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5 different Reading Comprehension Passage types

Learn about the various passage types in Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension Passage Types


Reading Comprehensions (RCs) can be classified into five categories according to the particular areas of study to which they belong. These different passage types and the right strategy for each of them have been discussed below:

  • Social Science Passages: These passages are from historical, geographical and political arenas. Mostly, these passages are enjoyable to read and are not too dense.
    • A lot of inferential questions are asked from these passages to check your reading and comprehension abilities. Generally, the answer can be inferred by also reading the line before and after the one referred to.
    • Some of the questions are straightforward and you can spot the answers directly from the passage statements.
    • Get acquainted with these kind of passages by reading editorials and articles from newspapers like The Hindu, magazines like Competition success Review (CSR), websites of environmental journals etc.
  • Business & Economics Passages: These are based on important economic theories and business events. You need to be aware of the basic language and concepts of business and economics.
    • Questions posed from these passages will be easy to answer since they are not too indirect, but the passage may appear complicated to you if you are completely unaware of business/economics terminology.
    • Work on your business knowledge and economics vocabulary to enhance your understanding of these passages. You are not expected to be an expert in this field but be aware of the fundamentals.
    • Enhance your knowledge with the help of newspapers like The Economic times and magazines like Business today, Business world etc.
  • Science-based Passages: These passages deal with subjects that belong to sciences- biology, chemistry, medicine, technology and mathematics. These passages present a lot of facts, and may appear boring.
    • Do not get confused by their technical jargon and focus on the main ideas being presented by the author of the passage.
    • Most of the time, questions asked from these type of passages are easy to understand and answer.
    • If you find such passages complex to follow, go through science-based columns of newspapers/websites of The Hindu, The Guardian, Washington post and magazines like Discover, Safari, Scientific India etc. and international science journals.
  • Liberal Art Passages These passages are related to philosophy, sociology and psychology. Generally, these passages are very dense and demand intense focus for comprehension.
    • The questions based on these passages focus on the overall picture, and check your overall understanding of the ideas presented.
    • You need to identify the underlying idea to answer the questions correctly. The contextual meaning plays a vital role here.
    • Considering the abstract language of these passages, it is recommended that you read articles from websites of Indian journal of arts, International journal of liberal arts etc.
  • Latest Political & Current Events-based passages: These passages are the easiest to understand.
    • Though these passages appear simple yet they pose some tricky inferential questions. These passages can be accompanied by both direct/factual questions as well as indirect ones.
    • If you keep track of the current happenings of the world, you will be able to follow the author of the passage well.
    • While reading editorials of newspapers like The Hindu, understand the structure and the indirect conclusions of the passage. This will help you comprehend the RC passages in the exam easily and in a short time.

From the above classification, you can identify the areas that you are more comfortable with and the ones that you need to work on. This will also help you develop your passage preferences. But, you should not stick to particular types of passages only since exams always have surprises in store for you. Apart from that, try to understand from the author's point of view rather than your own personal viewpoint. The passages may be from more than one area or may be given in combined form. Practice is the key to become a master in all types of passages. Read articles from varied topics and issues and practice different types of RCs regularly.

Lastly, diverse reading will make you familiar with the above mentioned types and also enhance your reading speed and comprehension abilities.



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