How To Easily Make Inferences In Secondary English Comprehension With 3 Steps – Gist, Prior Knowledge Or Context

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What is the inference?

This is a question which crops up regularly in your Secondary English Comprehension paper.

In fact, inference writing contributes to several marks in your Secondary English comprehension paper. 

It is thinly disguised as questions worded as ‘suggest’ or ‘imply.’

There is no doubt about it. 

Inference questions make up the trickiest of all questions and if you want to increase your score substantially in the Secondary English comprehension paper, you will need to apply yourself rigorously to these questions.

What does inference mean?

Inference questions do not really have a definite answer in the text. 

I mean, you could pour over the texts and try to deduce some semblance of an answer but you may only find 50% of the answer to an inference question. 

That is the whole objective of these questions. 

You are supposed to infer, meaning guess.

Yes, it is sheer guesswork or logical deduction. 

Some would call it an educated guess. 

Whatever you may choose to call it, inference questions are not exactly easy to answer.

It takes skill to answer an inference question correctly. 

You need to peruse the text carefully and make your own deductions before you answer these questions.

In short, there are no rules when it comes to answering inference questions. 

It just depends on how well you understand the text.

As I had mentioned in one of my blogs, reading and understanding the text is key to tackling these questions.

secondary english comprehension

Step 1 – Using the gist of information presented

This is one of the ways to tackle inference questions in Secondary English comprehension.

I mean, you have absolutely no idea what the answer is as there is nothing that relates to the question. 

It may imply that the protagonist had gone out but if the question is asking you what he had done outside when nothing about his activities had been mentioned then you really have to start looking at the gist.

What is the gist?

It refers to getting an idea about what is being mentioned. 

It refers to getting an overview. 

And it refers to having a rough idea based on what is mentioned in order to guess about what is Not being mentioned.

The gist is to get a rough idea, use a lot of guesswork and try to be a bit of a detective at prying. 

You need to sift the given information.

Step 2 – Using prior knowledge

This is one way to start. 

If you have absolutely no clue about the gist then just use the information which is already given in the Secondary English comprehension paper. 

Using prior knowledge is to use the clues which are in the text.

Sometimes, if the text is easily accessible, you can find the answer to an inference question without much trouble. 

You may find half the answer or more and just use a little bit of elaboration to answer fully.

Using prior knowledge depends on the way you read the text. 

You will need to understand the text fully before you attempt the Secondary English comprehension question. 

Inference questions may fall into 3 categories.

There are those which ask you questions based on most of the information in the text.

And there are those which ask you to guess based on the vocabulary.

The third type of inference question requires the most dexterity. 

It will merely ask you what the question suggests without any vocabulary phrases to peruse.

Step 3 – Examine the context meaning

This is the third type of inference question.

If a descriptive passage were to refer to a criticism of example environmental hazard and the way authorities have been negligent, you will have to infer that there will be negative assumptions being made.

The context will be largely negative in this case and the questions will ask you to discuss this.

Always examine the trend of thought in the context. 

That will give you the best clues when you attempt these Secondary English comprehension questions.

Answering inference questions using Gist, Prior knowledge and Context takes time and practice. 

Take your time to understand these concerns. 

In time, you will be able to overcome this hurdle successfully.

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