Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension: Strategy and Questions and Answers

Reading Comprehension


One of the major aims of teaching a language is to enable the learner to express himself correctly in spoken as well as written form of the language. Therefore, evaluation of comprehension skills is a basic component of any exam these days.

In this context, Reading Comprehension develops the skill to read the given text, process it and understand its meaning or point of view. In other words, reading comprehension evaluates a student’s ability to comprehend the given text.


Reading Comprehension in Exams

In academic or competitive exams, Reading Comprehension helps to evaluate a student on many parameters.

These parameters are given below:
1. Coherence and cohesion Logical and consistent arrangement of ideas and thoughts

2. Expression and communication of thought

3. Knowledge of vocabulary

4. Knowledge of grammar5. Comprehension

6. Cognitive level of development


Practise here


Strategies to Solve Reading Comprehension

In competitive examinations, the level of comprehension is higher than the ones the students are habituated to solve in their school days. Because of this, the students are unable to understand the vocabulary, concept or theme of the passage. The only two solutions to this problem are clarifying concepts and practicing solving more and more comprehensions. These are some tips

➤ There are two approaches to solve reading comprehension

(A) Top-down Approach: This approach emphasises on reading the passage first and then going through the questions to solve them. This approach is also known as ‘Conservative Approach’.

(B) Bottom-up Approach:  This method enables you to find out the answers of questions at the time of reading the passage. This approach emphasises on reading the questions before reading the passage. Though this approach requires a lot of practice, it effectively saves time during exam.

➤ Coordination of eyes, hand and mind is compulsory at the time of reading a passage. Concentrate on what you are reading. Underlining important points or keywords may also be of great help at the time of practice. Nonetheless, this practice will help you understand how and where to find useful information.

➤ It is important to divide your time as per your weaknesses and strengths. Instead of wasting time on the question you find difficult, it is advisable to first attempt the question you are easily able to answer. Time management is one of the keys to success in any competitive exam.

➤ Generally, there are 3 to 4 types of questions asked on an RC. These types may be as follows:
(A) Grammar-based
(B) Title or theme-based
(C) Statement, fact or conclusion-based (true/false)
(D) Vocabulary-based (synonyms/antonyms)
Practise solving all of them, focussing more on the one you find difficult.

➤ The questions of reading comprehensions are based only on the information provided in the text. It is advisable not to use your previous knowledge of the topic or theme.

➤ Improve your reading speed. It will save your time on reading and comprehending the text.

➤ Improve your vocabulary skills such as knowledge of synonyms, antonyms, one-word substitutions, and idioms and phrases. Vocabulary skills will help you understand the literary meaning of the passage as well as answer any directly based on vocabulary. These skills may be improved by reading various English newspapers, story books and novels.

➤ Practise solving reading comprehension of previous years’ papers. You will get to learn the question pattern and type as well as the difficulty level. After having understood how to
solve passages, try solving some of the previous years’ paper in real time. It will help you assess yourself. But it is important to be honest while doing so.

➤ Don’t be impatient. Understand that your mind and eyes need rest. If you feel exhausted, take a break of 5 10 seconds. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. It will refresh you and help you restart your work with new vigour.

Psychological factors also affect the efficiency. Sometimes, just by looking at a passage, students develop a notion that the particular passage is difficult and they will not be able to solve it. Losing hope and confidence adversely affects the cognitive level and thereby the performance in the exam. So, never lose your confidence and stay calm. Remember that you will succeed only if you try.

Types of Questions and Strategies 

Type 1: Questions related to title, theme and aim: frequently ask questions related to the title or theme of the given passage. Such questions test the students’ ability to comprehend the ‘primary purpose of the given passage. To answer such questions, you must be skilled to draw out the writer’s views or ideas from the given passage.

These questions are framed in the following manner:

  • The passage is related to
  • The writer describes
  • The theme of the given passage is
  • The author of this passage is primarily concerned with
  • Which one of the following is the most appropriate title for the passage?

Find the correct answer: The title or theme of a passage may be found using the wh-questions like when, why, what, how and who. For this, you will first have to make a one- or two-line summary of the whole passage in your mind. Then use the wh-questions to find the required answer from the summary.

Type 2: Questions related to statements, facts or conclusions: Such questions are based on conclusion, decision, evaluation or judgement or some statement or fact from the passage.

These questions are framed in the following manner:

  • Pick out the true statement.
  • Pick out the false statement.
  • Which one of the following is a characteristic of
  • You can conclude from this paragraph/passage that
  • All the following statements about
  • All the following statements about are true except/are false except

Find the Correct Answer
For such questions, both comprehension of the text and information provided in the question have to be evaluated to reach the correct answer. Reason and logic play an
important role here. Sometimes, a simple sentence may be written in such a way that it becomes difficult to understand. Read them slowly and with full attention.


Type 3: Questions related to vocabulary: These questions are generally related to synonyms and antonyms. Through such questions, the ability of the student to know the real as well as context-related meaning is judged. Apart from this, the knowledge of idioms, phrases and homophones is also assessed.

These questions are framed in the following manner:

  • Which option describes or explains the word
  • A word that can best replace the word
  • Opposite/antonym of the word
  • Which word is the closest in meaning to

Find the Correct Answer
Answering these questions is easy if you understand the technique to deduce the meaning from the text. Find the word or phrase in the passage and read it attentively to understand its meaning. Elimination method may also come handy here.  You can improve your vocabulary skills by reading various English newspapers, stories and novels.

Type 4: Questions related to grammar: These types of questions are asked to check your grammar skills. Questions asked in this segment have an average level of difficulty.

These questions are framed in the following manner:

  • Change the voice/tense of given sentence.
  • Change the speech/narration of the sentence.
  • Pick out the prefix/suffix in the word
  • Which part of the speech is the word
  • Read the given sentence and identify its type. Ins
  • Read the given sentence and identify the underlined word/phrase.

Find the Correct Answer
To identify the answer of a question based on grammar, it is very important to have the concept clear. But sometimes you may be able to find the correct answer from the context as well. Another way to solve these questions is the application of the rule of elimination. This rule may be applied to strike out the incorrect options based on them being logically incorrect or merely odd. However, striking out ‘odd’ options is purely based on guesswork, which we advise to avoid. It is always advisable and preferable to know than to guess.


These are types and strategies to solve reading comprehension.


Reading Comprehension Practice Tests

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