Reading comprehensions are designed to test one’s ability to read a passage, understand its contents and ability to draw inferences and that too in a limited amount of time.
Reading comprehension section in competitive exams such as RBI Grade B is same in this respect.
Let’s address important things required in solving a Reading Comprehension.
A simple understanding about reading speed is that a person who can read faster can answer more questions in the given time than a slow reader, considering other things remain equal.
There is no overnight solution to this. Constant and extensive reading will improve your reading rate. You must check your reading speed regularly. Take a passage, count the number of words, note the time taken to read it and calculate the speed in words per minute. Check your speed once a week and tabulate all the readings. Meanwhile, do extensive reading. You would notice in due time that your speed has increased.
The best way to increase your reading speed is to experiment while reading newspaper Editorials. You can try to read fast and maintain understanding of the passage at the same time. You might find it difficult to understand an article with higher speed, but overtime your speed as well as understanding will improve.
Comprehension of the passage
The second important thing about a Reading comprehension is understanding of the passage. One may be able to read the passage much faster than others but if he is not able to answer the questions pertaining to the passage, then the speed is of no use at all. It is essential to grasp the meaning of the passage while reading. While you are reading, you should constantly think, evaluate, reason out, judge and correlate with what has already been read. A good vocabulary would help you grasp the fundamental meaning of various issues discussed in the passage. You must also know how to derive meaning out of certain words based on the context mentioned in the passage. For all that, you must do an extensive reading and take a few tests to ensure you get enough practice.
In addition to good vocabulary, you should also develop the ability to zero in on the central theme of the passage. This can be developed by reading practice as well a proper concentration at the time of reading the passage. You should be able to develop the habit of correlating each new sentence read with the part of the passage already read and form a linkage of all the ideas expressed in the passage.
The passages given in RBI Grade B exam do not follow any standards regarding the subject matter or the length of the passage. Subjects may range from Sciences, Social Sciences, History, Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Current Affairs etc. A student is not expected to have any prior knowledge of the topics given.
Regarding the length of each passage, it is normally in the range of 500-700 words. However, there can be shorter passages as well. The number of questions pertaining to a passage may vary, but are not usually more than five.
There are 30 questions which are asked in the English section, out of which RBI asks 10 questions (might vary) based on 2 Reading Comprehensions (5 questions in each passage). The difficulty level of those are usually easy to moderate. This makes Reading Comprehension an important yet Easy area to generate marks.
There are different ways of going forward with Reading Comprehension. Different strategies are discussed below.
There are two ways to solve a Reading Comprehension
- Reading the questions first
This method is usually followed when you are facing a time crunch. Once you have gone through all the questions, you must notice and remember the keywords which are being mentioned. And when you read the passage later, you can spot those keywords and can derive the solution to the given question.
But, you must also remember that a passage is written in a logical manner and questions might not be given in any order, so reading unrelated questions and remembering them can pose difficulties.
Here, you must be very careful of the point that you must avoid reading the answer choices, as they start to form an idea in your head, which might prove counter productive.
- Reading the passage first
You should remember one thing when you are trying to address questions of a Reading Comprehension, you cannot solve all the questions just by reading the passage once. You will have to refer back to the passage based on the questions. Hence, you should not try extremely hard to remember all the points while reading the passage.
When you read the passage, do not do a detailed reading to understand all the points that the author is making. It should be more of scanning in nature. The main objective at this stage should be to KNOW what points the author is trying to make rather than UNDERSTAND the points. Once the points are known, and when you go to the questions, you can go back to the relevant part of the passage and read that portion in detail to understand what the author is saying and then answer that particular question. You must identify and underline the key words and phrases in the passage when you are reading it the first time.
Key points to remember
- While solving Vocabulary based questions, remember you do not have to understand the theme of the passage, you can answer them just by knowing their exact meaning or you can spot them in the passage and derive the meaning out of the context. YOU DO NOT EVEN HAVE TO READ THE PASSAGE while attempting these questions. If you are facing time crunch, you can directly go to these type of questions and solve them by referring to the passage. 2 to 3 questions out of 10 can be solved in this manner.
- After you are done with Vocabulary questions, you can move towards questions that ask about a specific issue of the paragraph. These questions do not require a reading of the entire paragraph. You can search for that particular area and answer it by reading the specific part only.
- After going through the above mentioned questions, you will be left with questions that require understanding of the entire Reading Comprehension. These type of questions are often tricky and difficult to answer. If you have read the entire passage, then you can try to solve these questions.