English is considered a monster section by most of the teaching Aspirants. Also, it has been found that even after a good quality of preparation, it is challenging to score cent per cent.
In this post, we particularly are emphasising on the Reading Comprehension topic, which constitutes a maximum number of questions in any teaching Exam. Subsequently, in this post, we will analyse the approach and strategies to score better in this section.
Reading Comprehension is the ability to read the text, process it and understand its meaning. Also, RCs are aimed at testing a candidates Knowledge of two elements, i.e. Vocabulary and Text Comprehension.
And it is interesting to note that both these elements play a crucial role in better understanding of the passage, i.e. for understanding a text, one must have a better knowledge of Vocabulary. But what is more complex and varied out of the above two elements is Text Comprehension.
The current trend of questions that come in the RC is inference based, i.e. the problems are not direct, but one has to infer from the given passage. Also, there can be one or more conclusions presented in the question which may be true/false depending on what is asked in the question.
Now let’s move towards the Approach that one should follow while performing an RC in the exam.
The most common suggestion and approach is first to read the entire passage and then answer the question that follows. Firstly let’s discuss this approach in detail.
Try to make notes while solving/ reading RCs. It is crucial for locating the appropriate information and also acts as a mental bookmark, thus helping in better understanding of the topic.
While making notes, one must look towards and identify the following things:
i) The subject of the passage – which/what is the precise thing the author, is talking about.
ii) The main idea of the passage – what the author is saying about the subject.
iii) The tone of the author of the passage - which is the manner the author has adopted in the passage.
As soon as one figure out the above three things and central point of the passage, one will be familiar with the gist [GI – general Idea + S – Structure + T- Tone] of the passage. This will also help you to build a thematic composition and logical sequence of the passage. It is thus enabling you to answer questions from particular parts of the passage.
But this sole approach is beneficial for the ones who generally read very fast. Then what procedure should one follow in an RC, below are some of the methods that one must try?
1. Instead of reading the entire passage, read the first and last paragraph of the RC critically. Generally, what the author is saying can be identified in the first few lines of the journey, which in case of longer passages becomes roughly 1/3rd of the passage. For the rest passage examine hastily, what the author has said about the subject.
Also for longer passages, try to put down in 10-15 words, for each paragraph, what you feel are the central points of the passage.
2. The next thing in this approach is to identify the structural words that tell you the essential Ideas or Transitions in a passage. These keywords play a specific role in a sentence and paragraph. The most common fundamental words are given below:
These three kinds of words describe three roles that words can play in an article.
Continuity words: The author would support his point of view further.
Contrast words: The author would introduce a contrarian point of view.
Conclusion words: The author would sum up his argument so far.
3. Further, try to recognise the words that represent a positive and negative role in the passage. These words will let you decide whether the author is for or against the subject. A few examples of such words are given below:
Thus these words help you establish the motive of the author.
4. When a question is asked from the passage on a particular phrase, just read the three lines above and below that phrase. It will give a fair idea of what is implicit from that phrase.
5. There are around 4-6 questions based on Synonyms and Antonyms, these questions can be answered if you have the useful vocabulary and if your vocabulary is not right, then read the sentence in which the word is used to get a rough idea of the meaning of the word.
Now let’s discuss how one should attempt RC questions in the Exam. Generally, there are two ways in which an RC can be tried which are given below:
1. PQ Approach (passage first, then the questions)
- Read the entire passage thoroughly first and then read the questions
- Skim & Scan through the passage and keep going back and forth with questions and passage
- Read the first two paragraphs, scan all the questions and see what you can answer, then read Para 3 & 4, scan the questions and see what you can answer, then read Para 5& 6!!
2. QP approach (questions first, then the passage)
- Read all the questions with their answer options first and then the passage
- Read question 1 with all the options, then go through the entire passage to answer it. Then read question 2, go through the whole passage. Then question 3!
- Just read all the question stems, without understanding the answer options. Then read the passage and try answering the questions by reading them with the possibilities.
After practising all the above strategy and approach, here is a list of tips you must follow while doing an RC.
1. Eliminate and not select: In most cases, elimination of choices work better than the selection of options. Here is an approach to eliminate, which is ‘BANE’. Eliminate choices that are too broad, too narrow, that are alien (Strange) and too extreme.
2. Never apply your knowledge to the given passage. Confine your understanding of the given passage only.
Prep Smart. Score Better. Go Gradeup.