Be free to refer back to the passage as many times as you like. Indeed, it is unsafe to answer merely from memory. This is specially so in the case of multiple choice questions where some of the answer choices could be subtly, though not clearly, wrong. Only a careful review will help you to zero in on the fact that shows why one answer choice is correct and not the others.
A common mistake made by students is to bring their own knowledge to bear on their answers. This happens when the subject of the passage is familiar to the student. If you know a great deal about the subject of the passage, be doubly careful in answering the questions: you are required to base your answer or choice of answer entirely on the passage.
So, if the passage says, for some reason, that only black cats exist, you had better forget—for the space of answering questions—that you have seen white cats, spotted cats, and striped cats.
In the multiple-choice type, especially, you may be tempted to pick an answer choice just because you know it to be factually true, or because you agree with what it says. In either case, you would be committing a mistake if the substance of those answer choices is not based on the information in the passage.
The correct answer choice must reflect the opinions and facts expressed in the passage, irrespective of your own beliefs and knowledge. In the descriptive type, you may tend to write details which may be true but which are not to be found in the passage. Strictly curb this tendency, and do not give your opinion unasked. Question-setters often resort to tricky answer choices in the multiple-choice type. Some of these sound plausible, and are often placed among the first few choices, say, as a or b.
Restrain yourself from marking it off immediately as the correct one; if you go on to read the other choices, you may find a better answer. In these questions, unlike in mathematics questions, there may be degrees of right and wrong, and you are required to choose the best of the answer choices given.
Yet another pitfall to avoid is marking as correct an answer choice just because it seems familiar; it probably is, because the idea occurs in some part of the passage, but it may not be the answer to the question asked. It is always better to refer back to the passage to get the correct answer. Questions on comprehension passages often relate to meanings of words or phrases in the given passage.
If you have to write the answer, express yourself clearly, bringing out the meaning of the term in the context of its use in the passage. The word may have more than one meaning; see to it that you choose to give the one that makes sense in the context of the passage.
It is also to be kept in mind that the meaning is expressed in conformity with the part of speech—noun, adjective, verb, adverb—in which it is used. Remember these points, as they will help you even while choosing your answer response correctly in the multiple choice format.
Practice Improves Skills Practice, to repeat that well-worn cliche, makes perfect. There is no doubt that the more you practise, the better you will do. The first two sets of exercises in the following pages should give you good practice at answering questions to test your comprehension—the multiple choice as well as the descriptive variety.
Clearly then, to make a precis involves compressing a given passage to express a gist or the essential theme of that passage. A precis is not a paraphrase; it can and, indeed, needs to omit the smaller details, the irrelevant embellishments, that occur in the given passage.
A precis must be clear, concise and roughly one-third in length compared to the original passage. Precis exercises demand reading with concentration, so that you understand and retain the substance of what you have read.
It is only when you can grasp the main ideas of a passage that you can summarise it. In this demand for concentrated reading, the exercise is similar to Reading Comprehension. Precis also requires you to write well—to communicate your thoughts briefly, precisely and effectively. Writing precis teaches you to avoid vagueness, haphazard arrangement of facts, irrelevant details and repetitions.
You learn to choose the correct and effective word in a particular context, construct sentences which are brief yet full of information, and put your facts and ideas in a logical pattern. Strategies and Techniques Reading The first and foremost step is to read the passage in the same manner as you did for Comprehension. You need to get at the main ideas in precis exercises, too. Zero in on to the subject and what is said about the subject. A precis usually needs to be given a title.
Reading to locate the main idea of the passage will help you devise a suitable title. Again, what you have already read about in relation to Comprehension may be applied to precis—how to locate the main idea. Summarise the main idea into an effective title of not more than five words; it may be shorter than that, of course.
Careful reading will give you an idea of the important details which you cannot leave out in your precis. It is necessary to be clear about the meanings of words in the passage. Refer to a dictionary when in the least doubt, for the very essence of the passage may be lost if you misunderstand a key word or phrase. Make notes in the margin, and underline sentences you feel are most important as you read. It is practice that makes you an expert at selecting the important and discarding the unimportant.
The strategy is to always keep in mind the main theme of the passage and ask yourself, as you read, whether the other sentences are relevant to that main idea. Ask whether they illustrate some aspect; whether they complete, in some way, what the theme states; whether they lead on to some fresh idea on the main theme.
Underlining and making marginal notes are not enough; you must note down the points that strike you as important. Writing The next step is to make a rough draft.
You have your notes. Johnson from this passage? Explain the meanings of the words written in bold types. Because they lead a peaceful life and want no change. We should know that our hold upon life is very risky and that we may die any moment. Johnson was afraid of death. He led a peaceful life and wanted no change. He was fond of tea. If we lead an active life facing dangers, we will less fear death. People, who lead a lazy and peaceful life, are the most afraid of death.
The most sensible way of getting rid of the fear of death is to value life properly. If we do not give unnecessary importance to our life, we will not feel the pang of death. Sample 1 It is physically impossible for a well-educated, intellectual, or brave man to make money the chief object of his thoughts just as it is for him to make his dinner the principal object of them. All healthy people like their dinners, but their dinner is not the main object of their lives.
So all healthy minded people like making money ought to like it and enjoy the sensation of winning it; it is something better than money. A good soldier, for instance, mainly wishes to do his fighting well. He is glad of his pay—very properly so and justly grumbles when you keep him ten years without it—till, his main mission of life is to win battles, not to be paid for winning them.
So of clergymen. The clergyman's object is essentially baptize and preach not to be paid for preaching. So of doctors. They like fees no doubt—ought to like them; yet if they are brave and well-educated the entire object to their lives is not fees. They on the whole, desire to cure the sick; and if they are good doctors and the choice were fairly to them, would rather cure their patient and lose their fee than kill him and get it. And so with all the other brave and rightly trained men: their work is first, their fee second—very important always; but still second.
The Main Points: 1. Money making is a common attraction in life. But it cannot be the principal aim of well-educated, intellectual brave persons. Precis Summary: Money-making is a common attraction in life. But it cannot be the principal aim of well educated, cultured and brave man. A brave soldier prizes honour and victory more than his pay. A good clergyman is more interested in the moral welfare of his people than his returns.
A doctor good values the care of his patient far more than his fees. Thus with all the well-educated, intellectual persons, their work is first, money next. Sample 2 Home is the young, who known "nothing of the world and who would be forlorn and sad, if thrown upon it. It is providential, shelter of the weak and inexperienced, who have to learn as yet to cope with the temptations which lies outside of it.
It is the place of training of those who are not only ignorant, but have no yet learnt how to learn, and who have to be taught by careful individual trail, how to set about profiting by the lessons of teacher. And it is the school of elementary studies—not of advances, for such studies alone can make master minds. Moreover, it is the shrine of our best affections, the bosom of our fondest recollections, at spell upon our after life, a stay for world weary mind and soul; wherever we are, till the end comes.
Such are attributes or offices of home, and like to these, in one or other sense or measure, are the attributes and offices of a college in a university. Precis Summary Home shelters the young who are weak and unexperienced and unable to face the temptations in life.
It is a centre of their elementary education and a nursery of sweet affections and pleasant memories. Its magic lasts for ever. A weary mind turn to it for rest. Such is the function of a home and in some measure of the university. After a few minutes, the explosives were set off electrically, sending up a shower of water.
When the water settled again, the diver descended for a third time to examine the contents of the safe. The explosion had torn away the door. In the lamp light he caught sight of shining metal. Closer examination showed that there were neat piles of gold bars inside the safe.
Very excited now, the diver took one of the bars and returned once more to the waiting ship above. Could he open it or not? What did he take with him? Where did he go after the underwater explosion? Did he return to the surface at once, or did he stay in the ship-wreck? I had arranged to arrive in Vienna at 7. I explained the situation to the ticket-collector who advised me to get off two stops before Vienna Central Station and take a taxi. When the time came, he even helped me with my luggage.
He wished me good luck as I jumped off, and a few minutes later I was racing towards the centre of the city in a taxi. It was almost 7. I paid the driver quickly, seized my bags and hurried inside. What did I want to do in Vienna? Did I arrive at the station late, or was I just in time? Was the train standing in the station, or was it just leaving? Did I catch it, or did I miss it?
Driving along a main road one dark night he suddenly had a flat tyre. Even worse, he discovered that he did not have a spare wheel in the back of his car! Jones waved to passing cars and lorries, but not one of them stopped. Half an hour passed and he was almost in despair. At last he waved to a car just like his own. To his surprise, the car actually stopped and a well-dressed young woman got out. Jones was terribly disappointed. How could a person like this possibly help him?
The lady, however, offered him her own spare wheel, but Jones had to explain that he had never changed a wheel in his life! She set to work at once and fitted the wheel in a few minutes while Jones looked on in admiration. Did he have a spare wheel with him or not? Who stopped in the end? Was he able to fit it or not '1 What did she do? We first saw workmen mixing sand and other materials together in the right amounts.
Then they added some broken glass to the mixture as this helps it to melt. They then fed the mixture into a big hot oven. At the far end of the oven, a stream of liquid glass came out. Here some men lowered a metal frame into the liquid. As the frame came up, it pulled away a hot sheet of glass. Special rollers took hold of the sheet at either side and carried it upwards.
Our guide told us that at this stage it was necessary for the glass to cool slowly as this would make it very strong. At a height of 30 feet, the sheet of glass became cool and another machine cut it into big pieces which workmen stored away together.
The glass was now ready for use. What did a metal frame draw up? Did workmen cut it into small pieces, or did a machine cut it into big pieces? Born without arms, he had been to special schools where he learned to use his feet as 'hands'.
He spent all his spare time watching trains and one day his dreams came true. Seeing a deserted engine, the boy climbed in. He had no difficulty in starting it up with his feet. Soon he was travelling along at forty miles an hour. Signalmen could not see the young driver, so they set out to stop the train. Meanwhile the boy reached Missouri, stopped the engine himself, and then made it go backwards. When he was near home, a railway-man caught up with the engine and stopped it.
At first he was very angry, but he smiled when the boy said simply, 'I like trains. Did he start it up or not '1 Did he get as far as Missouri or not? Who stopped it? What did he answer? My imagination never seems to get beyond ties, handkerchiefs, or pairs of socks.
But, strangely enough, it did not take me long to decide on Tom's birthday present. For the first time in my life I had a good idea-I would buy him a bottle of champagne. Before the party began, Tom suggested that I should open the bottle.
I put it between my knees and began to pull, but it remained firmly corked. Soon a crowd gathered round to watch the fight between me and the bottle. I could hear all sorts of 'helpful' suggestions from the guests like 'Break the top off! We were struggling on the floor together, when all of a sudden there was a loud 'pop! Did I buy an unusual one for my friend Tom or not?
Did they make 'helpful' suggestions or not? Could I open the bottle easily or not '! What did the bottle do? There was mud on his face and on his tom clothes. He asked for food and shelter. He told the woman that a 'friend' had given him her address.
She immediately asked what the name of the friend was, but he replied that he had forgotten. This made the woman suspicious. She knew that the enemy was making every effort to prevent the local people from helping prisoners. Deciding not to take the risk, she told the man she could not help him. For days she wondered whether she had acted rightly-until she heard that enemy soldiers had arrested a neighbour for helping a 'prisoner of war'. The arrest put the villagers on their guard, for they realized that the enemy had sent out specially trained soldiers who pretended to be prisoners who had escaped.
Could he remember his name or not? Did she let the man in or did she refuse to let him in? What effect did the arrest have on the villagers? He explains the present political situation, women's fashions, or tells me jokes which I have heard at least five times already.
They are superior to beast, because they live in human society. In this chapter, however, the Subject will not always be a single word, but will freauently take the form of a phrase. People, who lead a lazy and peaceful life, are the most afraid of death. My barber was close behind me with a comb and a pair of scissors in his hands. When she opened the living-room door, an extraordinary sight met her eyes.
A doctor good values the care of his patient far more than his fees. But beyond the broken horizon, you see a friendly sight. Precis Summary: Money-making is a common attraction in life. So of clergymen. Recognising the structure of the passage helps you to easily locate any detail asked for in a question. How can we get rid of the fear of death?
Special rollers took hold of the sheet at either side and carried it upwards. While answering the questions, the answers have to be from what is given in the passage itself as out outside knowledge is not entertained in a comprehension. When did I telephone again? The individual is what he is and has the significance that he has, not much in virtue of the individuality, but rather as a member of a great human community, which directs his material and spiritual existence from the cradle to grave. A good soldier, for instance, mainly wishes to do his fighting well.
If there are conversations in the passage, reduce them to their essentials in indirect form. This happens when the subject of the passage is familiar to the student. Previewing gives you an idea about the contents and the organisation of the passage, and this helps you to understand the passage better when you read it. Precis Summary: Money-making is a common attraction in life. Signalmen could not see the young driver, so they set out to stop the train.
The man who had sat next to me was not so lucky. Sample 3 Teaching is the noblest of professions. In this case, your answers should be brief, to the point, and, as far as possible, formed in your own words. Its magic lasts for ever. The actual range taking into account the words used in the previous Chapter is about words.