Reading Comprehension: Basic Concepts

Reading comprehensions form one of the most important areas of any competitive examination. Reading comprehension passages aim to test one’s ability to identify implications and draw inferences. In general, the percentage of questions that are asked from this section varies between 30 to 50 percent of the total questions in the Verbal section. That is a huge number by any stretch of the imagination and keeping this in mind, it is important that you develop an effective approach to solve RCs.
So what exactly is a Reading Comprehension?
Reading Comprehension is the way of understanding what is being read. In simple words, reading comprehension means a passage which is to be read and comprehended. What makes comprehension passages a nightmare for students is the diverse range of topics that are covered, the vocabulary used in the passage and the time limit given in the exam.
Different types of area/ topics for reading comprehensions:
  1. Social Sciences – History, anthropology, sociology, government
  2. Natural Sciences – Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Botany
  3. Humanities – Art, Music, Literature, Philosophy
  4. Business – Economics, Marketing, Human Resources
Different types of questions which come in Reading comprehension:
  • Factual - these questions are based on the facts given in the passage.
  • Main idea - in these questions we have to tell the main idea or the central theme of the passage.
  • Title- the title of the passage is linked directly to the main idea of the passage.
  • Inference - these questions are based on the inference of the entire passage.
  • Tone - in tone-based questions we have to deduce the tone of the passage.
Reading comprehension is so important because:
  • RCs test a student on a number of skills, including English comprehension and logical ability, language skills such as reading and vocabulary.
  • RCs are generally based on a variety of topics, covering science, business, philosophy, sociology and so on. Such a vast breadth of topics means that one needs to read regularly and diversely in order to make sure that one is comfortable reading every kind of passage.
  • These passages are generally based on unique questions and the some of the question are inferential in nature.
  • From weightage point of view, this section covers 40-50% of the major exams, so this section is very important. It can make or break your career.