Reading Comprehension

Guessing is a common approach when facing the unknown. However, in situations where accuracy is linked to score, money and even lives, guessing may not be the optimum strategy. Reading comprehensions are simple, yet complicated. The answers are known to be present in the passage, nevertheless you cannot seem to find it, meanwhile, time is running short. By getting hold of these handy techniques,  you will be able to anchor your answers in no time.

To utilize allowed time,  your steps of tackling the task should not be redundant in any way. Most students would choose to start by reading the entire passage first, proceed to look at the questions, then re-read the passage again in search for the particular answer. In this case, time used for the first reading attempt is wasted. Skilled students would dive into the questions from the start and screen through the multiple choice options given. By knowing what is expected in your answer, you can narrow your search to specific parts of the passage. You can also avoid having to read the entire passage which contains too much extra information that wastes time and creates ambiguity.

Another technique to narrow down your search is to identify keywords in the questions. Keywords could be indicators of peculiar events, parts of a sequence and even a character in the passage. Taking the summary of Peter Pan as an example, potential questions may be “Who captured Wendy and her brothers?”, “What happened in the end?” or “What is Captain Hook afraid of?”. From the first question, “captured” determines a distinct event, you could filter other unrelated events by screening for this keyword. From the second question, we may pick the indicator of a part of the sequence “in the end”, this quickly determines that the answer could most likely be found near the end of the summary. While from the third question, “Captain Hook” is given as the focus, therefore by eyeing for “Captain Hook”, you are likely to find his background and adventures for your answer.

After improving on your reading and answering speed, careless mistakes must be avoided to secure your marks. Human brains are so complex that when we process information, assumptions and emotions are added to facilitate our interpretation. This prevents us from understanding and answering to the assessment passage objectively. However, reading comprehensions are indeed marked objectively with a solid marking scheme. Thus, to nail your answers, you have to find patterns of suggested answers. For long questions, most given answers are quotes of direct wordings from the passage. To avoid creating uncertainty with your own words, using direct quotes as answers are suggested. This is also highlights your correct answer to the marking teacher while also to prevent marking mistakes that causes you to lose marks.

Reading comprehension requires strategies of attack and defence. Correct answers must be found and nail effectively, while careless mistakes have to be actively avoided. Through acquiring these basic skills, you will be levelled-up into the skilled students category.

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