Posted on 12th August 2012
Approaching Comprehension Papers
The coming months are prime time for doing plenty of practice comprehension papers in preparation for the 11+ and entrance examinations.
To help get you off to a good start, here are some tips for approaching the papers…
Although it seems terribly obvious, it really is absolutely vital that you take plenty of time to read the passage or passages carefully.
This also goes for the questions.
Ideally you should read the passage once through. Then read all of the questions. Now read the passage again. After this, start answering the questions one by one.
Do look out for any definitions of key words or terms that the examiners may have given you to help you out.
When you are looking through the questions, highlight key words so that you have a greater chance of understanding them fully.
Always answer in full sentences. This is very important and will separate you from the crowd. Include as much detail as you can and think is necessary.
In your answers do make sure that your spelling is accurate, that you punctuate your writing properly and that everything is grammatically correct.
If the questions ask you to provide evidence to support your answer then you really must do so. Include short quotations and identify key parts of the text.
Write in formal English and avoid using slang or a colloquial tone.
Keep an eye out for how many marks are available for each question. This will help you to plan how long and detailed your answer should be. On the whole you tend to get a mark per point made.
Make sure your handwriting is neat and legible; you don’t want to miss out on marks because the examiner can’t read your answer!
If a question asks you for a definition of a word then look at the context. The sentence around the word you have been asked to define will probably give you a lot of clues.
Look both for explicit evidence in the text and what the author is saying implicitly.
Do leave enough time at the end of the exam to check your answers.
If the paper is a multiple choice one then cover the possible answers, read the question and come up with what you think the answer is, then look at the options they give you and find the one closest to your original idea.
Keep an eye on the clock but make sure you take your time and don’t rush. Avoid thinking about how fast/slow everyone around you appears to be going.