STEPS FOR COMPLETE COMPREHENSION:
- Skim once as rapidly as possible to determine the main idea before you look at the questions. Don’t worry about words you don’t know at this stage.
- Underline the words that you do not understand to facilitate a complete understanding of the passage. This will enable you to solve the vocabulary questions quicker.
- Look through questions carefully. You are advised to keep to the order in which the questions appear in the test paper. Read intensively the portion relevant to the answers.
- Concentrate on the vocabulary items and puzzle out the meaning of any words you don’t know from the context.
Most passages require at least two readings.
- Before writing the answer, check the questions again to be sure you’ve really understood them.
- You must write complete sentences as answers.
- Answers must be relevant and to the point. If the question is for one mark given one point. If it is for two marks give at least two points unless specified differently in the paper.
STEPS TO FOLLOW IN SKIMMING FOR THE MAIN IDEAS:
- Read the title of the passage / poem carefully. Determine what clues it gives you as to what the passage / poem is about.
- Watch for key words like ’causes, ’’results, ’’effects, ’etc. Do not overlook signal words such as those suggesting controversy (e.g., ’versus, ’’pros and cons’), which indicate that the author is planning to present but sides of an argument.
- Concentrate on the main ideas and ignore the details.
HOW TO APPROACH COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:
The ‘why’ question
In the ‘why’ question you are required to give reasons, provide explanations and give evidence for an answer. It is essential therefore, to look out for word that show cause, effect and purpose in order to arrive at the answer. These words are:
Cause word; Cause words signal the cause or reason for an event or an action. These include:
Because due to as since owing to on account of
In that resulting from for that reason on the grounds that
Effect words; effect words signal the result of an event or an action. These include:
Consequently so as a result resulting in therefore
With the effect of
Purpose words ; purpose words indicate the reason for an event or an action. These include :
For so that so as to in order that for the purpose of
In order to
The inference question
In the inference question you are required to make a deduction or draw a conclusion based on the information given in the passage. Since these are not straightforward questions, it is essential therefore, to read between the lines for clues or hidden meanings. This can be done by understanding certain key words and phrases. At times, you can draw an inference only after reading the entire poem / passage.
The rephrasing question :
At times you are required to explain a word/phrase in your own words or substitute a word/phrase in the passage without altering its meaning. To do so it is essential to understand the word/phrase in its context. So it is essential to read carefully what comes before and after it/
When you react passage or a poem, you will come across words that are unfamiliar. However, you don’t need to look up the meaning of every new word or expression that you come across. When you have finished reading the passage, try to understand the overall meaning of the passage. Try to guess the meaning of unfamiliar words/ expressions from the context. For this you need to look for clues in the text itself.