How To Effectively Answer Comprehension Passages In Any Examination

By | October 3, 2017

How To Effectively Answer Comprehension Passages In Any Examination

The Reading Comprehension section of any examination contains comprehension passages and questions about the passages. The questions are about information that is stated or implied in the passage and about some of the specific words in the passages.

Reading comprehension Passages is beginning to get more exposure with every passing day. Employers and other major examination bodies have continued to make it compulsory for students to answer questions under comprehension passages in their exams and aptitude tests.

Some examiners make candidates answer questions under more than two long comprehension passages. The painful thing is that they give candidates very limited time to attempt the questions.

Now, Answering questions under comprehension passages in examinations is the challenge of so many students. As a matter of fact, students and Job seekers concede a lot of marks under comprehension passages in their exams and aptitude tests.

This poor performance in answering questions under comprehension passages is not only because the questions are some times too difficult but because the candidates don’t get enough time to go through the passages carefully.

If you have ever been in a situation where you are to answer more than one comprehension passages within a limited time, you will understand that tackling questions under comprehension passages require certain tactics.

Do you know that you can answer questions under comprehension passages with the speed of light in the exam hall? In fact, you can answer every question under comprehension passages without reading every line in the passage. That is what you are about to learn right now.

I will try to make this tutorial as simple as possible. I will also be linking to some of my recent articles to make sure that you don’t miss out anything. Are you ready? Take a glass of water and let’s begin.

The Structure of Compression Passages

The compression passage is usually made up of a main sentence and supporting sentences.

The main sentence caries the central Idea. If you have ever gone through a Sunday school manual, you will see a central truth written immediately after the topic. The central truth summarizes the whole idea in the topic. That is to say, every other idea revolve around the central truth. The main sentence assumes the role of central truth in a comprehension passage. Most times, the main sentence is presented in the first paragraph.

The supporting sentences consists of examples or illustrations to support the idea presented in the main sentence. Examiners make the supporting sentences so interesting that you might be tempted to take them for the main idea in the passage.

Observe the sample comprehension passage I adapted from MASSBAY COLLEGE Publication below:

INSTRUCTION: Two underlined sentences are followed by a question or statement. Read the sentences, and then choose the best
answer to the question or the best completion of the statement.
Anxious to ensure that America would depart from European traditions regarding religion and royalty, the early U.S.
could be described as a place that focused more on work than on the entertainment offered by spectacle and ceremony
in the Old World.
However, national celebrations such as the lighting of the White House Christmas Tree and the ceremonies used to
swear in new federal officials give the American people some experiences that are based upon national tradition.

QUESTION: What does the second sentence do?
A) It cancels the meaning of the first.
B) It provides an example of the first sentence.
C) It adds more detail to the first sentence.
D) It offers an exception to the information given in the first sentence.

Whats your answer? Option C right right… It is wrong. The correct answer is (B) It provides an example of the first sentence. The line below in the  passage confirms the answer “…such as the lighting of the White House Christmas Tree and the ceremonies…”

What Makes Comprehension Passages Seem Confusing

  • Tension
  • Vocabulary in the comprehension.
  •  Difficulty in understanding the meaning of the questions.
  •  Time constraint
  • Use of figures of speech
  • Poor reading skill
  • Register used
  • Length of the Article

 

Suggested Solution:

  • Improve your Vocabulary
  • Relax and try to overcome exam tension
  • Read and solve comprehensions, as many as possible
  • Solve passages from different fields of knowledge, like Science, Arts, Literature, Politics, Economics etc.
  • Stay focused
  • Don’t be moved by the length of the comprehension passage, in fact, the longer the passage is, the simpler.

 

What To Do Before The Examination Or Aptitude Test

A. Improve Your Vocabulary

Why you need to improve your vocabulary? Vocabulary means knowledge of words (meaning of words). If you do not have a good vocabulary, you have to stop at every new word in the reading comprehension, and be puzzled what does it mean? So, when you don’t know the meaning of a word, it becomes very difficult to understand the gist in the Comprehension passage. Having a good vocabulary, makes you understand the reading  Comprehension  much easier.

How to improve your vocabulary?

Start reading in English, anything…….  Newspapers, stories, comics, text books….anything, that keeps you immersed in English. New words gradually sink into your subconscious mind and become familiar.

  • Keep a notebook, Note down the new words you learned today and revise them periodically.
  • Keep a target and a schedule to learn a certain number of new words every day. You are the better person to decide the number,… I am not. Do not deviate from the schedule at any cost.

 

B. Solve Past Questions

By solving the previous papers you can understand and identify what kind of questions are appearing in the examination, so that you will be mentally prepared for those kind of questions.

  • Some questions are Simple
  • Some Draw Inferences
  • Some of the RC questions will ask you about a specific word from a paragraph
  • some are Parallel Reasoning Questions.

 

What To Do When You Are Given Comprehension Passages To Answer

The first thing you should do while reading a comprehension passage is to forget the length of the article and whatever you think you know concerning the subject or topic being discussed. If the passage says that Chelsea is the best football club in the world, don’t argue. Simply give them what they want and you are home and dry.

Like I said earlier, you can answer comprehension passages without actually reading everything in the passage. You may be asking how… Now let me explain.

Recall that the main sentence represents the complete Idea of the passage. If you are asked questions like “which of the following is true according to the passage”. The answer is always the main sentence.

Reading the passage to the end will make you confuse the examples and illustrations given for the main idea. Reading half of the first or last paragraph can provide the answer.

Another very important strategy in answering comprehension passages is to read each question and search for where the answer in the passage.

There is one trick that works for me. Anytime I come across a confusing question under comprehension passages, I analyze the option with the longest answer whether it makes sense. When it does, I quickly choose it.

See the Reading Comprehension passage below:

Read the passage below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that follows.
Did you know that a half-gallon milk container holds about $50.00 in pennies? While all investment counselors realize
that we must accumulate money in order to save, most recommend different kinds of investments for people who are
in different stages of life. Older investors, those with limited funds to invest, or people with greater financial and
family commitments, should take fewer risks. Younger, wealthier, and unmarried investors can afford to venture into
the unknown.

Which of the following best describes the main idea of this passage?

A) A penny saved is a penny earned
B) Old people have the most money.
C) Our ages and stage of life are part of what determines the investments that are best for us.
D) Young people should concentrate on collecting pennies.

How To Answer Questions Under Comprehension Passages Effectively

A. Constant Practice

When you constantly solve problems under comprehension passages, it just becomes very easy for you in the exam hall. Charity begins at home and not in the house.

Get as many questions under comprehension passages and attempt them. You should be able to justify any answer you  pick from the passage before accepting that it is actually correct.

“Normally, students who believe themselves weak in Reading Comprehension, are unwilling to practice. Most of them try to avoid solving at home. They make a lot of excuses.

But remember excuses don’t bring you success. Success won’t be available unless you confront your fears and weaknesses. Remember,  No one asks you “why didn’t you succeed in life?”  They only ask you “Did you succeed or not?”

B. Use a pen while Going through the Passage

Do not read the Reading Comprehension like a movie novel. While going through the passage, your  three body organs should act in collaboration.

  • Eyes
  • Hand
  • Brain

 

Make a habit of finding valuable keywords quickly and underline those keywords with a pen (If the rules permit, otherwise use a dark pencil).         

C. Find out words that are useless

If you carefully examine any Reading Comprehension passage, you can easily find out that there are so many words, phrases in the comprehension that are useless. That means even if we delete those words, phrases, the meaning of the Comprehension remains the same.

It is very tiresome and difficult, for me to make a list of those words and phrases and publish here. I just advise you to keep an eye on them and not to waste your precious time in analyzing them.

D. Comeback Later

When we don’t find an answer to a particular question, we usually  tell ourselves “Okay, I will come back to it later”. This may be a good strategy to save time While leaving the difficult questions and solving the easier ones.But before going to another question just do one thing. Take your pencil and make a circle on your choice, which you feel correct at the present moment.

Why?

Most of the instances when you come back to the question, you would have forgotten the Comprehension itself. So you have to read it again from the beginning. If the time permits, it’s won’t be a problem,…but if you don’t have enough time you can choose the earlier marked answer.

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E.   Don’t draw on outside knowledge.

Don’t make conclusions which are not in the comprehension. Though you are well aware of the topic mentioned in the Passage, You should not bring your own knowledge into the answers. Just stick to the Information given in the comprehension.

F. Overcome panic :

While focusing on the passage, if you stare at the letters for a long time, your eyes feel uncomfortable. So, often close your eyes for a while, take a deep breath and start again.

Don’t get panicked by the difficulty of the questions. Be prepared for them.

 G.  Never  lose confidence:

By looking at the Comprehension, don’t let any thought of discouragement enter into your mind. Don’t feel depressed.

Always follow some tactics to motivate yourself

H.   Learn what works best for you:

Whatever strategies mentioned here are not hard and fast rules. They are flexible. If you feel they don’t work for you, then you can alter them to suit your needs. You are the judge.

Generally a standard reading comprehension has some unseen words( word that you have not seen so far) that may make you afraid of the passage and the questions. But do not worry because most of the questions are not directly related to those words. Those words are just for making things look difficult!

Hot Tips To Quickly Answer Comprehension Passages

1- First of all read the first and last sentences of each paragraph carefully.  Then try to answer the questionings! Most of the questions can be answered just by knowing about these sentences.

2-If the first and last sentences did not seem to help, try to find the key (important) words of each question and answers and then go to the passage again and try to find them. Most of the answers are in the sentence with that key word or the sentences before or after the it.

3-Remember that there are some questions that can be answered even without looking at the passage carefully! Here is an example:

-According to the passage we must take care of wild animals

  • Because they are increasing every day.
  • Because They have died since many years ago.
  • To be placed on the endangered species list
  • So that they do not finish in the future

 

Do you think you need to read the whole passage to answer this

question??!

Questioning Methods In Comprehension Passages

There are different types of questioning method employed by examiners in this delicate section.They are as follows:
1.Authorial questioning method
2.Periphrastic questioning method
3.Logical questioning method
4.Evaluation questioning method
5.Contextual questioning method

1.Authorial questioning method

Let’s begin with (Authorial questioning method):Questions under this questioning method require a candidate to provide answers based on the dictates of the passage…Examples:

a.According to the writer…

b.The passage suggests that…

For instance,if a passage talks about prostitution of under-age girls and how it has helped shape their lives for good,and a question is asked that

“Prostitution is_____(a)good(b)bad…The answer is ‘good’ in accordance to passage ..you must not allow your personal opinion to influence your answer.

2.Periphrastic questioning method

This is a “round-about’ questioning method,Whereby a candidate is required to simplify the question before answering it. Examples are:
-Which of this is untrue?(i.e which of this is not true.)

-Which of this is unimportant?(i.e which of this is not important).

3.Logical questioning method

Here,the principle of logic is required to enable you pick a right answer from the available options. A candidate needs to consider and gather concrete facts that are paraphernalia of a certain context to enable him arrive at the right answer.

4.Evaluation questioning method

This requires a candidate to describe a person or object in the passage how the given subject does thing comes into the picture like,walks,talks and so on.

Example:In given passage Saka is described as a bully that beats girls like a two-headed goat and so on

..And You are asked:
“According to the passage,Saka is a______(a)Two-headed goat (b)skilled fighter(c)bull(d)bully…

The answer is ‘bully’…because from the facts emanating from the passage the best word that can be used to describe Saka present in the options given is ‘bully’

5. Contextual questioning method

In this section, you pick an answer based on how a particular word is being used in the passage. Some words have more than two meanings. These are called open ended words. The implied meaning of the word at a time depends on the usage.

If I should ask a question, “why are you banking at me?”. Here, you should understand that we are not talking about bank as a financial institution.

Sometimes you need to make a wild guess about a new word, taking into account of the context (situation). By this, you will be able to understand  the meaning of new words. If you feel necessary, you may check the  meaning after reading the Comprehension.

Sample Reading Comprehension Passages And Answers

Read and answer the questions under the comprehension passages below. You will find the answers at the end of this article. All passages adapted from Massbay college publications

1. Read the passage below and then choose the best answer to the question. Answer the question on the basis of
what is stated or implied in this passage.
Experienced truck drivers often travel in a convoy–a group of trucks that are traveling to the same part of the country.
Convoys can help truckers to stay alert.
The author implies that professional long-distance truck drivers may avoid traveling alone because:
A) They might drive too fast.
B) They want to arrive before anyone else.
C) Accidents happen more frequently to lone truck drivers than to car drivers who travel alone.
D) Long-distance travel can cause drowsiness.
2. Read the passage below and then choose the best answer to the question.
Huge beasts such as the dinosaur have never really become extinct. Mothra, a giant caterpillar who later becomes a
moth, destroys Tokyo, and stars in the 1962 Japanese film named for him. Mothra is born, dies, and reborn regularly
on classic movie channels. In Japan Mothra is one of the most popular films ever made. Mothra has survived the creation of more current scary creatures such as giant apes, extraterrestrial beings and swamp creatures. More than 30
years after his creation, Mothra still lives.
The main subject of the passage is:
A) the reasons that fads do not endure
B) the lasting appeal of Mothra
C) the difficulty of marketing good horror movies
D) old models for creatures are still used because making new monsters is expensive.
3. Two underlined sentences are followed by a question or statement. Read the sentences, and then choose the best answer to the question or the best completion of the statement.
Anxious to ensure that America would depart from European traditions regarding religion and royalty, the early U.S.
could be described as a place that focused more on work than on the entertainment offered by spectacle and ceremony
in the Old World.
However, national celebrations such as the lighting of the White House Christmas Tree and the ceremonies used to
swear in new federal officials give the American people some experiences that are based upon national tradition.
What does the second sentence do?
A) It cancels the meaning of the first.
B) It provides an example of the first sentence.
C) It adds more detail to the first sentence.
D) It offers an exception to the information given in the first sentence.

 

4. Read the passage below and choose the best answer to the question.
The Earthʹs past climate–including temperature and elements in the atmosphere–has recently been studied by analyzing ice samples from Greenland and Antarctica. The air bubbles in the ice have shown that, over the past 160,000 years, there has been a close correlation between temperature changes and level of natural greenhouse gases
carbon dioxide and methane.

One recent analysis from Greenland showed that at the end of the last glacial period (when the great ice sheets began to retreat to their present position), temperatures in southern Greenland rose from 5
to 7 degrees in about 100 years.
Air bubbles are not the only method of determining characteristics of the Earthʹs ancient climate history. Analysis of
dust layers from ancient volcanic activity is another such method; as is the study of ice cores, which interpret past
solar activity that may have affected our climate.

This passage states that:
A) the Greenhouse effect is destroying the planets atmosphere.
B) temperatures in Greenland have been unusually stable over the past 100 years.
C) there is more than one kind of information that scientists can use to determine the characteristics of the
Earthʹs early climate.
D) solar energy is the wave of the future.
5. Two passages are followed by a question or statement. Read the passages, then choose the best answer to the
question or the best completion of the statement.
Before video cameras were widely used, home and business owners had to rely only on written reports and photos as
a way to document their valuables for insurance purposes. This form of documentation was difficult for some insurance policy holders.

They found it was easy to lose lists, forget to add new items they purchased, or delete items they no longer had. As a result these insurance inventories were often inaccurate.
While video taping is not an option for every home or business owner, this kind of insurance documentation is helpful
for some.
How are these passages related?
A) They repeat the same idea.
B) They contradict one another.
C) They compare two forms of written documentation.
D) They present a problem and a solution.
6. Two underlined sentences are followed by a question or a statement. Read the sentences, and then choose the best answer to the question or the best completion of the statement.
Public speaking is very different from everyday conversation.
First of all, speeches are much more structured than a typical informal discussion

.
How are these sentences related?
A) Sentence two offers support for the statement made in the first sentence.
B) Sentence two contradicts the statement made in the first sentence.
C) Sentence two shows an exception to the first sentence.
D) Sentence two compares two kinds of speeches.
7. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in these passages.
French physicist Charles Fabry found ozone gas in the atmosphere in 1913. At room temperature, ozone is a colorless
gas; it condenses to a dark blue liquid at -170 F. At temperatures above the boiling point of water, 212 F, it
decomposes. Ozone is all around us. After a thunderstorm, or around electrical equipment, ozone is often detected as a sharp odor.
Ozone is used as a strong oxidizing agent, a bleaching agent, and to sterilize drinking water. This gas is also highly reactive. For example, rubber insulation around a carʹs spark plug wires will need to be replaced eventually, due to the
small amounts of ozone produced when electricity flows from the engine to the plug.
These passages imply that:
A) Ozone is the result of pollution.
B) High ozone levels in the atmosphere will cause large numbers of people to buy new car batteries.
C) Ozone has no practical uses.
D) Ozone is a natural part of the Earthʹs atmosphere.
8. Read the passages below and then choose the best answer to the question. Answer the question on the basis of
what is stated or implied in these passages

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Many people who have come close to death from drowning, cardiac arrest or other causes have described near-death
experiences–profound, subjective events that sometimes result in dramatic changes in values, beliefs, behavior, and
attitudes toward life and death. These experiences often include a new clarity of thinking, a feeling of well being, a
sense of being out of the body, and visions of bright light or mystical encounters. Such experiences have been reported
by an estimated 30 to 40 percent of hospital patients who were revived after coming close to death and about 5 percent
of adult Americans in a nationwide poll. Near-death experiences have been explained as a response to a perceived
threat of death (a psychological theory); as a result of biological states that accompany the process of dying (a
physiological theory); and as a foretaste of an actual state of bliss after death (a transcendental theory).
The primary purpose of this passage is to:
A) entertain
B) persuade
C) inform
D) express disbelief in the afterlife

 

9. Read the passage below and then choose the best answer to the question on the basis of what is stated or implied
in these passages.
In most cases little birds lay little eggs. The kiwi is an astonishing exception to this rule–it is a smallish bird that lays a
big egg. The kiwi, a flightless bird found in New Zealand, weighs about four pounds, and its egg weighs, believe it or not, about one pound.

That is one-fourth of the birdʹs body weight! If an ostrich laid an egg that was in the same proportion to the ostrich as the kiwi egg is to the kiwi, an ostrich egg would weigh a whopping seventy-five pounds instead of the usual three pounds.
Which statement below best describes the organizational method used in this passage?
A) description
B) comparison/contrast
C) chronological
D) cause/effect

10. Jazz is a peculiarly American contribution to Western culture. It was born out of the unique experience of American Blacks. Although its history is not entirely clear, jazz obviously has roots in the rhythm patterns and melodic lines of Africa, the tradition of Christian spirituals as sung by slave communities, the music of the blues as
developed in the Deep South, and ragtime.
According to this passage, one can conclude that:
A) Jazz is the sole Black contribution to Western culture.
B) There is some difficulty tracing the origin of jazz.
C) Jazz is most closely related to spiritual music.
D) Jazz is not a complex musical form.

 

11. Read the statements below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that
follows.
Sometimes when we donʹt get enough sleep we become very short-tempered.
It is important to set a time to go to bed that is realistic.
How are these two sentences related?
A) The first sentence explains the meaning of the second.
B) The second sentence explains why a lack of sleep affects us.
C) The second sentence proposes a solution.
D) The second sentence contradicts the first.
12. Read the statements below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that
follows.
Most people collect Star Wars toys for sentimental reasons.
Some people collect them strictly to make money.
What is the relationship between the two sentences?
A) cause and effect
B) contrast
C) repetition
D) statement & example

13. Answer the question based on what is stated or implied.
There are two kinds of jewelry that I do. There is commercial jewelry–class rings, necklaces, the kinds of things most
people wear. I sell these items to meet my expenses for raw materials, supplies, and to make my living. The other,
more creative work I do makes me feel that I am developing as a craftsperson.
The author of this passage implies that:
A) Artists are poor.
B) There is no market for creative work.
C) Commercial and creative work fulfills different needs for the artist.
D) Rings and necklaces can not be creative.
14. Some actors and rock stars are paid almost 100 times as much per year as school teachers. Not to downgrade the role of entertainment in our lives, but these people are not the valuable social resource that educators are. As anotherexample, professional athletes earn vastly more than the nation’s firefighters. Again, there is little doubt that the lower paid group contributes a more vital function to communities. Finally, dress designers, who can make up to $50,000 for a gown, far out-earn police officers, whose very presence makes our cities and towns livable.
Based on this passage, the earning power in our society:
A) is subject to staggering inflation.
B) does not relate to one’s usefulness in society.
C) is highest among those whose achievements are the greatest.
D) should be highest among actors and rock.
15. Read the statements below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that
follows.

Jenny does not like cake.
She does not like to bake it, to ice it, or to eat it.
What does the second sentence do?
A) It states the cause of the first.
B) It compares the three things Jenny does not like about cake.
C) It draws a conclusion about Jenny.
D) It emphasizes what is stated in the first.
16. Read the sentences below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that
follows.
When we write a check that we know is going to ʺbounce,ʺ we are in fact performing a criminal act.
It is a crime to knowingly write a ʺhotʺ check, one we know we donʹt have sufficient funds to cover.

What does the second statement do?
A) It provides supporting evidence for the first statement.
B) It restates the central idea of the first sentence.
C) It draws a conclusion from the first sentence.
D) It provides a contradictory point of view

.
17. Read the statements below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that
follows.

The new Dance Tunes CD has proved to be very popular. It has sold 80,000 copies over the last year.
How are these two sentences related?
A) The first sentence explains the meaning of the second
B) The second sentence provides evidence of the first.
C) The second sentence explains why the CD is popular.
D) The first sentence contradicts the second.
18. Read the Comprehension passage below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that
follows.
Before the invention of automobiles and airplanes travel was a slow process. When traveling long distances families
would be out of communication until the travelers reached their destination. Sometimes people lost touch with each
other permanently.
The author would most likely continue the passage with which of the following sentences?
A) Airplanes make travel more fun.
B) Driving a car helps families stay in touch.
C) Cars can be used to travel comfortably.
D) Advances in communication have helped travelers stay in communication.
19. Read the comprehension passage below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that
follows.
Scuba diving is the most exhilarating experience I have ever had. The first time I went, the dark mirror of the water
beckoned me to drop from the side of the boat. I jumped feet first and entered a brightly colored world populated with
fish, plants, and objects I had never dreamed of.
Which of the following best describes the mood of the author after having this experience?
A) bored
B) excited
C) anxious
D) serene

20. Read the passage below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that
follows.
Did you know that a half-gallon milk container holds about $50.00 in pennies? While all investment counselors realize
that we must accumulate money in order to save, most recommend different kinds of investments for people who are
in different stages of life.

Older investors, those with limited funds to invest, or people with greater financial and
family commitments, should take fewer risks. Younger, wealthier, and unmarried investors can afford to venture into the unknown.

Which of the following best describes the main idea of this passage?
A) A penny saved is a penny earned
B) Old people have the most money.
C) Our ages and stage of life are part of what determines the investments that are best for us.
D) Young people should concentrate on collecting pennies.

Answers To The Reading Comprehension Passages:

  1. D   11. C
  2. B   12. B
  3. D   13. C
  4. C   14. B
  5. D  15. D
  6. A   16. B
  7. D   17. B
  8. C  18. D  9. B  19. B     10.B   20. C