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How To Answer Comprehension Passages In Any Exam

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The Reading Comprehension Section of any Examination contains Questions From Comprehension Passages. Comprehension Passages are set in almost every Test that Involves the Use of English. You will be given passages and asked to Answer The Questions that follow.

Comprehension Passages has gotten a whole lot of exposure. Employers, Schools, and other major examination bodies have continued to make it compulsory in their Exams and Aptitude tests. Your best bet is to learn how to Answer Comprehension Passages in any Examination.

This Guide Covers:

  • How to Answer Comprehension Passages in SAT
  • How to Answer Comprehension Passages in JAMB
  • How to Answer Comprehension Passages in TOEFL
  • How to Answer Passages in WAEC and NECO
  • How to Answer Comprehension passages in IELTS
  • Comprehension Passages In Jobs And Scholarships Exam
  • Sample Comprehension Questions and Answers
  • How to answer comprehension passages for recruitment tests
  • Comprehension passages for study abroad programs.

Some examiners make candidates answer questions under more than two passages. The painful thing is that they give candidates very limited time to attempt the questions.

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Answering questions under comprehension passages in examinations is the challenge of so many students. As a matter of fact, students and Job seekers concede a lot of marks under comprehension passages in their exams and aptitude tests.

This poor performance in answering questions under comprehension passages is not only because the questions are difficult but because the candidates are mostly not ready. With adequate preparation and exposure, you will be more than able to answer any Comprehension Passage.

Do you know that you can answer questions under comprehension passages at “the speed of light in the exam hall?” In fact, you can answer every question under comprehension passages without reading every line in the passage. That is what you are about to learn Today.

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The Structure of Compression Passages

The compression passage is usually made up of a main sentence and supporting sentences. The main sentence caries the central Idea. If you have ever gone through a Sunday school manual, you will see a central truth written immediately after the topic. The central truth summaries the whole idea in the topic.

Every other idea revolves around the Central Truth or Main Sentence. Most times, the main sentence is presented in the first paragraph. Every other paragraph then develops the main idea presented in the First Paragraph.

The supporting sentences consist of examples or illustrations to support the idea presented in the main sentence. Examiners make the supporting sentences so interesting that you might be tempted to take them for the main idea in the passage. Observe the Following Sample Comprehension Passage Adapted from MASSBAY COLLEGE Publication:

INSTRUCTION: Read the sentences, and then choose the best answer to the question or the best completion of the statement.

Anxious to ensure that America would depart from European traditions regarding religion and royalty, the early U.S. could be described as a place that focused more on work than on the entertainment offered by spectacle and ceremony in the Old World.

However, national celebrations such as the lighting of the White House Christmas Tree and the ceremonies used to swear in new federal officials give the American people some experiences that are based upon national tradition.

QUESTION: What does the second sentence do?
A) It cancels the meaning of the first.
B) It provides an example of the first sentence.
C) It adds more detail to the first sentence.
D) It offers an exception to the information given in the first sentence.

What’s your answer? Option C is Correct?… It is wrong. The correct answer is B It provides an example of the first sentence. The line below in the  passage confirms the answer “…such as the lighting of the White House Christmas Tree and the ceremonies…”

What Makes Comprehension Passages Confusing

  • Tension
  • Vocabularies in the passage.
  • Understanding the questions asked.
  • Time constraint
  • Use of figures of speech
  • Poor reading skill
  • Register used
  • Length of the Article
  • The tone of the Author

Suggested Solution:

  • Improve your Vocabulary
  • Relax and try to overcome exam tension
  • Read and solve comprehensions, as many as possible
  • Solve passages from different fields of knowledge, like Science, Arts, Literature, Politics, Economics etc.
  • Stay focused
  • Don’t be moved by the length of the comprehension passage, in fact, the longer the passage is, the simpler.
  • Make sure you understand the whole idea of the Passage

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What To Do Before Your Examination Or Aptitude Test

A. Improve Your Vocabulary

Vocabulary means knowledge of words (the meaning of words). If you do not have a good vocabulary, you would have to stop at every new word in the reading comprehension and be puzzled about the meaning.

When you don’t know the meaning of a word, it becomes very difficult to understand the gist in the Comprehension passage. Having a good vocabulary, makes you understand the reading comprehension passage much better.

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How to Improve Your Vocabulary?

Start reading in English, anything”¦”¦.  Newspapers, stories, comics, textbooks”¦.anything, that keeps you immersed in English. New words gradually sink into your subconscious mind and become familiar.

  • Keep a notebook, Note down the new words you learned today and revise them periodically.
  • Keep a target and a schedule to learn a certain number of new words every day. You are the better person to decide the number,”¦ I am not. Do not deviate from the schedule at any cost.

B. Solve Past Questions

By solving the previous papers you can understand and identify what kind of questions are appearing in the examination so that you will be mentally prepared for those kinds of questions.

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

What To Do When You See A Comprehension Passage

The first thing you should do while reading comprehension passage is to forget the length of the article and whatever you think you know concerning the subject or topic being discussed. If the passage says that Chelsea is the best football club in the world, don’t argue. Simply give them what they want and you are home and dry.

Like I said earlier, you can answer comprehension passages without actually reading everything in the passage. You may be asking how… Now let me explain.

Recall that the main sentence represents the complete Idea of the passage. If you are asked questions like “which of the following is true according to the passage”. The answer is always the main sentence.

Reading the passage to the end will make you confuse the examples and illustrations given for the main idea. Reading half of the first or last paragraph can provide the answer.

Another very important strategy in answering comprehension passages is to read each question and search for where the answer in the passage.

There is one trick that works for me. Anytime I come across a confusing question under comprehension passages, I analyze the option with the longest answer whether it makes sense. When it does, I quickly choose it.

See the Reading Comprehension passage below:

Read the passage below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that follows.

Did you know that a half-gallon milk container holds about $50.00 in pennies? While all investment counselors realize
that we must accumulate money in order to save, most recommend different kinds of investments for people who are
in different stages of life. Older investors, those with limited funds to invest, or people with greater financial and
family commitments, should take fewer risks. Younger, wealthier, and unmarried investors can afford to venture into
the unknown.

Which of the following best describes the main idea of this passage?

A) A penny saved is a penny earned
B) Old people have the most money.
C) Our ages and stage of life are part of what determines the investments that are best for us.
D) Young people should concentrate on collecting pennies.

How To Answer Comprehension Passages Questions Effectively

A. Constant Practice

In my article on how to fall in love with mathematics, I emphasized on the effectiveness of constant practice. When you constantly solve problems under comprehension passages, it just becomes very easy for you in the exam hall. Charity begins at home and not in the house.

Get as many questions under comprehension passages and attempt them. You should be able to justify any answer you pick from the passage before accepting that it is actually correct.

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

But remember excuses don’t bring you success. Success won’t be available unless you confront your fears and weaknesses. Remember,  No one asks you “why didn’t you succeed in life?”  They only ask you “Did you succeed or not?”

B. Use a pen while Going through the Passage

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

  • Eyes
  • Hand
  • Brain

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

C. Find Out Words That Are Useless

If you carefully examine any Reading Comprehension passage, 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.

D. Comeback Later

When we don’t find an answer to a particular question, we usually tell ourselves “Okay, I will come back to it later”. This may be a good strategy to save time While leaving the difficult questions and solving the easier ones. But before going to another question just do one thing. Take your pencil and make a circle on your choice, which you feel correct at the present moment.

Why?

Most of the instances when you come back to the question, you would have forgotten the Comprehension itself. So you have to read it again from the beginning. If the time permits, it’s won’t be a problem,”¦but if you don’t have enough time you can choose the earlier marked answer.

E.   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.

F. Overcome Panic:

While focusing on the passage, if you stare at the letters for a long time, your eyes feel uncomfortable. So, often 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.

 G.  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. Every comprehension passage has an answer; become a solution provider.

H.   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.

Generally, a standard reading comprehension has some unseen words ( word that you have not seen so far) that may make you afraid of the passage and the questions. But do not worry because most of the questions are not directly related to those words. Those words are just for making things look difficult!

Hot Tips To Quickly Answer Comprehension Passages

1. First of all read the first and last sentences of each paragraph carefully.  Then try to answer the questions! Most of the questions can be answered just by knowing about these sentences.

2. If the first and last sentences did not seem to help, try to find the key (important) words of each question and answers and then go to the passage again and try to find them. Most of the answers are in the sentence with that keyword or the sentences before or after the it.

3-Remember that there are some questions that can be answered even without looking at the passage carefully! Here is an example:

-According to the passage we must take care of wild animals

  • Because they are increasing every day.
  • Because They have died since many years ago.
  • To be placed on the endangered species list
  • So that they do not finish in the future

Do you think you need to read the whole passage to answer this question??

Questioning Methods In Comprehension Passages

There are different types of questioning method employed by examiners in this delicate section.They are as follows:
1. Authorial questioning method
2. Periphrastic questioning method
3. Logical questioning method
4. Evaluation questioning method
5. Contextual questioning method

1. Authorial questioning method

Let’s begin with (Authorial questioning method): Questions under this questioning method require a candidate to provide answers based on the dictates of the passage…Examples:

a.According to the writer…

b.The passage suggests that…

For instance, if a passage talks about prostitution of under-age girls and how it has helped shape their lives for good,and a question is asked that

“Prostitution is_____(a)good(b)bad…The answer is ‘good’ in accordance to passage ..you must not allow your personal opinion to influence your answer.

2.Periphrastic questioning method

This is a “round-about’ questioning method, Whereby a candidate is required to simplify the question before answering it. Examples are:
-Which of this is untrue? (i.e which of this is not true.)

-Which of this is unimportant? (i.e which of this is not important).

3.Logical questioning method

Here, the principle of logic is required to enable you to pick a right answer from the available options. A candidate needs to consider and gather concrete facts that are paraphernalia of a certain context to enable him arrive at the right answer.

4.Evaluation Questioning Method

This requires a candidate to describe a person or object in the passage how the given subject does thing comes into the picture like, walks,talks and so on.

Example: In the given passage, Saka is described as a bully that beats girls like a two-headed goat and so on

..And You are asked:
“According to the passage,Saka is a______(a)Two-headed goat (b)skilled fighter(c)bull(d)bully…

The answer is ‘bully’…because from the facts emanating from the passage the best word that can be used to describe Saka present in the options given is ‘bully’

5. Contextual questioning method

In this section, you pick an answer based on how a particular word is being used in the passage. Some words have more than two meanings. These are called open-ended words. The implied meaning of the word at a time depends on the usage.

If I should ask a question, “why are you banking at me?”. Here, you should understand that we are not talking about bank as a financial institution.

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.

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Sample Reading Comprehension Passages And Answers

Read and answer the questions under the comprehension passages below. You will find the answers at the end of this article. All passages adapted from Massbay college publications

1. Read the passage below and then choose the best answer to the question. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in this passage.

Experienced truck drivers often travel in a convoy–a group of trucks that are travelling to the same part of the country. Convoys can help truckers to stay alert.

The author implies that professional long-distance truck drivers may avoid travelling alone because:
A) They might drive too fast.
B) They want to arrive before anyone else.
C) Accidents happen more frequently to lone truck drivers than to car drivers who travel alone.
D) Long-distance travel can cause drowsiness.

2. Read the passage below and then choose the best answer to the question.
Huge beasts such as the dinosaur have never really become extinct. Mothra, a giant caterpillar who later becomes a moth, destroys Tokyo, and stars in the 1962 Japanese film named for him. Mothra is born, dies, and reborn regularly on classic movie channels.

In Japan Mothra is one of the most popular films ever made. Mothra has survived the creation of more current scary creatures such as giant apes, extraterrestrial beings and swamp creatures. More than 30
years after his creation, Mothra still lives.

The main subject of the passage is:
A) the reasons that fads do not endure
B) the lasting appeal of Mothra
C) the difficulty of marketing good horror movies
D) old models for creatures are still used because making new monsters is expensive.

3. Two underlined sentences are followed by a question or statement. Read the sentences, and then choose the best answer to the question or the best completion of the statement.

Anxious to ensure that America would depart from European traditions regarding religion and royalty, the early U.S. could be described as a place that focused more on work than on the entertainment offered by spectacle and ceremony in the Old World.

However, national celebrations such as the lighting of the White House Christmas Tree and the ceremonies used to swear in new federal officials give the American people some experiences that are based upon national tradition.
What does the second sentence do?
A) It cancels the meaning of the first.
B) It provides an example of the first sentence.
C) It adds more detail to the first sentence.
D) It offers an exception to the information given in the first sentence.

4. Read the passage below and choose the best answer to the question.
The Earthʹs past climate–including temperature and elements in the atmosphere–has recently been studied by analyzing ice samples from Greenland and Antarctica. The air bubbles in the ice have shown that, over the past 160,000 years, there has been a close correlation between temperature changes and level of natural greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.

One recent analysis from Greenland showed that at the end of the last glacial period (when the great ice sheets began to retreat to their present position), temperatures in southern Greenland rose from 5
to 7 degrees in about 100 years.

Air bubbles are not the only method of determining characteristics of the Earthʹs ancient climate history. Analysis of dust layers from ancient volcanic activity is another such method; as is the study of ice cores, which interpret past
solar activity that may have affected our climate.

This passage states that:
A) the Greenhouse effect is destroying the planet’s atmosphere.
B) temperatures in Greenland have been unusually stable over the past 100 years.
C) there is more than one kind of information that scientists can use to determine the characteristics of the
Earthʹs early climate.
D) solar energy is the wave of the future.

5. Two passages are followed by a question or statement. Read the passages, then choose the best answer to the question or the best completion of the statement.
Before video cameras were widely used, home and business owners had to rely only on written reports and photos as a way to document their valuables for insurance purposes. This form of documentation was difficult for some insurance policyholders.

They found it was easy to lose lists, forget to add new items they purchased, or delete items they no longer had. As a result, these insurance inventories were often inaccurate. While videotaping is not an option for every home or business owner, this kind of insurance documentation is helpful
for some.

How are these passages related?
A) They repeat the same idea.
B) They contradict one another.
C) They compare two forms of written documentation.
D) They present a problem and a solution.

6. Two underlined sentences are followed by a question or a statement. Read the sentences, and then choose the best answer to the question or the best completion of the statement.
Public speaking is very different from everyday conversation.
First of all, speeches are much more structured than a typical informal discussion

How are these sentences related?
A) Sentence two offers support for the statement made in the first sentence.
B) Sentence two contradicts the statement made in the first sentence.
C) Sentence two shows an exception to the first sentence.
D) Sentence two compares two kinds of speeches.

7. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in these passages.
French physicist Charles Fabry found ozone gas in the atmosphere in 1913. At room temperature, ozone is a colorless gas; it condenses to a dark blue liquid at -170 F. At temperatures above the boiling point of water, 212 F, it decomposes.

Ozone is all around us. After a thunderstorm, or around electrical equipment, ozone is often detected as a sharp odor.

Ozone is used as a strong oxidizing agent, a bleaching agent, and to sterilize drinking water. This gas is also highly reactive. For example, rubber insulation around a carʹs spark plug wires will need to be replaced eventually, due to the
small amounts of ozone produced when electricity flows from the engine to the plug.

These passages imply that:
A) Ozone is the result of pollution.
B) High ozone levels in the atmosphere will cause large numbers of people to buy new car batteries.
C) Ozone has no practical uses.
D) Ozone is a natural part of the Earthʹs atmosphere.

8. Read the passages below and then choose the best answer to the question. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in these passages

Many people who have come close to death from drowning, cardiac arrest or other causes have described near-death experiences–profound, subjective events that sometimes result in dramatic changes in values, beliefs, behaviour, and attitudes toward life and death.

These experiences often include a new clarity of thinking, a feeling of well being, a
sense of being out of the body, and visions of bright light or mystical encounters. Such experiences have been reported by an estimated 30 to 40 percent of hospital patients who were revived after coming close to death and about 5 percent of adult Americans in a nationwide poll.

Near-death experiences have been explained as a response to a perceived threat of death (a psychological theory); as a result of biological states that accompany the process of dying (a physiological theory); and as a foretaste of an actual state of bliss after death (a transcendental theory).
The primary purpose of this passage is to:
A) entertain
B) persuade
C) inform
D) express disbelief in the afterlife

9. Read the passage below and then choose the best answer to the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in these passages.
In most cases, little birds lay little eggs. The kiwi is an astonishing exception to this rule–it is a smallish bird that lays a big egg. The kiwi, a flightless bird found in New Zealand, weighs about four pounds, and its egg weighs, believe it or not, about one pound.

That is one-fourth of the birdʹs body weight! If an ostrich laid an egg that was in the same proportion to the ostrich as the kiwi egg is to the kiwi, an ostrich egg would weigh a whopping seventy-five pounds instead of the usual three pounds.

Which statement below best describes the organizational method used in this passage?
A) description
B) comparison/contrast
C) chronological
D) cause/effect

10. Jazz is a peculiarly American contribution to Western culture. It was born out of the unique experience of American Blacks. Although its history is not entirely clear, jazz obviously has roots in the rhythm patterns and melodic lines of Africa, the tradition of Christian spirituals as sung by slave communities, the music of the blues as developed in the Deep South, and ragtime.

According to this passage, one can conclude that:
A) Jazz is the sole Black contribution to Western culture.
B) There is some difficulty tracing the origin of jazz.
C) Jazz is most closely related to spiritual music.
D) Jazz is not a complex musical form.

11. Read the statements below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that follows.
Sometimes when we donʹt get enough sleep we become very short-tempered.
It is important to set a time to go to bed that is realistic.

How are these two sentences related?
A) The first sentence explains the meaning of the second.
B) The second sentence explains why a lack of sleep affects us.
C) The second sentence proposes a solution.
D) The second sentence contradicts the first.

12. Read the statements below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that follows.
Most people collect Star Wars toys for sentimental reasons.
Some people collect them strictly to make money.
What is the relationship between the two sentences?
A) cause and effect
B) contrast
C) repetition
D) statement & example

13. Answer the question based on what is stated or implied.
There are two kinds of jewelry that I do. There is commercial jewellery–class rings, necklaces, the kinds of things most people wear. I sell these items to meet my expenses for raw materials, supplies, and to make my living. The other, more creative work I do makes me feel that I am developing as a craftsperson.

The author of this passage implies that:
A) Artists are poor.
B) There is no market for creative work.
C) Commercial and creative work fulfills different needs for the artist.
D) Rings and necklaces can not be creative.

14. Some actors and rock stars are paid almost 100 times as much per year as school teachers. Not to downgrade the role of entertainment in our lives, but these people are not the valuable social resource that educators are. As another example, professional athletes earn vastly more than the nation’s firefighters.

Again, there is little doubt that the lower paid group contributes a more vital function to communities. Finally, dress designers, who can make up to $50,000 for a gown, far out-earn police officers, whose very presence makes our cities and towns livable.

Based on this passage, the earning power in our society:
A) is subject to staggering inflation.
B) does not relate to one’s usefulness in society.
C) is highest among those whose achievements are the greatest.
D) should be highest among actors and rock.

15. Read the statements below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that follows.

Jenny does not like cake. She does not like to bake it, to ice it, or to eat it.
What does the second sentence do?
A) It states the cause of the first.
B) It compares the three things Jenny does not like about cake.
C) It draws a conclusion about Jenny.
D) It emphasizes what is stated in the first.

16. Read the sentences below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that follows.
When we write a check that we know is going to ʺbounce,ʺ we are in fact performing a criminal act.
It is a crime to knowingly write a ʺhotʺ check, one we know we donʹt have sufficient funds to cover.

What does the second statement do?
A) It provides supporting evidence for the first statement.
B) It restates the central idea of the first sentence.
C) It draws a conclusion from the first sentence.
D) It provides a contradictory point of view

17. Read the statements below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that follows.

The new Dance Tunes CD has proved to be very popular. It has sold 80,000 copies over the last year.
How are these two sentences related?
A) The first sentence explains the meaning of the second
B) The second sentence provides evidence of the first.
C) The second sentence explains why the CD is popular.
D) The first sentence contradicts the second.

18. Read the Comprehension passage below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that follows.

Before the invention of automobiles and airplanes travel was a slow process. When traveling long distances families would be out of communication until the travelers reached their destination. Sometimes people lost touch with each other permanently.

The author would most likely continue the passage with which of the following sentences?
A) Airplanes make travel more fun.
B) Driving a car helps families stay in touch.
C) Cars can be used to travel comfortably.
D) Advances in communication have helped travellers stay in communication.

19. Read the comprehension passage below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that follows.
Scuba diving is the most exhilarating experience I have ever had. The first time I went, the dark mirror of the water beckoned me to drop from the side of the boat. I jumped feet first and entered a brightly coloured world populated with fish, plants, and objects I had never dreamed of.

Which of the following best describes the mood of the author after having this experience?
A) bored
B) excited
C) anxious
D) serene

20. Read the passage below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list of lettered choices that follows.

Did you know that a half-gallon milk container holds about $50.00 in pennies? While all investment counsellors realize that we must accumulate money in order to save, most recommend different kinds of investments for people who are in different stages of life.

Older investors, those with limited funds to invest, or people with greater financial and family commitments, should take fewer risks. Younger, wealthier, and unmarried investors can afford to venture into the unknown.

Which of the following best describes the main idea of this passage?
A) A penny saved is a penny earned
B) Old people have the most money.
C) Our ages and stage of life are part of what determines the investments that are best for us.
D) Young people should concentrate on collecting pennies.

Answers To The Reading Comprehension Passages:

  1. D   11. C
  2. B   12. B
  3. D   13. C
  4. C   14. B
  5. D  15. D
  6. A   16. B
  7. D   17. B
  8. C  18. D
  9. B   19. B
  10. B    20. C

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Types of Reading Passages On the SAT

Every SAT reading test features four individual passages and one pair of passages. One of these passages comes from the US and World Literature, two come from History and Social Studies, and two deal with Science. In total, each passage (or set of paired passages combined) will contain about 500 to 750 words. One or more of them will feature a graph, table, or chart.

You’ll be tasked with answering a total of 52 Reading Questions In SAT. You’ll complete the Reading section all at one time in one 65-minute section””the first section you’ll do on the SAT.

The 8 Types of Reading Questions On the SAT

  1. Big Picture/Main Point: What is the overall purpose of the passage? Is it describing an issue or event? Is it trying to review, prove, contradict, or hypothesize?
  2. Little Picture / Detail: Detail questions will usually refer you to a specific line within the passage. They might ask what a sentence means or how it functions within the overall passage.
  3. Inference: These questions ask you to interpret the meaning of a line or two in the passage. Don’t worry, they won’t be too vague or open to interpretation, as there can only be one absolutely correct answer.
  4. Vocabulary in Context: These questions usually also refer you to a specific line and ask how a word functions within a sentence. These words are often not too advanced; instead, they’re often common words that may have an unusual meaning based on context.
  5. Function: These questions often ask what a phrase, sentence, or paragraph is accomplishing within the context of the whole passage. This links to your understanding of the big picture / main point.
  6. Author Technique: What’s the author’s tone, style, or other technique in this passage? Paired passage questions often ask you to compare and contrast author techniques or opinions.
  7. Evidence Support: These questions ask you to choose a line or series of lines that provide the best evidence to your answer to a previous question.
  8. Data Analysis: These questions are entirely new and refer to graphs and charts. They may ask something like, “Which claim about traffic congestion is supported by the graph?” The hardest ones may combine with an inference question, like, “The author is least likely to support which interpretation of the data in this figure?”

8 Steps To Read And Understand SAT Passages

  1. Glance over the questions that follow before you begin to read the first passage
  2. Make sure you understand the first three lines of the passage before you continue reading
  3. Quickly read through the passage and understand how the paragraphs connect
  4. Try to answer the questions that follow in your head before proceeding to read the given options
  5. Circle some questions and points in your head or writing material
  6. Once you’ve answered the other questions, you can go back to the general-purpose questions you circled.
  7. If there is time, Quickly go over the passages again to answer you picked the right answers
  8. Be convinced about your answers.

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Sample SAT Comprehension Passages

    The pioneers of the teaching of science imagined that its
    introduction into education would remove the conventionality,
    artificiality, and backward-lookingness which were characteristic;
    of classical studies, but they were gravely disappointed. So, too, in
5   their time had the humanists thought that the study of the classical
    authors in the original would banish at once the dull pedantry and
    superstition of mediaeval scholasticism. The professional
    schoolmaster was a match for both of them, and has almost
    managed to make the understanding of chemical reactions as dull
10  and as dogmatic an affair as the reading of Virgil's Aeneid.

    The chief claim for the use of science in education is that it
    teaches a child something about the actual universe in which he is
    living, in making him acquainted with the results of scientific
15  discovery, and at the same time teaches him how to think logically
    and inductively by studying scientific method. A certain limited
    success has been reached in the first of these aims, but practically
    none at all in the second. Those privileged members of the
    community who have been through a secondary or public school
20  education may be expected to know something about the
    elementary physics and chemistry of a hundred years ago, but they
    probably know hardly more than any bright boy can pick up from
    an interest in wireless or scientific hobbies out of school hours.
    As to the learning of scientific method, the whole thing is palpably
25  a farce. Actually, for the convenience of teachers and the
    requirements of the examination system, it is necessary that the
    pupils not only do not learn scientific method but learn precisely
    the reverse, that is, to believe exactly what they are told and to
    reproduce it when asked, whether it seems nonsense to them or
30  not. The way in which educated people respond to such quackeries
    as spiritualism or astrology, not to say more dangerous ones such
    as racial theories or currency myths, shows that fifty years of
    education in the method of science in Britain or Germany has
    produced no visible effect whatever. The only way of learning the
35  method of science is the long and bitter way of personal
    experience, and, until the educational or social systems are altered
    to make this possible, the best we can expect is the production of a
    minority of people who are able to acquire some of the techniques
    of science and a still smaller minority who are able to use and
40  develop them.

SAT QUESTIONS

1. The author implies that the ‘professional schoolmaster’ (line 7) has

A. no interest in teaching science
B. thwarted attempts to enliven education
C. aided true learning
D. supported the humanists
E. been a pioneer in both science and humanities.

2. The authors attitude to secondary and public school education in the sciences is

A. ambivalent
B. neutral
C. supportive
D. satirical
E. contemptuous

3. The word palpably (line 24) most nearly means

A. empirically
B. obviously
C. tentatively
D. markedly
E. ridiculously

4. The author blames all of the following for the failure to impart scientific method through the education system except

A. poor teaching
B. examination methods
C. lack of direct experience
D. the social and education systems
E. lack of interest on the part of students

5. If the author were to study current education in science to see how things have changed since he wrote the piece, he would probably be most interested in the answer to which of the following questions?

A. Do students know more about the world about them?
B. Do students spend more time in laboratories?
C. Can students apply their knowledge logically?
D. Have textbooks improved?
E. Do they respect their teachers?

6. Astrology (line 31) is mentioned as an example of

A. a science that needs to be better understood
B. a belief which no educated people hold
C. something unsupportable to those who have absorbed the methods of science
D. the gravest danger to society
E. an acknowledged failure of science

7. All of the following can be inferred from the text except

A. at the time of writing, not all children received a secondary school education
B. the author finds chemical reactions interesting
C. science teaching has imparted some knowledge of facts to some children
D. the author believes that many teachers are authoritarian
E. it is relatively easy to learn scientific method.

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ANSWERS TO SAT COMPREHENSION PASSAGES

  1. B
  2. E
  3. B
  4. E
  5. C
  6. C
  7. E

EXPLANATIONS:

1. The author implies that the ‘professional schoolmaster’ (line 7) has

A. no interest in teaching science
B. thwarted attempts to enliven education
C. aided true learning
D. supported the humanists
E. been a pioneer in both science and humanities.

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

When we look back to line 7, we read, “The professional schoolmaster was a match for both of them, and has almost managed to make the understanding of chemical reactions as dull and as dogmatic an affair as the reading of Virgil’s Aeneid.”
This tells us that the schoolmaster has made learning dull. And so we eliminate answers C and E which imply he has done something good.
But to be sure of the answer we should also read the previous sentences. We learn that, “The pioneers of the teaching of science imagined that its introduction into education would remove the conventionality, artificiality, and backwards-lookingness which were characteristic of classical studies……” This section tells us that other people tried to alter the nature of education, but the “professional schoolmaster was a match for both of them”. He therefore prevented (thwarted) these attempts, and the answer is B.

2. The author’s attitude to secondary and public school education in the sciences is

A. ambivalent
B. neutral
C. supportive
D. satirical
E. contemptuous

Correct Answer: E

Explanation:

To find the attitude, try asking yourself whether the author is positive, negative or neutral to the subject. Then look for the evidence. Here, it is obvious that he thinks that nothing very valuable is learned in school about science and scientific method. He is therefore negative. Eliminate the neutral (A and B) words, and the positive (C), and then decide between D and E. He seems to be expressing contempt rather than mocking. And so E is the best choice.

3. The word palpably (line 24) most nearly means

A. empirically
B. obviously
C. tentatively
D. markedly
E. ridiculously

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

Go back to the text and find a word of your own to replace palpably before you even look at the choices. We read, “As to the learning of scientific method, the whole thing is palpably a farce.” Here, I could substitute bviously or clearly. As it happens, one of the words is there in the choices. (B). If it had not been there, there would have been something sufficiently similar to make a choice.

4. The author blames all of the following for the failure to impart scientific method through the education system except

A. poor teaching
B. examination methods
C. lack of direct experience
D. the social and education systems
E. lack of interest on the part of students

Correct Answer: E

Explanation:

Be careful on except questions. You are looking for something the author does not do.
He does blame poor teaching, (lines 7-10), exams (line 26), social and education systems (line 36), lack of direct experience (lines 34-38), but he never blames the students. Hence answer E.

5. If the author were to study current education in science to see how things have changed since he wrote the piece, he would probably be most interested in the answer to which of the following questions?

A. Do students know more about the world about them?
B. Do students spend more time in laboratories?
C. Can students apply their knowledge logically?
D. Have textbooks improved?
E. Do they respect their teachers?

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

This is an inference question. We need to find out what the authors main complaint is. This concern of the author will tells us what he would like to see. From lines 11 to 18 in particular we learn that he is especially interested in whether a student can apply his or her knowledge. So, we conclude that answer C is best.

6. Astrology (line 31) is mentioned as an example of

A. a science that needs to be better understood
B. a belief which no educated people hold
C. something unsupportable to those who have absorbed the methods of science
D. the gravest danger to society
E. an acknowledged failure of science

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

Astrology is mentioned as a quackery. Quackery is something that claims to be true but is actually based on falsity. He implies that people are fooled by astrology, but he also implies that there are other more dangerous ideas. So we eliminate A, B and D. It is not likely that astrology is a failure of science, but it is something that scientists would not approve of. Hence answer C.

7. All of the following can be inferred from the text except

A. at the time of writing, not all children received a secondary school education
B. the author finds chemical reactions interesting
C. science teaching has imparted some knowledge of facts to some children
D. the author believes that many teachers are authoritarian
E. it is relatively easy to learn scientific method.

Correct Answer: E

Explanation:

This is an except question. Be careful! You are looking for something that cannot be inferred from the text. We can find evidence that the author finds reactions interesting (line 9), and that children have learnt some facts (beginning of the second paragraph), and that he thinks teachers are strict (line 10 and part of paragraph 2). We can also infer from the use of the phrase privileged members (line 18) that he believes that not all received secondary education. But we find that he thinks it is hard to learn scientific method- The only way of learning the method of science is the long and bitter way of personal experience”. And so we choose E.

Adapted from: The Social Function of Science, John D Bernal (1939)

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Sample TOEFL Comprehension Passage

“After Review, Giant Sequoia Beats Neighbor”
The ranks of the world’s biggest trees have changed, with The President now edging out its neighbor for the No. 2 spot. By Tracie Cone


Deep in the Sierra Nevada, the famous General Grant giant sequoia tree is suffering its loss of stature in silence. What once was the world’s No. 2 biggest tree has been supplanted thanks to the most comprehensive measurements taken of the largest living things on Earth.

The new No. 2 is The President, a 54,000-cubic-foot gargantuan not far from the Grant in Sequoia National Park. After 3,240 years, the giant sequoia still is growing wider at a consistent rate, which may be what most surprised the scientists examining how the sequoias and coastal redwoods will be affected by climate change and whether these trees have a role to play in combating it.

“I consider it to be the greatest tree in all of the mountains of the world,” said Stephen Sillett, a redwood researcher whose team from Humboldt State University is seeking to mathematically assess the potential of California’s iconic trees to absorb planet-warming carbon dioxide.

The researchers are a part of the 10-year Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative funded by the Save the Redwoods League in San Francisco. The measurements of The President, reported in the current National Geographic, dispelled the previous notion that the big trees grow more slowly in old age.

It means, the experts say, the amount of carbon dioxide they absorb during photosynthesis continues to increase over their lifetimes.

In addition to painstaking measurements of every branch and twig, the team took 15 half-centimetre-wide core samples of The President to determine its growth rate, which they learned was stunted in the abnormally cold year of 1580 when temperatures in the Sierra hovered near freezing even in the summer and the trees remained dormant.

But that was an anomaly, Sillett said. The President adds about one cubic meter of wood a year during its short six-month growing season, making it one of the fastest-growing trees in the world. Its 2 billion leaves are thought to be the most of any tree on the planet, which would also make it one of the most efficient at transforming carbon dioxide into nourishing sugars during photosynthesis.

“We’re not going to save the world with any one strategy, but part of the value of these great trees is this contribution and we’re trying to get a handle on the math behind that,” Sillett said.

After the equivalent of 32 working days dangling from ropes in The President, Sillett’s team is closer to having a mathematical equation to determine its carbon conversion potential, as it has done with some less famous coastal redwoods. The team has analyzed a representative sample that can be used to model the capacity of the state’s signature trees.

More immediately, however, the new measurements could lead to a changing of the guard in the land of giant sequoias. The park would have to update signs and brochures – and someone is going to have to correct the Wikipedia entry for “List of largest giant sequoias,” which still has The President at No. 3.

Now at 93 feet in circumference and with 45,000 cubic feet of trunk volume and another 9,000 cubic feet in its branches, the tree named for President Warren G. Harding is about 15 percent larger than Grant, also known as America’s Christmas Tree. Sliced into one-foot by one-foot cubes, The President would cover a football field.

Giant sequoias grow so big and for so long because their wood is resistant to the pests and disease that dwarf the lifespan of other trees, and their thick bark makes them impervious to fast-moving fire.

It’s that resiliency that makes sequoias and their taller coastal redwood cousin worthy of intensive protections and even candidates for cultivation to pull carbon from an increasingly warming atmosphere, Sillett said. Unlike white firs, which easily die and decay to send decomposing carbon back into the air, rot-resistant redwoods stay solid for hundreds of years after they fall.

Though sequoias are native to California, early settlers traveled with seedlings back to the British Isles and New Zealand, where a 15-foot diameter sequoia that is the world’s biggest planted tree took root in 1850. Part of Sillett’s studies involves modeling the potential growth rate of cultivated sequoia forests to determine over time how much carbon sequestering might increase.

All of that led him to a spot 7,000 feet high in the Sierra and to The President, which he calls “the ultimate example of a giant sequoia.” Compared to the other giants whose silhouettes are bedraggled by lightning strikes, The President’s crown is large with burly branches that are themselves as large as tree trunks.

The world’s biggest tree is still the nearby General Sherman with about 2,000 cubic feet more volume than the President, but to Sillett it’s not a contest.

“They’re all superlative in their own way,” Sillett said.

Questions:

1. The word “supplanted” in paragraph 1
A) inquisitive
B) Has a double-meaning both as a pun on the topic of plants and a literal meaning of “to replace”
C) Is a synonym for “to plant again”
D) Has the same meaning as “to plant,” with extra emphasis

2. One common myth about trees that The President helps disprove is
A) That giant sequoias are more resilient than other tree species
B) That old trees are as productive at photosynthesis as younger ones
C) That only giant sequoias may be named after historical figures
D) That large trees grow more slowly as they age

3. What is the primary benefit that Sillett and other researchers suggest that giant sequoias may have?
A) Their natural beauty can have health benefits for those who travel to wildlife preserves to see them
B) They represent centuries of natural history that no other living things do
C) Because of their size, they can process more carbon dioxide than other trees, which can have significant benefits for the atmosphere
D) Their resilient bark may have eventual uses in human medicine.

4. The giant sequoias are compared to white firs to demonstrate that?
A) Even when the sequoias fall, they do not decay and so send less carbon into the air
B) White firs are more plentiful because they grow and decay more quickly than sequoias
C) The giant sequoias are completely resistant to death

D) White firs are essential because when they decompose they emit necessary nutrients

5. The President has grown every year EXCEPT
A) 1850
B) 2012
C) 1580
D) The President has grown every year of its life

6. All of the following contribute to the lifespan of the giant sequoia EXCEPT
A) They are resistant to diseases that can affect other tree species
B) Their size makes them less vulnerable to animal attacks
C) They are resistant to pests that commonly inhabit trees
D) Their thick bark protects them from wildfires.

7. The term “changing of the guard” in Paragraph 10 means
A) The size rankings of various large sequoias is being reevaluated

B) Human security will be employed to protect these valuable trees
C) Wildlife parks will bring in new equipment to ensure the safety of the trees
D) A new schedule of shifts will be made for studying the trees

8. What does the term “cultivated sequoia forests” in Paragraph 14 imply?
A) Current sequoia reserves will be altered to grow in particular patterns
B) That sequoias may be specially grown in the future for the sole purpose of filtering carbon from the air
C) New forests may be grown globally to promote the beauty of the species
D) Wildlife parks will make more of an effort in the future to direct visitors to the sequoia forests

9. Giant sequoias are native to California, but can also be found in
A) New Zealand
B) France
C) South America
D) Australia

10. In the final sentence, the word “superlative” is closest in meaning to
A) Best of a species
B) Most beautiful
C) The winner of a contest
D) Having individual, unique merit

ANSWERS TO THE TOEFL PASSAGE

1 b 2 d 3 c 4 a 5 c 6 b 7 a 8 b 9 a 10 d

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TOEFL PASSAGE TWO

The evolution of the banana, star of the Western fruit bowl” By Rosie Mestel

Did you hear? The genome of the banana has been sequenced, an important development in scientist’s efforts to produce better bananas.

A look at that genome has revealed curious things, said Pat Heslop-Harrison, a plant geneticist at the University of Leicester in England who was a coauthor of the report published this week in the journal Nature.

For example, there are regions of the banana genome that don’t seem to be involved in making proteins but are shared by many different species of plants, far beyond bananas. What, he wonders, are they doing?

There are remnants of bits of banana streak virus spliced into the banana genome (too broken-up to cause disease, however).

There are whole sets of DNA repeats that plants normally have but bananas do not. And, intriguingly, three times since this genus of giant herbs took an evolutionary turn away from its relatives — the grasses — it has duplicated its entire set of chromosomes.

Two of the doublings took place at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary 65 million years ago, back when the dinosaurs and lots of other species went extinct, Heslop-Harrison noted.

Duplications like this are known to have happened in other plant groups at this same time but haven’t occurred since, Heslop-Harrison said. Scientists don’t know why, but they believe having extra copies of genes may have imparted some stability to plants during a time of rapid climate change after an asteroid hit Earth.

Having more than one gene of each type means that if one gene of a set loses function, the plant still has another one that works. And there’s more room for adaptability to new circumstances, because one gene could be altered and co-opted for new purposes and there would still be the other one left to perform the original job.

“Perhaps it’s the reason [bananas have] done so well in the subsequent millions of years,” Heslop-Harrison said. “One can ask, will changes occurring in the world’s climate now mean there’s going to be a whole set of new genome duplications that will enable plants to survive? We don’t know that, but it’s interesting to consider.”

The banana genome sequenced by the French scientists was from the Pahang, a wild Malaysian banana of the species Musa acuminata. It’s a key species in the complicated evolution of the bananas and plantains people eat around the world, including the Cavendish banana that we buy at the supermarket.

The sterile Cavendish is a so-called triploid: It has three sets of chromosomes instead of the normal two. One of those genomes came from Pahang. The others came from other subspecies of Musa acuminata.

The changes occurred stepwise, and went something like this:

  • Thousands of years ago, two wild banana species from different parts of the islands of Southeast Asia were brought into the same range by people. They formed hybrids. A bit like mules, the hybrids were vigorous but fairly sterile.
  • The hybrids were kept going without sex through propagation of their shoots.
  • At some point, the hybrids developed the ability to set fruit without being fertilized.
  • Then (for most bananas, including the Cavendish) came another chance event that caused the hybrids to end up with three sets of chromosomes. Every now and again, the few viable eggs and pollen that they made would mistakenly contain two sets of chromosomes instead of just one.

When a double-chromosome pollen combined with a single-chromosome egg (or vice versa), the result was a hopelessly sterile plant with even more vigorous fruit.

Events like this happened more than once and sometimes included other types of ancestral banana species.

Some scientists, in fact, have made a whole study of banana domestication and movement around the world. They’ve pieced the story together using quite different strands of information, including the genomes of wild and cultivated bananas, the microscopic relics of banana leaf material found at archaeological sites, and even the word for “banana” in different languages.

1. In paragraph 2, the word “curious” is closest in meaning to
A) inquisitive
B) peculiar
C) nosy
D) intricate

2. What does paragraph 5 suggest about bananas?
A)The banana genus may not yet be classifiable into a traditional category
B)Bananas are actually a species of grass
C)Bananas may now be categorized as “herbs” in supermarkets
D)Because banana chromosomes duplicate themselves, they have better potential for successful cloning

3. Why does the author use “intriguingly” to describe the phenomenon in paragraph 5?
A) To imply that bananas are far more interesting than other fruits
B) To make readers doubt the claims scientists are making about bananas
C) To suggest that duplication of chromosomes is a rare and interesting occurrence in the plant world
D) To encourage questions about whether bananas are grasses or herbs

4. Why is the observation in paragraph 6 important?
A) It suggests that the banana mutated its genetic structure for survival
B) It shows that bananas can be traced as far back as dinosaurs
C) It suggests that bananas were fatal to dinosaurs and other species
D) It proves that bananas are immune to atmospheric changes

5. The word “co-opted” in paragraph 8 is closest in meaning to
A) decided upon together
B) argued against
C) removed from the study
D) adopted

6.The quote in paragraph 9 most closely suggests
A) Bananas may be an example of ways that species might alter their genetics to survive changes in the earth’s climate and atmosphere
B) That the genetic mutations of bananas have no implications for other species
C) That genetic structure is the only factor that should be considered when predicting survival
D) Though bananas have made it this far, there is no proof that they will survive the next wave of significant atmospheric changes.

7. According to the article, all are steps in the evolution of the banana EXCEPT
A) Some banana hybrids began to develop three sets of chromosomes
B) The merging of two different banana species
C) Bananas reproduced widely and easily through fertilization
D) Bananas developed the ability to develop fruit without fertilization

8. The word “chance” in paragraph 16 is closest in meaning to
A) random
B) gamble
C) risky
D)opportune

9. All are variations of banana mentioned in the article EXCEPT
A) the Cavendish
B) Dolus mundi
C) Musa acuminata
D) plantains

10. The word “domestication” in the final paragraph is closest in meaning to>
A) housebroken
B) well-controlled
C) adapted for human consumption
D) accepted within the culture

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IELTS Reading Tips

When you first get your reading passage, you should skim read it. This means you cast your eyes over the passage to get to know the general topic and content as well as to see the general layout of the passage. This should take about 2 minutes. You are not aiming to understand it, you just want to see what the passage is about before you tackle the questions.

After you skim read the passage, you go straight to the questions. Pay attention to what type of question type it is and remember your techniques and tips for that particular question type. Find a key word or information in the question to help you locate the answer. You scan the passage by casting your eyes over the words to locate the key information from the question. This should be done with speed to spot a word or piece of information rather than understand each sentence. Once you locate the place in the passage that contains the answer, you read the sentences before and after to find your answer. This means you only need to understand those few sentences.  Then you move to the next question and do the same. You don’t need to understand the whole passage at all.

Reading Techniques & Strategies

  1. skim the passage (read quickly to get general content and layout)
  2. read the questions
  3. identify the type of question
  4. remember your techniques and tips for that question type
  5. find a keyword or information in the question to help you locate the answer in the passage
  6. scan the passage by passing your eyes over the paragraphs to find the keyword or information from the question
  7. when you find the location, read the sentences before and after
  8. always read around the answer to check other information
  9. try to understand the few sentences around the location of the answer
  10. when you find the answer, move to the next question
  11. don’t spend too long trying to find one answer
  12. remember that each answer is only worth one point

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Sample IELTS Comprehension Passage

Australia and the Great  War, 1914 ”“ 1918

Australia’s role in the First World War, or the Great War as it was known until 1939, is central to the development of modern Australia’s vision of itself in the world. In many ways it has served to create what is in some ways a second founding of the nation in the Gallipoli campaign and on the battlefields of France and Belgium. The influence of the war experience in the First, and Second, World War is evident in the way in which ANZAC day is, perhaps even more than Australia day, the country’s national day.

When the war broke out in 1914, it was a certainty that, because of longstanding economic, family and defense ties, Australia, along with New Zealand, would stand alongside Britain. The then Prime Minister Andrew Fisher was quick to pledge the country’s support to “the last man, the last shilling”. This was no idle promise and Australia paid a high price for their loyalty to their colonizers. From a pre-war population of 5m, 417,000 enlisted in the armed forces, of which 324,000 served abroad. By the end of the war, Australia had lost 60,000 dead and 155,000 men had been wounded. The economic price was also high. The national debt, which had stood at ‚6m in 1914, was £325m by the end of the war.

It is possible that the first shot of the war was fired in Australia, when a shot was fired across the bow of the German merchant ship Pfalz as it tried to escape from Port Arthur only a few hour after the declaration of war. In late 1914 the light cruiser HMAS Sydney sank the German warship Emden off the west coast of the country. Also early in the war, Australian troops captured the German radio transmitters in Rabaul and Nauru and conquered all of German New Guinea.

At first the Australian forces were intended only to defend Australia, but in 1915 the Australia New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) departed for Europe. Their first stop was Egypt and it was because they were so close that they were chosen to take part in the campaign to capture the Gallipoli peninsula, the key to shipping into the Black Sea, from the Turks. The plan was for British, French and Anzac forces to land on the peninsular at night at weak points in the Turkish defense. However, strong winds blew the troops off course to better defended spots and in the advantage was lost. What followed was months of bitter fighting in which 20,000 British and 7,000 ANZAC soldiers were killed and which ended in a successful withdrawal, but no gain for the Allies. It was at this moment of history that Australia was propelled on to the world stage. From this moment onward Australia began to think of itself as a country in its own right; as being separate to Britain and no longer a colony.

Most of the ANZAC force was sent to Europe, but the Australian Light Horse remained to fight Turkish forces in Palestine and Syria. They defended the Suez Canal and advanced through Palestine and Syria. They also took part in what was one of the world’s last great cavalry charges at Beersheba.

The main ANZAC force arrived in Europe in 1916. The ANZAC experience was similar to that of the other participants in the war; a high death toll and little gain to be shown for it. Australian forces were present at all the major battles of the war and sustained some terrible casualties. For example, in 24 hours near Pozieres the 5th Division suffered 5,000 casualties. At the battle of Bullecort, of the 3,000 men who advanced, 2339 were killed, wounded or captured.

By 1917 most of the officers were not professional soldiers. The most prominent example was General Sir John Monash, who was an engineer by training. He commanded the allied forces at the battle of Hamel so well that the general staff published the battle reports as a model. In August 1918, he commanded 200,000 troops on what way called “Ludendorff’s black day”, a turning point in the war. Monash was probably Australia’s greatest military figure.

Unlike in other armies in the war, the Australian soldiers were all volunteers. They were also more individualistic and showed less respect for the rulebook than other soldiers. The relationship between ranks was more democratic and officer had to win the respect of their troops. All in all, they paid a high price for fighting in the war. Of the 324,000 soldiers who served overseas in the war 215,000 were killed or wounded. This was the highest proportion of any of the countries in the war and was probably due to the Australians fighting qualities, which meant that they were often used on the frontline of the fighting.

At home, the war had a significant effect on the economy. Negative effects included the end of British investment, the closure of many shipping lanes and the stockpiling of Australia’s main export, wool. However, the isolation that resulted from the war meant that Australia had to make some things that had previously been imported. This led to the development of new industries. In addition, the BHP smelting company, which is now a major Australian company, saw a great increase in demand for iron and steel. The needs of the war were stimulus for the beginning of full industrialization in Australia.

At the signing of the treaty of Versailles, which marked the end of the war, Australia signed as a separate country. This reflected the fact that, at the cost of 60,000 dead, Australia had finally emerged from the shadow of Britain. The Great War was, perhaps, the beginning of modern Australian history.

IELTS Reading Passages: Questions 1 ”“ 7

Complete the sentences below (1 ”“ 7) with words taken from the passage.

Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

Write your numbers in boxes 1 ”“ 7 on your answer sheet.

  1. According to the passage Australia’s view of itself is directly related to its involvement in the ”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦
  1. Soon after the war had begun, Australia’s Prime Minister offered the ”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦.
  1. Australia had an early involvement in the war and it is even possible that they were responsible for the ”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦..
  1. When combating the Turkish defense, the British, French and Anzac forces ended up attacking stronger points than they had originally intended because of”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦
  1. The outcome of the bitter fight with the Turks was significant for Australia because it enabled them to take their place on the ”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦
  1. John Monash commanded the battle of Hamel so well that reports of the battle were published in order to be used ”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦
  1. The Great War marked the beginning of modern Australia. They had emerged as a separate country and would no longer have to live under the”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦

IELTS Reading Passages: Questions 8 ”“ 12

Classify the following statements as representing

YES               if the statement agrees with the claims of the writer

NO                 if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer

NOT GIVEN  if it is impossible to know what the writer thinks
about this

Write the appropriate letters in boxes 8 ”“ 12 on your answer sheet.

  1. Australia’s national debt increased greatly as a result of the Great War.
  1. Australia made a great contribution to the successful outcome of the First World War.
  1. The British forces suffered a greater number of casualties than the Anzac forces during the months of fighting with the Turkish.
  1. Overall, the British had a higher proportion of soldiers killed or injured than Australia.
  1. Australian soldiers were never disrespectful to their superiors.

IELTS Reading Passages – ANSWERS

  1. First World War / Great War
  2. country’s support
  3. first shot
  4. strong winds
  5. world stage
  6. as a model
  7. shadow of Britain
  8. Yes
  9. Not Given
  10. Yes
  11. No
  12. No

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Isaac Inegbenehi
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