Next: English Language
Topic: Revision Comprehension
Aspect: General Guidelines
Recall, we learnt a few things instruction, message, question, piece of writing, passage, etc. Inability to understand (comprehend) a piece about comprehension. We learnt that comprehension means the ability of writing or an instruction or a piece of information, etc, will cause many problems. We also discovered that some brilliant students fail in examinations not because they do not know the answers to the questions asked but because they lack the understanding of a question, a passage, an instruction, etc. Understanding or comprehension is therefore very important. to understand a given order,
We discovered also that one important point that can facilitate our understanding (or comprehension) of a passage is the ability to identify the key or topic sentence in a passage or in a paragraph. We noted that the topic sentence usually gives a clue to what is being discussed in the passage. It more or less indicates the theme of the passage; the topic sentence will make one have an idea of what the passage is about. Once one knows what the passage is about, one will be able to follow the discussion and so comprehend the passage. The key or topic sentence is usually (but not in all cases) the sentence at the beginning of the passage. It may occur in the middle or at the end of a passage but it is not very common for the topic sentence to occur in these positions.
We also examined the various types of questions which are asked on passages set for comprehension by the examining bodies at the SSCE level. We noted that five broad types of questions are asked. Let us again remind ourselves.
- Questions testing knowledge of facts or information from the passage: This is the first set of questions on passages by WAEC or NECO. This category of questions is meant to test the understanding of the content of the passage. The questions can only be answered from the facts or information presented in the passage. Facts or information outside the passage should not be used in answering the questions; otherwise the candidate will not be answering questions which are based on the passage placed directly before him or her.
In other words, in order to be able to answer this category of questions to the satisfaction of the examiner, you must have a thorough understanding of the passage. You may have to read the passage more than once to be able to properly comprehend it.
Note : The tense of the verb in the question has to be adhered to. If the tense of the question is Past Simple, then your answer must be stated in the Past Simple, etc.
- Questions on figures of speech: These are questions based on what figures of speech or literary devices the writer has used to make readers get a vivid picture of what is being discussed in the passage. You have to be familiar and be able to identify the common ones usually tested, such as simile metaphor, personification, hyperbole, irony, paradox, synecdoche, metonymy, euphemism, rhetorical question, etc. Many of these have been treated even right from the Junior Secondary Schools.
Questions based on grammatical name and function: This type of question sets out to test the candidates’ knowledge of grammatical structures and their functions. It tests candidates’ ability to identify and state the types and functions of sentences, clauses and phrases.
Word substitution- synonyms: In this type of question, candidates are asked to give another word on phrase that has the same meaning as the one that has been taken from the passage. It is also always stated in the question that the word or phrase that the candidate gives must fit in perfectly into the place where it has been taken in the passage. This has to be well noted.
The candidate has to take note of the fact that a word in English language has more than one meaning and so the meaning given to the word chosen from the passage by the examiner has to be the one which the word has in the context – the contextual meaning.
Another thing to note is that the part of speech of the word given by the candidate must correspond to that of the weed chosen from the passage.
In addition, the tense of the word (if it is a verb) given by the candidate must correspond to that of the chosen word from the passage.
If the word chosen from the passage is a noun and is in the plural forms, the word given as a substitute by the candidate must be a noun in the plural form.
5. Attitudinal Questions: Another type of question which is asked is that based on the attitude of the writer. The answer to this type of question is not clearly stated in the passage, the reader is left to make inferences based on how the writer is writing. The reader must therefore read the passage carefully to observe how the writer is discussing the issue he is raising so as to know his attitude. A sample of such a question is: ‘What is the attitude of the writer to the action of the students?’