Comprehension questions: 3 most important parts

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The Comprehension Paper can be an exacting one. It contains 2 passages and a summary portion which add up to a lot of scoring marks. Getting a good score in comprehension requires you to understand the main components of the question paper. After all, if you understand the questions well, you should be able to answer them accurately? Is that not so?

Well in my previous blog entry, I had put together the 8 types of comprehension questions you may typically find in a Comprehension paper. In this blog, I will attempt to summarise those 8 types to give you the 3 Important Parts of Comprehension questions. This will help you with a quick revision and guide to a simpler understanding of the comprehension questions.

There are 2 types of Comprehension Passages:

  1. The Narrative text 
  2. The Factual text


(I) Analysis questions – you have to select your answer from the text correctly so that it suits the question precisely

(II) Vocabulary questions – an in-depth understanding of the phrases and words is required

(III) Inference questions – you have to be very perceptive to understand the clues from the text and answer the questions based on these and your own assessment of the situation.

Narrative Comprehension Text

The difficulty in a Narrative text is that it tends to be more imaginative and there will be a greater usage of literary devices such as metaphors, irony and puns to name a few. Narrative passages will also have the author’s frame-of-mind type of questions where you are supposed to infer what is going on according to slight variations in actions and nuances in the language. Your writing reflexes must be sharper when you answer questions from a Narrative comprehension passage. 

“I sat in a harness which I had created made of my old canvas tool shed canopy. It bound me to the largest branch of the tree where I waited motionless above the trap I had set for squirrels and small game which the villagers eagerly bought from me. That was how I supported my father and myself. Not that father was old or decrepit.

Far from it. He was still youngish in his late 30s and could be useful if he wanted to. I could grow old waiting for him to put bread on the table. The game from the quarries peppering our forest patch was my life support and passport to the future. So far, I had saved 890 dollars from the game sales  without the old whisky man knowing.”

Analysis Questions

  • What sort of feelings does the author have for her father? Give 1 example to support your answer with explanation.
  • Why does the author mention ‘old whisky man’?  Whom is it in reference to and why does she use such a phrase? 
  • What does the fact that the author had saved 890 dollars secretly suggest about her character? 


  • The author mentions “…could be useful if he wanted to’ to describe her father. This reveals that her father is useless to her as she has to do all the work but it also implies that he is capable of work. The view of the author is that her father is lazy and uncaring from this observation.
  • The phrase ‘old whisky man’ refers to her father and he is probably in the habit of drinking whisky a lot and not doing much work. The author probably feels annoyed that she has to do the work for their daily maintenance.
  • The fact that the author had saved 890 dollars secretly suggests that she is thrifty, resourceful and strong minded as she is able to keep the money from her father who would probably spend it on whisky.

Vocabulary Questions

  • What does the phrase “my life support and passport to the future” reveal about the author? Why is the word “passport” used? 
  • “I could grow old waiting for him to put bread on the table.” What are the words which show the author’s impatience at her father? Explain why it is so.


  • “My life support and passport to the future” reveals that the author possesses initiative to manage her future on her own by saving well. The word “passport” is used because the savings will be of use in the author’s future when she may decide to start a new life for herself.
  • The words are ‘grow old’.  It shows that the author is annoyed with her father’s attitude towards supporting her and that waiting for him to help will prove futile.

Factual Comprehension Text

The information given in factual comprehension texts are more precise with statistics and quotes. Most of the time, the questions will require you to analyse the information accurately. 

“Secondly, the facilities. Food, hotels and spa. They may fall into two categories. City type of hotels with complete malls, cineplexes and eateries all set inside a behemoth building have lately become the rage for family holiday makers. It is the 21st century’s lazy excuse for family fun. When did family fun mean walking around in a Wifi building with the phone?

The restaurants number around 50 and the cineplexes scream out the latest Hollywood blockbusters from A to Z. These behemoths bear an uncanny resemblance to other behemoths all over the world. From LA to Singapore, the time of the Mall hotel holidays have come. People love it, salivate over it and go home sated with the offerings of food, cinema and shopping which could have been found in their own city.”

Analysis Questions

  • What is the first of the two categories the author mentions? Answer in your own words. 
  • What is the author’s view of how a 21st century family decides to enjoy a holiday? Answer in your own words.


  • The first of the two categories mentioned are hotels in the city with inbuilt malls containing a spread of cinemas and restaurants inside a huge building.
  • The author describes a 21st century family as one that is connected to the internet excessively with their mobile devices while enjoying themselves at the variety of restaurants and cineplex all under one roof. 

Inference Questions

  • What is suggested by the cineplexes which ‘scream’ out the latest Hollywood blockbusters? What does the word ‘scream’ suggest? 
  • What is suggested by people salivating over it? Answer in your own words. 


  • The word ‘scream’ suggests that the cinemas are advertising the latest movies in eye-catching ways.
  • It suggests that people are extremely delighted with the shopping, delicious meals at restaurants and entertainment which has made them excited and eager.

These are the 3 Main Types of Comprehension Questions. To do a quick revision for your tests or exams, try to at least practice on these 3 and you will definitely be able to score very well. Good luck with your preparation!

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