At the end of the day the best ‘method’ for the Reading Comprehension is the one that best works for you. One method that I think works almost all of the time is divided into four parts.
Step 1- Read and Identify the question. Here are the question types – learn to recognize them by sight.
- Main Idea – (80% of the questions), questions about the title, “the passage primarily….”, make sure a general question like this one gets a general answer.
- Detail – specific facts – “According to the passage…”, (dates, numbers, difficult words) – underline them as you read.
- Inference – “infer, imply, suggest” – the answer will NOT be directly in the passage
- Vocabulary in context – “In line 34 the word —- most nearly means”
- Tone – the author’s or the passage’s attitude. Often contains convoluted answers.
- Rhetorical Questions – “All except…”, “the least / most likely…”
- Logical questions – you’ll see a list of three statements (I, II, III) and you’ll have to match or eliminate choices depending on the directive.
Step 2 – Read the passage. While reading the passage, underline key words, phrases, names, first or last sentences of the paragraphs – anything that you feel will be important. This is for a few reasons. One, it will keep you focused, you’ll have a purpose and this will alleviate boredom. The passages are boring on purpose. Second, you will have read the questions and it is quite possible that you will recognize an answer or a key section of the passage while reading.
Step 3 – Answer the questions. Remember to skip the questions that you are mystified by. If you can do any narrowing down, take an educated guess. With the work you’ve done familiarizing yourself with the questions types and the content within – you improve your capabilities exponentially.
Step 4 – Re-read the passage, only if you have the time.
Notes: Find a quiet place to study and read. One flaw in the young person of today is the mistaken belief that he can adequately prepare / read / study / focus and listen to music, text, IM, web surf all at the same time. You can’t. Actually, you can do all of those things at the same time, but you can’t do any of them well unless you can singularly focus with peace around you. Those of you that think “this time it’s different”, it isn’t. You simply cannot erase centuries of proof showing that focusing is something that one needs quiet to do well. Stop fooling yourself and read or practice your craft in a quiet place. You not only learn and absorb what you’re reading, but you practice the not-so-easy craft of self discipline. This will separate you from the herd.