The GCE O Level English comprehension paper is a demanding one.
The narrative text focuses on the author’s mindset and views.
There will be dialogue revealing the characters’ attitudes and inclinations.
Then the descriptive text is factual with comparisons and judgments made on a topic.
Assimilating all the information and answering the O Level English paper coherently while being relevant requires skill.
Well, not to worry as I have listed 8 best practices for you to focus on the key learning points in O Level English comprehension:
When reading the O Level English passage, you will need to ask yourself what the main intention is. This may vary from paragraph to paragraph. You will need to discover the theme and if you think you know it, ask yourself what the author is driving at.
For a narrative passage, the views and reasoning of the author are often expressed in the flow of the narrative. It is never direct. Ask yourself why the author chose to do nothing, for example. Remember, there is always a reason behind it.
Questioning why a particular judgement was made for a descriptive text will help you to discover what the author may be hinting at. Sometimes, authors prefer that you question a point in order to arrive at a deeper understanding.
#2 Reading And Analysing
This is the fundamental part of comprehending any text. You really need to read and analyse.
Wait a minute. I meant reading and analysing at the same time. This is metacognition where you will be simultaneously digesting 2 basic parts of a text.
Firstly, the overall understanding of the story. And secondly, the correlation between the main plot and sub plot. While reading through the text, you should try to do both of these.
The reason? You will be able to comprehend that much faster. Your processing speed will be infinitely better and you will also understand what the intention of the O Level English passage is. Try this the next time you read a comprehension passage. You will be amazed at how easy it can be.
When reading a text, do you try to imagine what the plot is about? I mean, do you visualise it in your mind’s eye? What is the mind’s eye?
Er…well. It is about picturing it. After all, every sentence has a meaning and every single thought should conjure a picture. What picture?
It is a metaphor but you are supposed to imagine the action playing out in your head like a mini video. Once you do that, your accuracy in interpreting the content will be much better.
The O Level English summary portion carries 15 marks. You knew that already. Ok. This is how it goes. When attempting the summary question, you need to ensure that all 8 points are there in consecutive form.
Sometimes, it may be more than 8. 10, perhaps? It’s alright as long as you follow the question in detail. You need to follow these 2 rules basically.
You need to make sure that you have located 8-10 points that answer the question accurately.
And you will have to ensure that they are not directly copied. You need to use some of your own words so having a good store of vocabulary words will come in handy.
This is crucial when attempting an O Level English comprehension passage. Most passages these days are rife with suggestions.
Nothing is what it seems. You will need to wade through the jargon of words to discover the real intent of the author. Sometimes, this can be done with a little ‘digging,’ while at other times you just need to use the old-fashioned method. Guessing.
Yes, that’s right. You need to guess or infer. Your inference has to be accurate though so take care that it is relevant to the content and that it suits the question.
#6 Understanding The Narrative
Understanding the narrative means knowing the flow of the story. Which direction is the story going in? Is it a sad story? A motivational one? Is it about deceit or malcontent? KNOW what the story is asking you to look at.
If that O Level English passage has been chosen for you to comprehend, it means there is something of value for you to comprehend. There must be a message of some kind. So, try to be in control. Know your narrative.
#7 Scanning For Background Information
You have to realise that there are a few portions to a narrative. There will be the part that the author reveals and the hidden part which is the inference portion. I have already discussed that.
There is also the background portion. You need to guess the narrator’s background or profile. This is so that you know where he/she is coming from.
This is a crucial part of the narrative as it will explain the reasoning behind the arguments and you will be able to form better conclusions about the main thread.
#8 Zooming In For Main Topic Points
What are the main topic points in the O Level English comprehension section? Every paragraph should have one. It introduces what each paragraph is meant to convey. You will understand the main concern or main interest in that paragraph.
This will also help you to organise your summary easily. Most summary questions target main topic points and some secondary points. So, the next time you read a paragraph, ask yourself about the main idea in that paragraph.
Well, I have come to the end of my little discussion. Try following these 8 practices. It will help you to understand and score in your O Level English comprehension papers in record time.