Reading Comprehension for Government Exams

Reading Comprehension is one topic which commonly appears in the English language or the verbal ability section of all major Government exams. 

This topic mostly holds the maximum number of questions and close to 10-12 marks in almost every competitive exam. The answers to all the questions are strategically hidden in the passage itself and candidates can easily answer these questions correctly if they are prepared and have practised enough.

Candidates who are willing to know more about the various Government exams conducted in the country can refer to the linked article.

To know more about General English for competitive exams, candidates can visit the linked article.

In this article, we bring to you the basics of the unseen passages or the comprehensions which are asked in the competitive exams and simple tips which may help you answer the questions more adeptly.

Aspirants who are preparing for the upcoming Government exams must know that the Verbal ability section is the one where candidates tend to lose maximum marks because of similar and confusing options. Therefore, ensure that questions from this section are answered with much more concentration and attentiveness.

Aspirants can also check the Strategies to Tackle the Reading Comprehension for CSAT at the linked article.

Given below are a few other links which will help you ace the English Language section:

Reading Comprehension Sample Questions PDF:-Download PDF Here

Introduction to Reading Comprehension

The unseen passage or the comprehension questions cover the maximum part of the verbal ability section. Each passage asked in the exam comprises a subpart, based on the information given in the passage.

What is Reading Comprehension?

Reading Comprehension (RC) is the ability to actively read the information (mostly passages) provided and assimilate the information to answer a given set of questions.

So, to solve the reading comprehension questions, one must be able to:

  • Understand the crux of the passage
  • Answer questions based on the text provided
  • Develop a perspective on the tone and tenor of the given passage
  • The most followed rule in the RC section is to understand what you read. It will prove a boon for you if you are able to read fast. Neverethless, speed is always secondary to understanding. Below are some tips for exam-preparation.

You must answer these questions before starting your preparation for RC:

  • What are the types of questions that are asked in a Comprehension?
  • What should be the strategy to follow for answering Comprehension?
  • What skills can be tested in Comprehension?
  • How should one improve in Comprehension?

The length of the passage or the vocabulary used in the passage might appear to be complicated for a candidate but when he/she starts reading the passage, understanding it as well as answering it becomes easier.

Scoring in the passage questions is not difficult because the answers are straightforward and are hidden in the passage itself. Candidates must ensure that they practise more and more comprehension questions to get a hang of how to read the passage quickly and answer the related questions, without wasting much time.

Solve more comprehension questions and score more marks in the English Language section. Refer to the following links:

Reading Comprehension – Passage Types

Apart from the length, difficulty level and the vocabulary used in the passage, another or rather the most vital aspect of these questions is the topics on which the passage may be asked. 

The comprehension is generally based on a piece of recent news or topics related to the competitive exam or can be from any other sphere of life. However, it is essential to note that even if the candidate has a wider idea of the topic, his answers should only be based on the information mentioned in the passage.

Given below are a few spheres from which the topic for reading comprehensions may be picked:

  • Current Events: Mostly the passage is picked from a recent development across the world, which may be hype and is in the news.
  • Economy Related: Passage related to economic growth or the development of a country may also be put up in the comprehension part.
  • Social Sciences: This is another sector from which the passage may be put forth in the Verbal Ability section.
  • Philosophy & Psychology: The comprehension may deal with topics of philosophy and psychology, making the topic moderately complicated for the candidate.
  • Imaginary Events: It is also possible that the passage may be based on fictitious information which may not be realistic and just be imaginary.

The reason why the comprehension is based on the current events maximum times is that applicants may have come across the news through various platforms and may be aware of the topic.

Important Rules to Follow While Answering RC Passages- 

  • One should understand the author’s main point.
  • Identify the key arguments being put forward to prove that point.
  • Identify the author’s tone, which can be mocking, curious, respectful, condescending, etc.
  • Check for negative conjunctions and these words will definitely reveal a change in the tone of the author. So, the implication of the author may not be what the initial statement suggests. Examples are:  But, nevertheless, however, in spite of, etc.,
  • See if there are negative qualifiers words which create doubt about the fact being stated. E.g. perhaps, appears, somewhat, seems like, etc.

Apart from the verbal ability section, there are various other subjects which are included in the Government exam syllabus. Candidates can check the syllabus for the same in the articles given below:

Tips To Answer the Reading Comprehension Questions

Given below are a few tips to answer the reading comprehension questions quicker and more efficiently.

  • Read Questions First: It is recommended that the candidate must first read the questions and then move towards reading the passage. This will help the candidate to spot the answer within a shorter time span.
  • Do Not Assume anything: For reading comprehensions, a very important point to be kept in mind is that assumptions should not be formed. The data given in the passage is the only information that needs to be used to answer the questions.
  • Solve the vocabulary-based questions first: There may be questions like antonyms and synonyms or other vocabulary-based questions for which the candidate may not have to read the entire passage to answer, so answer them first. This would save precious time.
  • Use the elimination method: One of the major reasons why candidates tend to make errors in the English section is because of the confusing options given. If a candidate is not able to answer the question, then he/she must start eliminating the options, which according to them may not be the correct answer, until they reach one which they are most confident of.
  • Improvise your reading skills: Try reading the important words and phrases from the passage rather than reading each word in the comprehension. This will help you save some time.
  • Focus on the first and last passage: The introduction and conclusion of the passage are the most important and may help you with questions like giving a suitable topic for the passage, stating the tone of the passage or summarising the passage. 

Candidates appearing for the exam must ensure that they do not spend excess time on any of the comprehensions, if they are not able to answer the questions. Time management plays a very crucial part in all major Government exams and spending too much time on any question may affect their final scores.

A few relevant links for preparation of the English section are given for reference:

  1. English Root Words
  2. Prepositions Questions And Answers
  3. Idioms and Phrases Questions and Answers

Similarly, conceptual and questions and answer based articles on different topics are given on the Verbal Ability page, visit the link for more study materials.

Given below are a few other links which may help you prepare for the upcoming competitive examinations:

Reading Comprehension – Sample Questions

There are various forms in which the questions from a reading comprehension may be asked in the examination. These include:

  • A suitable title to the passage
  • Giving antonyms or synonyms for a word from the passage
  • Determining the tone of the passage
  • Assumptions or conclusions based on the passage
  • Fill in the blanks with respect to the passage
  • Vocabulary-based questions 

The above mentioned are just a few types, based on which questions may be asked in the reading comprehension section. 

Given below is an example for the reference of candidates:

Passage: Many United States companies have, unfortunately, made the search for legal protection from import competition into a major line of work. Since 1980 the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has received about 280 complaints alleging damage from imports that benefit from subsidies by foreign governments. Another 340 charge that foreign companies “dumped” their products in the United States at “less than fair value.” Even when no unfair practices are alleged, the simple claim that an industry has been injured by imports is sufficient grounds to seek relief.

Contrary to the general impression, this quest for import relief has hurt more companies than it has helped. As corporations begin to function globally, they develop an intricate web of marketing, production, and research relationships, The complexity of these relationships makes it unlikely that a system of import relief laws will meet the strategic needs of all the units under the same parent company.

Internationalization increases the danger that foreign companies will use import relief laws against the very companies the laws were designed to protect. Suppose a United States-owned company establishes an overseas plant to manufacture a product while its competitor makes the same product in the United States. If the competitor can prove injury from the imports—and that the United States company received a subsidy from a foreign government to build its plant abroad—the United States company’s products will be uncompetitive in the United States, since they would be subject to duties.

Perhaps the most brazen case occurred when the ITC investigated allegations that Canadian companies were injuring the United States salt industry by dumping rock salt, used to de-ice roads. The bizarre aspect of the complaint was that a foreign conglomerate with United States operations was crying for help against a United States company with foreign operations. The “United States” company claiming injury was a subsidiary of a Dutch conglomerate, while the “Canadian” companies included a subsidiary of a Chicago firm that was the second-largest domestic producer of rock salt.

Answer the following questions based on the passage given above:

Q 1. Which of the following options is most similar in meaning to the word: “Intricate” mentioned in the article?

  1. Twisted
  2. Straightforward
  3. Simple
  4. Advance
  5. Developed

Answer: (1) Twisted

Q 2. What is the full form of ITC as per the passage?

  1. Imperial Tobacco Company
  2. International Trade Commission
  3. Indian Trade Company
  4. International Trade Corporation
  5. Indo-Tibetan Corporation

Answer: (2) International Trade Commission

Q 3. Since 1980 the United States ITC has received how many complaints alleging damage from imports that benefit from subsidies by foreign governments?

  1. 180
  2. 280
  3. 340
  4. None of the above
  5. Not mentioned in the Passage

Answer: (2) 280

Q 4. As per the passage, which of the following is the second largest producer of rock salt?

  1. A subsidiary of a Canadian Firm
  2. A subsidiary of a Chicago Firm
  3. A US Firm
  4. A Subsidiary of a Dutch Conglomerate
  5. Canadian Firm

Answer: (2) A subsidiary of a Chicago Firm

Aspirants looking for a few more sample questions for the reading comprehension section can download the PDF given below:

Reading Comprehension Sample Questions PDF:-Download PDF Here

To get more Reading Comprehension Questions & Answers for practice, check the linked page.

An effective tip to improve the Reading Comprehension section is to read newspapers like the Indian Express, The Hindu, New York Times, and The Guardian; this undoubtedly will help as their editorials cover a diverse set of topics. Read every article from the examination perspective and grasp the relevance of each paragraph and the author’s ‘tone’. Making notes on these will help to properly prepare for the Reading Comprehension section.

A few other preparation links have been given below, for your reference:

Candidates must solve more and more comprehension questions to improve their answering speed and also to ensure that they are well prepared for the Verbal Ability section. Check the List of English Vocabulary Words on the given page that is frequently asked in the competitive exams.

For 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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