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What is being asked?
Some questions that you are likely to face in the examination are:

A. Attempting main idea questions

The main purpose of posing this kind of question is whether one can discern the most important issue or theme of the passage.


Application:  The main idea is always a statement; it will never sound like a title. A good statement of main idea is supported by at least most, if not all, of the details.
Tip: Check the first few and the last few lines of the passage. This is not a rule, however, and often one has to read the whole passage to get the central idea.


Mistake: Students tend to pick something that is too prevalent or too specific. This is a mistake. Try to pick so`mething that covers most of the text.
 

B.  Finding specific details

These questions are direct and text based. At times one has to bring out something unstated but from within the text. Of course some manipulation has to be done: if it is given directly in the passage, it is probably not the answer.

 

Application: Read the question carefully. It would be one of the following types:

        1.     According to the author…

        2.     Statement supported by the passage include…

        3.     The following are true except…

        4.     Which of the following are not true…

The answer is to be picked up from the text and some manipulation done to arrive at the answer.

 

Tip: Look for the key words in the answer choices. Once you find the keyword word the solution will be in its vicinity. Give it a thorough reading as you might pick something else irrelevant to what is being asked in the question.

 

Mistake: Please do not pick an option not supported by the text even if it appeals to your mind. Refrain from using personal general knowledge or expertise if it does not find place in the text.

 

C.   Inference based

An inference based query means that the answer has to be reasoned out of the various clues given in the text. 

 

 Application:

        1.     The author implies…

        2.     It can be inferred that…

        3.     The author would support which of the following…

        4.     This leads to the inference…

 

Tips:- Underline the hints in the passage – the words which one used by the author would give you the direction of thought of the author.  Make an analysis of all the ideas of the author and you are sure to get what you want.

 

Mistake: Be wary of anything that is directly stated in the passage.  A compulsive urge to pick something obvious would surely result in a mistake.

 

D.   Tone/attitude based

In this question, we have to figure out what is the state of mind of the author. Is he sarcastic, funny, serious, analytical?

 

Application:

        1.     The authors attitude towards the problem is…

        2.     The author regards the idea with…

        3.     The author’s tone in the passage is…

 

Tip: The student has to be sensitive enough to get to a relevant choice for a given question.

 

Mistake: Sometimes students do not understand the words given to describe the attitude or tone. Increasing vocabulary will certainly pay here.

 

E.  Technique based

The method of using stories or analogies as examples, comparisons, parallel issues, allegories, puns and organising the paragraphs in a passage are the technique of the author. 

 

Application: These questions are phrased as:

        (a)   Relationship between the second paragraph and the first paragraph is…

        (b)   The organisation of the passage can best be described as…

        (c)    The author does all of the following except…

 

Tip: Read the opening sentences carefully and see the method in which the paragraph relates to the passage as a whole and how the author builds up the argument etc.

 

Mistake: A student will get confused by the options given. In this case, form an answer is your mind before looking at the options.





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