Verbal Ability – Reading Comprehension Basics

In this article, we will focus on the skills required for solving Reading Comprehension questions.

Skill 1: Reading Ability

This is almost an understandable part of RCs and one that is self-explanatory. Being a good reader helps a great deal in dealing with reading comprehensions.

Skill 2: Ability to comprehend and infer

This is a key aspect of RCs: you need to have the ability to make key inferences and read between the lines. This is a skill built over a period of time and requires regular reading.

Skill 3: Ability to retain as much as you can

Most of the time, when we read something, we tend to forget most of what we read in a matter of a few seconds. For RCs, remembering what we have read is critical as questions are based on the text in the passage. This is where this skill comes in handy.

To develop these key skills we have to understand more and to retain more.

It is almost next to impossible to remember everything we have read. The best we can do is to identify the key ideas in the different parts of the passage and make sure we develop a sort-of mental map for the passage and its key ideas.

If you remember the key points and which part of the passage they belonged to, half your job is done. As soon as you encounter a question, all you need to do is go back quickly to the part on which the question is based and derive the answer. This saves critical time in the exam as you do not have to read the passage again.

The key skills of making sure we understand and remember what we read is something known as ‘Active Reading’ which is the process of making sure that your brain is constantly engaged while reading.

For reading actively, our brain requires a purpose, a stimulus that engages it and makes sure your attention does not waver. For you to do well in RCs, you need to read actively.

While reading, commit yourself to the following:

  • Search for passage subjects and main ideas.
  • Try to spot the main argument/thesis of the author.
  • Establish whether you agree with the passage or not.
  • Identify the main points for different paragraphs.