At first sight, reading comprehension tests look challenging especially if you are given long essays to answer only two to three questions. While reading, you might notice your attention waning, or feeling sleepy. Do not be discouraged because there are various tactics and long range strategies that make comprehending even long, boring essays easier.
Your friends before your foes. It is always best to tackle essays or passages with familiar subjects rather than those with unfamiliar ones. This approach applies the same logic as tackling easy questions before hard ones. Skip passages that do not interest you and leave them for later when there is more time left.
Read through the entire passage and the questions before you do anything. Many students try reading the questions first and then looking for answers in the passage thinking this approach is more efficient. What these students do not realize is that it is often hard to navigate in unfamiliar roads. If you do not familiarize yourself with the passage first, looking for answers become not only time-consuming but also dangerous because you might miss the context of the answer you are looking for.
Familiarize yourself with reading comprehension questions. If you are familiar with the common types of reading comprehension questions, you are able to take note of important parts of the passage, saving you the time you might consume looking for answers. There are six major kinds of reading comprehension questions.
Main Idea- Questions that ask for the central thought or significance of the passage.
Specific Details - Questions that asks for explicitly stated ideas.
Drawing Inferences - Questions that asks for a statement’s intended meaning.
Tone or Attitude - Questions that test your ability to sense the emotional state of the author.
Context Meaning – Questions that ask for the meaning of a word depending on the context.
Technique – Questions that ask for the method of organization or the writing style of the author.
Choosing Titles. Sometimes reading comprehension questions may ask you to choose a title for the passage. Choices that will be given would often be ideas taken from the passage but the best answer would always be the one that relays the central idea of the passage.
Read. Read. Read. The best preparation for reading comprehension tests is always to read, read and read. If you are not used to reading lengthy passages, you are sure to lose concentration. Increase your attention span by making a habit out of reading.
Reading Comprehension tests become less daunting when you have trained yourself to read and understand fast. Always remember that it is easier to understand passages you are interested in. Do not read through passages hastily. Make mental notes of ideas that you think might be asked. The best way to tackle reading comprehension exams is by reading so take your time and read through the given passages.