The comprehension component isn’t as straightforward as the one in our days where it consisted mainly of factual questions. It is now a lot more complex and requires students to be equipped with a varied set of techniques to answer the various types of questions.
Based on the comprehension questions from the past PSLE exam papers, we have identified 8 different types of comprehension questions that can be tested. Knowing the different types and the requirements for each of them will allow the student to acquire the marks for them with ease.
The most straightforward type of question. Such questions focus on obvious details from the passage. The students are required to simply find these obvious details to answer BUT they have to be careful not to lift and take only what is necessary.
1. What did Ethan bring to class?
2. Where was Julian in the afternoon?
These questions are less direct compared to factual questions. They require the students to think like detectives and look for clues instead of obvious answers in the text. For instance, looking at the phrase “the sun was directly above their heads”, the student should be able to deduce that it was noon time.
- Why did Kyle help the old man?
- Which phrase tells you that Keith was angry?
This type of question requires students to figure out the order in which events happened in a story. However, this question is not asking which event APPEARED first. An event that appeared in the first paragraph may not have happened first.
__2__ Thaddeus realised he left his wallet at home.
__1__ It was recess time.
__3__ Mrs Goh offered a sandwich to Thaddeus.
*4. True or False
For these questions, students have to identify whether a given statement is entirely true or if a false detail is given. The students are to provide evidence to prove why the statement is true (by finding the original sentence) or false (by finding the false detail). Find that detail and write the answer in a way that matches (if true) or contrasts (if false) with the statement.
*5. Cause and Effect
These questions are asking the students to identify the cause (what made something happen) and effects (what happened as a result of the cause). A useful tip is to write “because” on top of the Cause column and “so” in the effect column. When the two are strung together, it helps them to understand the question requirement more clearly.
*6. Before / After
These questions require students to make comparisons and identify a given detail in the statement which changed over time. Once again, do not confuse this with events that appeared first (appearing first doesn’t necessarily mean that it happened first).
7. Vocabulary in Context
These questions are basically testing the students’ vocabulary. However, do not forget that many words have multiple meanings. Identify the correct usage of the words based on the way they are used in the passage (that’s why it’s called “in context”).
1. Which word/ phrase has the opposite meaning as…?
2. Find the words that have similar meanings to the following words…
8. Applied Vocabulary
Different from the vocabulary in context questions, these questions are usually tougher as it requires the students to analyse and use their own words to describe a situation or characters accurately.
1. How would you describe the atmosphere in the classroom when the teacher stepped in? (e.g. tense, relaxed)
2. How would you describe Mr August’s character in the passage? (e.g. serious, friendly)
* These types of questions are usually presented in table form. The questions may be factual or inferential in nature.
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