Reading Comprehension Section Review

Most candidates find that the reading comprehension is the most difficult challenge of all sections. This is because the texts are of academic type and too lengthy to read slowly. The Reading Comprehension sub test consists of 48 multiple-choice questions that are asked from six different passages. The entire section must be completed in 50 minutes. The questions split up is as follows, 30% have to do with direct reading comprehension; 40% are to do with analysis of the passage; and 30% require evaluation of the text. The passages will more or less be related to some science subject or topic and will be of undergraduate level of understanding. So, one cannot assume that this section will be a piece of cake.

Candidates can start preparation by reading science magazines and journals to make reading similar kind of texts easier. The reading comprehension questions will require the candidates to read and comprehend the passage properly before answering the questions that follow. Analysis involves the factual information in the passage and questions regarding it. Evaluation questions deal with analysis of the author’s tone and implications.
For scoring well on the reading comprehension section, one needs to be able to read quickly. An average person can read about 250 words per minute, which is inadequate for the PCAT. As one practices and follows the tips below, one can score better in the reading section.
1. Practice reading: An effective way to increase reading speed, practicing reading texts and stories helps in other ways too. You can learn new words and come across a variety of terminology. Read newspapers, magazines, journals and academic-type texts that resemble the passages that appear on the PCAT. Time your reading sessions and make sure you can achieve a target. Slowly build up this target till you achieve a good reading speed. Not only reading is sufficient, you must also be able to comprehend the text. This process is called skimming, where you reading quickly and understand what is present in the passage. Practice thoroughly, so you can get a good score in the reading comprehension section of the PCAT.
  1. Practice eye-span-reading: Not everybody can read fast. There are some slow readers who might not be able to achieve this. So, how can they score well on the test? The solution to this problem is called eye-span-reading. In this process, one looks for a phrase or three-four words at a time and moves on to the next set of words that comes later in the paragraph. With this technique, one can conclude what is the rough idea of each paragraph and use it while locating answers. This technique, not only saves time, but also makes answering easier. To achieve this, one can practice by using one or two words and gradually move to four and perhaps an entire sentence too.
However, these preparation processes are time consuming, and therefore, one can use them while starting practice at least 6 months before the actual test. Also, the choice should be made by analyzing one’s reading speed first.


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