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With regards to the approach you should adopt for reading comprehensions, keep the following points in mind:

Step 1: This first step has to do with your “attitude” towards an RC passage. Your brain rejects learning something you hate! So, mend your attitude! Pretend to like the topic, the question type. Understand that actively engaging with a passage is not a choice but a necessity. It is THE key to acing RCs. You cannot just do a surface level reading and get away with answering questions.

Step 2: Every passage has a simple message to convey at the heart of it. So, look for it while you’re reading. Think of how would you retell the passage to a teenager in just a couple of lines. This will help you focus on the more important details.

Step 3: The first few sentences of any RC passage provide critical context for the entire text. Understanding them is of utmost importance. However, here’s one caveat. One should realize that “forming an impression” is not understanding. So, instead of thinking that you’ve understood, try doing this: let’s say you encounter a very technical/academic sentence –> convert it into the simplest sentence. You can ignore the jargon here.

Step 4: As you’re going about your reading of a passage, keep linking it to whatever you’ve read in the passage before. Thinking in the following ways would help:

Is this new information surprising?
Does this support the previous point?
Does it give any examples?
Is it asking a question?
Is this sentence unexpected in the context?

Step 5: As you move forward in the passage, increase your speed. Ideally, go faster after the first paragraph. Do NOT get lost in the details. You should understand that you do NOT have to master each and every bit of content. You just have to pay close attention to passage beginnings, any changes in the direction of what the passage is saying (contradictions etc.) and any answers or conclusions that have been stated.

Extra Points

  • Do not overemphasize trivialities
    Details are important but don’t be obsessed with examples, illustrations and so on. You just need to get a hang of the main point and not the examples. Comprehending the overall flow and structure will help you analyze and answer the questions.
  • Do not memorize
    You do not need to memorize every word present in the passage. Understanding the flow, structure and the main points in the passage should be your priority. For factual or specific point questions, you can always re-read the passage.
  • Do not read the passage first
    Always go through the questions first and then the passage. This will prepare you to focus on the things you need to look in the passage. Focus only on the questions, and not on a particular answer option. A quick overview of the questions is sufficient.
  • Do not over-emphasize on vocabulary skills for RCs
    Having a strong vocabulary is great however having Shakespearean vocabulary will not prevent you from understanding the passage. So do not put yourself under stress in this area, and while reading the passage, make sure that you understand the gist of the passage and do not get stuck on particular words.
  • Do not spend time on RCs that you cannot comprehend at first
    At times we come across a passage that we are not able to comprehend. If you are struggling with one such passage in the exam, make sure you have the patience to avoid such a passage. Focus on the ones that you can manage easily. Go back to the tricky passage in case of absolute necessity.
  • Do not think the correct option would come from outside the passage
    Any of the options that is out of scope is never the correct answer. The right answer is always based on the information given within the passage. Do not focus on any of the options that distract you from the passage.
  • Do not rely on ‘trigger words’
    You might get trapped in the web of ‘trigger words’ if you don’t read attentively through the passage. A passage may focus on one point for quite a bit of sentences and then change it towards the end with trigger words like ‘but’ or ‘however’. This will usually confuse readers who skim through the passage or rush through it in haste.
  • Opening and Closing paragraphs require extra focus
    Questions such as the main idea question are based on the overall subject of the passage, and majority of the times the answer for this question type lies in the first and last paragraph of the passage. Ensure you derive the maximum possible information from these paragraphs.

Reading Comprehension Asked in IBPS PO Mains 2017

Once upon a time Shree Krishna and Arjun went for a short stroll around the city. They saw a poor looking priest begging. Arjun felt pity for him and he gave him a bag full of 100 gold coins. The priest became very happy and thanked Arjun. He left for his home. On way, he saw another person who needed help. The priest could have spared a coin or two to help that person. However, he chose to ignore it. But on way to his home, one thief robbed him of his bag of coins and ran away.

The priest became dejected and went back again for begging. Next day again when Arjun saw the same priest begging and he was surprised that after getting a bag full of coins which can last a lifetime, the priest was still begging! He called the priest and asked him the reason for this. The priest told him about the whole incident and Arjun again felt pity at him. So, this time he gave him a diamond.

The priest became very happy and left for home and he again saw someone who needed help but he chose to ignore again. Upon reaching home, he safely put the diamond in an empty pot of water with a plan to cash it out later and live a wealthy life. His wife was not at home. He was very tired so he decided to take a nap. In between, his wife came home and picked up that empty pot of water, walked towards the river close by to fill up the water. She had not noticed the diamond in the pot. Upon arriving at the river, she put the whole pot into the running river water to fill it up. She filled up the pot but the diamond was gone with the water flow!

When the priest woke up, he went to see the pot and asked his wife about the diamond. She told him, she had not noticed it and it must have been lost in the river. The priest couldn’t believe his bad luck and again started begging. Again Arjun and Shree Krishna saw him begging and Arjun inquired about it. Arjun felt bad and started thinking if this priest will ever have a happy life.

Shree Krishna who is an incarnation of God smiled. Shree Krishna gave that priest one coin which was not even enough for buying a lunch or dinner for one person. Arjun asked Shree Krishna, “Lord, I gave him gold coins and diamond, which could have given him a wealthy life, yet it didn’t help him. How will just one coin help this poor guy?” Shree Krishna smiled and told Arjun to follow that priest and find out.

On the way, the priest was thinking that one coin Shree Krishna gave him, he can’t even buy a lunch for one person. Why would he give so little? He saw a fisherman who was getting a fish out of his net. Fish was struggling. The priest felt pity at fish. He thought that this one coin won’t solve my problem, why not I save that fish. So the priest paid the fisherman and took the fish. He put the fish in his small pot of water which he always carried with him.

The fish was struggling in a small pot of water, ended up throwing out a diamond from the mouth! The priest screamed with a joy, “I got it, I got it”. At that same point, the thief who had robbed the priest’s bag of 100 gold coins, was passing through there. He thought that the priest recognized him and may get him punished. He got nervous and ran to the priest. He apologized to the priest and returned his bag full of 100 gold coins. The priest couldn’t believe what just happened.

Arjun saw all this and said, “Oh Lord, Now I understand your play”.

Question 1:

What is the moral of the story?

A.  One day you will get everything, so do not lose hope.

B.  When you have enough to help others, don’t let that chance go.

C.  Your good deeds will always be repaid to you.

D.  You cannot get enough if you have bad luck.

E.  Arjun was kind and worried for the well-being of poor people.

  1. Only A
  2. Both B and C
  3. Only B
  4. Only C
  5. Both D and E

Question 2:

What is the meaning of “The priest could have spared a coin or two to help that person”?

  1. The priest could have thanked the person by giving him one or two coins.
  2. The priest could have given some coins to help the needy person.
  3. The priest did not give any coin to the poor person.
  4. The poor person asked for one or two coins but the priest did not help him.
  5. Some coins could be given to priest.

Question 3:

Which of the following statements is correct?

  1. Arjun felt pitty at priest when he saw him begging again.
  2. Arjun who is an incarnation of God smiled.
  3. The priest kept coin of bags in empty pot of water.
  4. The priest’s wife knew about the diamond still she took the pot to river to fill up water.
  5. As opposed to first two times, the priest offered his help third time.

Question 4:

Why did the priest screamed with joy?

  1. He recognized the thief who stole his bag of coins.
  2. He was happy to save the life of the fish.
  3. He got the lost diamond
  4. He found his stolen bag of coins.
  5. Not clearly mentioned in the passage

Question 5

Why did the priest help the fish?

  1. He realized his mistake of not helping others for the first two times.
  2. The coin given to him by Krishna was of no use to him.
  3. He was unable to buy even a single meal with that coin.
  4. He felt pity at fish and realized that the coin, that could not solve his problem, can save fish.
  5. He knew that the fish had his lost diamond.

Question 6

Which of the following is the most appropriate title of the story?

  1. Always help others
  2. Bad luck dos not let people get rich
  3. The circle of Good Deed
  4. Story of a Priest
  5. Helping others and getting rich

Question 7

Find the synonym of SPARED as used in the passage.

  1. Extra
  2. Afford
  3. Complimentary
  4. Unoccupied
  5. Additional

Question 8:

Find the synonym of STROLL as used in the passage.

  1. Wander
  2. Shopping
  3. Relieve
  4. Embolden
  5. Fortune

Question 9:

Find synonym of incarnation

  1. Blessing
  2. Ruler
  3. Veteran
  4. Avatar
  5. Influx

Question 10:

Find antonym of Dejected

  1. Dark
  2. Murky
  3. Morbid
  4. Depressed
  5. Ecstatic