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St Anselm's - Comprehension Tips and Example Questions

Believe it or not, creative writing and comprehensive skills go hand in hand. The ability to interpret why a writer does what they do and suggest what effect they are trying to achieve with their work, enables students to become better readers, writers and individual thinkers.

These skills lend themselves well to university life where students will have to listen to lectures and read papers, understand what the author's stance is and then decide for themselves whether they agree or disagree. Comprehensive skills are very beneficial in debates and politics, where picking out and understanding the relevant information during a debate or a speech is key to understanding others' political opinions and formulating your own. Individual thinking is extremely sought after by employers and will be in the top ten desired skills in employees by 2025, so comprehensive skills are extremely beneficial to have.

We say this every time, but there is a reason for it - the more you read, the better your overall literacy skills are. It goes for verbal reasoning, it goes for creative writing and it goes for comprehension, reading is the secret! A great way to make your own free comprehension material is to scan and print pages from your child's/ children's favourite books and then formulate some questions around them. Children will be more inclined to engage and focus when what they are reading is either within a genre or is from a book they thoroughly enjoy, so this exercise is great for kids who struggle or are unmotivated during comprehensive study.

Comprehension Tips:

1. Highlight and underline:

Comprehension questions are in essence an analysis where breaking down individual sentences or phases and quoting them in your answer to aid your explanation is incredibly helpful, so underlining and highlighting sentences and words that you think are relevant makes it a lot easier to find them once you start answering the question. Bring different coloured highlighters to make it even easier to separate different sentences and if you wish to, create a colour-code. Underlining character names is usually helpful as you will often be questioned about different characters in the story.

2. Point, Example, Explain:

This lends itself to the first point where evidence of the point you are making lends itself to your answer. Make your point (which should be short as a point is basically an introduction to the argument you are making), write out the sentence you are quoting in quotation marks, and then explain in detail what this quote is showing and how it backs up your point.

3. Be aware of key phrases:

Phrases like 'in your own words', 'with reference to the passage' and 'use evidence to support your answer' are asking certain things of you that might not seem immediately obvious.

In your own words - this is asking you to answer the question by rephrasing what has been said in the passage, so in this instance DO NOT quote the paper. This question merely wants you to show that you understand what the passage was about.

With reference to the passage - here they want you to quote from the passage or use words specifically used in the passage to answer the question. This answer will typically be longer.

Use evidence from the passage to support your answer - this is also asking you to quote from the passage, however this answer will be even more detailed and may require more than one instance of P.E.E.

Example Papers:

these papers are provided by the website

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