Reading comprehension seems to be a challenge to many. Right from the school to adulthood. One is tested mostly in every competitive examination. It seems to be a mystery to many as well as a challenge to most when it comes to reading and answering questions. Most importantly it comes to our dismay when we see it that we have performed sub-optimally in it.
This also means that many a time it is impossible to even assess that we have done justice to reading comprehension. We might feel we have attempted it to the best of our abilities but results speak otherwise.
Reading comprehensions are different from solving a math questions.
Not to forget I admit there is a bit of ambiguity. But to be honest you can’t do much about the ambiguity. Will talk about that ambiguity later. Many teachers and tutors or probably your peers give an impression that 100% accuracy can be achieved. I would like to tell you that this is merely a facade. You can never actually be a 100% achiever in Reading Comprehension every time you are made to give a test on it. However, you can definitely achieve 90 – 95 % accuracy whenever some Reading comprehension tests are thrown at you.
The article will shed some light on that matter. It will cover those areas which you might be struggling or where you are wanting to improve. But first address ambiguity which occurs in a Reading Comprehension – There could be times (a few) when where the person who has set the questions is of a different opinion when it comes to answer of question than you. By this I mean questions related to opinions, inference, what comes after, conclusion and etc. These questions require a double check and should be answered carefully. However, there could be instances where answer won’t seem logical or defy common sense.
But this should not serve as an excuse to not perform well in Reading comprehension. Reading comprehension like math requires practice.
Here are some ways you can definitely improve :
Read as much as you can :
Reading helps. When you read books, you get acquainted with new words and ideas. This opens up your mind to art, fiction, mythology, phenomenons, scientific terms, popular terms, history, economics, etc. You should ask how will this help ? This should be your intent if you want to improve your Reading Comprehension ability. This is a golden advice. If you do this below points will automatically be taken care off.
This has worked for me when I made a choice to read newspapers and books. It took me an approximate 3+ years to reach a 90+ accuracy in any given reading comprehension. So, it does take time but it’s a worthwhile investment.
When attempting Reading comprehension choose the easiest first:
When you attempt Reading comprehension go for the easiest. This makes your brain running and helps get you into the temperament which is required. Then from there graduate to the less easier one and then to tougher ones. The problem here is how does one choose easier or easiest. The answer is go for familiar topics and passages which less jargonized. Sometimes small Passage RC’s (Reading Comprehensions) are tricky read a little to get an idea.
Read the questions First before reading passage to get a better idea:
This advice was given to me by a friend who scored 98 percentile in CAT and a 100 percent in Verbal ability. You should read the questions before reading the passage. What this will do is that it will prepare your brain to look for those keywords and important lines where questions are framed. Fishing for an answer becomes easier.
Sub vocalization/vocalization of what you are reading is not good for comprehension :
When reading if your are vocal. It reduces your speed thereby your efficiency. You are already lagging to those who read through their iris. Moreover it affects the accuracy too. At best you get a vague idea. When you read it through your iris/eyes, You are processing the information in your mind. This information is qualitatively better and clear in your mind.
Don’t Attempt Reading comprehension in the last minutes of the exam:
If you are not good at reading comprehension, then don’t attempt during the last minutes of the exam. It will result in more wrongs than rights. During the last minutes we are at the final stages of the exam forcing ourselves to understand a passage is not a good idea. Chances our we can do more wrong than right. At those times avoid or choose a smaller passage or a familiar one.
Read Norman Lewis Word Power :
The book is wonderful when it comes to understanding the etymology of words. You may wonder what would you do with understanding of words. One improves immensely generally in english and especially in RC’s. A person shall develop the ability to break words and draw the meaning of tough words without looking at a dictionary. This helps in RC’s which are attempted in exam time without Dictionary. I have read thrice.
Watch Drama/art movies in English :
Some of the best usage of language and expression is found in art and drama movies. Watch IMDB top 250. It’s a good way to learn and get better at language comprehension.
Converse in English:
If you can, then please find someone who can converse with you in English. This will help improve your understanding of tenses, articles, and semantics. This will make your understanding of syntax of sentences better. When you would be reading you will certainly have a better understanding of the text.
If you follow the above given points then you are surely to perform well in Reading Comprehension. English is a universal language, it certainly helps in career growth and articulation.
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Good luck !!