Reading Comprehension Question Types
Reading Comprehensions are accompanied by a number of different question types. Generally, we can classify the different question types into two broad categories: big picture questions (based on the whole passage) and specific purpose questions (based on some specific element of the passage). These two categories along with their sub-categories are discussed as follows:
Big Picture Questions:
These questions refer to the broad overview of the passage and check your overall understanding of the passage. These are mostly asked in the following forms:
1. Main Idea Question:
This relates to the central idea/theme of the passage. Eg.
2. Primary Purpose Question:
- Which of the following most accurately states the main idea of the passage?
- Which of the following best states the central idea of the passage?
- The gist of the passage is:
- Which of the following is the principal topic of the passage?
- Summarize the passage in one line.
This refers to the most important and emphasised point of the passage. Eg.
- The primary purpose of this passage is to:
- The primary focus of this passage is on which of the following?
- The main concern of the passage is to:
- In the passage, the author is primarily interested in:
- The passage is chiefly concerned with:
This question type can also be asked for a specific paragraph (eg. The primary purpose of paragraph 3 is) instead of the whole passage.
3. Title Question:
By title, we mean the heading that would be most suitable for the passage. The title should be built around the central idea of the passage. Eg.
4. Structure & Organization
- The most apt title for the passage is:
- Select the most suitable title for the passage from the following:
Structure/Organization is the pattern that the author follows to convey his notions about the given subject. Eg.
- Which of the following best describes the organization of the passage?
- The structure of the passage can be outlined as:
The questions may also refer to a particular paragraph of the passage:
5. Fact-based/Specific Detail/Target Question:
- Which of the following best describes the organization of the first paragraph of the passage?
- One function of the third paragraph is to:
These questions intend to ask you to identify the correct/incorrect facts. Eg.
6. Inference Question:
- According to the passage,....
- The passage states that:
- Which, out of the following, is true/false?
- Which _____ has not been cited as ______?
- According to the author, what is ______?
- By a ______, the author means.......
- "According to the passage, _______?
- Which factor has not been cited _______?
Inferences are the indirect conclusions of the passage. They are not directly stated in the passage. Eg.
- It can be inferred from the passage:
- It cannot be inferred from the passage:
- The passage uses ______ to imply that ______"
- What can be inferred when the author states_____?"
- The sentence, '_____', implies that
This question type can also be constructed from a specific portion of the passage.
7. 'Must be true' Question:
These refer to the direct and logical conclusions that follow from the passage. Eg.
- According to the passage, which one of the must be true?
- According to the passage, which one of the must be false?
- According to the passage, which one of the following would the author agree with?
- According to the passage, which one of the following would the author disagree with?
This question type can be constructed from a specific paragraph instead of the whole passage.
8. Paraphrase Question:
These questions essentially ask you to explain the meaning of a particular statement in other words or in different words than that given in the passage. Eg.
- The following extract , ".........." , can be paraphrased as:
- "........." can be rewritten as:
Paraphrase refers to 'Express the same message in different words/ Rewording for the purpose of clarification'.
9. Vocabulary Question:
These questions test your vocabulary- ask you the meaning of a word/phrase/synonym or the opposite of the word/antonym. The contextual meaning of the word holds more importance here. Eg.
- Identify the meaning of the word, "............" , in the given context.
- In the passage, the phrase ______ refers to
- In the sentence, _________, what is the meaning of '______'?
The above mentioned list is a comprehensive list of question types that are generally asked from the RCs. Any new question will be a derivative of these only.