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Typical Comprehension Mistakes Explained
Regular practice is essential to help your child hone their Comprehension Skills. Although students have been told countless times to read the Comprehension Passage carefully and locate the key words, many still make the same mistakes. How can students improve in the precision of their answers?
Over the years, we have compiled a list of typical errors that students make when tackling the Comprehension Section. By helping your child understand these common mistakes, you can help them bag the marks they deserve!
Common Mistake 1:
Lifting Content from the Passage for Inferential Questions
Most students are able to locate the clues in the passage. However, when it comes to using their own words, they fall short. During the exams, students are required to paraphrase their answers or use only relevant information to answer questions. Lifting an entire chunk of text from the passage seems to imply a student's lack of confidence and understanding of the task.
Common Mistake 2:
Inability to Distinguish 'Direct' and 'Inferential' Questions
Students commonly mix up question types. As a result, they lose marks by providing imprecise answers. Answers to direct questions are usually found within the passage itself. On the other hand, inferential questions require an additional step. Upon locating the clues, students are expected to draw on details from the text to make a logical guess, and / or state the implied meaning of a phrase or sentence.
Common key phrases for inferential questions:
Common Mistake 3:
Answering from Memory
Some students commit the blunder of structuring their responses based on memory, but they forget that some questions require two or three supporting details. In the process, they fail to pick out the relevant details. There are occasions when students think they have answered the question adequately. However, their response has only addressed part of the question.
Students should refer closely and constantly to the actual passage to avoid mistakes in writing.
For example, if a question asks for 'a word with similar meaning to 'fury' in Paragraph 1', students will receive no marks if they copied 'angry' by mistake instead of the word 'anger' that was printed in the passage.
Common Mistake 4:
Imprecise Answers and Vague Responses
An answer could sound confusing and unclear if the subject or context is unclear. Students should avoid using vague terms such as 'the place', 'something' and ambiguous pronouns such as 'he', 'she', and 'they'.
For example: 'Why did the author return to the office?'
'He wanted to complete that.'
Common Mistake 5:
Forgetting to Punctuate
While it is crucial to write relevant and accurate answers, it is also important to ensure that answers include the necessary commas and full stops. Remember to write in complete sentences too!
Need more Comprehension Tips?
Stay tuned for our next newsletter where we will tackle inferential questions!
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The lure of the sensational:
Why clichés and memorised phrases remain ineffective
Impressing the examiner with beautiful expressions seems to be the tried and tested formula that some teachers advocate in school. However, such an approach may result in a fragmented composition, when a student does not display the finesse to maintain a consistent style throughout a piece of writing.
The real problem with sensational or bombastic phrases is that they deprive the reader of a genuine voice that is convincing and resonant that stands out from the crowd. With the right pedagogical approach and exercises, a student can be empowered to develop compelling descriptions independently.
Perhaps the next time they are refining their work, why not ask your child if they can think of an interesting literary device to inject a unique voice into their writing?
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