1. Try many past questions papers and compare your answers with theirs.
2. In reading passages don’t be too fast or too slow. Practice with a clock. Don’t skip lines or paragraphs as some students do.
3. Acquire enough vocabulary – synonyms, antonyms, registers, idioms, figures of speech.
4. Know the definitions, names and functions of parts of speech and the roles various phrases and clauses play in the structure of sentences.
5.Master literary language whether you are a student of literature or not. Science students are usually guilty of careless attitudes in this regard.
TO ANSWER COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS (PART 1)
6. Answering comprehension passages is a good method for measuring your understanding of English Language. Bad grammar, spellings and tenses will receive low marks.
7. In the exam hall read fast and underline topic sentences or keywords. Look at the question then underline answers in the passage. Thereafter explain in your own words while knocking out unnecessary words from your answer.
8. Answers to comprehension questions should be full enough to offer adequate explanation of the points raised in the question, but they should strictly be relevant.
9. As a rule, the answer should be in the student’s own words, and should consist of a complete sentence or complete sentences.
10. Students are advised NEVER to use any material which is not in the original passage except the question specifically asks them to do so.
11. For emphasis students should not stick to the words of the passage slavishly lifting large portion of passages for every answer. They should not repeat the question phrase either .They should also remember that there are no suitable ready-made answers. Students are expected to initiate their own sentences and must have known this at least from SS1.
12. Though an answer can be restricted to a certain number of words it should generally not exceed 4 to 5 lines. Don’t give lengthy or verbose answers where simple ones will suffice. If a question asks for one word then answer with one word not one phrase. Remember to write legibly too
TO ANSWER COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS (PART 2)
13. The student must note the difference between questions requesting for paraphrasing and those which might permit some measure of lifting from the passage.
14. A passage should not be quoted word for word even if it contains the necessary elements for the answer. It should not be regarded as a ready made answer to students. In other words students should always express the idea of passages consciously in their own words. This is the reason why vocabulary development, use of thesauruses, dictionaries and school novel summary schemes are important.
15. Understanding Idioms as well as figurative expressions are very important for doing well in the comprehension test. However the meaning of idioms according to the passage rather than their dictionary meanings is what is usually required.
16. Students may be required to read between the lines of a passage to be able to draw proper conclusion or inference from that passage.
17. Many students when asked about parts of sentences are wont to giving very ridiculous answers such as “adjectival clause of manner” or” adverbial clause of time” ( ask your English languages tutors to explain the usages of these terms to you)
18. Others find comprehension passages difficult because they hardly read widely enough to acquire necessary reading skills. This in turn affects their vocabulary, and leads to shallowness in applying necessary techniques for answering comprehension questions.
19. The usual acceptable process leading to answering of a comprehension question is READ–UNDERSTAND–PARAPHRASE, The practice of this process is therefore very important during private study.
20. Many students also answer questions in a tense different from that used in the question e.g.
“What do eyewitness do…………?
“What does he suggest……………?
“Why does he suggest……………?
The answers to these questions are supposed to be in the present tense.
MARKING COMPREHENSION ANSWERS (scores might be slightly different but areas of emphasis remain the same)
21. For any grammatical error in any answer half mark shall be deducted.
22. Where a student gives two answers instead of one, and one of them is wrong, zero shall be awarded. However, if both answers are correct, full marks shall be awarded.
23. Where words/expressions in the answer are expected to replace words and expressions in the passage, they must fit in perfectly otherwise, zero should be awarded.
24. An answer can be made up of a phrase if so required
25. An answer taken as a whole must make sense before any part of it may be accepted for any mark
26. Questions on figures of speech normally include satire, metaphor, paradox, personification, rhetorical questions, simile, personification, oxymoron, euphemism, hyperbole and irony.
27. Questions on parts of speech or clauses are usually about adjectival clauses, relative clauses, adverbial clauses, which qualify the nouns, prepositional phrase, noun-clauses. Students are to ask tutors about the difference and significance of phrases and clauses to avoid unnecessary loss of marks.
28. For questions on vocabulary, there is a list of words prepared by EDUPEDIA which should be checked and known by students in addition to those they would have listed from their novel summary exercises or regular English Language classes.
Each comprehension passage usually has 20 marks allocated over the following question types
b. Drawing of Inferences
d. Figure of speech/Sentence structure
e. Vocabulary/Sentence structure
NEXT! SUMMARY PASSAGES/QUESTIONS