Comprehension is an aspect of English language that takes care of students’ ability to understand written or spoken discourse. Hence, there are two forms of comprehension: reading comprehension and listening comprehension. The former is tested in UTME and SSCE. In reading comprehension, the concept of discourse and its language are within the vocabulary level of the candidates. Any passage chosen is not too technical or verbose. So, candidates level of understanding is very paramount in the mind of the examiners.

When you are faced with a comprehension passage and you are to respond to some questions, what are the smart things to do? Remember, both in SSCE and UTME, you have two hours/one hundred and twenty minutes to respond the all the questions facing you at that moment (in SSCE you have essay writing, comprehension and summary in Paper 2 and in UTME you have Use of English and your other combination all within two hours). No matter how interesting or difficult the passage is, time management becomes the major consideration.

So, the first advice is that you should personally device a means of managing your time. This can be done through practice with your UTME CBT application. There are no hard and fast rules to how you can manage your time. You may choose to answer other questions first and come back for your comprehension. This is very advisable. However, if your strength is in answering comprehension, you can go for it. The point is, know yourself and your strength and take advantage of it first.

Having said that, it is advisable to go through your questions first before reading the passage. Remember, you don’t have all the time. This is not a classwork! Going through the questions will provide you the opportunity to have the skeletal summary of the passage. And the law of recognition comes to play when you come across any concept in the passage that you have seen earlier in the question. You know the knot you want untied.

Please, do not be caught in the web of skimming and assumption because you’ve gone through the questions. What is worth doing at all is worth doing well. So, create a few minutes to scan your passage before choosing your answers. Knock off irrelevant options and carefully consider your answer. In the next lesson, we will look at types of questions in comprehension passages. 

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Test Your Knowledge | Examination Past Questions

Choose the option that best explains the information conveyed in the sentence.
The events of last Friday show that there is no love lost between the Principal and the Vice-principal.


A) They like each other

B) They work independently

C) They couldn't part company

D) They dislike each other

Exam Body: Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB)

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