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READING COMPREHENSION BASICS Reading Comprehension is a crucial section for any student. This is because 1.

The RC can be on any topic. So, as one is not expected to have knowledge about any and every topic or subject, it makes it difficult for the student to answer them. 2. RCs are lengthy and need good reading and analytical skills. The purpose of the reading comprehension questions is to measure the ability to read with understanding, insight, and judgment. Before we discuss about how to crack RCs lets have a look at RCs in various perspectives. From the students perspective there are 1. Interesting Passages: These passages are a bliss to attempt. There are certain topics of general interest like movies, current affairs, tourism etc. If the passage covers such type of information, the students can read the passage with good speed and also retain information. These kind of passages are not very difficult for students. 2. Technical Passages: These passages are of interest to bookworms. In other words, these passages carry a lot of information: may be about some new technology, scientific invention, historical facts, etc. In these kinds of passages one should keep marking the key elements so that questions can be tackled easily. 3. Boring Passages: There are no specific boring topics, but as the popular saying is MIND MATTERS. A passage may be boring or interesting depending upon the reader. Sometimes, a boring passage for one may be an interesting passage for another. For example, a technical passage is an interesting passage for a science student, and management related passage is a complete boulder for a science student. It is during such a situation where the candidate is actually tested. 4. Poetic Passages: it is not always necessary that a RC is in prose. It can be a poem as well. In such cases it is very essential to understand the poets flow of thoughts to answer the questions.

Now lets have a look at the types of RC from the examiners point of view. In other words what kind of questions they target, or the key areas on which the students are tested. There are six types of reading comprehension questions. These types focus on READING COMPREHENSION BASICS Page 1

READING COMPREHENSION BASICS (1) The main idea or primary purpose of the passage; (2) information explicitly stated in the passage; (3) information or ideas implied or suggested by the author; (4) possible applications of the authors ideas to other situations, including the identification of situations or processes analogous to those described in the passage; (5) the authors logic, reasoning, or persuasive techniques; (6) the tone of the passage or the authors attitude as it is revealed in the language used.



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READING COMPREHENSION BASICS From the point of view of exams, here are some specific tricks and tips to help you crack RCs Tips for countering obstacles in Reading

The reading section requires a lot of strategic planning. Never attempt it with a just-give-it-a-go attitude. Always choose between the following strategies on the bases of 'number of questions' and 'amount of text to be read'.

More Questions Less Questions Here both the factors are at maximum. This is a situation When the text in the passage typical of Academic reading test. is more but it requires a few Hence, the right strategy for questions to be answered. It is reading in this situation will be always wiser to find out the read less and stay as accurate as important keywords in the you can. experts questions and searching and call it R&C (read and Mor spotting the place in the text consolidate). That is, read one e where the concerned keyword stanza out of the whole passage tex is discussed in detail. Read it carefully; go on to the questions t carefully there and answer the and try to answer as many as question. This kind of situation you can. Then read the second is typical of Section 2 of stanza and answer questions General Training reading test. further and so on. This method is based on the fact that in IELTS reading, questions follow the order of events in the given passage. This is something everyone dreams of. Here the As the passage is shorter and information in the passage or number of questions are more; Advert is less and questions there are chances that questions Les are also a few. Best way is to here will be trickier. So scan the s read the start and end line(s) passage well before moving on tex of the given information and to the questions. You may find t then try the above 'hit and such situations in Section 1 or 2 Trial' method. You may find of the General training reading such situation in the section 1 test. of the General Training reading test. 'Read and Consolidate' is one strategy workable for most of the questions viz MCQs, summary making and short answer questions.


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Always keep your knowledge about graphs and charts updated. Sometimes you may have a lot of questions that can be answered from the line or bar graph and pie chart given along with the passage. There are questions where you have to find the main idea of the small stanzas or the whole passage. Make sure you do not waste a lot of time reading the complete information. Rather read first and last sentence of the stanza (or each paragraph, in case you are required to find the title of the whole passage) and you will have a fair idea about its title. This strategy works in 90 per cent of the cases and is not at all time consuming.

Strategy While tackling reading comprehension passages, you can use two methods: i) ii) You can read the passage first, underlining what you think are important statements and try to grasp its gist. You can then attempt to answer the questions posed, or You can read the questions first, familiarize yourself with what is being asked and then read the passage. The steps to follow Read the questions posed first. Then start reading the passage, underlining the key points as you go on. The key points are the issues/words that appear in the questions. Now answer the questions based on the understanding you have gained of the passage.

While choosing the method is dependent on the individual, the second one is a little less time-consuming. So, if you are appearing for a competitive exam where time is very valuable, it would be better for you to use the second method. For a strategic preparation when you have time (for preparation). These tricks help you lifelong as they are not momentary useful build this process builds your reading ability. There are two broad things that are required to fare well in RCs: 1) Improving reading speed 2) Improving comprehension


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READING COMPREHENSION BASICS Both these require regular practice; reading comprehension is, therefore, not something that can be learnt overnight.

Preparation Improving reading speed To read faster, you will need to improve the techniques used to read. Some useful methods to improve speed are: 2) Avoiding reading the words out loud. 3) Avoiding re-reading what has already been read. To do this, practice to read with utmost concentration so that, you do not have to go back. Also, learn to grasp the gist of what the author is trying to say in the passage, instead of trying to memorize all the details. 4) Timed practice can be very helpful in increasing speed. Improving comprehension It is not sufficient to only be able to read the passages fast. What is more critical is to understand what is being conveyed. To do this: 1) Make an effort to learn new words and improve your vocabulary. The more familiar you are with the language, the easier it will be for you to figure out the point being made. 2) Start reading on a wide range of topics. This reading will not only help you gain an insight into the topic, it will also help in learning the jargon specific to an area, which is very important. Remember, familiarity with various topics always pays. Start reading newspaper editorials regularly. You must time yourself while reading the editorial and then write a summary of its key points. Doing this will improve your reading speed, concentration and comprehension. Styles of Reading: 1. Line by Line Reading: This kind of reading is for those who are not at all readers in general life. In this style the reader has to read each and every line of the passage to understand it. This style is time consuming and not of no use for competitive exams. READING COMPREHENSION BASICS Page 5


2. Last line reading: Many a times if observed closely the last lines of the paragraphs of the passage have some key sentences, words that summarize the respective para. This style is useful when the student encounters a lengthy passage. This helps saving time and when need to answer the question you can then search in a particular that you think where the answer lies. But this method needs summarizing and analyzing ability. 3. Scanning: While using this style you search for key words or ideas. In most cases, you know what you're looking for, so you're concentrating on finding a particular answer. Scanning involves moving your eyes quickly down the page seeking specific words and phrases. Scanning is also used when you first find a resource to determine whether it will answer your question. This is style is mostly used by people who read on regular basis, anything, newspaper, books, magazines etc. Such people due to habit and experience are capable of understanding what the passage is all about by just reading the key words and sentences. In this method the read runs through the passage swiftly. This method is the most useful but tough to learn. 4. Skimming: Skimming style is useful when you are running out of time in completing the test. In this style the reader reads the first and last paragraph of the passage instead of reading the entire thing. This is so because, it is very observed that the author does the introduction of the main plot in the first paragraph and has the climax or conclusion in the last. The in between paragraph generally contain the info supporting the main plot. In this method as well the reader must have good analytical skills. Whatever method you choose to follow, make sure to practice a good deal using it. It is only constant practice that will enable you to finetune your strategy.


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