Speed reading, high concentration and material retention are all linked. Candidates can’t do one without the other very effectively. So, if candidates start to read fast, they are forced to concentrate and this increases their retention. The high concentration that is induced when trying to read faster results in some interesting physiological changes in the brain where the memory of what one is reading gets etched more permanently than the times with low concentration.
There is no denying that a good number of questions in the CAT exams are asked from Reading Comprehension section. Thus, one needs to be good at reading to solve the related questions.
Tips to Improve in Reading Comprehension
Here are some points that will help the aspirants to be better at comprehension:
Be an active reader
This is probably the “oldest” and the “best” advice one can get. Read as much as you can. Developing a habit of reading is of critical importance as it provides the basic foundation stone required for comprehending passages in an effective manner.
Understanding and Speed
This is basically the ability to quickly distinguish sentences which are important, from sentences, which are too general. If a passage is talking about angiography and then there is an example provided on it then you don’t need to spend a lot of time with that sentence to understand the example. Hence while reading, keep an eye open for redundant sentences. Your reading motto should only be to grasp the idea, which is the theme of the passage. This can be done by skipping the unnecessary details and illustrations which are only there to reinforce the theme of the passage. The details, generally, tend to slow you down so it must be avoided.
Engage with the Passage
You simply cannot understand something which you loathe. So getting over the dread of the passage is a pre-requisite to doing well in the questions. Actively involve yourself in the passage and try to simplify the sentences.
As you read the passage, go faster after the first paragraph. Hold the framework of the passage in your memory as you work your way through the passage. Do not get lost in details later on in the passage and do not try to master every bit of the content.
Read Quality Articles
Reading articles that challenge your comprehension is of extreme importance. It is not of much use if you keep on reading articles and passages that are straightforward and would never improve your reading and comprehension skills. So, you must invest time in reading such articles that require greater skills of comprehension on your part.
Write while Reading
When the passage is tough, one should not just read it. You can build your comprehension more quickly and effectively by writing down key elements of the passage. This will force you to read actively as opposed to passively. The “writing down” should be as simple as possible & should allow you to grasp the simple story of the passage. Wherever possible, use symbols and notations to save time and abbreviate as much as possible and focus on the real goal i.e. understanding the comprehension quickly.
There are a lot of schools of thought on how you should read a passage and answer questions. Some think you should read the questions first and then look for the answers; others feel you should read the passage thoroughly and then answer all the questions without looking back. There are two types of questions, direct and indirect. If you have read the passage completely with an in-depth understanding, then you may be able to answer all the questions correctly. If the passages are read once with cursory understanding, then answering all the main idea questions becomes easy. You will mostly need to refer to the passage again for detail / direct questions. It should be realized that a complete understanding of the entire passage is usually not required to answer most of the questions.Answering questions by just skimming through passages and learning to identify important sentences in the paragraphs are very crucial.
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