The question of comprehension is the one in which you are given a passage or two followed by questions which are answered by reading the passage.

Types of questions

There are generally TWO types of questions in comprehension which are as follows;

Question demanding facts
Question based on the understanding of the passage.

Question demanding facts

This is the easiest sort of question in which you are required to scan the passage in order to find certain information that is asked. Suppose there is a passage on the powers and tenure of US president and Congress and there may be questions, like;

For how many years does the US president hold the office?
What is the minimum age requirement for presidential candidate?
Which house of Congress holds financial powers?

You see these questions require to scan the passage for the demanded information only. In the first question you are looking for the number of years US president holds the office, in second, his minimum age requirement and in third the house of Congress holding financial powers. All these things are stated in the passage and you have just to find them out and that’s it. Such questions don’t demand any creativity or at least thinking on the part of reader.

Question based on the understanding

These are different type of questions in which you are required to think, because there may not be any explicitly stated information about that and you have to consider in the light of the theme of the passage. Now look at the following questions;

What do you think is the theme of the passage?
Suggest a suitable title for the passage.

Now you got to know that while answering the above questions you cannot find their answers by scanning through the passage for certain information, rather you must take the whole thing into account. You cannot answer the questions unless you have properly read and understood the passage. Both questions demand your thinking and opinion in the light of the given passage.

A better idea for comprehension

It is the far better idea to read the questions first. Comprehension needs more than one reading and you are assessed on the basis of you satisfactory answers of the given questions. It means you have to read the passage in the light of the questions so why not to read the questions first. It will give two-fold advantage. You will understand the nature and theme of the passage in much shorter time than reading the whole passage and you will find out which things in the passage should be read more carefully.

Comprehension and scanning

The questions which require to produce facts, as mentioned at the start of the page, are related to scanning. When you are asked question like, “For how many years does the US president hold the office?” what you need to do is to have a quick look through the passage. You better look for the words like; US president, years, or any figure, and that means you are scanning.

Comprehension and skimming

Remember, as it is explained in the previous chapters of skimming and scanning, that both skimming and scanning relate to the quick reading. They have nothing to do with deep understanding of the text rather it is just a quick look over the contents. Skimming is the quick look to understand the nature of the whole passage whereas in comprehension you need to read the passage thoroughly.