Reading Comprehension Myths, Tips & Strategies For English Section

Reading Comprehension is an integral part of the verbal ability section of various competitive exams. Mostly candidates have two notions for RC passages either they find it uncomplicated or it is difficult to wrap their head around the question asked. 

Hence the article aims to provide candidates with Reading Comprehension Strategies and tips. It will also resolve the Reading Comprehension myths and preconceived notions in candidates minds.

Candidates preparing for different Government exams must be well aware that they are going to face 2-3 sets of RC passages, therefore it is important for them to go through Reading Comprehension Myths, Tips and Strategies carefully to make their preparation a lot simpler. 

Table Of Contents:

  1. Reading Comprehension Myths
  2. Reading Comprehension – Problems in Preparation
  3. Strategies For Reading Comprehension
  4. Reading Comprehension Tips for Preparation

Reading Comprehension Myths

Mostly candidates are afraid to attempt the RC passages because of some preconceived notions in their mind. Here are some of the most common Reading Comprehension myths that need to be resolved to make your Reading Comprehension preparation a piece of cake.

  • Reading Comprehension is a matter of finding the author’s exact meaning

This is the most common myth about Reading comprehension. Do one really need to understand what the author meant while writing? Not always. You can relate the reading comprehension according to your own attitude, perceptions, and feelings. Even experienced critics review the work of authors differently. It all depends on the individual understanding of the passage.

  • One needs to read inferentially

One can maintain a summary in the back of the mind while reading the passage. Reading comprehension is all about getting to understand the passage. One might encounter the sentences that will not be important to understand the passage at all, ending up reading and inferencing the message that is not from the passage. 

  • One cannot leave any sentence in order to answer the questions

This is not necessary, some of the sentences can be omitted altogether without changing the meaning at all. 20% of the original comprehension can be compressed that can make the passage very short and easy to understand. Also, don’t worry about negative connotation in RC.

  • One needs to be very good at vocabulary to attempt RC questions

One can attempt the questions by the meaning of context as well. If the word is difficult to be recognized, then the students can still process the meaning by reading the whole context of the comprehension and make out. Moreover, with condensed comprehension, you will be able to know the meaning very fast and without wasting much time on rumbling around the world.

Reading Comprehension – Problems in Preparation 

Mostly candidates dread reading comprehension and its preparation and there could be many reasons for this. The thing important is that one should know the fundamental issues that they face. Hence, given below are a few common problems that one faces while preparing for the Reading Comprehension and solution to deal with the same.

  • Diminished Interest In Reading: The fact of the matter is, English is not everyone’s native language. Hence it is reasonable to say that some people neither converse in English regularly nor are very inclined to pick it up as a challenge. Here is where lies the actual problem.

Solution: Linguistic and semantic understanding of a language will only develop when you get out of your comfort zone and take a keen interest in building your communication (written and spoken) skills in English. It is the principal expectation of a candidate preparing for any competitive exams.

  • Inherent Lack of Reading: It could be due to a sheer lack of interest or busy schedules leaving you with little time to catch up on your daily quota of reading. Either way, you are not allocating sufficient time to read.

Solution: If you are an aspirant for any government exam, you should be aware that you will be required to solve tricky questions and be abreast with all the news available at your dispense. If you don’t start reading and reading more, you will be repenting later.

  •  Weaker Command on Comprehension: This is again due to lack of desire in reading. It leads to a poorer vocabulary and grammar, which in turn cause people to fret and worry and eventually give up.

Solution: Increase the diversity of topics that you choose to read on. Include lots of variety Economics, Politics, Philosophy, Music, Art, Science & Technology to mention a few. It will not only keep your interest renewed but induce a hunger to know more about things which you were hitherto unaware of. Maintain a journal of all possible meanings of the new words you come across.

  • Inability To Understand Questions: An ineptitude to understand what the questions following an RC passage crops from improperly comprehending the passage OR a mind clouded with fear and anxiety to answer correctly and quickly.

Solution: if you are not able to comprehend the passage properly, then again you need to diversify the topics you pick for reading Jot down the meanings of words you don’t understand. If you suffer from the latter, then settle yourself and re-read the question without being anxious or worried.

  • Slower Speed While Solving RC Questions: This is a problem faced by numerous aspirants. Not only understanding the passage but doing so quickly is important to obtain a high score. There is a difference between being comfortable with the language and reading a passage and answering the questions at a quicker pace.

Solution: expertise only comes with practicing. Practice more questions and evaluate your speed by timing yourself.

Candidates preparing for various government exams can check the links below to prepare relevant English topics-

More article based on concepts, rules and important lists can be found on the General English For Competitive Exams page.

Reading Comprehension Strategies

To prepare and score well in Reading Comprehension, the first thing one needs to do is to broaden their background knowledge by reading newspapers, magazines and books. It is important to develop an interest in world events and literature to broaden the background. 

Here are some Reading comprehension strategies to follow while preparation so that you can attempt questions in the exam easily.

Reading Comprehension Strategies For Effective Preparation

  • Know the structure of paragraphs

Paragraphs are constructed with a beginning (introduction), body and conclusion. Often, the first sentence will give an overview that helps provide a framework for adding details. Also, look for transitional words, phrases or paragraphs that change the topic.

  • Identify Keywords

While answering specific questions, identify the KEYWORDS in the questions. Then, go back to the passage and find those keywords.

  • Identify the type of reasoning

Check whether the author uses cause and effect reasoning, hypothesis, model building, induction or deduction, systems thinking.

  • Anticipate and predict

Try to anticipate the author and predict future ideas and questions. If you’re right, this reinforces your understanding. If you’re wrong, you make adjustments quickly.

  • Justify every word in the answer choice

In the correct answer choice, every word must be completely true and within the scope of the passage. If you cannot justify every word in the answer choice, eliminate it.

  • Always search for the main idea, instead of focusing on minor details

It is always suggested to avoid getting stuck with trivial details and focus on the main theme. While answering the questions, follow the strategies given below.

  • Avoid extreme words if possible

Look out for words such as “all” and “never”. They tend to broaden the scope of an answer choice too much or make it too extreme. When you choose an “extreme answer choice”, the passage should back it completely.

  • Look for the method of organization

Check if the material is organized chronologically, serially, logically, functionally, spatially or hierarchical.

  • Create motivation and interest

Preview materials, ask questions and discuss ideas with friends. The stronger your interest, the greater is your comprehension analyzing skill. Read briskly, but only at a speed that will result in proper comprehension.

  • Build a good vocabulary

The best way to improve your vocabulary is to use a dictionary regularly. You might carry around a pocket dictionary and use it to look up new words. Or, you can keep a list of words to look up at the end of the day. Concentrate on roots, prefixes and endings.

Candidates willing to improve their vocabulary can check out a few articles for assistance:

  1. English Root Words
  2. Most Common English Vocabulary Words
  3. List Of Synonyms & Antonyms
  4. List of Homophones/Homonyms 

Reading Comprehension Tips – How To Improve Reading Comprehension

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 Reading comprehension Questions are asked in the competitive exams. Thus, one needs to be good at reading to solve the 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 dislike. So getting over the dread of the passage is a prerequisite 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. 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.

  • Attempting Questions

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. 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.

Candidates can check Reading comprehension Questions & Answers in the link provided to practice and revise.   

Interested candidates can check the links below to practice well for other topics of the Verbal Ability section.

Visit the Verbal Ability page to get more practice sets, questions and answers on various other English topics.

Aspirants of various government exams can check the important links given below for assistance in preparation:

  1. Static GK
  2. Current Affairs
  3. 100 Difference between Articles For Revision
  4. Quantitative Aptitude Syllabus
  5. Logical Reasoning Syllabus

For any further information regarding the exams, study material, notes and preparation strategies, candidates can turn to BYJU’S for help and assistance.

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