Read and follow the instructions given at the beginning of the exam paper. These are given for your benefit. You can lose valuable marks if you do not follow the instructions exactly.
Skim the entire passage quickly to get the gist of what it is about. Then read all the questions carefully and re-read (scan) the passage to find the references to the questions. If you see something that reminds you of a question, mark it by writing the number of that question next to the relevant part of the passage.
Now read slowly and carefully, looking for details. This detailed reading will help you to absorb the obvious meaning of the passage, as well as to read between the lines, working out what the writer implies or leaves unsaid.
Most comprehension questions follow the order of the passage, so you can find the answers in the same order as that in which the questions appear. Pay attention to line and paragraph references. The paragraphs are numbered on the left (1, 2, 3, etc.) and the lines are numbered on the right (5, 10, 15, etc.).
Look at the mark allocation for each question, which gives you an idea of how long your answer should be.
Copy the examiner’s number system exactly, for example, 1.1.1, 1.1.2, etc. and write neatly. The examiner cannot give you marks if she cannot read your answer.
Read the questions carefully. When reading the questions, take note of these additional tips.
Highlight or underline the task words to be certain of what you are being asked to do, for example: identify, name, state, list.
Highlight or underline the question words, which tell you what information to look for in the text, for example: who, where, what, why, when, how.
Use your own words if the question asks for them. Do not quote from the text if you are asked to answer in your own words.
When answering open-ended questions, make sure you write ‘yes’ or ‘no’ before you give reasons.
Do not answer a ‘true or false’ question with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – you may only write ‘true’ or ‘false’.
When you are asked to quote evidence from the passage, make sure you use the exact words – if you copy incorrectly, or insert spelling errors, your answer will be wrong.
And lastly, read through your answer to ensure it makes sense.