Learning Objectives To identify question type in terms of informationrecovery or rephrasing demands. Interpret the exact requirement of each question
Question Interpretation Comprehension section is one of the toughest challenges in English Language paper as it involves many skills in reading, interpretation and a wide knowledge in vocabulary Traditionally, it will make or break your results as it contains the highest number of marks allocated for a single section. As a first step, it is VERY important for you first, to understand the different ways Comprehension questions can be asked so you can meet their requirements.
Question Interpretation All questions fall under these 3 main groups:Contents - What is it saying?Structure - How is it saying it?Response - What do you think?How do you feel?
Vocabulary Type This question requires you to interpret the meaning of a word or phrase or sentence. It requires you to rephrase these parts of the text into your own words. Parts of text to be rephrased can be given or you can be asked to locate them yourself.
Key Words in Vocabulary Type These questions are identified by key words as follows.What does x mean? / Give the meaning of x.Explain what x means. / What is the meaning of the phrase x ?Explain, in your own words / why, where, when, how or what did X . . .
An example of Vocabulary Question“I had given all our passports to Stagnate, who stashed them in his turban. Stagnate was a lot taller than the rest of us, and therefore had a better chance of keeping them dry. Should we succeed in crossing this river, wet passports would not get us across the border, leaving our home for the last time for a new land.”Q: Explain in your own words why the author had given all their passports to Stagnate.A: Stagnate towered over the rest of them and had the best odds of maintaining the passports dry.
Strategy about Vocabulary Type Identify key words for paraphrasing Brainstorm for possible words to paraphrase before deciding on the best word choice. Your answer must follow the contextual meaning of the writer. That is, when substituted with your own words, the texts meaning remains unchanged.A: Stagnate towered over the rest of them (tallest) and had the best odds (chance) of maintaining (keeping) the passports dry.
More about Vocabulary TypeSome good news: The text will not be highly technical in nature so as to stumble students such as genetic engineering or rocket science. There will be plenty of contextual clues so you have enough to paraphrase for exact words.
Knowledge Questions These questions are identified through the use of words which ask for your thinking skills and real-world knowledge.What is the author suggesting ...Why would the author...What possible reasons were there...What is the author implying...What do you think/feel... The cue words most commonly used are suggest, think and feel.
An example of Knowledge Question“At long last, we arrived at the managers house. I was exhausted, ravenous, and thoroughly dazed after my ordeal of a journey, but the manager merely surveyed me and bellowed, "Why on earth do you have to come at such an ungodly hour?"Q: How do you think the author expected the manager to treat him upon his arrival? List 3 ways.A: He expected to be given a resting place, food and drinks, and overnight accommodation as he had travelled a long way.
Strategy of Knowledge TypeIdentify the contextual clues to help make the inference. Follow the context of the paragraph and passage. From the earlier example:Contextual clues: exhausted, ravenous and thoroughly dazed.Context : traveller who has journeyed a long way.Ans: He expected to be given a resting place, food and drinks, and overnight accommodation as he had travelled a long way.This requires inferential skill.
Language Type Language questions test you on your vocabulary and general knowledge. It shows you a figurative speech or an irony. To answer this question successfully, you must understand the imagery used and decode its link.
An example of Language Question“The surgeon spread the old sari over the dying woman. Then he took off his blouse soaked in blood and carefully folded it up. He arranged his instruments in their box and put everything into his canvas attaché case. And he too left the clinic.”Q: Why do you think the word clinic is given in quotation marks?Ans: Clinic is a place where patients visit doctors for healing. In this case, the clinic was not a real one as the doctor abandoned his patient while she was fighting for her life.
Strategy Your answer must show the literal trait of the metaphorical object AND how it is applied. Use expression in this case to show your understanding of the application. This requires association – to identify the key idea of the metaphor – and paraphrasing skill.Clinic is a place where patients visit doctors for healing (A). In this case, even if there wasan a patient, the clinic was not a real one as the doctor abandoned the patient while she was fighting for her life.(P)
Learning ActivitySay what type these questions most probably belong to:Why do you think the author find it strange?What are the ways in which we know a person is dreaming?Explain, in your own words, the definition of a dream.
Discussion How many types of questions are there? Why do we need to know the type of questions before we answer the questions?
In Summary There are 4 major question types in Comprehension. Identifying Question Types BEFORE answering your questions help you establish the way in which you answer. It prevents you from making careless mistakes that will cause penalties. They help you to acheive precision and accuracy in your answer.