Guidelines for comprehension
1. Read the whole passage through once to get a general idea of what the passage is about. Do not worry if you come across unfamiliar words. Sometimes, it is not necessary to understand every word you read.
2. Read the passage a second time, if necessary. The second reading helps you take in the details and improve your understanding.
3. Read the questions carefully. Use cue words in the questions to help you answer the questions. These can be the “wh” words (what, when, where, why, who, whose, how) and action verbs (identify, find, list).
4. Questions sometimes contain words found in the passage. Use these words to help you identify the part of the passage where the answer can be found.
5. You can lift clauses or sentences from the passage to answer questions. You do not have to use your own words unless you are told to do so. Moreover, there is a danger in paraphrasing – you might alter/distort the meaning expressed in the passage.
6. For questions on vocabulary, if you are asked for a word, then give only ONE word and nothing else. Make sure you spell the word correctly. If you are asked for a phrase, then give the relevant phrase.
7. Some questions require you to use your own words and you must do so.
8. Do pay attention to the tense used in the questions when formulating your answers.
Things to avoid
1. Do not give more than the required information. Sometimes, students copy chunks from a text, giving two or more sentences. This only highlights their weakness – failure to understand the question and/or text.
2. Do not give two or more answers to a question. Some students write down all the possible answers to a question just to be on the safe side.
3. Do not waste time paraphrasing answers unless you are asked to do so.