Solving Reading Comprehensions

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Before you start reading this, make sure you’ve read the two previous posts of the ‘Reading Comprehension Series’. Find the first one here and the second one here.

Once you’ve familiarised yourself with reading the RCs, you need to start answering the questions. One thing you need to remember is that the appropriate answer to a question may not seem all that ‘correct’ and there may appear to be, at first sight, more than one feasible option. Relax, this is one of the many booby-traps thrown in by the CLAT setters to throw you off guard. May the best man (or woman) win.

So how exactly do you find the appropriate answer to a question? There are various methods that you should try out before deciding on the one that suits you best.

Many people prefer to first read the questions and then read the actual RC itself. This gives you a basic idea of what you are being questioned about, therefore when you read the passage, as and when you come across something that seems to be the appropriate answer, you can mark it and that’s one question done with. If you want to follow this method, it’s important to remember that while it may be good practice to read the questions first, what you must never EVER do is to read the options along with the questions, BEFORE reading the RC. This will only confuse you and take up an inordinate amount of your time. However, if you have read a question and while going through the RC you can’t seem to find an answer to it, do not panic. Read the passage carefully then go read the question again, along with the options. You will probably find the appropriate answer this time around. Needless to say, all this needs to be done while keeping the time constraint in mind.

While you are reading the questions, (at the risk of repeating myself), carefully notice the words that have been used. There could be questions like:

Q) Which of the following is the author most likely to agree with?
OR
Q) Which of the following is the author most likely to disagree with?

It’s important for you to not get confused between the two words here, that is a common mistake that many people tend to make especially if they are rushing through this section.  What works while solving such questions is that you keep an eye out for words that convey emotions of the author or adjectives he uses for certain things.

For example: School education stole fifteen years of my life.

Here, the author will probably agree with the fact that school education is pointless and disagree with the view that schooling should last longer.

Then, there are people who prefer reading the RC before reading the questions. This works well for those who tend to forget the questions or find it confusing to read them beforehand. This could be a more feasible method in certain situations. This is because if one reads the questions first, the mindset with which we read the RC becomes narrower and we read it with the objective of only finding the answers. This often causes people to get confused between two tricky options since our brain only absorbed what we thought was ‘correct’ and not the general gist of the entire thing. This will reduce your accuracy and cause you to go wrong more than you would like to. However, if you have read the RC first, your brain may have absorbed and assimilated it better but hence dispelling the confusion. However, this does not hold for ALL cases.

The first method tends to work better if you are running short of time. This is because it tends to be the quicker method of the two.  There may be questions asking you to choose an apt title for the RC. Here, what you need to keep in mind is that the option you pick should not be too broad or too narrow in context. While choosing a title, don’t think beyond what’s given but don’t focus on only one specific paragraph of the RC while choosing the title.

For example: “Mrs L bought a magnificent hat which looked like it belonged in the Museum for Modern Art. It was shaped like an inverted ice cream bowl and was decorated with baubles and flowers and floaty little ribbons. I thought it was quite revolting and was glad when her dog chewed it up.”

Now titles which would NOT be appropriate are:

1) Hats is Too broad, since only one specific hat has been described here.
2) Mrs L’s hideous taste in hats is Too narrow, since we don’t know if ALL her hats were equally disgusting.

Hope this helped!

Tanisha Pande,
Batch of 2017 – NALSAR

Next in this series: A Step Beyond Reading the Reading Comprehensions

4 COMMENTS

  1. thnq! 🙂
    will the passages given in my practice book(evergreen) for class 12th suffice for CLAT or should I go for a standard book, if there is any?

    • Try looking for passages which are a level more advanced than the ones in your 12th grade book. You’ll find such books in any good bookshop which deals with academic materials, just ask the shop owner for help. Or you could look for them online, RC exercises will be put up on this site too.

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