Secondary 3 English Singapore: Effective Ways To Reading and Understanding the Passage

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Secondary 3 is a crucial year for students and it is important to do well in Secondary 3 English. 

It is the penultimate year for the GCE O level exams. 

All your preparation should start in Secondary 3. 

By Secondary 4, you are supposed to digest the syllabus which is usually covered in the first half of the year and begin your revision.

Secondary 3 is the year when you still have time. 

By Secondary 4, you are just finishing up and there will be no more time for all that groundwork. 

It is time to take your Secondary 3 English seriously.

Reading and Understanding the Passage is more than what meets the eye.

You need to look at the words and scan through the entire passage within an allotted time.

Understanding the passage means that you have to probe the layers of rhetorical expostulations and contextual jargon to really know the true intent.

secondary 3 english

How do you Read a Secondary 3 English Passage?

Reading a passage depends on how quickly your eye moves and it is crucial to use your time wisely during the Secondary 3 English paper. 

You have to move along the lines for the first read and pick out the main nouns, verbs and adjectives just to get an instant view of the passage. 

Reading should not take too much time. 

You may do this in just under 3 minutes if you do it properly.

An example of Reading Secondary 3 English passage the first time:

“Shiobhan was intensely preoccupied in searching for her Persian cat. It had been a gift from her father who worked in the embassy in Beijing. Shiobhan’s cat was called Emritsu, named partly for the emerald green eyes which stopped anyone dead in their tracks when they entered her living room. 

Emritsu was of Persian descent, bred only for pedigree purchase and was found in Shanghai in a tycoon friend’s house whom her father patronised. All that Shiobhan knew was that the cat was a gift that her father had chosen to give her on her 21st birthday. Now, the feline mystery occupied all her days and nights as she pondered how it had gone missing from her 25th floor apartment in Manhattan.”

When you read the above paragraph, your eyes should pick out these words only.

“Shiobhan …preoccupied … searching … Persian cat. … gift from her father .. worked … embassy in Beijing. …. cat … called Emritsu, … for the emerald green eyes .. stopped … in their tracks … entered her living room. Emritsu … Persian …, … for pedigree purchase … found .. Shanghai … tycoon friend’s … father patronised. … Shiobhan knew … the cat … gift … father … chosen to give her on her 21st birthday. …. feline mystery .… … days and nights … pondered … missing … 25th floor … Manhattan.”

This is what a ‘quick read’ will look like. 

If you were to read it like this, you will be amazed how quickly you will know the theme and how much time you will save.

Reading like this also means that you would have understood faster and have more time to read leisurely about what the main points are. 

This will be a vital help for your Secondary 3 English summary question later.

How do you Understand a Secondary 3 English Passage?

Understanding a Secondary 3 English passage is quite another matter. Try to compartmentalise a passage when you read it.

Understand if it is a pure narrative or a passage that exposes. Eg. The dangers of smoking. 

What is the intent of the author when you read it? 

Did you understand the tenor, the tone, the theme, what it is trying to say but does not?

Are you able to delve beneath the layers of linguistic dexterity to arrive at the true meaning? 

Every passage has a main purpose. 

In fact, every paragraph has a main topic point. 

When you read a paragraph, you will immediately have to ask yourself what that main point is.

Go through the entire passage by ticking or underlining what you think is the main point. 

Then visualize the entire purpose at the end of your reading.

“Mention Dr Morandeira to mountain climbers and the likely response will be ‘mountain doctor’. Images of a mountain doctor living in the wilds amidst the snowy peaks of the Himalayas might quickly unfold. Dr Jose Ramon Morandeira actually heads research at Zaragoza University Hospital and holds the panacea for frostbite, the downside of mountain climbing most feared by trekkers and climbers.

If you ask Dr Morandeira his reason for specialising in such a small-scaled but specialised field, his answer will probably surprise you. He himself was once a victim of frostbite and his fingers were in such a critical condition that amputation was the only option offered by his doctor, who was none other than his father? 

Dr Morandeira’s obstinacy in seeking a preventive cure rather than opting for clinical amputation is legendary and his insistence had yielded dividends that benefit humanity today. Dr Morandeira chose to have his fingers treated and it meant unstinting devotion to his fingers. Eventually, the tips re-grew their cells and tissue renewal meant that an operation was no longer necessary.“

When you start with the first paragraph, your understanding will be that Dr Morandeira is more than just someone from the mountain. He is a doctor who specialises in frostbite.

In paragraph 2, there is a father-son relationship outlined. You should understand by the time you finish this paragraph that the whole passage has nothing to do with this. 

It is all about his discovery.

If you really understand the passage well, you will already know what the passage is about before you finish reading it.

And that is a habit which you will have to acquire so that you can control the time when doing your Secondary 3 English paper.

Reading and understanding are the most important aspects of managing the passages in Secondary 3 English. If you use these tools well, your Secondary 3 and 4 English will be less of a challenge and more of a reward.

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