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6 Question Types in a Reading Comprehension Passage

Solving passages require lot of patience, practice and extensive use of trial and error method during preparation stage. We believe there are 6 question types those frequently appear in RC section of any major competitive exam like CAT, GMAT, MAT, XAT etc. 

6 Types of Questions you can expect in a Reading Comprehension Passage

Central Idea

Questions about central idea try to test student’s understanding about author’s motive for writing the passage. Usually this is captured in either 1st paragraph or last paragraph. Sometimes using a combination of both the above paragraphs student may come to an understanding of the central idea. If there are two to three ideas introduced in the passage then the idea which is frequently mentioned in the passage can be termed as central idea. 

Tone of the Author

Tone of the author is one of the frequently asked questions in RC passages. It is difficult to gauge the tone of the author unless the reader completes the entire passage or reads a majority portion of it. The tone typically tells us the way the author handled the content while communicating the key idea and thought flow to us. Author uses adjectives and adverbs to express his tone while discussing key ideas. Some common types of tones which author uses on a regular basis include humour, analytical, critical, argumentative, advisory etc. 

Explicit Questions

These are straightforward questions based on content of the passage. Even though these type of questions appear to be simple but they really test your ability to re-collect the key ideas, data presented in the passage. In a lengthy passage, these type of questions play a crucial role in judging your overall understanding and memorability. Students are encouraged, during initial stages, to go back to the passage and find the exact narrative for easily solving the question. But with a continuous practice this habit can be brought down to negligible level by improving the ability to accurately re-collect the key idea and content. 

Implicit Questions

The toughest lot of questions are implied in nature and students are expected to solve them by thinking in line with the author. These type of questions can be solved by inferring from various ideas, narration and subtle distinctions presented by the author. Lots of practice and complete focus while reading are crucial in solving these type of questions. Implicit questions decide the difficulty level of the passage. The more the number of implied questions the greater the difficulty in solving the passage. 

Structure/Strategy Adopted by Author

These type of questions are “Comparatively” hard to find but they do appear in some of the passages. These deal with the structure and strategy adopted by the author in conveying his ideas and narration. Questions like assumption identification, strengthening and weakening arguments, way the passage is concluded and all other related types. The only way to solve these type of questions is to get a good grip on the passage through continuous practice. 

Word related 

Vocabulary based questions, questions which test your understanding of words and sentences are becoming more or common these days. Emphasis should always be given to the contextual meaning rather than the dictionary one. Examiner wants to test your understanding of the words and their usage in a given context rather than your memory of words. In this type of question, questions are framed with a set of words or sentences whose meanings would be asked, synonyms, antonyms and similar words to be identified.
Reading Comprehension passages really test your understanding of the subject and also how you cope up in case of unfamiliar topics. The only way to master them is continuous practice and devising more strategies to tackle them based on above question types. Our effort through this article is only to rekindle a thought in your mind on how to proceed. Rest is all in your hands.