Reading Comprehension (RC) Passages form an integral part of
majority of language proficiency tests. Most exams dedicate a significant
portion to Reading Comprehension to check the test-taker’s proficiency at
understanding a given text and relate it with some background information. Hence,
it becomes imperative for an aspirant to know the ins & outs of the Reading
Comprehension Passages. In order to realize the need of incorporating RC Passages
in a test, one should first understand the meaning of the term Reading Comprehension
Passage. This can be done by exploring the three constituent words i.e. Reading,
Comprehension & Passage.
Reading Reading is one of the four skills (Reading,
Writing, Listening & Speaking) to be acquired in order to learn a language.
It is a skill of looking at words with the motive of recognizing them and
making out their meanings. Thus, reading helps in getting information through
understanding the written words.
Comprehension Comprehension denotes an ability to
understand the meaning of something or importance of something. It may also
refer to the knowledge acquired as a result of undertaking an activity, as for
example, reading. It entails mental grasping of an idea or a subject and
incorporating the same into one’s knowledge through assimilation.
Passage Here, a passage means an extract drawn from a
piece of writing, such as an essay or a novel. It is a section of a longer
composition and may consist of one or more paragraphs. A passage may open on a
particular note or it may also have an abrupt opening. Same is the case with
its ending. Whatever the case may be, it is of sufficient length to acquaint the
reader with the subject under consideration, author’s style and point of view.
There may be certain hidden elements that the reader is supposed to make out as
a result of his understanding and relating it with his background knowledge.
Thus, dealing with RC Passages requires a combination of reading
with the purpose of understanding and establishing a relation with background
knowledge concerned with the subject matter of the passage. A lot of time is
required to do this unless one is an avid reader, because the passages
presented in the exams are from diverse domains. Since a lot of questions have
to be tackled in a very short period of time, it needs a fair play of mind with
concerted effort on the part of the reader to attempt the questions based on
the RC Passages.
Besides being acquainted with RC Passages, it is also
pertinent to know the pattern of questions that are asked on the basis of information
presented in them. However, the details related to RC based questions and strategy
to answer them accurately will be dealt with separately. Primarily, following types
of questions are asked on RC Passages.
based on main idea and theme of the passage.
- Questions based
on the reader’s perception i.e. inference drawn by the reader.
- Giving a
suitable title or heading to the passage.
based on contextual references presented in the passage.
seeking details provided in the passage.
based on vocabulary and diction.
- Questions based on author’s writing style and tone.