Six Top GATE/ASET Test Reading Tips

posted Apr 4, 2020, 8:39 PM by Adam Yu

Tip 1: Pay Attention to Connotation and Context

This tip is critical for answering tough questions in the Reading section. Look for words that indicate positive or negative connotation in the part of the passage that the question references. This can help you to eliminate at least a couple of choices even if you have no idea which of the remaining choices is correct.

Context is also very important! Do not just look at the exact line that is referenced in the question?alook at the sentences around it too. Look for contrast words such as 'however', 'rather than' or 'still'. You should also pay attention to strong adjectives that might help you to determine connotation.

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Tip 2: Use Find the Evidence Questions to Your Advantage

Some questions would ask you to choose an excerpt from the passage that serves as the best evidence for your answer to the previous question. These new questions can help you tremendously in identifying mistakes and clearing up ambiguities.

For example, say you have picked out two answers that you think could be correct for a reading question. If the next question asks you to identify the best evidence for your answer, you can read through all the options the find-the-evidence question gives you and see which choice most directly connects to one of your two potential responses for the previous question. In almost every case, it will become abundantly clear which of the two choices is correct because only that one will have a corresponding tidbit of direct evidence tucked away in one of the answer choices for the find the evidence question.

Tip 3: Read Passages Strategically

Try to nail down a good passage reading strategy for the GATE/ASET before test day. This will save you time and stress later. There are a few methods you might use depending on how comfortable you are with the test and where you are in your reading comprehension skills.

Method 1: Skim the Passage First

This is the method I would be most inclined to recommend. You can get a sense of the main ideas of the passage without wasting too much time reading it closely. To skim effectively, just read the introductory paragraph, conclusion paragraph, and first and last sentences of each body paragraph.

Answer main idea questions first while the overall point of the passage is still fresh in your mind. Then you can read specific sections of the passage more closely as needed to answer questions about smaller details.

Method 2: Skip Straight to the Questions

If you think skipping the passage altogether can be an effective initial strategy, you should answer questions about small details in the passage first, so you end up reading a bit of the passage while answering questions. Then, when you move on to main idea questions later, you will already have a solid sense of the message of the passage as a whole.

Method 3: Read the Passage in Full

If you are both a quick and thorough reader, you might be able to pull this off without any problems. Just make sure it?¡¥s not slowing you down.

If you are reading this way and find you can save a few minutes (and not lose any points) by using one of the other methods, then you should do that instead. It is always better to have extra time at the end so you can double-check your answers!

Tip 4: Get Interested in the Passages

If you want to retain information as you are reading passages on the GATE/ASET, the best way to do it is to force yourself to engage with the material. Treat this as a learning experience, not a chore, and you will find it much easier to remember what happened in the passage. If your brain is in 'wow, interesting' mode rather than 'blah, blah, just have to get to the questions' mode, you will have a more pleasant experience on the test and a better time answering the questions overall.

Tip 5: Look for Direct Evidence

Though questions on GATE/ASET reading may sometimes seem subjective, the reality is that you should always be able to find direct evidence in the passage or chart you are referencing to support your answers.

Even inference questions, which ask you to look beyond the literal facts in the passage, will be backed up by logical deductions that can be made from the evidence that is presented. For inference questiosn especially, you might end up looking beyond the sentence referenced in the question to find the evidence you need. But the evidence is always in there somewhere!

If you are thinking about choosing an answer that seems like it could be correct, but you can not find any evidence for it, hold off. Any answer that can not be backed up by specific information in the passage has to be incorrect.


We say this in pretty much all of our GATE/ASET test advice posts, but the reason we repeat it so frequently is because the GATE/ASET test is one of those tests where the best preparation is the test itself. Second to that, practice tests are the most fool-proof preparation there is for a test that measures almost as much test-taking strategy as it does content and skill.

Start by taking practice tests, one section at a time. Identify your weaknesses and work to improve in those areas. Gradually, as your skills grow, begin to take each section of the test with time constraints. And finally, take a few complete practice tests under testing conditions as similar to test day as possible.