Reading Comprehension Passages

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AUTHORED BY: English Geek

English Geek

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What is Reading Comprehension Passage?

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.

  • Questions 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.
  • Questions based on contextual references presented in the passage.
  • Questions seeking details provided in the passage.
  • Questions based on vocabulary and diction.
  • Questions based on author’s writing style and tone. 



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