The Secondary 3 English syllabus involves a lot of reading.
Paper 2 has 2 major text passages of about 1000 words each and you are expected to read, understand and assimilate all the main points within a time sphere of around 20 minutes.
You are not really given that much time for reading a text passage.
In fact, some Secondary 3 English students will just read the questions first and then read the text to find a corresponding piece of information.
This may work well at a primary level.
But what if the Secondary 3 English question is asking you about a chain of events spread out throughout the paragraph?
The answer may not be contained in that paragraph.
It may be an inference question.
What do you do if the question is asking you to imply something?
Obviously, this system will not work.
Do not read the questions first and then read the text.
That is my first piece of advice.
It would not do justice to the text.
And you will miss out on hidden meanings which will always be a feature of narrative text.
Ok. Let me lay out the ground rules.
What is in store for you in Secondary 3 English Paper 2?
In Secondary 3 English, the passages are about as difficult as the O level passages.
You will have to read every bit of information carefully and even re-read it if necessary.
Secondary 3 English Comprehension Text B – Narrative Text
This is the first text you will read and it is usually an extract from a novel.
Rule Of Thumb
Be sure to read the entire text as a whole.
Do not read one paragraph at a time and tackle the questions.
Ok, if you are already doing that, then at least Skim through the entire passage first.
How To Skim
Read the main nouns, adjectives and verbs by letting your eyes skim over the text.
Look out for the names of people, names of places, verbs and adjectives describing the characters and adverbs of time, place.
All of these will add up to a little ‘story’ of its own.
You will be able to arrive at a rough idea of what is going on without going too much into the grammatical details.
While skimming, you will notice that certain nouns, names and places will pop up frequently.
These will signal to you that they are important so you will begin to form an idea about the events and indications of proposed actions.
By the time you reach the end, you should have a fairly good idea of the focus of the text.
It does not require re-reading it as you need to think of time management.
Make sure that you do not go back to read it.
Just go to the questions after this.
You should be ready by this time.
Secondary 3 English Comprehension Text C – Information Text
This is where you are reading an extract which could be from a science manual or an extract from a news report.
All the details in this text are based on actual facts.
They may contain predictions but that is not often the case.
What you need to do is to gather as much information about what the theme is.
Rule Of Thumb
By this time you will know how to skim through the entire text.
When you have finished skimming, be sure to focus on groups of important meanings that are given in the text.
For instance, it could be a report about how tourists are ruining the archaeological site at Machu Picchu and that maintenance has to take place.
The bolded words reveal the theme in the passage.
Once you have figured out the theme from skimming, you should be able to understand that the text is about the importance of preserving Machu Picchu and suggestions on maintaining it.
There will be 2 types of questions that will reflect these interests in the text.
Get acquainted with the focus points as All the Secondary 3 English questions will be on these.
The summary question will also be on both of these or either one.
Understanding what the passage is focussing on is your top priority.
You are not just reading it to figure out the flow of events but you need to know that the author is trying to send a message across.
What is that message?
Should you be aware that there is a major concern?
What are the points which reflect this?
How did the situation deteriorate?
What should be done?
There is always a cry for action in such passages.
Your job is to understand what that is.
Always read the entire passage first.
Each passage has a different focus and you need to understand that.
These are the 2 main requirements when you attempt to do a Secondary 3 English comprehension passage.
Reading and understanding are the keys to answering questions accurately.
The next time you attempt a Secondary 3 English comprehension passage, use these tips and you will notice that your answers will not only be sharper but clearer.