3 Important Tips To Master English Comprehension for the Selective School Exam

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

Reading. It is possibly the hardest subject to ‘prepare’ for in the Selective Test. This is because skills and knowledge in texts, their purpose and their language is something that takes a long time to develop.

Nevertheless, here are some exam ‘tricks’ which will help you boost your marks in the Selective Reading Test.

1. Read the Questions First

Why do you read an English comprehension text? It’s not to read and enjoy a story, it’s to answer the questions given. This means that when you read the text, you need to know what you are looking for.

For example, if one of the questions asks “what is this character feeling at this time?”, you know straightaway that you need to pay careful attention to what that character’s emotions are throughout the story, instead of just reading it.

2. Do the Easy Questions First

The Selective Test is a game of time. And in English, you have a little bit more than 1 minute per question. So, if you see a question that you know is going to take you more than 3 minutes to answer, skip it and leave it until last.

Say for example you see two questions within a text:

Q1. What emotion is conveyed in lines 11-13 of the passage?

Q2. What is the main difference in tone between Paragraphs 1 and 3?

Which one do you do first? Obviously question 1. All you need to do for that question, is to read lines 11-13, while you must read two whole paragraphs for question 2.

3. Make Sure To Read the First and Last Paragraphs

You’ll often see questions like “what is the overall theme of this text”, or “what is the best summary for this text”, which require you to read an entire passage, beginning to end.

Or do you?

Often, the author’s purpose will show in the beginning paragraphs and the ending paragraphs of a text. So, if you really don’t have time to read a whole text, just read the first and last couple of paragraphs from each end, and you will be able to deduce what the entire text is about.

Keep in mind that it is always best to read the entire passage to be able to answer questions like this, so use this trick as a last resort!

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