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The Ultimate Guide to Solve Reading Comprehension

The Ultimate Guide to Solve Reading Comprehension


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Solving English Reading Comprehension has become an inevitable part of almost every competitive examination. The question that linger in every aspirant’s mind is “How to improve Reading comprehension?”

  Students are habituated to solve simple and direct passages in their school days, but when it comes to competitive exams, the task becomes difficult.  Unable to understand the vocabulary (meaning of words) and concept of the passage, students become dull and uninterested in this section.   I may give you some tips and strategies to achieve success in the examination, but the ultimate solution lies not in shortcut solutions, but long term preparation and hard work, obviously. you need to have the courage to prepare and adhere to a systematic plan. So, here are some Reading Comprehension strategies to follow, to get more marks in Reading Comprehension.

1.

A complaint  which I hear often is that, the students are unable to understand the given reading comprehension.  If you belong to this category, you need to understand that you don’t need to understand each and every word of the comprehension. At the same time, you should find the gist (summary) of it. Both these points above may appear contradictory But the crucial thing is, you need to eliminate the words, phrases, sentences from the Reading Comprehension that are not useful and need to focus  on keywords.

 

2.  Find your strengths first.

To improve reading comprehension, first you need to find your strengths first. The conservative approach to solving a passage is, to read the passage first, and then go to the questions and solve them. But some students do not feel comfortable with this method. Probably they do not know which keywords to remember while going through the comprehension. Or, they may have to read the comprehension again, after reading the questions. This lead to the problem of Time Management.

Solution: you can choose the “bottom up” approach. That means, read the questions first, so that you have an idea what to look for, in the comprehension. But ultimately you are the better judge of which approach is the best. So, practice several reading  comprehensions  in two different approaches and find out which method suits you.

 

3. Time Management:

“I know all the answers, but I didn’t have enough time to solve” Have you ever heard these kinds of  complaints? Competitive examinations not only test your knowledge and skills but your Time Management also. All the three aspects are important, Especially when there are Negative Marks for wrong answers     

  • Knowledge
  • Skills  (writing, reading)
  • Time Management

 Solution: Divide the stipulated time of the examination,  allot  certain time to each section, based on your strengths and weaknesses. Practice numerous reading  comprehension exercises with the help of a timer . After solving some, you definitely have an idea,  about  Time Management.

 

4. Practice a lot:

“Normally, students who believe themselves weak in Reading Comprehension, are unwilling to practice. Most of them try to avoid solving at home. They make a lot of excuses. But remember excuses don’t bring you success. Success won’t be available unless you confront your fears and weaknesses. Remember,  No one asks you “why didn’t you succeed in life?”  They only ask you “Did you succeed or not?”

 

5. Improve Your Vocabulary:

Why you need to improve your vocabulary? Vocabulary means knowledge of words (meaning of words). If you do not have a good vocabulary, you have to stop at every new word in the reading comprehension, and be puzzled what does it mean? So, when you don’t know the meaning of a word, it becomes very difficult to understand the gist of the Comprehension. Having a good vocabulary, makes you understand the reading  Comprehension  much easier.

How to improve your vocabulary?

  • Start reading in English, anything…….  Newspapers, stories, comics, text books….anything, that keeps you immersed in English. New words gradually sink into your subconscious mind and become familiar.
  • Keep a notebook, Note down the new words you learned today and revise them periodically.
  • Keep a target and a schedule to learn a certain number of new words every day. You are the better person to decide the number,… I am not. Do not deviate from the schedule at any cost.

 

6. Use a pen while reading:

Do not read the Reading Comprehension like a movie novel. While going through the passage, your  three body organs should act in collaboration.

  • Eyes
  • Hand
  • Brain

Make a habit of finding valuable keywords quickly and underline those keywords with a pen (If the rules permit, otherwise use a dark pencil).           

Or

if you want you can take the notes of keywords on a plain paper, if  allowed by the authorities. So, if at all you have to read the Comprehension again you can go only through keywords, and not  through all the junk.

 

7. Find out words that are useless: If you carefully examine any Reading Comprehension, you can easily find out that there are so many words, phrases in the comprehension that are useless. That meanseven if we delete those words, phrases, the meaning of the Comprehension remains the same. It is very tiresome and difficult, for me to make a list of those words and phrases and publish here. I just advise you to keep an eye on them and not to waste your precious time in analyzing them.

 

8. Comeback Later:

When we don’t find an answer to a particular question, we usually  tell ourselves “Okay, I will come back to it later”. This may be a good strategy to save time While leaving the difficult questions and solving the easier ones.But before going to another question just do one thing. Take your pencil and make a circle on your choice, which you feel correct at the present moment.

Why?

most of the instances when you come back to the question, you would have forgotten the Comprehension itself. So you have to read it again from the beginning. If the time permits, it’s won’t be a problem,…but if you don’t have enough time you can choose the earlier marked answer.

 

9. Do a mental math quickly:

Often students feel they are not efficient in solving Reading Comprehension, because of these three factors.

  •  Vocabulary in the comprehension.
  •  Difficulty in understanding the meaning of the questions.
  •  Time factor.

So, if there are 40 questions in the English part, Do not try to attempt all the questions (If there is negative marking).

Just try to think how many marks you need in English, by calculating how many you are getting in other sections of the exam (Arithmetic, Reasoning Etc.). Based on that you can choose how many questions you have to solve in English.

This doesn’t take much time  if you make a quick mental math.

 

10. Most Reading Comprehensions are complex:

Usually, Reading Comprehensions are taken from scientific essays or  well known fiction. Often the sentences are complex to understand. If you are not aware of this fact, you might be puzzled by those questions.

Solution:

  • Improve your Vocabulary
  • Read and solve comprehensions, as many as possible
  • Solve passages from different fields of knowledge, like Science, Arts, Literature, Politics, Economics etc.

 

11.Focus:

It is not unusual for any person to wander somewhere while reading something uninteresting.

So, when you find the Comprehension dull, difficult and uninteresting, your eyes run through the sentences, but your mind wanders somewhere else.

The result….you complete reading, but you grasp nothing.

Solution:

Focus on the content. Don’t let your mind go away from there.

If it starts daydreaming….bring it back into reality. Tell yourself that you have plenty of time to dream after the exam.

 

Here are two articles to give you more interesting information.

12.Improve reading Speed:

Do not move your lips while reading, it slows you down.

Go back to point 6 and practice the technique mentioned there.

 

13.Practice Online Reading Comprehension :

Here are some links for you to practice Reading Comprehension online free.

  • http://codecoax.com/grerc/
  • http://www.majortests.com/sat/reading-comprehension.php
  • http://www.testprepreview.com/modules/reading1.htm
  • http://gre.graduateshotline.com/reading_comprehension_practice.html
  • http://www.usingenglish.com/comprehension

 

14. While solving Reading Comprehension at home, don’t try to find the meaning of each and every word you find there, with the dictionary.

Of course, Looking for meanings in a dictionary and taking notes is a good habit, but for each and every word……No..

Sometimes you need to make a wild guess about a new word, taking into account of the context (situation). By this, you will be able to understand  the meaning of new words. If you feel necessary, you may check the  meaning after reading the Comprehension.

 

15. Solve previous papers:
By solving the previous papers you can understand and identify what kind of questions are appearing in the examination, so that you will be mentally prepared for those kind of questions.

  • Some questions are Simple
  • Some Draw Inferences
  • Some of the RC questions will ask you about a specific word from a paragraph
  • some are Parallel Reasoning Questions

 

16.Don’t draw on outside knowledge.

Don’t make conclusions which are not in the comprehension. Though you are well aware of the topic mentioned in the Passage, You should not bring your own knowledge into the answers. Just stick to the Information given in the comprehension.

 

17. Overcome panic :

While focusing on the passage, if you stare at the letters for a long time, your eyes feel uncomfortable. So, often close your eyes for a while, take a deep breath and start again.

Don’t get panicked by the difficulty of the questions. Be prepared for them.

 

18.Recommended books on Reading  Comprehension:

  • SAT Reading Comprehension Workbook
  • Reading Comprehension: Adrian J Williams
  • improve your reading comprehension skills
  • PowerScore LSAT Reading Comprehension Bible
  • GMAT Reading Comprehension Grail

 

 19.Never  lose confidence:

By looking at the Comprehension, don’t let any thought of discouragement enter into your mind. Don’t feel depressed.

Always follow some tactics to motivate yourself

 

20.Learn what works best for you:

Whatever strategies mentioned here are not hard and fast rules. They are flexible. If you feel they don’t work for you, then you can alter them to suit your needs. You are the judge.

 

21. All the best:  Following the above mentioned Reading Comprehension tips certainly brings you good marks in your academic tests.

CHAPTER 1

Introduction to Reading Comprehension

“When trying to improve your Exams score, an important question you need to consider is why the Reading Comprehension section is so important?”

Remember the time you were so excited to read an article about Cardiovascular Cartography?

Me neither.

What about Phytoplankton Diversity?

Or Fancelli’s famous sculpture Statua di Vulcano?

No?

Okay. Maybe a story of Cantor’s hierarchy of infinities, or research on the remnants of Neanderthals, or an excerpt from a book by Solzhenitsyn about the Soviet forced labour camp system during the late 1920s?

Alright, we get it.

You hate these things with all your heart, and you’re literally pulling your hairs out already.

But think about it. The only way you get to attend grad school, is by writing a test where you not only have to read things like these, but also understand, and analyze them thoroughly.

We know. It looks like an uphill task. It sounds boring. It completely drains your brain. And at the end of the day, it seems pointless.

But what if, you can turn something so esoteric into something that you really love to do?

Something so destructive to something you can destroy by yourself? That is what you are going to do.

This guide is an ultimate reference for you to ace Reading Comprehension on the Exams, and bolster your Verbal score even further.

Before we move on to the question types and strategies, it is important to know why the Reading Comprehension section is important for you. If you run the numbers, you’ll notice that of a total of 40 questions on the two verbal sections you will face on test day, around 20 are from Reading Comprehension.

Now there’s two ways to look at this. You can either say ‘No, this is a disaster!’, or ‘Wow. This means I can have 20 points in my bag already. Cool!’ If you’re the latter type, this article is for you. Now together, let’s destroy the most dreadful question type on the Exams.

What’s the Reading Comprehension section all about?

The test makers often purposefully fill the passages with jargon and complex vocabulary. For an untrained test taker, it would take a lot of time to comprehend such passages. Because we usually read essays to retain information and details, while on the Exams, reading that way will get you bogged down and confused with unnecessary information. So you have to learn how to read to ace the Exams.

On the Exams, you can expect about five passages per section and these passages will have 1-5 questions each, for a total of ten Reading Comprehension questions per section. These passages will vary from 1 – 5 paragraphs in length.

Now, where do they get these passages from? The Exams passages can be academic or non-academic and are drawn from books, magazines, biographies, work of literature, scholarly journals and text books. The topics include social science, natural science, humanities, arts, politics and everyday life issues, too. The passages mimic the material you’ll be reading in grad school, with advanced vocabulary, complex sentence structure, and complicated ideas.

There are 3 types of questions you’ll have to answer on the reading comprehension:

  • Multiple-choice Questions; Choose 1 answer: These are your average, multiple choice questions with 5 answer choices out of which you must select ONLY ONE answer choice. You should read all the answer choices before selecting any choice.
  • Multiple-choice Questions; Choose 1 or more answers: Here, you’ll have 3 answer choices, and you’ll have to choose every correct answer, which could be one, two or all three of them. No partial credit is awarded, either! Keep in mind that these answer choices need to evaluated separately.
  • Select-in-Passage: This is a totally new sub question type, unique to the GRE. You’ll have to click on a sentence in the passage that answers the question.

So far so good. Now, let’s take a look at an example sentence extracted from the Official Guide:

“I enjoyed ‘A Dream of Light and Shadow: Portraits of Latin American Women Writers’ for the same reasons that, as a child, I avidly consumed women’s biographies: the fascination with how the biographical details of another female’s life are represented and interpreted.”

Does this sound super difficult to comprehend? Are you stuck? Well, this is just one single sentence and there will be a many sentences like this in a single passage, on the test.

The real challenge for you will be to read the sentences quickly and yet understand the passage structure and process the information in them so you will be able to answer the questions that follow. Remember, you are not reading the passage to know about the biographical details of a woman’s life or how Galileo invented the telescope. You are reading the passage only to answer the questions and once you have answered the questions, you don’t have to remember any part of the passage. So, avoid reading to retain the information.

Components of a Passage:

The Exams passages are organized in many different ways. Some passages introduce the problem and then explain the author’s solution for that problem. Some passages ask a question and answer it later in the passage. Some passages criticize an old hypothesis and introduce a new one. Do you see a pattern here? Well, most of the passages that show up on your test will be made up of certain building blocks. By knowing and scouting for these blocks in a passage, you can more easily follow the meaning and structure of the passage.

Most passages have four possible building blocks:

  • The Point
  • Background
  • Support
  • Implications

The point is the most important piece of information the author is trying to convey in the passage. Your job as a reader, is to find this point. By the end of your first read-through, you should be able to identify the main point the author is trying to convey.

The background is the information that you need, in order to understand the point. Sometimes, the author makes twisting statements that makes it difficult to understand whether a statement is background information or a supporting evidence. So, you should be cautious whenever you see additional information.

Support is the additional information given by the author in the form of evidence or examples, in order to support the main point that has been made. You should always keep an eye at the various evidences and supporting examples that the author provides.

Implications are the after effects of the main point. They are the end results. The consequences. Implications are quite easy to understand when compared to the other three building blocks of a Reading Comprehension passage.

The main purpose behind identifying the components of a reading comprehension passage, is to understand the basic structure and organization of the passage. Understanding this is really important, since the Exams asks you questions based on structure, organization, tone, and main idea behind the passage. So, understanding these basic components will help you answer such questions quickly.

CHAPTER 2

8 Types of Questions you will see on Reading Comprehension

“Understanding the question types that you will see on test day will help you devise proper answering strategies and elimination techniques.”

On an average, a Reading Comprehension passage has 3-5 questions and the end of it. But these questions are of several kinds, and each of them requires a distinct skill set to answer. We have categorized all such questions, and have also included the strategies you need to implement, if you want to solve them all. Here are the most popular types of questions you will see on the Reading Comprehension passages:

1. Main Idea Questions

These are probably the most frequent questions you will see on any reading comprehension passage. Main idea questions ask you to identify the main idea or the primary purpose behind the passage that is given. Example questions are:

  • In this passage, the author is primarily concerned with…?
  • Which of the following would be the most appropriate title for the given argument?

2. Tone of the Author Questions

Considered as a tricky question by many students, tone of the author questions ask you to identify the tone of the author, or the passage. Examples include:

  • The author’s attitude towards contemporary cinema can be best described as…?
  • The passage regards the idea of modern artistic activity with…?

3. Specific Fact Questions

These are the questions that ask you to spot information that is specifically included as a fact or truth. Specific fact questions will often be consequential in nature. They usually look like this:

  • The author refers to ‘example phrase’ in line 5, primarily in order to… ?
  • According to the passage, the critics considered the ideas found in the novelist’s work to be… ?

4. Implied Questions

Implied questions ask you, as a reader, to identify an idea which is suggested or implied, either directly or indirectly. For example, an implied question looks like this:

  • It can be inferred from the passage that, in evaluating the scientist’s theory, some of the critics were….?
  • The passage suggests that if the predictions of the geological department were to be true, it would be….?

5. Structural Questions

Structural questions, as the name suggests, ask you to identify the technique, or the writing style adopted by the author, in presenting facts or views. For example:

  • Which of the following best describes the structure of the passage?
  • Which of the following best describes the organization of the lines 17 through 23?

6. Extrapolation Questions

Widely regarded as the most twisted of all Reading Comprehension questions, extrapolation questions require you to extrapolate or compare the author’s ideas to other situations, including situations that are analogous. In order to answer this type of questions, you must go beyond what is stated in the passage, draw an inference from the passage, and then match it with the situations given in the answer choices. Example questions are:

  • Which of the following situations is most closely analogous to the situation described by the author as an irony, in lines 11 and 12?
  • Which of the following describes a situation that is analogous to the situation described in the second paragraph?

7. Negative or Exception Questions

These are the questions that ask you which of the given answer choices is not true according to the author or the passage, or which of the answer choices with which the author of the passage would not agree. Examples are:

  • The passage states all of the following about mitochondria, except?
  • The author asserts that technology has led us do all of the following miraculous experiments, except?

8. Contextual/Definition of a term or word Questions

These are the questions that test your ability to work out the meaning of an unfamiliar word, based on context within the passage. For example:

  • As it is used in the passage, the term ‘convivial’ can be best described as?
  • The term ‘inchoate’, used by the author in line 18, refers to?

CHAPTER 3

7 Trap Answers to Avoid on Reading Comprehension

One of the reasons why students find it difficult to separate the wrong answers from the right ones, is because they fall prey to the trap answers.

There are a few types of answer choices that can be eliminated immediately, without even considering if they are locally right or not. The answer choices for the questions in Reading Comprehension have a few rules, and those answer choices that don’t follow them can be ruled out immediately, using the Process of Elimination method. You can do this easily, if you know where to spot the mistake. Here’s a brief guide on how to spot answer choices that can be ruled out right away as incorrect.

If you readily jump to conclusions when you come across the first choice that looks “good”, there is a great chance you might get the question wrong, because there could be other choices that are far better. But since you haven’t read them yet, you don’t know it. So, the best way to handle such questions, is to narrow down answer choices using the process of elimination until you get the best choice.

If you really try and follow the process of elimination, you will easy find out that finding out the right answer is actually really easy. One of the reasons why most students find it difficult to separate the wrong answers from the right ones, is because they do not follow the process of elimination. To illustrate further, take a look at an example of what the given choices for a question might look like:

  • If you misread the passage, this looks right
  • Maybe right — close call with some subtle difference most students miss
  • Correct answer!
  • The opposite of the correct answer
  • Something completely off topic, but it sounds impressive

So, if you really take a closer look, there is only one right answer, and the remaining are pretentiously close to being right. Below are the trap answer choices that you should eliminate immediately, no matter how appropriate, correct or logical they sound. We have also included examples for each of the answer types, so you will have a clear cut understanding of how such answers would look like, on the real Exams.

There is only one right answer, and the remaining are pretentiously close to being right.

1. Answer choices that use extreme or categorical words such as “only, all, always, every, never and exclusively”

The Exams, being an international exam, tries to be as neutral as possible, and never does it include such extreme sounding statements, words, or phrases. You should never consider answer options containing such words as right, because the Reading Comprehension passage itself is neutral, and never tries to be too extreme, be it positive or negative.

Consider a reading comprehension passage where the author talks about viral fever that spread through East Africa. Example answer choices that are most definitely wrong, are shown below:

  1. According to the author, all women in East Africa suffer from the viral fever
  2. According to the author, only women in East Africa suffer from the viral fever
  3. According to the author, women in East Africa will never suffer from the viral fever
  4. According to the author, women in East Africa have always suffered from the viral fever

2. Answer choices that make use of information that doesn’t appear in the text

Also known as out of context answers. These answer choices, while logically correct, do not use information from the passage, and hence can be considered as out of context. Most students make a huge mistake here, by linking the logic given in the answer option, to common sense. Remember, you should never use common sense on reading comprehension passages. General knowledge usually doesn’t apply here, because it is the author’s opinion that really counts. So, leave out the answer options that are beyond the scope of the passage, no matter how right they are.

Consider a reading comprehension passage where the author talks about viral fever that spread through East Africa. Example answer choices that are most definitely wrong, are shown below:

  1. According to the author, women in West Africa suffer from the viral fever due to heredity. (West Africa is completely out of scope)
  2. According to the author, women in East Africa suffer from the viral fever because they are generally weaker than men. (Common sense, hence out of scope)

3. Answer choices in which facts are distorted

If an answer option has any of the facts distorted or slightly changed, then such an answer option can never be right. Only those options that have the exact facts to back them up, should be considered as right.

Consider a reading comprehension passage where the author talks about viral fever that spread through East Africa due to poor medical facilities. Example answer choices that are most definitely wrong, are shown below:

  1. According to the author, women in East Africa suffered from the viral fever last year, because of the civil war. (distorted statement)

4. Answer choices that ask you to make judgments

Any answer choice that asks you to affirm that one method/approach/thought is “better, or more successful, or more efficient” than another, can be considered wrong without second consideration. Passages on the Exams never ask the reader to judge anything, and the judgment will have already been made by the author. Hence, any answer option that needs your judgment, is wrong.

Consider a reading comprehension passage where the author talks about viral fever that spread through East Africa. Example answer choices that are most definitely wrong, are shown below:

  1. Women in East Africa are more easily prone to suffer from the viral fever than men. (asks you to make a comparison/judgment without sufficient proof)

5. Answer choices that include outrageous, illogical, unscientific, or politically incorrect statements

No passage on the Exams includes controversial, or outrageous statements. Like we discussed already, reading comprehension passages are as neutral as they can be. The Exams is strictly against any sort of discrimination (religious, racial, gender, etc.) and its passages never try to offend any particular set of people. So, such answer options will never be true.

Consider a reading comprehension passage where the author talks about viral fever that spread through East Africa. Example answer choices that are most definitely wrong, are shown below:

  1. According to the author, women in East Africa suffer from the viral fever because they are allowed to socialize. (outrageous statement)
  2. It is the duty of a woman to sit at home and take care of the household. (Politically incorrect, gender discrimination.)
  3. According to the author, women in East Africa suffer from the viral fever because they are usually prone to diseases. (illogical)

6. Answer choices that are true, but assume something that is not mentioned in the passage

Sometimes, the situations mentioned in the answer option might sound true, but if you take a closer look, a small assumption will be made, which invalidates the entire option. The test takers purposefully do this to test your logical reasoning skills. So, you need to remember that if some assumption has been made which is not mentioned anywhere in the passage, then that answer option can be considered wrong.

Consider a reading comprehension passage where the author talks about viral fever that spread through East Africa. Example answer choices that are most definitely wrong, are shown below:

  1. Pregnant women in East Africa are prone to the viral fever, because they probably don’t exercise much. (an assumption has been made)

7. Answer choices that cannot be backed by solid proof from within the passage

No matter how convincing an answer option might seem, you should never treat it as true, as long as it doesn’t have a solid evidence or proof that supports the assertion. The proof can be anything from a statistic to an example, but it should be mentioned within the passage. Otherwise, you should treat such an answer as invalid.

Consider a reading comprehension passage where the author talks about viral fever that spread through East Africa. Example answer choices that are most definitely wrong, are shown below:

  1. According to a survey, women in East Africa suffer from the viral fever more often than women in West Africa. (no solid proof, or details of the survey)

CHAPTER 4

The 5 Step Process to Destroy Reading Comprehension on the Exams

A step by step process for those busy students looking for some quick information on skyrocketing their performance on the Reading Comprehension section.

If you don’t have the time to read the entire guide, and are looking for some quick information, here is a step by step process you can deploy, if you want to score high on the reading comprehension section. Though brief descriptions have been given for each of the steps, we have discussed each step in great detail, in the following chapters.

1. Read the first paragraph and the first and last sentences in the other paragraphs

When you begin to read the passage, you should not read it in its entirety. Instead, you must employ a smart strategy that will save lots of time. Read only the first and last paragraphs of the passage, making sure you clearly understand what it is that the author is trying to convey. This is because, you should try as much as you can to not come back to read this part once you read the questions. If you did this part right, you should be able to answer questions as soon as you see them.

The first paragraph contains the main idea behind the passage, and the last paragraph contains the conclusion, and will generally give you an idea of the author’s tone and intentions. Now, once you are done with the first and the last paragraphs, move to the others. Even here, you must not read the entire text. Remember to read only the first and the last one or two sentences in the other paragraphs and understand the structure of the paragraph. Repeat the steps for the rest of the paragraphs, and you will be left with an overview of the entire passage in a few sentences.

For example, these must be the thoughts in your mind as you read the entire passage: “Okay. So, the 1st paragraph claims that XYZ is a newly found phenomenon and hence must be welcomed, the 2nd paragraph says it’s must not be necessarily true and that we should be careful about it, because of a few implications [with examples], but the 3rd paragraph says that XYZ is still important to solve majority of cases, and the 4th and the final paragraph concludes that although XYZ works 90% of the time, it is rather foolish to think that it is the only cure.”

2. Make notes as you read

Making notes while reading the passage is a smart student’s way of scoring higher on the Reading Comprehension section. Writing quick notes will keep your brain naturally engaged and help you move through the passage deliberately, while remembering most of the details that you have read. Visual learning is a powerful way of remembering things for a long time, and when you make notes out of the given passage, you are not only doing it to remember it for longer, but you are also making it easy for you to refer to the details later.

It is a lot better strategy spend a few extra seconds jotting down helpful notes than to waste several minutes looking for that sentence later on. There are several techniques to take down notes intelligently. If you really want to save time, you should try and keep the notes as small as possible. Identify the most relevant information, and write down key words or phrases that are most relevant to the topic at hand — things like dates, names, theories, definitions. Replace all the hard sounding words with simple words that you can easily understand.

You can also, use shorthand, or texting lingo, along with various forms of illustrations, symbols, tree diagrams, relationships, arrows, etc. This will significantly shorten the information you need to write, and will maximize efficiency.

3. Identify Key Words and Signal Words

The only way you can solve any reading comprehension question on the Exams, is by understanding key words, and signaling words, and what they mean to the passage. We cannot stress the importance of key words and signaling words any more than this. While skimming through each paragraph, you should scan the entire paragraph for keywords and signaling words used by the author. These are very important, as they more often than not asked in the questions that follow the passage. Plus, when you encounter an inference or a detailed question, you will know exactly where to go in the paragraph.

Every Reading Comprehension passage has a few to many key words and phrases. These are also known as signaling words. Words like “First, second, third, furthermore, on the other hand, for example, namely, for one thing, in addition, nevertheless, for these reasons, proponents believe, critics believe, but, however, whether/if, according to, therefore, consequently, In contrast, claims, goes so far as to claim, others argue”, etc.

As you practice solving more and more Reading Comprehension passages, you will start to think like the test makers, and develop a sense for where the test makers are likely to draw questions from.

4. Recap With a Visual Movie

Once you finish reading the entire passage, and finish writing down notes, you shouldn’t start solving questions right away. Since you are under pressure, there is great chance that you have forgotten some of the details given by the author in passage, by the time you finish answering the first question. Since the first question is most often a main idea question, you can easily answer it, as it is always at the top of your mind.

But in order to answer the remaining questions, you will have to remember all the details perfectly, since you ideally don’t want to go back and search for them in the passage again and again. So, what you need to do is, when you think you are ready to start answering questions, you should stop doing everything else, close your eyes, and play a movie inside your head. This movie must be a visual of the passage that you have just read, and must have a proper sequence. Doing this will not take more than 10-20 seconds, but it will help you cement the entire story in your head. When you can do this successfully, start answering questions, and you will see the difference in how much information from the passage you are able to retain.

5. Start Answering The Questions

Now we have already discussed the various types of questions you will find on the reading comprehension section, it will be easier for you to identify a question type and answer it accordingly, with a proper strategy. Remember that for Multiple Select questions, you don’t get partial credits for getting one or two options right. You will have to choose the entire answer correctly, by selecting all applicable options, and only then will your answer be considered correct.

Also, when answering Multiple Select questions, you should remember to treat each answer option separately. We will discuss more on this later. Now, while answering questions related to the tone of the author or the writing style, you should remember to automatically eliminate answer choices that hint that the author is being completely negative. If an answer choice implies that the author has used drastic or extreme language to criticize the topic he/she writes on, then you should automatically disqualify that answer choice.

CHAPTER 5

26 Tips and Strategies to Destroy Reading Comprehension on the Exams

The most extensive list of strategies you will ever find, that will help you on your conquest of the most dreaded section on the Exams.

Now, for those of you who have the time, and the patience required, let us begin this fascinating journey. We will now discuss some extremely powerful tips and strategies that will help you master the reading comprehension section. These proven strategies have helped hundreds of students score high on the reading comprehension section of the Exams. While this is the most exhaustive, detailed guide there ever is, it isn’t complete yet. Rest assured, we will be adding new strategies every now and then, so don’t forget to keep checking this space often.

1. Start Reading Today

This might sound pretty straightforward, but it is very true. It is also something that gets neglected very often. If you are planning to take the Exams sometime next year, you should start reading a lot, right from today. Even though tricks and tips will help you improve you performance on the Reading Comprehension as a topic, making reading a habit will make you a better reader, and a better judge of different styles of writing. This will not only make you better as an individual, but will also help you score higher on the test. There are tons of books, newspapers, and magazines at your disposal, but only a handful of them will actually help you with your Exams prep. Don’t worry, we have a list.

Some of the best and the most resourceful newspapers and magazines you can subscribe to are:

  • The New Yorker
  • The Economist
  • Scientific American
  • MIT Technology Review
  • The Guardian

If you make an honest effort to read these every single day, you will not only improve your reading comprehension skills by leaps and bounds, but you will also come across hundreds if not thousands, of new vocabulary. Which is exactly what you need, to ace the Verbal section on the Exams.

And if possible, get into a habit of reading from a screen rather than a conventional book. All of the aforementioned newspapers and magazines have their own electronic versions and websites for you to read from, and it helps if you read them online rather than on paper, because that is what you do on the Exams. Yes, it is rather difficult and probably uncomfortable to read from a screen, and reading a conventional book seems rather nice, but the more you get used to reading from a computer screen, the more comfortable you will be on test day. Plus, you’ll be saving a few trees too!

2. Read Before You Sleep

Make it a habit to read before you go to bed. No, not Facebook news feeds, funny cat memes, or random tweets, but useful stuff. Stuff that will improve your thinking capacity, and your comprehension. If you can, try and read a few pages of a novel or a news item on the internet. Try to read on your laptop or a tablet, at least for 30 minutes before you go to bed, and if that isn’t possible, try reading at least a few pages of a book before going to bed.

This will help you a lot in the long run, because the more you get your mind used to reading, the sharper it will be on the day of your test. Plus, if you can understand complex things when you are sleepy, imagine what you can do when you’re awake.

3. Paraphrase Extensively

More often than not, you will see a lot of technical jargon in the passages. Don’t get intimidated by the terminology that you are not familiar with. The Exams doesn’t test your ability to remember or have the knowledge of technical terms and jargon. Even native speakers would not know much about a lot of terms and vocabulary used in the passages. So, all you need to do is, replace that one particular term with some familiar or easy word that you can understand, and continue reading the passage. This situation is particularly common when it comes to passages on science and technology. So, if you don’t understand a word, substitute that with a commonly known word.

For example, the passage says: “Stomatopods are marine crustaceans”. Now, all you know is that marine means something related to water. So, you can easily replace that sentence with something like: ”Tomatoes are weird animals in water.” See how easy it becomes? Of course, it does not make any sense, but you would agree that the latter sentence is a lot easier to recollect, even after five to ten minutes of reading.

First of all, Tomatoes is something you can easily remember, and you can still link it to the original word Stomatopods. Second, the Exams is never going to ask you what exactly a crustacean means. It might, however, ask you relevant questions, which you can easily answer if you have read the passage well enough. Even, in an improbable event where there comes a question asking you the meaning of the word crustacean, you can still answer it with ease, because you already have a solid idea of the topic, and you can make an educated guess as to what it means.

4. Practice In a Timed Setting

There is only one mantra to succeed: Practice, practice and practice even more. A lot of students do follow this mantra, but they leave out one little aspect: Time. It is important to practice all your tests in a timed setting. It is easy to solve a question in ten minutes, and almost anyone can do it. But doing it in under 100 seconds is way too hard, and only those who have practiced for a long time can do that repeatedly. Ergo, those are the ones with high scores on the Exams. You will also have to learn when you should stop trying and move on, and this only happens when you are used to practicing in a test-like environment.

There is only one mantra to succeed: Practice, practice and practice even more.

A lot of students fail to practice in a timed setting, and hence end up with time management issues during the test. Don’t be one of those guys. Even if you are not writing a test, and even if it is just a few practice questions you are doing for fun, have a timer with you, and set it for 100 seconds. Practice like athletes. Athletes don’t just jog during practice. They work as hard as they do when they are in a competition. That’s how you should practice. Remember, the harder you practice, the easier the game will be.

5. Ace Sentence Equivalence

Scoring more points on the Reading Comprehension section depends on how well you can solve Sentence Equivalence questions. What? How?

If you are one of those advanced students, you will find out that Sentence Equivalence questions are real time-savers. If you are very good at vocabulary, and if you have practiced well enough, you will find out that Sentence Equivalence questions can be solved in under a minute. Yes, we know of a lot of students who can solve Sentence Equivalence questions in 40-50 seconds. And you can easily do it under 60 seconds, if you practice hard enough.

Now, this means, you are saving yourselves 30 seconds of precious time per question. That equals to about 4-5 extra minutes on your watch, which you can use to solve around 2-3 questions on Reading Comprehension. It might sound crazy if you are a beginner, but it’s true. All you need to do is become a master of Sentence Equivalence, and Bam! You have lots of extra time to solve Reading Comprehension questions.

6. Use Error Logs

Create an error log. If you are new to this, an error log is basically a log where you note down all the errors that you make, during your prep. It can be a practice question, or an entire test; doesn’t matter. The more effectively you use the error log, the more clarity you will have on where exactly are you, in terms of readiness to take the test. The error log also validates your strengths and weaknesses, so you will have solid data in order to make changes to your study plan.

If you try and use the error log effectively for a while, you will be able to see a distinctive pattern of the mistakes you make and the areas you make them in. Believe it or not, the error log will be your best teacher! You can only get a higher score when you know if you are improving constantly or not. It is quite easy to create an error log; it can be anything, but an excel file would be the most preferred option, since it is easier to not only use, but also make changes in the future. Make an excel sheet with the entire list of topics you are going to study in the next few months: Algebra, Geometry, Text Completion, etc. And write down your confidence levels in the next column, on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being ‘very confident’ and 1 being ‘clueless’.

7. Join Exams Forums and Groups

If there is one place where you can learn for the Exams for free, it is forums. Most students don’t prefer forums as a means of learning because they mainly consist of fellow students, and most students don’t like to learn from fellow students. They think they are all at the same level. But you couldn’t be more wrong if you are thinking the same. First of all, not everyone is at the same level, and second of all, forums don’t have just the current students. There are tons of students who have already written the Exams and scored high; and there are lots of trainers who help out students with free suggestions and strategies.

So, if you can participate in forum discussions and Facebook groups that are dedicated to Exams, you will not only learn so much, but you will also actually meet a lot of smart people and learn from them. If you are one of those smart students, you can also try and help out other students with their doubts and problems. Forums are a great way of networking with other people who have the same interests as you.

8. How to Skim the Right Way?

Here is a great tip for you to read the entire passage quickly: Read the first and last paragraphs of the passage slowly and very carefully, rephrasing each sentence in your head. If possible, write down notes on the scratch paper, paraphrasing the given complex sentences into something that you can easily understand. Make sure you clearly understand what it is that the author is trying to convey, because ideally, you shouldn’t come back to read this part once you read the questions. As soon as you see the questions, you should be able to answer them.

Now, once you are done with the first and the last paragraphs, move to the others. Read the first one or two sentences in the other paragraphs in order to visualize the structure of the paragraph. Reading this much will be enough, and will give you a bird’s eye view of what is going to happen next, in that paragraph. Repeat the steps for the rest of the paragraphs, and you will be left with an overview of the entire passage in a few sentences.

For example, these must be the thoughts in your mind as you read the entire passage: “Alright. So, the 1st paragraph claims that X happens very often, the 2nd paragraph says it’s not necessarily so and that there are quite a few exceptions [with examples], but the 3rd paragraph says that X still holds true in the majority of cases, and the 4th and the final paragraph concludes that although X happens 90% of the time, it is rather foolish to think that X is always bound to happen.”

See how things can be condensed into just a few lines. Having a clear idea of the entire structure of the passage allows you to answer general questions such as “What is the tone of the author?” and “What according to the author is the main idea of the passage?” etc. These sort of questions are very easy and can be answered within 10 seconds, if you have a crystal clear idea of the entire passage, which can be explained within a few lines like we showed above. So, basically, if you use this strategy, you will be capable of answering about 50% of Reading Comprehension questions easily, within a few seconds.

9. Tweet To a Friend

Now that we have discussed the above technique, there is a similar technique that we have found to be extremely resourceful while solving Reading Comprehension questions. It is called “Text to a friend” or “Tweet to a friend” format. This format is fairly simple. What if, as soon as you finish reading a particular paragraph from the passage, you are asked to send a summary of it as a text message or a single tweet to your friend? Now, you know that you cannot write more than 140 characters in a tweet. Which means roughly around 20 words.

So, if you can condense a 100 word paragraph into 20 words, or a tweet sized paragraph, it means that you not only have completely understood the points made by the author in that paragraph, but also have reduced the time required to answer each question. If there are 5 paragraphs in the passage, you now have only about 80-100 words, which is far easier and far more time saving to skim through, when you read questions.

This technique has been tried and tested by us and our students, and it has proved to be extremely effective in saving time. On an average, students saved at least 5 minutes per passage (on 4-5 questions) on their practice tests. So, we urge you to give it a try in your next practice session, and see how well it works for you.

10. Look For Keywords

While reading the first 1-2 sentences in the beginning of each paragraph, you should also scan the rest of the text in the paragraph, especially looking out for keywords such as important names, dates, and other stand-out terminology used by the author. These are very important, as they more often than not asked in the questions that follow the passage. Plus, when you encounter an inference or a detailed question, you will know exactly where to go in the paragraph.

You might ask why this technique is a time-saver when you still have to go back and read the text all over again. But the truth is, even if you are ever so careful about reading the entire passage the first time around, some of the inference/support questions on the Exams are so detailed, that most of the time you will have to go back to read the lines anyway. So, if you have already figured out the details like names and dates and other keywords, you don’t have to waste additional time on finding them all over again. You know where exactly to go back. This saves quite a few seconds, believe it or not.

11. Read Aggressively

Writing quick notes as you read the passage will keep your brain naturally engaged and help you move through the passage deliberately. More about note taking later, but this process is what we call Aggressive Reading. Aggressive Reading is when you are reading quickly but still understand the stuff that’s in there. You are not simply reading fast, you are reading fast and effectively.

As you read, jot down a quick summary for each paragraph on the scratch paper, and note the main ideas names, theories, and other important details mentioned in the passage. Students often skip this note-taking step because they think it takes too much time. But think about it: It is much better to take a few extra seconds to jot down helpful notes than to waste potential minutes staring blankly at the screen looking for that sentence that keeps hiding from you. Also, your notes will provide useful shortcuts and shortened phrases for some of the broader reading comprehension questions, which can actually help you save time in the end.

12. The Rotten Tomato Technique

Some answer choices look like the perfect answers to the given question, but in reality, they are only 90% correct. Students often tend to read only the 90% and their futuristic brains tell them that the remaining 10% is going to be the same. So, they think that it is the answer to the given question, and since it is 90% right, it must be correct. But sadly, the Exams test makers are far ahead of you when it comes to setting up traps within answer choices.

It very so often happens that there is some sort of mistake or an assumption in the other 10% of the answer choice that you thought was perfect. But out of excitement and anxiety, and not to mention the clock that is always sprinting, you overlook that one part of the answer, and select it as right. Little do you know that the remaining 10% contains something that is blatantly wrong, and thus it invalidates the entire answer option.

This is why we at GovernmentAdda use the Rotten Tomato Technique. Picture this: When you are buying tomatoes from the market, what do you do? You inspect each tomato 100%, and only if you are sure that the entire tomato is healthy, you purchase it. If you find any dark spot, or a rotten part, then no matter how small it is, you put it back. This is the same strategy you should use to check if an answer option is suitable or not. If ever there is one thing – even if it is a single word – that doesn’t seem right, or dilutes the entire sentence, then you should treat the answer option as invalid, and move on to the next choice.

So, the next time you are solving questions on Reading Comprehension, remember that the Rotten Tomato technique gives you healthy results.

13. Pause and Play

Sometimes when you are reading a long Reading Comprehension passage, your eyes feel glazed and watery. If you feel glazed eyes starting to set in, look away from the passage. By just turning your eyes in a different direction, you will be, in a way, hitting a reset button on your brain. When you look away from the screen, or close your eyes for a few seconds, you should also take a few deep breaths, and get some oxygen up to the brain. Just a few seconds of rest will make a huge difference to your performance, and you can then return to the passage.

Don’t start thinking about wasting seconds here. Your state of mind is far more important than time, and if you really think your mind deserves a few seconds of rest, then maybe should give it some rest.

14. Don’t Read Too Fast

Don’t read too much too fast. Your brain has a natural tendency to block off too much information at a time, and when you read too fast when you are under pressure, your brain simply blocks things off. This is a bit similar to how when you forget someone’s name, you cannot recollect it no matter how hard you try, but you get it at a later point when you are doing something else. Whenever too much information is being thrown at your brain, it cannot take it all at once. And this is why it shuts off for a few seconds, or even minutes, and you can’t get anything into your head for a while.

This will only waste your time during the test, and will increase pressure on your brain even further. So it is best for you if you can read at a steady pace. If you would like to read faster, you should understand that speed reading cannot be achieved overnight. It comes with a lot of practice, and you should start doing it right now. We have discussed about Speed Reading techniques in great detail. Take a look at the final chapter if you would like to know more.

15. Identify Signaling Words

Every Reading Comprehension passage has a few to many key words and phrases. These are also known as signaling words. Words like “First, second, third, furthermore, on the other hand, for example, namely, for one thing, in addition, nevertheless, for these reasons, proponents believe, critics believe, but, however, whether/if, according to, therefore, consequently, In contrast, claims, goes so far as to claim, others argue”, etc.

This list is far from comprehensive, but you get the idea. As you work through more and more Reading Comprehension passages during practice, you will start to think like the test makers, and develop a sense for where the test makers are likely to draw questions from. This will be of great advantage to you, because if you can anticipate the oncoming question, you will be mentally ready with the answer, as you read through the passage.

16. Focus is Key

The passages on Reading Comprehension are more often than not dull, boring, and concern subjects you either find uninteresting or are completely alien to. But that is not something you should worry about, because you are not alone. The test makers select passages as to make everyone feel uncomfortable; not just you. So, if you find a passage unfair or super hard, remember that it is the same for everyone else. Every test taker is in the same boat as you are.

Don’t beat yourself up over not having read up on the Nazi culture or quantum theory or the lifecycle of dolphins. The test givers don’t expect you to have any expertise on such abstruse subjects. They are only testing your ability to read quickly, to extract and process information efficiently and to draw inferences and make logical connections even when you know nothing about the material. So, all you need to do is settle down, take a deep breath, accept the challenge, and start reading. Maintaining focus is key. Which is why we ask students to take down notes as they read the passage. You are writing notes primarily to help you to focus on the text.

17. Practice Active Reading

It is very important to read actively, not passively. Passive reading is for knowledge, or for pleasure, but not to score high on a competitive test like the Exams. You need to actively extract information, instead of passively absorbing it. Focus on the main points. Be strategic. Get used to reading only certain parts of a passage carefully.

These include: the opening paragraph, the conclusion and the opening and closing sentences of each paragraph. They help you answer straightforward questions like: What is the author’s main point? Why is the author writing this? What is the author’s writing style?, What is the author’s attitude towards the topic?, etc.

18. Unhear That Song Already

It is extremely common that you always have that one song in your head during the entire time you take the test. You are not alone; research shows that close to 90% of us have this phenomenon, popularly called as an earworm. While this is completely natural, and there is nothing wrong in it, it may be one of the reasons your brain cannot give its 100% during the test. The more activities your brain does, the lesser it spends its focus on the test.

So, before you go into the test center, you will have to cleanse your brain off the song that’s stuck inside. Use Unhear It or similar websites, and get that song out of your head before you leave for the test center, or even better, before you enter the testing area. We have tested this, and it seems to work fine most of the time.

19.Rephrase the Original Question

If you thought that you will be safe once you finish reading the dreadful passage, you should probably hold that thought for a while. The questions that follow the passage are equally deceitful, and they will never be straightforward. You should always be on the lookout for troubling questions which include double and triple conceptual questions. This means, if the author has included more than one concept or scenario, there might be questions that are complex and lengthy in nature. These questions may also include double negatives, or double trigger words just to confuse you further.

One way to solve these questions, is to break down the question part by part, and analyze it. This is a really effective strategy, but it takes time for you to break down questions, and then find answers to each part separately from the passage. Instead, you can simply read the questions thoroughly and carefully, and then based on what you understood, you can rephrase the question in your own words. This is make the question sound simpler, and it will be easy for you to go back to the passage in search of the answer if the question is easier to understand.

20. Check the Number of Questions First

Before you decide how much time you should be vesting on a Reading Comprehension passage, you should see how many questions there are in total. Before you even begin reading the passage, check to see how many question are given, and then decide on the time you would like to spend on the passage. If there are too many questions and you think it would take a lot of time, then it is better to mark it and skip to the rest of the section. If you don’t do this, you’ll risk reading the entire passage and then find out that you want to skip it altogether. This means, you will have wasted around 4-5 minutes without any outcome. So, make sure you check the number of questions before you start reading.

21. Be Careful With Multiple Select Questions

When you are answering Multiple Select questions, you should remember to treat each answer option separately. Sometimes, it is easy to get lost in the details, and students assume that if they are asked to select multiple answers, then it must mean that both option A and B, for example, must be true in order for the answer to be correct.

No, that is not how it works. You should be treating every answer choice separately, on its own. If you are reading option A, don’t bother about the other options. See if A fits as the answer, and if does, select it. Only then should you be moving to option B. When reading option B, forget about the other choices, including A. Two answer choices cannot be combined to form one answer, and hence you should treat them separately.

22. Embrace the Passage

As much as you wish it were true, you know that there won’t be any Reading Comprehension passages on your favorite TV shows. All Reading Comprehension passages are designed to trouble you with new concepts, new information, and new questions. But, if you are a smart reader, you would not get bogged down by the sheer length or depth of questions and paragraphs. Instead, what you should do is, embrace the passage completely.

Yes, you read it right. Embrace the passage as if it were your friend. Appreciate it for its uniqueness, greatness, and its wealth of information, but also embrace it for its stupidity, stubbornness, and its strangeness. Just as with your best friend, you should understand that a Reading Comprehension passage has its own flaws, and keep in mind that it is always looking to trouble you, and waste your time.

Embrace the passage as if it were your friend.

While embracing the passage and its pluses and minuses, you should also learn to love it despite what it is. Sometimes, it is really difficult to keep your focus on the passage, because no matter how much you try, you hate to learn about orangutans or about the science behind natural reflexes. What you can do, however, is try and fall in love with the subject. Tell yourself that today you really want to know why stars die, or why Rasputin led to his own downfall. You should learn to fake your love for the passage, deceive it with your fake enthusiasm, and then destroy it when it finally surrenders to your relentless pursuit. That is how you master boring passages. It sounds evil, but you can’t help it.

23. The Tone of the Author Is Never Negative on the Exams

This is a very important point you should remember. The Exams being an internationally acclaimed test, doesn’t ever include essays or paragraphs that are negative in nature. The test makers select the passages and design the questions so carefully that there won’t be much room for negativity.

Hence, you can say that the tone of the author is either neutral (which is mostly the case), or positive or praising in nature. Now this doesn’t mean the author does not criticize anything in the passage. Yes, there will be a lot of criticism, but most of it is constructive. Meaning, the author says that something is wrong, but he/she also gives the necessary reasons behind their stance. So, this qualifies the tone as neutral.

Sometimes, the author advocates for a particular reason or a cause, in which case, he/she is being positive about the topic. But there will not be many essays where the author severely criticizes and demeans someone or something in the passage. Hence, while answering questions related to the tone of the author or the writing style, you should remember to automatically eliminate answer choices that hint that the author is being completely negative. If an answer choice implies that the author has used drastic or extreme language to criticize the topic he/she writes on, then you should automatically disqualify that answer choice, and move on.

24. Pay Utmost Attention to Tough Reading Comprehension Passages

These are very difficult to understand, especially because the author uses several traps to confuse you. You will find satiric comments which look like praises but are in fact criticisms, you will see multiple comparisons where the main idea is compared to other similar scenarios so as to confuse you about which of them is the main idea.

Often times, the author camouflages his/her opinion in the form of others’ opinions. The passage has opinions of other people, but not the authors. You should be really careful here, and see whether the author is supporting or disapproving their opinions. When you think things are going beyond your control, stop reading. Mark it for review, and come back later with a fresher mindset. Maybe you will crack the code later. Why waste time now?

Be very careful when you see twisted questions. Sometimes you will be asked to provide analogies, or situations that are similar to the ones mentioned in the passage. These are some of the dangerous questions you will see, because every situation seems like an analogy to a beginner. So, you should practice such questions rigorously, and be ahead of the curve.

25. Make Notes Intelligently

You can use several techniques to take down notes in an intelligent manner. Most students, when asked to make notes, write down a few sentences altogether. But think about it. Why do you take notes? So you can save time. But if you are writing down a few sentences every time you read a paragraph, are you really saving time, or wasting it even further?

If you really want to save more time, you should not keep writing sentences. Instead, you should try and keep the notes as small as possible. Now you may ask, how do you store lots of information with only a few words?

By being smart, is the answer. Identify the most relevant information. Write down the key words or phrases that are most relevant to the topic at hand — things like dates, names, theories, definitions — only the most important details should make the cut. Eliminate all the filler words and secondary details. Replace all the tough-to-remember language with easy, and simple words. Paraphrase with exaggeration. Write whatever you want, as long as it fits the main theme, and you understand it.

Also, use shorthand, or texting lingo. Replace should with ‘shd’, question with ‘ques’, communicate with ‘comm’, etc. This is really helpful because, if you’ve ever noticed, writing is a lot slower process than typing. So, use shortened versions of words, and try writing what you have understood, instead of repeating sentences from the passage.

And, who said you have to use only words? You can use illustrations, symbols, tree diagrams, relationships, arrows, etc. This will significantly shorten the information you need to write, and will maximize efficiency.

26. The Best Time Saving Strategy

Students often use answer grids in order to save time. But did you know that there is an even better time saving strategy?

Using an answer grid while solving a Reading Comprehension question means you should keep shifting your focus while reading answer options on the screen, and while striking off options on the scratch paper. So moving your eyes off the screen and off the scratch paper repeatedly leads to lack of focus. It takes time to read, and then strike off options on the paper. Why waste time when there is a better alternative?

We usually recommend our students to use their left hand (or right, if you are a southpaw) and fold fingers as they eliminate each answer option. Confused? Don’t be.

It is pretty simple. Assign options to each of your fingers, (A = thumb, B = index, C = middle, etc.) and fold fingers as you eliminated each of the options. This method is not only much simpler to apply, but it is much, much faster than any other method. Since you don’t need to write anything on the paper, you don’t need to look down, and you can keep your eyes on the screen!

We have asked our students to test this method during their practice tests, and on an average, they have saved 5-6 seconds per question! Now, 6 seconds might not seem like a lot to you, but they are invaluable. Don’t believe me? You do the math: there are about 20 Reading Comprehension on the Exams. That’s 20 questions multiplied by 6 seconds = 120 seconds, or two minutes. Which means, you will have enough time to solve another two questions! And that should give you a chance to increase a couple of points on your final score.

So, those are the various tips and strategies that you can use effectively, to completely annihilate the Reading Comprehension section. Other guides usually end here. But we at GovernmentAdda want you to get yourself acquainted with some of the most advanced techniques that you can use on the Exams. These advanced speed techniques will help you solve Reading Comprehension questions at the blink of any eye, and you can brag about your newly acquired skills with your friends.

CHAPTER 6

11 Speed Reading Techniques That Help You Conquer Reading Comprehension

11 of the most advanced speeding techniques that will help you read and understand Reading Comprehension passages at lightning speed.

Reading is like exercising a muscle. What the gym is to your muscles, reading is to your mind. And just like you exercise your muscles every day in the gym, you should exercise your mind every day by reading.

We all have a capacity to read much faster than we actually do today. Our reading speed, just like the size of our muscles, changes as we go through life. During school, we go through about 150-200 words a minute, because we just learned how to read properly. During high school, you increase the speed automatically to 300 words per minute, because your brain develops quite quickly. When you go to college, you have lots of other things to do, and very little time available, which is why your brain automatically adjusts to reading 400 words per minute.

But the moment you get out of college, you no more have a reason to read lots of information every single day. That is when the brain starts to relax, and slowly but surely, the reading speed goes back to 200 words per minute. But the Exams requires that you read much faster than this. Actually, the higher your reading speed is, the higher your score will be, on the verbal section. So, how can you do that? How do you improve your reading speed drastically, in a very small time frame?

The higher your reading speed is, the higher your score will be.

Below are some fantastic reading techniques that we, and our students have used while studying for the Exams. These techniques are quite advanced in nature, and it takes several days to a few weeks for your brain to adjust to the new reading speeds. Also, these techniques require great amounts of practice and persistence from your end, so if you think you cannot put in a lot of effort in the coming few weeks, or if you don’t have that much time before the test, try implementing at least one or two of the given techniques. Ideally, these tips are for those students who are targeting 165+ on the Verbal section. But, even otherwise, if you have lots of time left before your test begins, you should try and implement them all, and practice as much as you can.

1. Chunk Reading

Chunk Reading is perhaps one of the most significant techniques used by advanced readers to gather as much information as they can in a very limited time. The technique is rather simple and straightforward: Read multiple words at a time. Normally, you read each word separately and as you move along, you understand the meaning of the sentence. But, this process takes time.

Instead, you should read chunks of words at a single instance, and complete every sentence in a maximum of two or three instances. For example, take the sentence: “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.” Usually, you would read it as “The quick|brown|fox|jumped|over|the lazy|dog”. But, when you use the chunk reading technique, you read it as “The quick brown fox|jumped over the lazy dog”. There shouldn’t be any gap between reading each word. More advanced readers read this entire sentence in one single instance, thus, reducing reading time drastically.

So, the next time you see a piece of text, read the sentences in chunks and see how much time you are saving per paragraph. In a time limited environment such as the Exams, this technique will save you at least 2 seconds per 10 words. Which means, for an average Reading Comprehension passage that has 350 words, you will save 70 seconds of time.

2. Don’t Vocalize the Text

When you are reading this sentence, there is an inner voice inside you that is reading it out, and only you can hear it. This is called vocalizing, and it is a process the brain implements in order to completely understand what you are reading. Brilliant, but there is one problem with this: it takes lots of time. You must have already heard the fact that you can only read as fast as you can speak. This is because, we have been trained to do so, since childhood: to read aloud. And our brains have been hardwired to read only as fast as we can speak, albeit, not as fast as we would like.

When you read aloud, it takes time for the information seen by your eyes to reach the brain, which converts the visual text into sound, which you can hear as your inner voice, and then the brain again decodes information through this inner voice. This is quite a roundabout process. But it has been observed, however, that when you are reading at a superfast pace, the brain cannot vocalize the text. This is the reason why the average human tends to read at a comfortable pace; in order to avoid not understanding. It is a natural response, not your fault.

But you are not the average human, you are a Exams test taker. You cannot afford to read at a comfortable pace, since time is always pricking you from behind. So what do you do? You stop vocalizing the text you are reading. Now, this isn’t as easy as it sounds, since you are going against the nature of your brain. It takes at least two weeks for you to fully take control of your brain. But meanwhile, you can use one tactic that works really well.

You should manually murmur a monotonous sound, slightly aloud, so that your brain can no more use your inner voice to vocalize text. The brain cannot do more than one task at a time. So, if you give your brain something else to follow, it cannot deploy its vocalizing power. Try doing this as you read any text material: Make a monotonous sound such as “Mmmmmm” or “Eeeeeeeee” or any other repetitive sound throughout the time you read the text. At first it seems rather difficult to understand what you are reading, but within a few days, you will see that you are not only understanding what you read, but you have also increased your reading speed.

You can use this technique in the exam too, but make sure you are not making those sounds loud enough to disturb others. Else, you will have to face the proctor’s anger.

3. Ignore Useless Words

Wait, what? The Exams has useless words too? Not exactly. But every sentence in English has about 40% useless words. Useless in the sense, there is no point in using that word in the sentence, and one can easily understand the meaning of the sentence even if you remove the words entirely. Words like articles (A, an, the), tenses like ‘is, are’ etc., are not exactly vital to understand a sentence, in the context of a GRE passage. They are only used as ornaments to make the sentence sound grammatically correct.

Now, there is no point in reading all these auxiliary words, and since 40% of the passage consist of such words, you will be saving at least 40% of the time. Let us see an example, so you will understand it even better. This excerpt is about the Exams, taken from Wikipedia:

“The Graduate Record Examinations (Exams) is a standardized test that is an admissions requirement for most graduate schools in the United States. Created and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS) in 1949, the exam aims to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills that have been acquired over a long period of time and that are not related to any specific field of study. The Exams General Test is offered as a computer-based exam administered at Prometric testing centers.”

Now the above paragraph takes about 20-25 seconds for the average reader to finish. And there are several unnecessary words in there. The test makers purposefully include them, so they can waste your valuable time. But, we are even smarter. We omit all those useless words from the paragraph, and rephrase it as:

Exams – admissions requirement – graduate schools US. Created by ETS 1949 – measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills. Exams – offered as computer-based exam – at Prometric centers.

The above sentence takes less than 10 seconds to read and understand. Do you see the difference? This shows how much time you can save if you omit unnecessary words from the passage. Now it is easy to do it when you omit it manually. But in the exam, you cannot simple delete those words. The words will be there, and you have to omit them in your mind. This isn’t easy, but it can be done with practice, and it takes a couple of weeks at least for an average reader to read a sentence, and naturally omit the auxiliary words.

4. Avoid Rereading

This is one of the blunders students make while reading passages on Reading Comprehension. They read a particular sentence, but at the end of it, they aren’t too confident to move on. So, what do they do? They go back and read it again to get more clarity. Now, this is okay if you do it once, maybe twice. But once you begin to do this, you keep on stopping and going back to read things again and again. This wastes lots of time, without you actually noticing it. You think it is okay because you are understand it properly, but in reality, it isn’t okay at all.

This situation arises mainly due to lack of confidence. If you are confident about yourself, you will be content with a single reading, and will not think of rereading stuff you have just read. Also, it might be because you are super tensed, that you totally forgot what you read a few seconds ago. Both situations are quite dangerous, and you should try your best to avoid them.

How can you do that? Well, to paraphrase YOLO, the quintessential juvenile acronym of the twenty first century, remember YORO, or You Only Read Once. That’s how you do it. Make it a point to not reread any sentence. If you think a particular sentence has lots of terminology in it and it is impossible to understand it in one go, try reducing your reading speed only for that one sentence. But, never ever go back.

This makes you conscious about your reading, and you will read every word with 100% concentration. Hence, you won’t have to waste time going back. But, even after all this you think you will have to go back, do it when a relevant questions pops up after the passage. If there is not even one question related to that sentence, why bother reading it again? So, if you see a question to which you are not sure of the answer, then you can go back and read that part again.

5. Train Hard

Whenever you have free time, practice reading some of the hardest passages there are. Try searching online for advanced scientific research papers, or go to the library and read books about science, sociology, philosophy, etc. And don’t read them for knowledge or for pleasure. Read them to improve your reading speed. Reading tough subject matters and articles with great speed improves your comprehension skills, and cognitive abilities. If you are able to understand complex theories even when you read at a great speed, it means that you will do a great job on the actual test.

Just like the other techniques we have discussed, this isn’t very easy, but you can do it with lots of practice. Your brain slowly gets hardwired to understanding complex words and sentences even when you read fast. This helps you a lot, because one: in the test, you won’t find passages that hard, which makes things even easier for you, and two: you will be ready to read and understand any passage you are given, irrespective of the topic.

6. Never Read Modifiers

Most modifiers are believed to be useful phrases that give more information about the subject, in a sentence. But on the Exams, this more information is not required much, and on top of that, reading more information means taking more time to finish the passage. Which is exactly what we are trying to avoid here. Take a look at this example:

“Adolf Hitler, who is widely regarded as a symbol of violence and killing, is actually a loving father to his children.”

The phrase “who is widely regarded as a symbol of violence and killing” is a modifier here. It gives more information about the subject, which is Adolf Hitler in this case. Now there is no need to read this modifier, since it gives no new information to us. Everyone knows that Hitler is widely regarded as a symbol of violence and killing. And since this is just additional information, the Exams will not ask you a question on it. And hence, there is no point in reading it. By simply skipping it off, you are saving yourself a few seconds of time. And the sentence “Adolf Hitler is actually a loving father to his children” makes perfect sense, and you can move on to the next sentence.

A typical Reading Comprehension passage on the Exams has about two or three modifiers, and if you make it a point to skip them all, you are doing yourself a favor. And if at all, in a highly unlikely situation, you see a question about that extra information in the modifier, you can always go back and read it.

7. Make A Visual Movie

You must have heard that most people are visual learners. What this means is, most of us learn things by either seeing them, or visualizing them happen. And visualizing things while reading isn’t new to us either. Remember the scenes your mind creates whenever you read a novel? Be it a crime scene, a romantic dialogue, or an extraterrestrial invasion, we tend to create little movies inside our heads as we read the stories from books.

This is a great talent that we humans have, and you will have to tap into this resource if you want to understand passages thoroughly. Make small visual movies inside your head as you start reading the passage. Every passage has a hero and a villain. It has a scenario, and a small plot. Use these attributes, weave together a nice visual story, and play it inside your brain while reading text from the screen. This is a great way of remembering things, and you will certainly not have to come back to read again, since the images are already stored in your brain in a sequence.

So, as soon as you see a question, your answer will come to you in the form of a vivid scene from the movie you created, and you can answer it with ease. This again, comes with practice, so use your free time effectively, and implement these neat little tricks at home.

8. Use a Pointing Device

Another fantastic way to improve your reading speed by leaps and bounds, is by using a pointing device. Anything from your index finger to a pencil can work as a pointing device. Since the text is on the screen, and the screen is at a distance from your eyes, it can be difficult to fix your eyes on the words for a long time. This is why you should use the pencil or your finger as a pointing device. This device tells your eyes that they should be following wherever it goes, and the faster you move the device, the faster your eyes will scan through the words. And the process we discussed under ‘Chunk Reading’ comes into play.

Research shows that people who use a pencil or a pen as a pointing device while reading, tend to improve their reading speeds by close to 50%, and still understand the entire stuff. This is because, your eyes will follow the pencil, and your brain will only focus on the words that the pencil goes through, and it doesn’t bother about the rest of the world. This increases concentration levels, along with reading speed. Try this technique the next time you read something. Our primary school teachers weren’t wrong after all when they asked us to do the same.

9. Vertical Reading

This is probably the hardest of all speed reading techniques. As the name suggests, you should be reading text vertically. Which means, not word by word, but line by line at a time. Your eyeball should move downwards, instead of sideways. It is similar to chunk reading, but here, the chunk is an entire line of text. This is quite an uphill task for a beginner, and only the fastest readers in the world can do it, but you should try and get as close to it as possible.

A good way to start is, by reading newspapers and magazines. In particular, newspapers have narrow columns of text, and each line has around 5-7 words. This is quite an easy task for a beginner, and you should target reading a news item vertically downwards. Magazines are similar to newspapers, and if you can try and get scientific magazines, that’d be great.

Remember, this might seem next to impossible in the beginning, but you are only trying to get better. You may not be able to read long sentences in one second, but even if you can read one short sentence per second, you will skyrocket your reading speed.

10. Track Your WPM

WPM is Words Per Minute. Whenever you are reading – anything from a news article to a fiction novel – always have the timer with you. Almost all smartphones have a stopwatch application preinstalled, and you should put that to good use. Start the timer, and then start reading. At the end of 5 minutes, check how many words you could read per minute. Or, you can use online tools to track your WPM count.

Spreeder is an awesome resource when it comes to keeping track of your WPM. You can copy paste the text you want to read, set the reading speed, and also how many words in a chunk you would want to read. It is an ideal tool for Exams aspirants who are looking to destroy Reading Comprehension. You should definitely check it out.

The average reader’s WPM is around 250, but advanced readers can go up to 1000. But, since you aren’t planning to be the world’s fastest reader, you should ideally set a target of 500 WPM. This means you can read the average Reading Comprehension passage in about 40-60 seconds! Imagine the cushion you will have if you can finish off reading and understanding a passage within 60 seconds. Normally, you should set aside at least 5-6 minutes per passage (including reading and answering questions.) So if you can finish reading in 1 minute, you will have 4-5 minutes to answer 3-5 questions, which will be a cakewalk, seriously.

11. Use Blocking Devices

Whenever you see a long passage, you get a minor heart attack. You keep thinking that if you cannot answer all the questions at the end of the passage, it is going to be a complete waste of time. This worry creeps in at the last moment, and spoils your mood. This has happened quite often with our students, and we give them a simple solution. Concentrate only on the sentence you are currently reading, and use something to block off the remaining text. It can be anything: your palm, or the scratch paper you have, or anything.

Just try to block the text and make sure you can see only one line of text at a time. This will give you a feeling of ‘there is only one more line to go’, and you will finish off the entire passage sooner than you think.

Conclusion

So, that’s about it. We have come to an end of this epic journey called the Destruction of Reading Comprehension. We have discussed about 38 invaluable strategies that you could use to improve not only your reading speed, but also your scores on the reading comprehension section.

This is by far the most comprehensive guide in the world, to help you ace the Reading Comprehension section in the Exams. If you think this is very helpful, or if you really loved it, share it with your friends right now! Our goal is to help as many students as we can. So what are you waiting for? Go share the living daylights out of this guide!

 

Practice Sets For Reading Comprehension


Directions (Q.1–6): Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it.

A state of emergency can be directly imposed or it can creep up on you in unexpected ways. Following the Narendra Modi government’s decision to ban the Hindi news channel NDTV India for an entire day (now put on hold) as punishment for its coverage of the terror attack on the Pathankot military base, the question being asked is whether the cumulative actions of this government reflect the same mentality that led Indira Gandhi to impose a state of emergency in 1975—an inability to tolerate opposition or dissent.

The government justifies its action against NDTV India on the grounds that its coverage of the Pathankot anti-terror operation gave away vital information that could have been used by those directing the attack on the military base. It claims the channel contravened rule 6(1)(p) of the programme code under the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2015. But the rule itself is problematic as is the mechanism for enforcing it. The body tasked with deciding whether a channel has transgressed the rule is the Inter-Ministerial Committee. No one with a journalistic background or knowledge of how 24-hour news networks function is on the committee. Yet, the committee judges and pronounces punishment without any judicial oversight.

The provision under which NDTV India has been hauled up is the end result of a process that began after the 26 November 2008 terror attack on Mumbai. Leading television channels, including NDTV, were criticised by the government for helping the minders of the terrorists by giving away precise information even as the attack was on. No action was taken against these channels but discussions began about bringing in a provision prohibiting live coverage of such operations. A committee headed by former Chief Justice J S Verma formed by the News Broadcasters Association, a self-regulatory body, formulated guidelines on coverage of such attacks. However, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the time was not convinced that this would suffice and instead came up with amendments to the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 that would have given the police and government officials arbitrary powers to block live transmission and confiscate equipment if they concluded that the network was going against “national interest.” Fortunately, the government heeded the strong objections of the networks and backed down. In 2009, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured heads of news channels that no changes would be made without consultations. Yet, within a year of the Modi government assuming power, rule 6(1)(p) was added to the program code under the Cable Television Networks Rules.

The Modi government appears to have temporarily backed down in the face of strong protests from many journalistic associations and bodies and possibly also because NDTV has moved the Supreme Court. Yet, the threat remains. By picking on NDTV India, known for its critical coverage of the ruling party and government compared to other channels, the government is clearly seeking to send out a message. It is smarting from the media questioning of its recent actions such as the “surgical strikes” across the Line of Control in Kashmir. So, perhaps, it has decided that a dose of indirect censorship will have the “chilling effect on the freedom of speech and expression”.  The arbitrary use of power against NDTV India ought to be a wake-up call for the Indian media. Governments that invoke freedom of the press and national security in the same breath cannot be trusted.

  1. Yet, the threat remains what threat does the author talk of here?
    1.The threat of adding 6 (1) (p) to the program code under Cable Television Rules
    2.The threat of banning NDTV for an entire day
    3.The threat of arbitrary powers being used by Modi govt.
    4.The threat from terrorists attacking India again
    5.The threat from media covering other terrorist attacks and showing sensitive information on TV

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 3
    Explanation :
    Last para initial lines state that the govt has backed down temporarily now. Backed down from banning NDTV for an entire day. But in the larger context, ‘threat remains’ refers to use of arbitrary powers in future by the govt.
  2.  What problems are cited with using of the rule 6 (1) (p)?
    1.It has to be added to the program code under Cable Television Rules
    2.The Committee enforcing it does not have any journalist on the panel
    3.The Committee members use it without any judicial supervision
    4.Both 2 & 3
    5.All 1, 2 & 3

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer –4
    Explanation :
    Para 2 discusses issues with the rule. Both 2 and 3 are stated in the paragraph. 1 is wrong. Last line, para 3 states that it was added when Modi govt came to power.
  3. Which of the following is incorrect according to the passage?
    1.NDTV was being punished for its coverage of Pathankot attack
    2.UPA govt was contended with the formation of rules under by JS Verma Committee
    3.Author has been very critical of the working of Modi govt
    4.Modi govt does not like being asked questions by media for its actions
    5.None of the above

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 2
    Explanation :
    UPA govt was not contended with the work done by Verma committee, that is why they came up with amendments to Cable TV rules. Hence 2 is incorrect.
  4.  Why has ‘’Mumbai terror attacks’ been indicated in the passage?
    1.To show that NDTV is habitual of breaking the law as it was responsible in the past also for covering the Mumbai attacks in a wrongful manner
    2.Discussion regarding formation of stringent rules against coverage of live attacks were initiated after this attack
    3.It was the first major attack on an Indian base before Pathankot
    4.Both 1 and 2
    5.All 1, 2 and 3

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 2
    Explanation :
    Para 3 discusses the Mumbai attacks. Different media channels gave vital information to terrorists during their coverage of the incident. Due to this, govt had to take some step and initiated the formation of laws.
  5. What type of govt cannot be trusted?
    1.One who curbs the freedom of speech
    2.One who invokes freedom of the press and national security in the same breath
    3.One who uses arbitrary powers to curb media
    4.Both 1 and 2
    5.Both 1 and 3

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 2
    Explanation :
    Last line of the passage states that govt which invokes freedom of the press and national security in the same breath can’t be trusted. Hence 2
  6. Why the ban on NDTV could not be carried out?
    1.Due to public protests against the govt
    2.The committee does not have any journalist member and hence did not make sound decision
    3.NDTV exercised judicial rights and the ban was lifted
    4.Other channels showed solidarity with NDTV and threatened to stop their coverage also for a day
    5.None of the above

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 3
    Explanation :
    NDTV moved supreme court – implies that it exercised its judicial rights- and govt had to back down, given in last para. Hence 3

Directions (Q.7–11): Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it.

Among the initiatives launched with much fanfare by the NDA government is the one titled “Digital India”, which is slated to use high speed internet as a core utility and provide citizens entitlements, documents and a host of services on the cloud. While digital literacy is crucial for the success of such an initiative, a more fundamental requirement is access to and use of the Internet. How far does the government have to go to ensure access and use to be successful with this digital mission?

According to recently released survey results from India’s official National Sample Survey (NSS) Organisation, the proportion of Indian households in which at least one member had access to the Internet was 16.1 per cent in rural areas, 48.7 per cent in urban areas and 26.7 per cent in rural and urban areas combined. Needless to say, this is far short of the near universal connectivity envisaged by the Digital India mission. If yet there is an unstated belief in certain circles that the foundations for a Digital India already exist, it is partly attributable to India’s success as an Information Technology (IT) and IT-enabled services provider to the rest of the world. The oft-quoted website (www.internetworldstats.com) reports that the number of Internet users in India rose from around 5 million in 2000 to 243 million in June 2014, which makes the 300-million December 2014 figure quite plausible.

However, before launching celebrations based on these figures, a degree of caution is called for. These high and rising figures conceal the fact that in relation to India’s population, Internet penetration is still low. If we go by the figures from Internet World Stats, Internet penetration within the population in India amounted to 19.7 per cent at the end of June 2014, as compared with 86.9 per cent in the U. S., 86.2 per cent in Japan, and 47.4 per cent in China. One problem is, of course, that of providing access to the hardware through which individuals get access to the Internet. Options here have increased hugely in recent years, but few seem to be willing to pay for access. Thus, the ITU estimates that only 3.1 per cent of Indian households had access to the Internet at home in 2011, whereas that figure for China in 2012 was 23.7 per cent. Thus, Indian internet users would have to rely on connections of friends and acquaintances, or at the work place or in cyber cafes to access the internet.

Even here the government has made an effort. Almost a decade back it announced a policy initiative to bridge India’s widening digital divide by increasing physical access to computers connected to the Internet. As part of that initiative it had promised to put in place in rural India a hundred thousand Common Service Centres (CSCs) – broadband-enabled computer kiosks that will offer a range of government-to-citizen and business-to-customer services, besides providing sheer access to the Internet. The CSCs were expected to begin servicing all of India’s 600,000 villages by mid-2008. However successful the government has been, it does not seem to have helped universalise access.

The challenge here seems enormous. The NSS survey quoted earlier suggests that there is an unusual relationship between internet access, computer access and literacy. As is to be expected the extent of literacy across the states of India is higher than the extent of access to the Internet through at least a single member of the household. That suggests there is still some slack in terms of getting literate people to take to the Internet. However, there is a strong association between household access to computers (or proportion of households with access) and household access to the Internet. While one survey may be inadequate to arrival at any causal suggestions let alone conclusions, if this relationship proves robust it could imply that increasing internet access is predicated on increasing hardware access to a far greater degree than the CSC programme envisaged. That makes the Digital India challenge not just more difficult, but more expensive.

  1. Why only a very small percentage of Indian households have Internet?
    1.Rural areas have no access to Internet
    2.Internet is costly and only few rich people can afford it
    3.Few people are willing to pay for access to the Internet
    4.It is cheaper to use Internet at cafes
    5.Both 1 & 2

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 3
    Explanation :
    3rd paragraph – “Options here have increased ……………..Internet at home in 2011”. None of the other options are justified to provide answer to our question, hence 3.
  2. Why does the author of the passage infer that Digital India challenge will be expensive?
    1.Govt has to spend a lot of money on increasing hardware access
    2.Broadband-enabled computer kiosks or CSCs require huge expenditure
    3.Govt will incur lot of expenditure on spreading computer literacy
    4.Increasing internet penetration has always been expensive
    5.Both 2 & 3

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 1
    Explanation :
    Last paragraph, second last line “increasing internet access is ………………. but more expensive”. Hence option 1.
  3.  Why do people believe that foundations for a Digital India already exist?
    1.Previous govts. have already popularized internet to citizens
    2.Internet penetration is increasing in India at a rapid pace
    3.Computers as a subject has been taught in every school
    4.India’s success as an Information Technology services provider to the rest of the world
    5.Not mentioned in the passage

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 4
    Explanation :
    2nd paragraph “If yet there ………………………………… rest of the world.” Hence 4
  4.  How does the author view the ‘300-million December 2014’ figure?
    1.It is too low considering Indian population
    2.Author is completely pessimistic about the future of Internet penetration
    3.Author is optimistic but also cautionary
    4.Author is optimistic because of such a rapid increase in number
    5.Figure is deceiving and author does not pay any attention to it

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 3
    Explanation :
    Last line, para 2 – author is very optimistic about reach the 300 million mark. Hence 1 and 2 can be eliminated. In the next paragraph, author cautions about focusing too much on the figure only. Hence the answer 3. 5 would be next best choice.
  5. Which of the following is true about ‘Digital India’ initiative?
    1.High speed internet will be used as a core utility
    2.It will provide many a service to the citizens online
    3.More broadband-enabled computer kiosks need to be installed
    4.Both A & B
    5.Both B & C

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 4
    Explanation :
    1&2 have been discussed in the first paragraph. 3 is wrong because author has criticized this strategy of govt to increase internet penetration. Last paragraph – “if this relationship proves …………………………… the CSC programme envisaged.”

The impact of technical advancement in armaments on man, needs to be analyzed with a rational mind, and heart free from prejudices of any kind towards modernisation. The most noticeable impact of this development certainly has been the loss of immunity from violence for successive generations ever since the invention of gunpowder. In modern times, the presence of technically advanced arms, not only at the fronts but also among the civilian population, has vastly undermined the value of human life, and endangered the very entity of those virtues of self-restraint and discretion, on which. a peaceful and amiable society rests. However, an unbiased view of the present scenario, would refrain one from attributing the rising trends of violence to the availability of technically superior weapons, for one must not overlook the fact that Necessity is the mother of invention. Every stage in the development of armaments has been marked by its distinct impact on society. When man fought with stones and his bare hands, the society was not yet compact. The discovery of metal and the use of spears, knives and arrows indicate the stage of the formation of small kingdoms. Fire continued to be an effective weapon of destruction. When man introduced the cavalry into the army and improved the strategies of making war, some small kingdoms gave away to form empires, but with no revolutionary advances in armaments forthcoming, the political structure of society remained mare or less stagnant for the many coming centuries. The next significant development was the use of gunpowder, which could be used to perform acts which were then thought to be impossible. Gunpowder was used to form the ammunition of several guns and canons. This sudden advances in weaponry not only facilitated the control of a large mass of people by relatively few armed men that helping to form strong empires, but the availability of the new technology to a select few nations enabled the formation of colonies in continents which did not have access to the modernized technologies of warfare. Modern technological advances in armaments aided the formation of nation states in Europe. The extensive use of the fire-power lent a lethal edge to the naval power which proved to be the greatest asset to any nation in the 19th century. Small United Nations States of Europe with strong navies, modern arms and disciplined men gained control of lands in foreign continents far greater in areas than the parent countries.

  1. Necessity is the mother of invention means
    1) where there is mother there IS invention
    2) when necessity arises invention IS done
    3) most of the invention are preplanned
    4) nothing happens without creating congenial environment

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 2)
  2. The invention of modern weapons have resulted into
    1) loss of immunity from war in the society
    2) successive wars for the last two centuries.
    3) arms race among the nations
    4) loss of life and property every now and then

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 1)
  3. Small kingdoms turned into big empires, after
    1) the invention of cavalry and canons and its introduction into the army
    2) the introduction of nuclear arms into the army
    3) the end of the use of knives, arrows and swords
    4) the end of the 19th century

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 1)
  4. The style of the passage is
    1) informative
    2) analytical
    3) retrospective
    4) provocative

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 3)

    Some religious teachers have taught that Man is made up of a body and a soul: But they have been silent about the Intellect. Their followers try to feed the body on earth and to save soul from perdition after death: But they neglected the claims of the mind. Bread for the body and Virtue for the soul: These are regarded as the indispensable requisites of human welfare here and hereafter. Nothing is said about knowledge and education. Thus Jesus Christ spoke much of feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and converting the sinners: But he never taught the duty of teaching the ignorant and increasing scientific knowledge. He himself was not a well-educated man, and intellectual pursuits were beyond his horizon. Gautam Buddha also laid stress on morality, meditation and asceticism, but he did not attach great importance to history, science, art or literature. St. Ambrose deprecated scientific studies and wrote, Tel discuss the nature and position of the earth does not help us in our hope for life to come. St. Basil said very frankly and foolishly, It is not a matter of interest for us whether the earth is a sphere or a cylinder or disc. Thomas Carlyle also followed the Christian traditions when he declared that he honoured only two men and no third: The manual labour and the religious teacher. He forgot the scientist, the scholar and the artist. The cynics of Greece despised education at last?

  5. What have the religious teachers taught in the past?
    1) That man is made up of body only
    2) That man is made up of soul only.
    3) That man is made up of bubbles
    4) That man is made up of body and soul together

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 4)
  6. What is food for the soul?
    1) Bread
    2) Virtue
    3) Vice
    4) Education

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 2)
  7. The following philosophers occur in the passage. But they are not in correct order. Correct the order (l). Jesus Christ (II). Gautam Buddha (III) St. Ambrose (IV). Thomas Carlyle M St. Basil
    1) I, II, III, IV, V
    2) I, III, IV, V, II
    3) I, II, III, V, IV
    4) II, I, III, IV, V

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 3)
  8. Intellectual pursuits have been neglected because: (I) they are unnecessary and superfluous (II) they make people dwarf (III) they lead people to hell
    1) Only I is correct
    2) Only II is correct
    3) Only III is correct
    4) Only I and II are correct

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 1)
  9. The style of the passage is
    1) narrative
    2) expository
    3) critical
    4) Analytical

    Answer & Explanation
    Answer – 1)

Directions: Read the following passage and answer the questions that follows.

It was telling that Germany, a country with a phobia of rising prices, in the first week of 2017 reported a jump in inflation. Its headline rate rose from 0.8% to 1.7% in December. After two years of unusually low price pressures, inflation across the rich world is set to revive this year. Much of this is because of the oil price, which fell below $30 a barrel in the early months of 2016 but has recently risen above $50 . Underlying inflation, too, seems poised to drift up. That is good news. The story for 2017 is not of inflation running too hot but rather of a welcome easing of fears of deflation.

To understand why, consider the three big drivers of inflation in the rich world: the price of imports, capacity pressures in the domestic economy and the public’s expectations. Start with imported inflation. A year ago, global goods prices were falling because of a slide in aggregate demand and a seemingly endless glut of basic commodities and manufactures. China’s economy wobbled. Emerging markets in general were in a funk; two of the largest, Brazil and Russia, were deep in recession.

Things look perkier now. Emerging markets still have plenty of trouble spots, but the bigger economies are stabilising. After falling for 54 months, producer prices in China are climbing at last. Prices at the factory gate rose by 5.5% in the year to December. China’s supply glut, though still vast, is shrinking. An improving demand climate is reflected in upbeat surveys of manufacturing purchasing managers across Asia and in the rich world. It is also visible in a revival in commodity prices.

So rich countries are importing a bit more globally made inflation. How big an impact that has depends on the exchange rate. And in much of the rich world, currency markets are proving helpful. In America, where underlying inflation is close to 2%, the Federal Reserve’s goal, the dollar has risen. In Japan and the euro area, where underlying inflation is lower, the yen and euro have weakened.The second big influence on inflation is the amount of slack in the domestic economy. The unemployment rate, measuring labour-market slack, is often a convenient gauge. On that basis, America’s economy, with unemployment at 4.7%, is close to full capacity. Average wages rose by 2.9% in the year to December, the highest rate since 2009. Assuming that trend productivity growth is around 1%, then wage growth of around 3% is consistent with a 2% rise in unit-wage costs, in line with the Fed’s inflation target.

The picture is cloudier in other parts of the rich world. Euro-area jobs markets are more rigid and run into bottlenecks more readily than America’s. Even so, the euro-area economy has far greater slack. The unemployment rate is 9.8%. The big southern euro-zone economies, such as Italy and Spain, have ample spare capacity. So if inflation is to get back to the European Central Bank’s target of close to 2%, it will require other economies, notably Germany, to generate inflation rates well above 2%.

That is not as implausible as the form book suggests. Germany has a tight labour market. The unemployment rate is just 4.1% and the workforce has shrunk as the population ages. And after a decade or more of restraint, wages have picked up a bit. Compensation per employee has risen at an average annual rate of 2.5% since 2010, according to the OECD, a rich-country think-tank. That is faster than in any other G7 country, but still not enough to drive German inflation up to the sorts of levels needed to push euro-zone inflation close to 2%. Faster wage growth has not fed through to higher consumer-price inflation, notes Ralf Preusser of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Average core inflation has been around 1.1% since 2010. German firms have absorbed rising wage costs without increasing prices. In Japan, where the jobs market is even tighter, wage growth has struggled to reach even 1%.

That wages have not risen faster owes much to the third big determinant of inflation—expectations. Firms will feel freer to push up prices, and employees to bargain for bigger wage rises, if they expect higher inflation. In theory expectations are in the gift of central banks. If they can convince the public that they have the tools to regulate aggregate demand, and thus the level of slack, expectations should converge on the central bank’s inflation target, usually 2% in rich countries. But expectations are also influenced by what inflation has been recently. In rich countries, it has fallen short. Inflation expectations in financial markets have recently perked up, but in the euro area are still well shy of the target. In Japan, two decades of deflation have taught firms and wage-earners to expect a lot less than 2%.

Headline inflation in the rich world is likely to rise quickly in early 2017, thanks largely to rising oil prices and a generally firmer global backdrop. Underlying inflation will grind up more slowly as above-trend growth eats away at available slack. A burst of stronger headline inflation this year might drive up inflation expectations and set the stage for bolder wage claims in northern Europe and Japan in 2018.

Analysts at JPMorgan Chase expect higher inflation to add one percentage point to global nominal GDP in 2017, spurring a revival in profits and setting the scene for a recovery in capital spending (even without tax cuts in America). Forecasters often now look for extreme outcomes, but rich-world inflation this year may turn out to be a tale of moderation: enough to grease the wheels, but not enough to upset the cart.

  1. What , according to the passage, are the causes of global inflation?
    A) Sluggish domestic economy
    B) Expectations of market
    C) Global economies were importing a little more
    D) Both A and C
    E) All of these

    View Answer
      Option E
  2. What is JP Morgan Chaste?
    A) A group of Pros
    B) An analysts association
    C) A market determinant
    D) Both A and C
    E) Not mentioned.

    View Answer
      Option E
  3. Why easing of deflation is a welcome step?
    A) availability of commodities
    B) wobbling of China’s economy
    C) Russia was in recession
    D) Only B and C
    E) All of these

    View Answer
      Option D
    Explanation: 
    commodities are scarce
  4. Write the most appropriate synonym for “funk”:
    A) achieve
    B) confidence
    C) defy
    D) fluster
    E) security

    View Answer
      Option D
    Explanation: 
    funk = state of great fear 
  5. What according to the passage is true about China?
    i. China’s supply is shrinking
    ii.China’s economy was unstable
    iii.China was in Recession
    A) Only i
    B) Only ii
    C) Only iii
    D) All of these
    E) None of these

    View Answer
      Option B
    Explanation: 
    wobble = moving unsteadily
  6. Write the most appropriate antonym for “glut”:
    A) nibble
    B) famine
    C) surfeit
    D) munch
    E) diet

    View Answer
      Option C
    Explanation: 
    glut = excess, surplus
  7. Explain the term ‘ a tight labour market’:
    A) labours are scarce
    B) labours are abundant
    C) severe competition for labour
    D) severe demand for labour
    E) None of these

    View Answer
      Option C
  8. Write the meaning of the phrase “to grease the wheels”:
    A) blight
    B) expedite
    C) check
    D) thwart
    E) balk

    View Answer
      Option B
    Explanation: 
    to help something to go smoothly
  9. What is the cause of rise in inflation in Germany?
    A) Increasing imports
    B) Increasing jobs
    C) Rising oil prices
    D) Growing demands
    E) All of the above

    View Answer
      Option C
  10. What is the suitable title of the passage?
    A) Poised economy
    B) Global trends
    C) Inflation trends.
    D) A welcome revival.
    E) Slackened convergence

    View Answer
    Option D

Directions: Read the following passage and answer the questions that follows.

America’s original map-based cruise-missile guidance system came in two parts. The first, Terrain Contour Matching or TERCOM, took a missile to the general area of its target using a radar altimeter and a series of digital maps that showed the elevation of the ground under sections of the planned route. By comparing the missile’s actual altitude above this terrain with its expected altitude, TERCOM could follow contours and find its way. Once it was close to the target, a second system, the Digital Scene Matching Area Correlator (DSMAC), compared the view from a video camera with a set of stored images, in order to locate the bullseye. Such a combined system was awkward and expensive, but at least it was the best available before GPS. Now, though, huge improvements in electronics have turned the tables. Israel is in the forefront, with a system which it calls Spice. Like JDAM, Spice is an add-on kit that turns unguided bombs into smart ones. It is designed and built by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, an Israeli weapons company, and comes into service this month.

Spice contains an “electro-optical scene matching system” that resembles DSMAC’s in as much as its memory is loaded with pictures of the target area, taken beforehand by aircraft (piloted or unpiloted) or by satellite. Spice’s pictures, though, are of much higher resolution than those of DSMAC. On top of this the cameras that generate the real-time images with which those pictures are compared as the bomb falls towards its target work both in the visible and the infra-red parts of the spectrum. That means Spice can operate in darkness, and can penetrate smoke and fog. Moreover, unlike DSMAC, Spice stores enough data to cover the entire route to a target. It has no need of an accompanying system similar to TERCOM. Instead, it picks out and compares, en route, features like roads and buildings to find its way. Spice’s claimed performance is impressive. Rafael says it can guide a bomb released 100km from a target to a strike point within two metres of that target. The firm says, too, that its device is not confused by minor changes in the scenery around a target, which it can find even if some nearby areas have been obscured—say, by camouflage. Spice also has the advantage over GPS-guided weapons of working when a target’s exact position is unknown, or if the co-ordinates have been misreported. All you need is a picture of what is to be hit, and an approximate location, for Spice to find and hit it.

Other countries, in particular America, are following Israel’s lead. In January of this year, America’s air force signed a contract with Scientific Systems, a firm in Woburn, Massachusetts, to develop what that company calls its Image-Based Navigation and Precision Targeting (ImageNav) system. Like Spice, this is a bolt-on system that works by comparing images from a camera with those in a database on board. If all goes well, development and testing should be completed by January 2018 and the result will, its makers hope, be able to strike within three metres of its intended target. The initial plan is to fit ImageNav to the air force’s Small Diameter Bomb, a free-fall weapon at present guided by GPS. If this is successful, deployment on cruise missiles and drones will follow. Meanwhile Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest aerospace firm, is working on an optical-navigation system called Northstar. This is based on a piece of non-military software called Hydra Fusion, which was developed by Lockheed Martin’s Canadian subsidiary. Hydra Fusion creates a high-resolution, three-dimensional terrain map from ordinary video, by comparing successive frames of that video in light of information about how fast the vehicle carrying the camera was travelling. Though this is a trick which has been managed in the past, Hydra can do it on the fly, on a laptop computer. Previous systems have required hours of processing on high-end machines. Once an area has been mapped, Northstar provides precise navigation information for bombs or missiles (or, indeed, for manned or unmanned aircraft). Crucially, the intelligence can be fresh because of the system’s rapid processing time. Fitting bombs and missiles with vision in this way thus looks like the future. That does not mean GPS will not be used as well—a belt-and-braces approach is often wise in war. But bombs that can see their targets, rather than blindly following their noses to a set of co-ordinates, are always likely to have the edge.

  1. What, according to the passage, is true about The Spice System?
    A) It is loaded with pictures of targeted area.
    B) It can operate in darkness and penetrate in smog.
    C) It can compare en-route features.
    D) Only A and B
    E) All of these.

    View Answer
      Option E
  2. What is the meaning of the phrase “turn the tables”?
    A) to overcome hurdles
    B) to put impedements
    C) to cause reversal
    D) to betray someone
    E) to knock

    View Answer
      Option C
  3. Optical navigation system Northstar based on Software Hyrda Fusion. What is true about hydra?
    (i) It creates 3D terrain map
    (ii) It is versatile enouh to capture images from videos
    (iii) It is a part of Hi-tech defense system
    A) Only (i)
    B) Both (i) and (ii)
    C) Only (ii)
    D) All (i) ,(ii), (iii)
    E) None of these.

    View Answer
      Option B
  4. Write the appropriate sysnonym of “camouflage”:
    A)  Uncover
    B)  Divulge
    C)Betray
    D) Facade
    E) Exhibit

    View Answer
      Option D
  5. What is the similarity between Spice and “DSMAC & TERCOM”?
    A) add-onkit and unguided system
    B) Scene matching and accompanying system
    C) picture capturing and en-route features
    D) Only A and B
    E) Not mentioned in the passage

    View Answer
      Option B
  6. Write the appropriate antonym for “Co-ordinate”:
    A) key
    B) groove
    C) consert
    D) jar
    E) schadenfreude

    View Answer
      Option D
  7. What is true according to the given passage ?
    A) Northstar provides precise navigation information
    B) Hydra captures images from the vehicle carrying the camera was travelling
    C) Spice can guide a bomb released 100km from a target
    D) Only A and C
    E) All of the above

    View Answer
      Option E
  8. Write the meaning of the phrase “a belt-and-braces approach”
    A) approach based on belts
    B) using belts and bracelets
    C) using approaches  with tools
    D) using two belts
    E) using more than one method

    View Answer
      Option E
  9. Write the synonym of “Obscured”:
    A) agleam
    B) unlit
    C) lambent
    D) moony
    E) beamy

    View Answer
      Option B
  10. What is the appropriate title of the given passage?
    A) Advance Intelligence
    B) Cyber security
    C) Smart Weapons
    D) Defensive Weapons
    E) The vision thing

    View Answer
      Option C

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