Comprehension Passages

Introduction to Comprehension Passages: Points to Ponder


Your friend and you decided to play a game in which one person will tell a story and the second one has to answer the related questions asked. Firstly, your friend tells you a story and asks some questions. What will you try to do while listening to the story and answering the questions? You will try to listen as carefully and as dedicatedly as possible. You will try to find the answers from the story and not make your own assumptions. This is the basic idea of solving comprehension passages. In this section, we will learn about solving comprehension passages.

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Comprehension Passage

The word comprehension means the ability to understand what you listen or what you read. It is an exercise which aims at improving or testing one’s ability to understand a language. Try to remember your English class at your school. Each day you were taught new lessons.

The stories, the poem, the questions, and answers were unseen to you before you read them. Similarly, in a comprehension test, you are given a passage or a paragraph or two. These paragraphs show the idea or mood, concerning issues, their solutions that the author provides. Your main task is to answer the questions asked from the passage.

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Misconception Regarding Comprehension Test

There are some misconceptions related to the way of answering the comprehension test. These misconceptions are

  • It is possible to understand the key idea of the paragraph by just reading the first and the last sentence. But this is not always correct.
  • Reading the questions first will help to understand the paragraph better. This is also not always true because:
    It is not possible for a person to remember all the questions. Also, the questions are sometimes indirect in nature. The order of the questions is not always in accordance with the progression of the paragraph.

It is advisable to avoid these misconceptions in order to get better insights about the passage.

Requisite Skills

To develop a better level of comprehension one requires certain skills:

  • Logical ability
  • The ability to infer
  • Analytical ability
  • Reasoning ability
  • Ability to understand the main motive or the idea of the author.
  • Reading speed
  • Vocabulary power
  • Remembering some important information from the paragraph otherwise, we need to refer the paragraph again and again which will consume more time.

comprehension passages

Important Strategy to Solve Comprehension Passages

  • Read the passage as fast as possible.
  • Get involved with the paragraph to understand it.
  • Underline important lines or parts of the passage to answer the questions. It will also help to understand the main idea of the passage or the tone or mood of the author.
  • Try to translate a complex line in an easy one in your own words and your own language. This will help you in analyzing the main idea of the paragraph and in seeking the cause and effects of the passage.
  • Underline or mark the keywords. These will help you to discover the logical connections in the passage and help in understanding it better.
  • Try to understand some certain unfamiliar words by reading the line thoroughly. The theme of the line will make you understand the meaning of the words.
  • Determine the main idea, tone or mood, inferential reasoning, and other details from the paragraph.
  • Do not assume anything based on your personal belief.
  • Look back at the paragraph when in doubt.
  • Read the questions and all the alternative provided and choose the most appropriate one.

One Small Tip

Every time, you read something do not ignore an unknown word to find its meaning immediately. This will help you a lot to learn new words but don’t forget to use them in your day to day conversations, whenever possible. In this way, keep working on your vocabulary without stopping.

Solved Example for You

Problem: Classify the following words into a positive, negative, and neutral tone.

fortunately, unbiased, respected, detached, ironic, luckily, a matter of fact, ridiculous, amazingly enough, optimistic, Reverent, candid, pessimistic.


Positive Words Neutral Words Negative Words
Fortunately Unbiased Ironic
Respected Detached Ridiculous
Luckily A matter of fact Pessimistic
Amazingly enough Candid


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Comprehension Passages
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