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READING COMPREHENSION

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THEORY

Comprehension comes from the word 'comprehend' which means 'to understand'. Reading comprehension is the process of constructing meaning from text. The goal of all reading comprehensions is ultimately targeted at helping a reader comprehend text. Reading is a very important aspect of understanding. You can start reading anything that interests you; it can be anything on sports, entertainment, politics. etc. The newspaper is one medium that covers all subjects.
In Reading Comprehension, three things are very important:
A] Understanding
B] Assimilation
C] Retention

To answer the questions on a comprehension passage, the student is required to get a good grasp of the passage so that he may understand the objective queries on the passage, which he should try to assess accurately. He should not overact or invent anything extra.
Types of Passages:
There are various kinds of passages. You can differentiate passages
A] According to their subject/ content; and
B] According to the style of writing

A] According to their subject/ content
In the first category would come subjects as varied as literature, arts, music, science. etc. The more familiar you are with a particular topic the easier understanding and assimilation become. Therefore, it is important to read a variety of topics while you in the preparation mode.
B] According to the style of writing
There can be various styles of writing. A few of the commonly-used-in-examination styles of writing are:
1. Analytical: These passages generally deal with weighing pros and cons of a specific
passage, or studying a concept in a detailed and analytical way
2. Descriptive: These passages have to do with descriptions, which can relate to an event/
discovery/ travelogue/ accident/ scene etc. The focus here is on being descriptive and
illustrative
3. Factual: These passages are fact and instance driven. They are not overtly descriptive and
talk about the central idea of the passage in a very regular, straightforward way
4. Argumentative: These passages are somewhat like analytical passages. the difference
being that they do put forth a point of view or weigh the pros and cons of a particular issue
but they also put forth an argument and a stand-point
5. Abstract: These passages deal with ideas rather than events. They can be philosophical or
metaphysical (something which is beyond the physical or concrete).
Main questions in a reading comprehension
1. Main Theme/ Idea Questions - Main theme, idea, or point questions test your understanding of the entire passage. They ask broad questions that focus on the passage's primary issues.
2. Author's Attitude or Tone Questions - This type of question tests whether you understand how the author views the subject about which he or she writes. Attitude and tone questions will ask you for a description of the author's feelings about the subject. As you read these kinds of passages, think to yourself about whether the argument the writer is making seems to support or attack his subject. Also. pay attention to the language the author uses, which will help you to determine tone.
For example, you might have to choose between "anger" and "disapproval." Both of these words imply that the author has negative sentiments about what the passage is discussing, so to answer this question correctly you have to determine the intensity of the author's negative perspective. Is the author enraged, mildly disturbed, or strongly disapproving?
3.  Specific Information Questions - Questions on specific information ask you to find precisely that: specific information. The questions will indicate a section of the passage, usually pointing it with line numbers, and asking a question about the information presented within that specific area.
4.implied Information Questions - Just as in specific information questions, these questions will identify and inquire about a particular section of the passage. However, whereas specific information questions ask about concrete information contained in the text, implied information questions ask about the less obvious information contained "between the lines" of the text. Often, you will be able to identify these questions with words such as "inferred," "implied," "indicated," or "suggested.
5. Understanding Themes and Arguments Questions - These questions test your ability to look at particular lines in the text and identify the underlying assumptions. Alternatively, you might look at these questions as testing your ability to understand how particular lines fit into the larger arguments or themes in the passage. Argument questions are very common, so it pays to be ready for them.
6. Words-in-Context Questions - Words-in-context questions follow a very standard form. These questions will provide you with a line number and a word or short phrase in quotes and ask you about the meaning of that word in the context of the passage. Unlike most other reading comprehension questions, you can approach these questions in a strategic way that will—at the very least-help you eliminate choices
Warm-Up: Before starting with an actual reading comprehension course in a multiple choice question format, let's work on 2 types of exercises to know how understanding and precision are tested under reading comprehensions.
Warm-Up Part 1: Determine whether the statements that follow the passage are true or false, based on the information given in the passage.
Example 1
The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in China, built, rebuilt, and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire hiring the rule of successive dynasties. Several walls, referred to as the Great Wall of China, were built since
5th century BC. The most famous is the wall built between 220 BC and 200 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang; little of it remains; it was much farther north than the current wall, which was built during the Ming Dynasty.
The Great Wall is the world's longest human-made structure, stretching over approximately 6,400 km (4,000 miles) from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Nur in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia, but stretches to over 6,700 km (4,160 miles) in total. It is also the largest human-made structure ever built in terms of surface area and mass. At its peak, the Ming Wall was guarded by more than one million men. It has been estimated that somewhere in the range of 2 to 3 million Chinese died as part of the centuries-long project of building the wall.
(a) It is world's longest man-made structure.
(b)The Ming wall was guarded by more than one million men.
(c)The Great Wall of China stretches over 10000 miles from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop
Nur in the west.
(d)It is the largest human-made structure ever built in terms of surface area.
Answers:
(a) True. Refer to first line of second paragraph.
(b) True. Refer to the sixth line of the second paragraph.
(c) False - it stretches over 4000 miles. Refer to line two of second paragraph.
(d) True. Refer to the second line of second paragraph
Example 2
Metro rail service in Delhi has come as a much awaited gift for the people of Delhi, which has indeed changed the transport facility of the city. It has become the "life line" of Delhi as people are dependent on Delhi Metro for commuting to different places within the city. Delhi Metro Project has been recognized all over the world for its specialty in terms of a hi-tech rail and better equipped transport system. The project is under the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), and it deserves all the credit for transforming the transport service of the city.

Metro rail in the city has reduced the traffic to some extent and the pollution level has certainly declined. Construction of Metro is still in progress in other parts of the city as the network of Delhi Metro is expected to cover whole of Delhi by the year 2010. Delhi Metro is equipped with modern facilities and the state of art design makes it very different from other metro rails in the world. Security within the metro rail has been given prime importance. The train ensures the safety and comfort of passengers with hi-tech compartments having adequate security cover. The compartments are fully automatic with gates being operated automatically and there are emergency exits in the train. You can communicate with the driver of the train at any point in case of an emergency.
(a) Delhi Metro has improved the transport facilities in Delhi.
(b) Security is neglected in Delhi Metro.
(c) Delhi Metro has been recognized as a better-equipped transport system in the world.
(d) By 2020, the network of Delhi metro is planned to be stretched over the full city.
Answers
(a) True. The whole passage talks about metro as a boon to Delhi city.
(b) False. Refer to line fifth of the second paragraph.
(c) True. Refer to first paragraph.
(d) False, as it is planned by the year 2010. Refer to line two of second paragraph
Example 3
Blood is a specialized bodily fluid that delivers necessary substances to the body's cells — such as nutrients and oxygen — and transports waste products away from those same cells. In vertebrates, it is composed of blood cells suspended in a liquid called blood plasma. Plasma, which comprises 55% of blood fluid, is mostly water (90% by volume, and contains dissolved proteins, glucose, mineral ions, hormones, carbon dioxide (plasma being the main medium for excretory product transportation), platelets and blood cells themselves. The blood cells present in blood are mainly red blood cells (also called RBCs or erythrocytes) and white blood cells, including leukocytes and platelets (also called thromocytes).
The most abundant cells in vertebrate blood are red blood cells. These contain hemoglobin, an iron-containing protein, which facilitates transportation of oxygen by reversibly binding to this respiratory gas and greatly increasing its solubility in blood. In contrast, carbon dioxide is almost entirely transported in an extracellular way and is dissolved in plasma as bicarbonate ion.
(a) Blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to cells.
(b) Red blood cells are found in abundance in vertebrate blood.
(c) Erythrocytes are the other name given to white blood cells.
(d) Hemoglobin does not necessarily contain an iron-containing protein.
Answers
(a) The statement is true. Refer to very first paragraph.
(b) Refer to last paragraph. It is true.
(c) It is false, Refer to line sixth of second paragraph.
(d) It is false, refer to line first of last paragraph.
Warm-Up Part II: Write the central idea of the passage in the box that follows the passage. Make sure that your central idea covers the significant part of the passage wholly.
Example 4
A Zen Master lived the simplest kind of life in a little but at the foot of a mountain. One evening, while he was away, a thief sneaked into the but only to find there was nothing in it to steal. The Zen Master returned and found him. "You have come a long way to visit me," he told the prowler, "and you should not return empty handed. Please take my clothes as a gift." The thief was bewildered, but he took the clothes and ran away. The Master sat naked, watching the moon. "Poor fellow," he mused, "I wish I could give him this beautiful moon."
Example 5
Good nutrition and regular exercise are essential for good health. However, we sometimes hear about people who have not eaten perfectly or have not exercised regularly. Yet they have gone on to live 100 years and more. What could be the catch here? Research attributes this to the way we handle stress. Stress has not escaped anyone and it is therefore important that we deal with it in a mature manner. The human body is equipped with a 'fight or flight' mechanism that makes its own decisions whether it wishes to deal with a particular problem or flee from real and present danger. The brain makes an immediate analysis of a situation and sends orders to take necessary action. The catch here is that, the mechanism is also activated when we perceive danger, even though no such danger exists. Our minds have been programmed from infancy with many "untrue thoughts" — many false beliefs. It is when we think of these "untrue thoughts" that we cause ourselves anxiety and our bodies go into the stress response. However, we all have a "Wise Self" that knows truth from lies. When we move "out of our minds" and into our knowing, we will stop thinking the thoughts that cause anxiety and instead operate from the truth of our knowing.
Warm-Up Part III: Each passage is followed by four titles. Choose the title that suits the passage most appropriately. This is how central idea questions are generally put across.
Example 6
We often tend to forget that our kids are as much individuals as we are, only smaller. We also forget that they are constantly watching our every move, every word and every single gesture. They are not judging us, perhaps because they think that if we are doing it, it must be the right thing to do! That is the dangerous part of being a parent. isn't it? As the old saying goes , "Kids remember a little of what we say but all of what we do." Parents, be careful how you raise your kids, they are your future, they are our future.
Select a tide is suitable for the above passage.
(a) Kids - Our Future
(b) Teaching Children Responsibility
(c) Be Careful - Those Little Eyes Are Watching You
(d) How to Raise a Smarter Child
Answer: The whole passage relates to how a child learns just by observing the elders. Hence, option C.
Example 7
Did you ever think smoking two cigarettes could be enough to impair a person's night vision? Dr Charles Sheard of the Mayo Clinic put forth the theory that the nicotine contained in cigarettes acts as a vasoconstrictor (an agent that causes constriction of blood vessels). This nicotine cuts the blood flow to the retina thus causing a IS to 30 minute delay in the time eyes require to adjust themselves to dim light. It is for this reason that the Army Air Forces makes it mandatory for its pilots to refrain from smoking before night flights.
Which of the following could be a suitable title for the passage?
(a) Dangerous Vasoconstrictors
(b) Smoking and Night Vision
(c) The Army Air Force Manual
(d) Inhale but don't Exhale!
Answer: Going through the paragraph, the central idea is the link between smoking and night vision. Hence, option B
Specimen Passage (Example 8, 9 and 10)
Once the leaders of the rebellion were executed or dispersed, the British Government admitted its previous errors - tacitly, of course - and sought to rectify old wrongs. King George Ill, who had complained that he would go mad if his American colonies were lost. regained his spirits and proved surprisingly forgiving. No more than a third of the colonists had supported the insurrection, in any event. and six years of bloodshed and hardship that followed were quickly forgotten in the era of good feeling after the war. The colonies were placed under a unified government for the first time, and a new capital was established across the East River from Manhattan, in the fertile fields of the Brooklyn.
8. The passage states that the British government ..............
(a) Was punished by the leaders of the rebellion
(b) In a way, apologized for its former mistakes after the rebellion was Over
(c) Agreed to release the rebels from the prison
(d) Was supported by the majority of the colonies
9. It's clear from the passage that 
(a) King George was put in a mental hospital when the American colonies rebelled
(b) One third of the colonists were killed in the attempted rebellion
(c) After the revolt, the king was not as angry as people had expected
(d) The rebels were successful in their attempt to gain power
10. After the war      
(a) A single government was formed to unite the colonies
(b) The clan fighting and rations continued for yet another six years
(c) Most colonists were still not happy about their position
(d) The colonies were full of hatred because of the previous years of death and misery.
Answers
8. 'The British Government admitted its previous errors - tacitly, of course - and sought to rectify
old wrongs' is a great clue for the answer. Hence, as it suggests the correct option is B.
9. 'King George III, who.... proved surprisingly forgiving' reflects the king's attitude towards
people. Therefore, C is the correct answer
10. A single government was formed to unite the colonies after the war, hence A. Refer to line


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