INTRODUCTION (MEANING OF COMPREHENSION)
Comprehension simply means an ability to understand. For the purpose of English language questions that involve comprehension, comprehension is the process of reading, and understanding and explaining what is written in a given passage. Also, it means decoding the message which the writer of a passage wishes to pass and answering the questions that follow.
Furthermore, the purpose of a comprehension passage is to test the reader’s understanding of what is read. Consequently, questions are set from the comprehension passage. The reader’s ability to answer these questions would determine if he understands what he has read or not.
USEFUL TIPS IN ANSWERING COMPREHENSION PASSAGES
Answering comprehension questions is not so much of a difficult task. An understanding of some basic tips would guide you in the journey to answering comprehension questions. These tips would be carefully explained now. Pay close attention to them.
1. READ THE PASSAGE TWICE:
Yes, read the passage the first, and also the second time. The first reading is to intimate you with the theme and overview of the passage. The second reading is to grasp the important points in the comprehension passage so as to answer the the questions that follow. The first reading should be more or less a quick scan; while the second reading should be slower.
2. READ THE QUESTIONS FIRST:
Before reading the comprehension question, first read the questions that follow it. Reading the questions would prepare your mind and make you easily grasp the relevant points when you finally start reading the comprehension passage proper.
3. ANSWER IN SENTENCES:
Always write your answers in sentences unless stipulated otherwise. Do not write two sentences for one answer except the examiner asks you to use two or more sentences. There should be one sentence for each answer. More so, let your answers be clear and straight to the point.
4. WRITING VERBATIM:
Do not copy verbatim what is written in the comprehension passage. You should be able to use your own words to show your understanding of the passage. That is why it is important that the student-reader should have a great armoury of words at his disposal while answering comprehension questions. This can be achieved by reading voraciously. Also, while answering comprehension questions, ensure to use words that are exactly synonymous to the words in the passage. If you are asked to substitute an underlined word in the passage with your own word, your own word must fit perfectly with the underlined word in meaning and tense.
5. ANSWERING QUESTIONS:
Your answers must be gotten from what is written in the comprehension passage. Do not give extra information to what has been written down even if you know more than what has been written.
Re-read your answers to ensure that it is free from spelling and grammatical errors.
A TYPICAL COMPREHENSION PASSAGE
Read this comprehension passage carefully and answer the questions that follow.
Uche was my best friend. I came to New Haven Avenue in 2016 because my family relocated. My family here comprised of my aunty, my granny, my little brother and a family friend. Uche’s mother was a friend to my aunty. Coincidentally, he and I also became friends, my very closest friend. Nevertheless, I still had other friends, Jerome and Chimuanya, and some others, but Uche was my very closest.
Uche and I played football together. He will always say that his football idol is Christiano Ronaldo. I preferred Messi to his choice although I didn’t take mine seriously as Uche did. We also played action games on phones together. We also exchanged movies.
One day, we all were playing football. We were 7 in number: Uche, Jerome, Chimuanya, Jerome’s elder brother, two other street friends and I. We were playing the popular street ball game known as ‘akpachaa enye’. Jerome’s elder brother was the most skilled player among us. He will always dribble past us, leaving us laughing on the ground and scrambling to get back on our feet again. In fact, his nickname was C. Ronaldo. Uche was also good, better than I. He dribbles well and fires very powerful shots. Being very lanky, it was easy for him to manoeuvre through players to take a shot at the goal area.
That day, we were all playing and laughing happily. I was not a very good player but I was better at goalkeeping. Jerome wanted to fire a shot but his leg only scraped the ball. It landed at my feet. I took it and started moving towards the goal area. I dribbled past Chukwudi, then Chimuanya. I looked ahead and glanced Pascal as he crouched in the goal area, patiently waiting for my shot. Uche was my final obstacle. He stood menacingly before me. I thought of a way to manoeuvre him. Suddenly, I feigned right and moved the ball to my left. But, Uche had seen this move several times. He intercepted me.
We struggled with the ball. I kicked it past him and then ran ahead to recover it. He rushed after me. I got the ball. I steadied myself and fired. But, alas, instead of kicking the ball, I hit something else which was harder. I fell down and writhed in pains, holding my shin. Uche had put his leg in front of me just before I kicked the ball.
After some minutes, I stood up and confronted him. The game was stopped immediately I fell down and my friends were comforting me. I refused to be comforted. I shouted at Uche and he shouted back. The worst finally happened when Uche called me a weakling and moved away to get the ball, probably to continue playing. I rushed at him and hit him at the back. He turned and punched me. I saw stars. We started fighting. All this while, our friends were trying to separate us. Uche pushed me again, again and again. I fell to the ground. He rushed to finish me off but others held him back. I stood up and went away in shame, with tears in my eyes.
I went home. Immediately my granny heard about what happened, she went back with me to the scene. My friends had resumed their football playing. She raved and cursed at the whole lot of them, especially Uche. Warning me never again to play with them, she took my hand and we went back home.
But, whether in Africa or America, boys must be boys. The next day, the whole lot of us played football together again when granny was out.
- Apart from playing football, what else did Uche and his friend do?
- What caused the fight between Uche and his friend?
- Why did the writer go back to play football with the friends after the shameful incident?
- For each of the following words, find another word or phrase that means the same and can replace it as it is used in the passage
- Asides playing football, Uche and his friend also played action games in their phones together and shared movies to watch.
- The fight was caused when Uche fouled his friend, and without any feeling of remorse, called him a weakling when the friend tried to stand up to him.
- The writer went back because it is characteristic of boys to put their differences and quarrels behind them as soon as possible.
- i. Nevertheless— notwithstanding
ii. Menacingly — threateningly
iii. Resumed — continued.
I believe from the typical comprehension passage given above, you now know what answering comprehension questions look like. Finally, I will enjoin you to take serious note of the basic tips written above as they will greatly aid you in smashing any comprehension exercise.
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