Comprehension Exercises: Develop your skills one step at a time

Comprehension exercises are searched by many of you. In fact, comprehension based tests are a part of variety of exams. These start from our school exams and continue right up to competitive exams. Why are comprehensions such an important part of all these examinations? Well, the reason is a simple one: they help gauge your ability to understand written material, and by virtue of that, are a reflection of your intellect.

What kind of comprehension exercises should you take up to improve your skillset in this area?

  • One of the key comprehension exercises is making sure you make notes while reading. These notes might be written or mental in nature. While reading, you should constantly ask yourself to make a mental note of key ideas in the passage.
  • The second thing you should notice while reading are key sentences. These key sentences or topic sentences essentially reflect the main idea of the passage. Once you being you identify these, the thematic map of the passage is clear to you.
  • You should try to understand the tone and intent of the author. Why has he written the particular piece and what is his tone? These help you develop a deeper understanding of the article and helps you develop an informed world-view about the given topic.

Reading Suggestion-1

Article Name: Putting out a fire with more smoke
Author Name: Stanly Johny
Source: The Hindu
Category: International Affairs

Summary for this article:

In this article, the writer remarks on the controversies and issues following the Trump Presidency and comments on his poor handling of affairs He starts by saying that the prediction Mrs Nixon had made 30 years earlier, of Donald Trump winning the Presidential election had finally come true. The writer now compares Trump’s Presidency as against Nixon’s presidency by comparing similarities of controversies and issues during each of their Presidential terms. But, Donald Trump, says the writer has neither of Nixon’s shrewdness nor his political intelligence.

He talks about the recent controversies that followed after the firing of FBI Chief James Comey and the sharing of classified information on the Islamic State with the Russian Foreign Minister by Mr. Trump and also pointing out to his U-Turns wherein matters that were initially declared false by the White House were later declared true by Mr. Trump, thereby exposing his incompetency. Following this, the Comey memo leak further dragged Trump deeper into Russia Gate.

He concludes by saying that the crisis is longer about his involvement in the Russia leaks but more about whether or not he tried to influence the investigation. Owing to his inability to handle situations, his authority is clearly eroding.

Words to learn from this article :

Roguish: Clever or immoral person
Chaotic: Causing confusion.
Sack: To dismiss from job or position
Aide: Assistant
Snowballed: To accumulate
Downward spiral: To degrade

Reading Suggestion-1: Click to read full article

Reading Suggestion-2

Article Name: How ethical are womb transplants: do we need this?
Author Name: Sanchita Sharma
Source: The Hindu
Category: Business and Economy

Summary for this article:

The writer starts the article by raising questions over India’s first uterus womb (uterus) transplant and raises her concerns about the need of such procedures.
All the other transplants, she says, are meant to save lives and improve one’s health but uterus transplant is associated with neither of the two. These are just meant to help women who are born without uterus or with irreversible uterine damage to have their own child using in-vitro fertilisation. She then goes ahead and gives a detailed list of the risk involved in such a transplant and then questions as to why one should opt for this method of having a baby when there are already easier options available.

She also raises concerns of the failure of womb transplantation, citing procedures in US as an example. She concludes by saying that the onus is now on the surgeons to weigh its implications for women’s health and if it causes more harm than good, then they have to bear the huge baggage of problems and risks that comes along with it.

Words to learn from this article:

Laparoscopy: To examine abdomen organs through optical fibre
Immunosuppressive: Drugs which suppress the immunity of the body so that body may accept the new transplanted organ.
Onus: Responsibility for something
Albatross: A continuing problem which resists you from achieving your goal
Escapade: Foolish or risky or dangerous adventure

Reading Suggestion-2: Click to read full article

Reading Suggestion-3

Article Name: Religious oppression: Communists have been as brutal as fundamentalists
Author Name: Jug Suriaya
Source: The Times of India
Category: Anecdote

Summary for this article:

In this article, the writer says that when he was in Italy he mistook the word Ellora people referred there very commonly as being the Ellora caves in India.Later did he realise that Ellora in Italy was equivalent to Accha in Hindi, which means that something is good or fine, and based on one’s voice tone, it can convey confrontation or defiance.

Effectively, this is a short read which is written in a lighter vein. You should take this article as a break from some of other serious reading that you take up in this section.

Words to learn from this article:

Plunge: To fall down from a great height/ have a steep downward slope
Perched: Sit, as on a branch
Portmanteau: A mixture of two things

Reading Suggestion-3: Click to read full article

Comprehension Exercises: Make sure you practice every day

The key learning you take away from the above posts is that varied reading helps in building your comprehension skills. The above articles provide you with sufficient practice for complex topics and at the same time, make sure that your interest in reading is maintained. Remember, reading is one of the most important comprehension exercises in itself and you should always be up for reading some more.

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