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Ace the Reading Comprehension Section

Ace the Reading Comprehension Section

Ace the Reading Comprehension Section

By Admin / May 07, 2019


Reading Comprehension (RC) is the integral part of any study abroad or competitive exam in the country today. Be it online or offline, most of the students in the region shun reading and hence find it scary. Their laid-back attitude can be attributed to dwindling reading habits thanks to modern technology.

In today’s jet set age where everybody is in a hurry, texting has become an important mode of communication. Emails, SMS text messages, social media interaction, and instant messaging programs like Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, etc. are all widely used to accelerate communication. 

Texting forces us to use short forms as with limited space children resort to shorter sentences. This engaging in sustained texting leads to reduced attention span as children are switching back and forth, with breaks, between messages and are uninterested in reading longer texts. The constant use of technology is hampering their ability to concentrate and persevere in the face of challenging tasks.

Another reason for the apprehension of the students is to be found in their growing years. While bringing up their children the parents unintentionally discourage their children from reading. More often than not the parents use reading as a punishment. How many times have you been told to go to your room and read? This invariably associates reading as a negative thing.

Moreover, in India students are pressurized to spend every waking moment cramming their text books in order to outshine others. As there are no extra marks in the curriculum for extra reading, it is given the least importance and holds no place in the daily schedule of the child.

But ultimately, in the world of business and in the world they will live in, in terms of their jobs and professional lives, students will need good, solid reading and writing skills. All decisions they make will not only be quantitative, but also textual. Therefore, apart from its importance from the examination point of view, RC assumes a primary role in our lives.

Here are some tips and strategies to develop your interest in reading and acing the RC section of your exam:


The first step towards honing the multiple component skills constituting RC is making reading a habitual task. Begin by reading newspapers daily and extra books which are related to your areas of interest. This will help in the initial stages to build your interest in reading. Later you can migrate to reading books on different topics. Reading a lot and reading widely helps to overcome the fear of the unknown. It is not necessary that the meaning of every word should be known. If one has read a lot one knows from experience that the essence of what is being said in the paragraph can be understood without knowing every word. A fair enough idea of the meaning of the word and whether it is positive or negative can be formed from the context.

During childhood RC exercises in school are more about details of the passage; they are more factual. But, later on in higher classes they become increasingly about theme. It is important to understand, analyze, and apply the information gathered through reading. The readers who are able to do this are actively engaged with the text. They will be able to predict what will happen next, the sequence, the main idea or plot of the text and connect it with prior knowledge and experience. This all comes with continuous effort and practice.

While reading a text, one should be selective. The focus should be on the key words and points, which should be highlighted or noted down. This helps the mind to concentrate on what is being read. The words, phrases and sentences that are not useful should be eliminated. Discussing the ideas after reading a text is a good way to sound out one’s comprehension of the text.


Online or offline, if you can ace the pace in RC you are the winner. Since speed reading holds the key, you should be able to read fast offline or online. For this skimming and scanning the given passage is important. And, this comes with practice. You have to be a voracious reader to master this art. Reading on a computer screen might be different from a regular book and you might find it difficult and boring initially but would enjoy with the passage of time. The mantra is, read whatever comes your way.


Many exams like the GRE, PTE, IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, IBPS, CAT, SBI etc. use RC as an important evaluation tool. With practice and patience skills can be developed till they become automatic. The improvements in will be slow but sure so never give up.

Divide the stipulated time of the examination and allot certain time to each section. Practice numerous reading comprehension exercises with the help of a timer. A good number of such practice tests are available on www.tcyonline.com for scoring higher scores. This will definitely help you manage time effectively while taking the tests.

A useful strategy is to quickly glance through the text in the beginning. This helps to get an overall picture of the information in the text. Make mental summaries of every paragraph as you read. These summaries should be short sentences. Next come up with the main idea in your own words. Having an integrated understanding of the passage and paraphrasing the information in the passage will help solve the questions correctly. With practice this becomes a habit and you will not be taking too much time doing it.


On the exam day the trick is to spend less time on reading and more on understanding and answering questions. Look for repeat words which will help you to locate the main idea of the passage. Read the beginning and concluding paragraphs. Then read the beginnings of each paragraph as they will provide the connecting information and also introduce the new ideas. The idea here is that you pay attention to the way in which the passage develops via the paragraphs. Special attention should be paid to the transitional words as they help to identify the flow and theme of the passage.

When you attempt to answer a question, first try to reframe the question in your own words. This will help you understand the question better. Next do not look at the answer choices straightaway. Try to frame an answer in your own words and if need be go back to the relevant part in the passage. Then match your answer with the answer choice that is closest. If no answer matches go back to the passage and read again to find out if any part has been misunderstood. This step will help you to avoid the traps laid by the test and answer correctly.

Being equipped with these strategies will definitely make you ready to face any RC task confidently. Remember, the basis of success for every effort is hard work and practice. The more you practice the faster you become and greater the speed in accomplishing the task.


Help is just around the corner. Find a BetterThink center near you to receive expert training and boost your reading score!

Good luck !

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Last updated on : Jun 23, 2024