21 tips to get more marks in Reading comprehension passage.

21 tips to get more marks in Reading comprehension passage.

           Solving Reading Comprehension has become an inevitable part of almost every competitive examination. Students are habituated to solve simple and direct passages in their school days, but when it comes to competitive exams, the task becomes difficult.

                Unable to understand the vocabulary (meaning of words) and concept of the passage, students become dull and uninterested in this section.

                       I may give you some tips and strategies to achieve success in the examination, but the ultimate solution lies not in shortcut solutions, but long term preparation.

 you need to have the courage to prepare and adhere to that plan.

So, here are some tips and techniques to follow, to get more marks in Reading Comprehension.

  1. A complaint  which I hear often is that, the students are unable to understand the given reading comprehension.  If you belong to this category, then remember that
  • You don’t need to understand each and every word of the comprehension
  • At the same time you need to find the gist (summary) of it.
  • Both these points may appear contradictory to you

But the crucial thing is, you need to eliminate the words, phrases, sentences, that are not useful and need to focus on keywords.

  1. Find your strengths first.

The conservative approach in solving a reading comprehension is to read the passage first, and then go to the questions and solve them.

Some students do not feel comfortable with this method. Probably they do not know which keywords to remember while reading the comprehension. Or, they may have to read the comprehension again, after reading the questions.

This lead to the problem of Time Management.

       The solution:

you can chose the “bottom up” approach. That means, read the questions first, so that you have an idea what to look for, in the comprehension.

But ultimately you are the better judge of which approach is the best. So, practice several reading  comprehensions  in two different approaches and find out which method suits you.

  1. Time Management:

 Have you ever heard the complaint “I know all the answers, but I didn’t have enough time to solve”

Competitive examinations not only test your knowledge and skills but your Time Management also.

All the three aspects are important, Especially when there are Negative Marks for wrong answers.

  • Knowledge
  • Skill  (writing, reading)
  • Time Management

       The solution:

     Divide the stipulated time of the examination,  allott  certain time to each section, based on your strengths and weaknesses. Practice numerous reading  comprehension exercises with the help of a timer . After solving some, you definitely have an idea,  about  Time Management.

  1. Practice a lot:

Normally, students who believe themselves weak in Reading Comprehension, are unwilling to practice. Most of them try to avoid solving at home. They make lot of excuses.

But remember excuses don’t bring you success.


 no one asks you

“why didn’t you succeed in life?”

         They only ask you “Did you succeed or not?”

  1. Improve Your Vocabulary:

 Why you need to improve your vocabulary?

Vocabulary means knowledge of words (meaning of words).

If you do not have good vocabulary, you have to stop at every new word in the reading comprehension, and be puzzled what does it mean?

So, when you don’t know the meaning of a word, it becomes very difficult to understand the gist of the Comprehension.

Having a good vocabulary, makes you understand the reading  Comprehension  much easier.

         How to improve your vocabulary?

  • Keep a target and a schedule to learn a certain number of new words everyday. You are the better person to decide the number,… I am not.
  • Start reading in English , anything…….  Newspapers, stories, comics, text books….anything ,that keeps you immersed in english.
  • Keep a notebook, Note down the new words you learnt today and revise them periodically.
  1. Use a pen while reading:

Do not read the Reading Comprehension like a movie story. While going through the passage ,your most valuable three organs should act in collaboration.

  • Eyes
  • Brain
  • Hand.

Make a habit of finding valuable information quickly and underline those keywords with a pen (If the rules permit, to use a pen on the question paper, otherwise use a dark pencil).


 if you want you can take the notes of keywords on a rough paper, if  allowed by the authorities.

So, if at all you have to read the Comprehension again you can go only through keywords, and not  through all the junk.

  1. Find out words that are useless:

If you carefully examine any Reading Comprehension, you can easily find out that there are so many words, phrases in the comprehension that are useless. That means, even if we delete those words, phrases ,the meaning of the Comprehension remains the same.

It is very tiresome and difficult, for me to make a list of those words and phrases and publish here. I just advise you to keep an eye on them and not to waste your precious time in analyzing them.

  1. Comeback Later:

When you don’t find answer to a particular question, most of us generally  tell ourselves “Okay, I will come back to it later”.

This may be a good strategy to save Time, While leaving the difficult ones and going for easier questions.

But before going to another question just do one thing.

Put a pencil mark around the choice, which you feel correct at the present moment.


So many times when we come back to the question, we would have forgotten the Comprehension itself. So we have to read it again from the beginning. If time permits, it’s okay,…but if you don’t have enough time you can choose the earlier marked answer.

  1. Do a mental math quickly:

Due to these three reasons, students feel they are not efficient in solving Reading Comprehension.

o   vocabulary in the comprehension.

o   Difficulty in understanding the meaning of the questions.

o   Time factor.

               So, if there are 40 questions in the English part, Donot try to attempt all the questions (If there is negative marking).

 Just try to think how many marks you need in English, by calculating how many you are getting in other sections of the exam. Based on that you can choose how many questions you have to solve in English.

     This doesn’t take much time, if you make a quick mental math.

    10. Most Reading Comprehensions are complex :

Usually, Reading Comprehensions are taken from the works of well known authors. Their sentences are complex to inderstand. If you are not aware of this fact, you might be puzzled by those questions.


  • Improve your Vocabulary
  • Read and solve comprehensions, as many as possible
  • Solve passages from different fields of knowledge, like Science, arts, Literature, politics, economics etc.

 11.  Focus:

Generally  it is a habit for everyone of us to wander somewhere while reading something uninteresting. So, while solving, when you find the Comprehension dull, difficult and uninteresting, your eyes run through the sentences, but your mind wanders somewhere else. The result….you complete reading, but you grasp nothing.


Focus on the content. Don’t let your mind go away from there. If it starts daydreaming….bring it back into reality. Tell yourself that you have plenty of time to dream after the exam.

12.  Improve reading Speed:

Do not move your lips while reading, it slows you down.

Here are two articles to give you more interesting information.

 13.  Practice Reading Comprehension Online:

     Here are some links for you to practice Reading Comprehension online free.

14.  While solving Reading Comprehension at home, don’t try to find the                 meaning of each and every word you find there, with the dictionary.

  Ofcourse , Looking for meanings in a dictionary and taking notes is good habit, but for each and every word ……no..

Sometimes you need to make a wild guess about a new word, taking into account of the context (situation). By this, you will be able to understand the meaning of new words. If you feel necessary, you may check the meaning after reading the Comprehension.

15.  Solve previous papers:

By solving the previous papers you can understand and identify what kind of questions are appearing in the examination.

  • Some questions are Simple
  • Some Draw Inferences
  • Some of the RC questions will ask you about a specific word from a paragraph.

16.   Don’t draw on outside knowledge.

Don’t make conclusions which are not in the comprehension. Though you are well aware of the topic mentioned in the Passage, You should not bring your own knowledge into the answers. Just stick to the Information given in the comprehension.

17.  Give rest, Remove panic :

While focusing on the passage, if you stare at the letters for a long time, your eyes may feel uncomfortable. So, if it happens, just close your eyes for a while, take a deep breath and start again.

Don’t get panicked by the difficulty of the questions. Be prepared for them.

 18.  Recommended books on Reading  Comprehension:

 19.  Never  lose confidence:

By looking at the Comprehension, don’t let any thought of discouragement enter into your mind. Don’t feel depressed.

        Always follow some tactics to motivate yourself

  20.   Learn what works best for you:

Whatever strategies mentioned here are not hard and fast rules. They are flexible. If you feel they don’t work for you, then you can alter them to suit your needs. You are the judge.

21.  All the best