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Is comprehension a reason to worry about???

Of the late Reading Comprehension has become a big headache for the students appearing in the Civil Services Preliminary Examination.

Of the late Reading Comprehension has become a big headache for the students appearing in the Civil Services Preliminary Examination. Majority people who couldn’t make it for the mains either left huge marks unattempted only because they couldn’t manage the time while trying to solve the questions of Reading Comprehension or they couldn’t grasp the basic essence of the passages and marked the answers wrong. It is true that given the weightage UPSC gives to the Reading Comprehensions (nearly 40% to 45% of Paper II) it is absurd that one can leave them while attempting Prelim Paper II (CSAT), along with this the other sections of the paper can also not be ignored. We have already discussed about the various sources of Comprehensions given by UPSC in the previous three years of examinations but to solve them what you need is a resounding strategy. Here we tried to solve this problem for you:-

1) Broaden your database (knowledge)

What section of the newspaper do you turn to while reading a newspaper? Is it the sports section, the editorials, the celebrity column or some other section? I go with the sports section first. Why? Because I like to read news and reports about the sports events.

Similarly, the section that you like to read the most is the one you are most comfortable with.

Do you ever get bored reading that section or do you ever have difficulty understanding what’s written in that section? The answer, of course, is no (or else you would not read it).

Reading essays on topics which you understand and know about is very easy as compared to reading on alien topics. Hence, it is very important to develop a broad background of knowledge in various fields. Remember that essays from any field can come in Reading Comprehension questions.

You can improve your knowledge base by reading books, newspapers, magazines, articles and periodicals regularly. Start taking interest in what is happening around the world. This would not only help you develop your reading skills but also help you with your General Studies (especially what we call ‘current affairs’) and Personal Interview stage.

2) Learn to understand the structure of Paragraphs

Most often, the paragraphs used in Reading Comprehension passages are taken from articles or periodicals written by good writers. These writers generally have a well defined structure of constructing a paragraph. Their paragraphs will mostly have a proper beginning, middle part and an end section. Knowing the functions of the respective parts can help you understand what the passage is trying to convey. For example, the first sentence will most probably be constructed in such a way that it gives the reader the main idea of what is to come in the passage.

3) Choose your Passages Carefully

Accuracy holds the key in Reading Comprehension as well as Verbal Ability as a whole. So, try and finish the easy passages first instead of wasting time on tough passages.

How do I know if a passage is easy?

Keep two things in mind:

a) Is the topic of the passage something you are familiar with?

b) Are the question direct or twisted?

Solve passages having direct questions first. It will be better if the passage is on a subject which you know about.

4) Focus on Comprehension, instead of speed

While reading speed is a key factor in saving time, it is not the most important criteria. One can read a passage very fast without really understanding what it is about. Hence, you need to make sure that you pay more attention to reading the passage instead of Reading Speed.

You should be able to comprehend the passage fast. This will help you a lot in solving the questions. On the other hand, if you just read fast and do not comprehend properly, you may have to revert to the passage again and again.

5) Keep noting the main points of the passage

As long as possible, try to note down the main points of the passage while you are reading it.

Noting down the main points would help you in case you forget something. This will prevent the unpleasant experience of searching for ‘that point I read somewhere’.

Follow these and I am sure you will come out with comparative ease….

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