Skim the Entire Passage before Answering the Questions
Skim the Entire Passage before Answering the Questions
Don’t immediately jump to the questions. Instead, first read quickly through the passage you’re working on; then begin answering the accompanying questions.
While reading the passage once through before getting to the questions may seem like extra work, it will prevent you from making unnecessary errors. The English Test instructions warn that you may need to read beyond a question in order to answer it correctly. By being familiar with the entire passage, you can avoid the problem of not having read far enough ahead. Reading the entire passage will also help you with Rhetorical Skills questions by giving you an understanding of the passage’s purpose, argument, and tone.
If you need further convincing, the following sample English Test question demonstrates why reading beyond the underlined section is necessary:
her dogs  has  sleek, brown hair
 14 
14. F. No change
G. are
H. have
J. do not have
Seems pretty easy, doesn’t it? “Ah, a simple subject-verb agreement problem,” you’re probably thinking. “The answer, obviously, is H.” But what if we show you the whole sentence?
The girl walking her dogs  has  sleek, brown hair
 14 
14. F. No change
G. are
H. have
J. do not have
Reading the rest of the sentence reveals that the sleek, brown hair belongs to a girl rather than a pack of dogs. The question was about subject-verb agreement, but the words directly next to the underlined phrase misled you into thinking that the subject was “her dogs” and not “the girl.” If you had read the passage first, you would have realized that the correct answer is F.
Admittedly, this example exaggerates the case for reading beyond the question, but it gets our point across. Ultimately, if you quickly read through the passage before tackling the questions, you’ll avoid unnecessary mistakes without sacrificing much time.
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