How To Solve Unseen Passages In English

Unseen passages may contain one or many paragraphs. This is one of the important yet easy parts for a student to get marks. Students should thoroughly study and understand the passage to answer the related questions. The unseen passages are there just to test the reading ability of the students and also their intellectual skills.

There are basically two types of passages that students may get in their question paper. They are :

  1. Factual passage: A factual passage is one that has detailed information and detailed descriptions of physical features. From a good factual passage, students learn the differences in the information of facts and data. It gives an all-over view of the subject and helps to improve the student's mental ability. Mainly it contains descriptive, instructive, and reporting passages. Moreover, the passages are mainly 300 to 350 words. During examinations, short questions basically of one mark are asked. Students will get 8 questions of one mark each.
  2. Discursive passage: Discursive passages help students to come to a conclusion. Students have to use their reasoning ability rather than following intuitions. The passage mainly consists of argumentative, persuasive, or interpretive texts. Opinions and feedback are also a part of it. The passages are approachable as the subject is always well discussed.

Twelve marks are basically given for discursive passages in the examination. The marks are divided between 4 answer-type questions of 2 marks each and 4 very short answer-type questions of 1 mark each. The 2 marks questions are there to test the analysis, evaluation, and inference. The 1 mark questions consist of synonyms, antonyms, meanings for vocabulary from the passage.

Tips for solving the passages

  1. Students should read the passages quickly and thoroughly.
  2. Underline the relevant points with a pen or a pencil.
  3. To find the answers to the questions, students must read the passage carefully.
  4. The answers always maintain a logical sequence.
  5. Students must write the answers in their own words.
  6. For vocabulary questions like synonyms, students have to replace the word with its meaning. Go to the passage and try finding the word with the same meaning. That will be the answer.
  7. Re-read the passage and go through all the options to answer correctly for the Multiple Choice Questions.

How to complete comprehensions

  1. Go through the passage once before looking at the questions to get a basic idea. Students may come across words they do not know.
  2. To understand the passage completely, students must underline the words they do not understand. It will help in solving the vocabulary questions.
  3. Students should follow the order that appears in the question paper. They should read the questions carefully along with the portions relevant to the questions.
  4. Read the passage at least two times.
  5. Re-read the questions just to fully understand them.
  6. Answers should be written in complete sentences.
  7. Students should answer the questions according to the marks allotted. If the question is of one mark, give one point. If it is of two marks, give two points until and unless nothing is mentioned.

Steps to approach comprehension questions

  1. WHY Questions - These questions always need reasons, explanations, and evidence. Students must look out for cause words, effect words, and purpose words. Cause words are cause for events or actions. They are mainly words like - because, due to, as, since, resulting from, for that reason, etc. The words which lead to the result or event of action are effect words. Mainly consists of - as a result, consequently, resulting in, so, therefore, etc. Indicating reasons for an action or an event are mainly the work of purpose words. They basically are - in order that, so that, so as to, for, in order to, in the purpose of, etc.
  2. Inference questions - Inference questions are more or less conclusion drawing questions. Students are required to understand the hidden meanings and clues to answer. These questions are not straightforward hence students must understand certain phrases and keywords. Sometimes students need to read the entire passage to answer these types of questions.
  3. Rephrasing questions - Students are required to explain a word or phrase in their own words or substitute the word or phrase without changing the meaning to solve these questions. It is important to understand the word or phrase according to its context.
  4. Vocabulary - Students may come across words that are unfamiliar to them. They must read the passage carefully to understand the overall meaning and can guess the meaning of the new word. They may also look for clues in the text.

Keep in mind these basic tips and practice. Unseen passages will fetch you marks.


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