Reading Strategies for CBEST Exam Study Guide
The reading comprehension section is composed of 50 multiple-choice questions on a variety of passages. The passages are created to simulate high school and college-level materials, student textbooks, teacher's guides and enrichment materials, and books on student behavior or psychology. This section explores some general strategies for all kinds of passages and questions.
How do you approach reading comprehension questions? Here are some suggestions from former CBEST takers.
- The Concentrator: "I read the passage thoroughly before I look at the questions. After concentrating on the passage, I can find the answers to the questions if I don't already know the answer from my careful reading."
- The Skimmer: "I skim the passage before looking at the questions. I can always go back and find the answers once I know how the passage is arranged."
- The Cautious Reader: "I read the questions first with all their answer choices. I want to know what they will ask me before I read the passage so I can be on the lookout. Then I read the passage two or three times until I am sure I understand it completely."
- The Game Player: "I read the questions first and try to answer them from what I already know or can guess. Then I read the passage to see whether I am right. After guessing the answers, I am familiar with the questions enough to recognize the answers when I find them."
- The Educated Guesser: "I read the questions first, but not the answers. When I find the answer in the passage, I look for it among the answer choices."
- The Psychic: "I believe the test makers would put the questions for the first part of the passage first. So I read the first question and go back to the passage for the answer, and then I do the second."
- The Efficiency Expert: "First, I look at the questions and do the questions that have line numbers that indicate where the answer is to be found.
Then I skim the passage for the key words I read in the other questions. This way I sometimes do not even have to read the whole passage."
If you don't already have a preferred method, try some of these approaches as you work through the practice exercises in this book. See which method suits your strengths.
Hints for Reading the Passages
Practice will help you determine whether you need to read the questions first, the answers first, or some combination thereof. Try some of the shortcuts listed previously to find out which works for you.
Associate with the Passage
Every passage has something to do with real-life situations. Your mission is to discover the answers to questions such as:
- What is the author trying to express?
- Who might the author be?
- Does the author tell readers in the beginning what to expect later in the passage?
- How does the author structure the work to convey meaning?
- Does the author make any statements that might surprise or interest you?
- To what conclusions is the author leading readers? What conclusions are stated?
If the passage seems boring or discusses a topic that is foreign to you, try imagining that your best friend is talking to you on the same subject, and it really interests him or her. It might not be your thing, but it's your friend's, so listen to every detail and nuance of what your friend has to say and try to relate to it.
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