How to solve Reading Comprehension Questions in CDS Exam?
Reading comprehension comprises of two words i.e. ‘Reading’ which means to study and ‘Comprehension’ which means the ability to understand something. So, as the name denotes it completely means the study of a passage or a paragraph and to understand what the author or the writer is trying to convey. This section is included in the exam in order to test the reading skills of an individual in the given time period and to check whether the aspirants are able to comprehend it efficiently and accurately or not.
To most of the aspirants, this section usually seems like a hard nut to crack but in reality, it is the other way round. By going through few techniques, keeping few things in mind while solving questions, one can easily solve 90% - 95% of the questions with 100% accuracy.
Let us go through a few tips and techniques which will be beneficial to you in solving questions and make this section interesting:
- Develop the habit of reading newspaper especially the editorial column. Continuous reading will improve your comprehension skills and at the same time, it will help you summarize what is given in the article quickly which will help you save time during exams and can attempt maximum questions in minimum time.
- Always, before reading the passage scroll the paper and go through the questions and keep in mind the questions asked. This will help you locate answers easily while reading the passage. But this will be helpful only if you develop the habit of reading as mentioned above but at the same time, it can be detrimental if you can’t read quickly and you will end up with nothing but wasting time.
- Go through the types of questions being asked. This is because in all the passages 1 – 2 questions are asked from the vocabulary section, the title of the passage, idioms and phrases or from the tone of the passage. This will help as a stress reliever as these questions are scoring as well as time-saving.
- After scrolling the options go for reading the passage. It is not a speed reading competition so don’t go on reading but try and understand what the author want to say and at the same time and mark few important words, points and phrases that you might think holds an importance and will help you while answering the questions.
- Also, don’t try to cram each and every line of the passage. Memorize only what you think can be helpful while answering. Read first few and last few lines carefully and then try to get the gist of the paragraph and answer accordingly.
- Just keep in mind that all the questions are not difficult. Some are direct and some are inference based questions. If there are 4 questions in a set then 2 will direct, 1 will be moderate and 1 will be inference based. Look for such sets and go on solving the direct one first. This will regain your confidence level and will save your time for solving the inference based.
- Answer from what is given in the passage. Don’t use any outside information or what you know is true. Consider true as what is given and answer accordingly. Don’t assume anything what you know to be true. Any option that cannot be proved with given information in the passage should be omitted.
- Read the given instructions carefully and see whether the antonyms or synonyms are asked. Select your option accordingly as some options may sound too close. Answer in the context of the passage. Don’t always go with the literal meaning of the words as sometimes figurative meanings are being used. So, see how the words are used in the passage and then answer.
- Review your answers again after finishing all the questions. Review the questions where you had doubts and try answering them again. This will help in improving your accuracy.
- Read between the lines and try to differentiate between the true and the correct answer. Use what is given in the passage and don’t try to use your knowledge. Read all the choices, don’t just pick if you get your first option correct. Analyze all the other options as well and try to locate the closest one.
- Don’t just spend time on a single question. If you are unable to find the correct option then try solving by eliminating option or move to the next set of questions.
- Add new words to your dictionary daily. This will increase your knowledge and help you comprehending the difficult words in the passage. This will be beneficial in other sections as well.
Now let us look through an example:
Since I had nothing better to do, I decided to go to the market to buy a few handkerchiefs, the old ones had done vanishing trick. On the way I met an old friend of mine and I took him to a nearby restaurant for tea and snacks. Afterwards, I went to the shop and selected a dozen handkerchiefs. I pulled out my purse to make the payment, and discovered that it was empty; I then realized that it was not my purse, it was a different purse altogether. How that happened is still a source of wonder to me and I refuse to believe that it was the work of my good old friend, for it was his purse that I held in my hand.
Solution: The passage is basically about the narrator who is narrating about his routines. How he went to the shop and selected stuffs and later discovered that he was not carrying the purse. So, the type of questions that can be asked are:
1. The man could not buy the handkerchiefs because
- he did not like the handkerchiefs
- his friend did not allow him to buy them
- the shop did not have any handkerchiefs
- he had no money in the purse
From the lines in the passage, ‘I pulled out my purse to make the payment, and discovered that it was empty’. Thus, the man could not buy the handkerchiefs because he had no money in the purse.
2. When he tried to take out the purse, he discovered that
- it was not there
- it was lost
- it was a new purse
- it was his friend’s purse
From the last three lines of the passage, ‘I then realized that it was not my purse, it was a different purse altogether. How that happened is still a source of wonder to me and I refuse to believe that it was the work of my good old friend, for it was his purse that I held in my hand’. Thus, it can be concluded that it was his friend’s purse.
Always keep in mind that all the competitive exams test three things knowledge, reading and writing skills and time management. Divide your time as per your convenience and solve accordingly keeping in mind of your strengths and weaknesses.
Remember, practice makes a man perfect, so to get a command on this section, practice as many passages of different subjects as you can, so as to get an in-hand experience of how to approach questions from a variety of areas like science, religions, cultural, story-based, etc. that are commonly asked in the exam.
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