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As you read the passage, there may be some lines which you may not understand when you read just once. It is because you don’t have experience in reading articles on various issues that you could not understand the sentence in your first read. Don’t panic. Do not keep worrying if that line is important to understand the rest of the passage or if a question might be there on that line. You must stick to some rules and you must follow them. You cannot be in a dilemma when in an exam. Continue to the next line, finish reading the passage. While reading the passage, the essence of the passage must keep building up in your mind. You should not be like, “ok, I’ve finished reading the passage. Now, lemme think what is the passage all about”
Prepare a set of rules for yourself for every section of every exam and follow them during the exam. During an exam, your target is to “solve as many questions as possible correctly and immediately mark the answer for every question you have solved”. So, your brain must be working to achieve that target and should not think of anything else. If you waste time by thinking whether or not to “read a sentence again”, “redo a problem”, “verify an answer”, it means that you are not taking your mind to the next problem confidently and convincingly because of which you will not be able to answer the next question with full concentration or full potential. So, mental preparation for and exam and application of strategies during the exam are very important if you want to perform the best you can in an exam.
So, as far as the reading comprehension section goes, choose the passage that you can best answer first by looking at the questions, the length of the passage and by glancing at few of the lines of the passage to know what the topic of the passage is.
Most importantly, while reading, focus on how much you are understanding, how much is being taken by the mind constantly as you move your eyes through the words and lines rather than focusing on the speed.
What actually happens with most people who grapple with RCs is - they are tensed because of that basic fact that they do not have any experience in reading articles or books of any kind. But they do not realize the fact that if this tension prevails in their minds and hearts during the exam, they cannot even answer the questions which they can. So, I once again stress that you can ward off your stress and tension during an exam by preparing and following a strategy for every section of any exam. The strategy must be prepared according to the knowledge you have, the time you have for that section, the skills you have, the confidence you have.
Now, coming to the practical point of view, I’ll tell you two accounts where people fail to read an RC effectively. First account – A person because of the tension he has and with an intention to perform better in RC than he can, starts of well reading the first few lines or may be the first para well. But there is tension in him. With tension, a person cannot perform better in the long run. Since he has read few lines or a para & understood it well, he will tell his mind & heart – “yes, I’ve got some essence, now cool down” while simultaneously reading the other lines of the passage superficially without getting their meaning. Now, as he comes to the 4 th paragraph, he realizes that he has not understood the 2 nd and 3 rd paras well. Now again the tension creeps in and the same story.
Second account – For a person who has an anathema towards RCs, when the time comes he has to face an RC in an exam, he first thinks if there is anything else left to be answered – a time waster. Then he thinks, “abbaaa…, should I grapple with these RCs now?” He looks at the time and begrudgingly starts reading the passage. But he himself does not know that he has started reading the passage because while reading the passage, there are so many other things going in his mind. Since he started reading the passage begrudgingly, he reads the first two paragraphs superficially only. What actually goes in his mind is “ayyo, what is this topic? This is totally abstract. How many questions are given?” He looks at the number of questions again. Then thinks, “I think time is running out”. He looks at others. Then thinks, “should I leave this passage go for another passage? I haven’t practiced RC at all. How will I do now?” He has actually read two paragraphs by the time he thinks all these things and has not understood anything because he did not make any attempt to understand. He ofcourse realizes that thing after reading two paragraphs, and then suddenly starts reading the next couple of lines with a speed that no one else could read with.
Many of you, I know, might have experienced both the accounts that I’ve stated here. When you can figure out the problem, when you know the cause for the problem, can’t you figure out the solution for that?
So, I repeat "focus on how much you are understanding, how much is being taken by the mind constantly as you move your eyes through the words and lines rather than focusing on the speed". Its not enough if you just understand some lines somewhere in the passage. You must concentrate to understand everything you read. Do not lose you concentration and do not be tensed.
Now, the problems, the causes, and even the solution is there in this page. If you still are not able to know what the solution and what the strategy must be in dealing with RCs, then go on to next page.