Tackling N1-N3 Comprehension questions



Recently, i read this post on moving towards comprehension and found it quite interesting. I find that a lot of people have different ways, effective and non-effective ways of reading
For us Singaporeans, especially for Chinese, i think we have the advantage of knowing Kanji, as compared to the other guys in the other countries (not to mention mainland Chinese).

Today, i’ll like to share on tackling N1-N3 Comprehension questions.

There are generally quite a few reading techniques when tackling N1-N3 comprehension questions.

P: Passage, Q: Question
A: Answer

1) P->Q->A->P->A

2) Q->A->P->A

3) Q->P->Q->A

4) P(read faster)->P->Q->A

5) P->Q->A

Which is your reading technique that you use for tackling comprehension questions?

To tell you the truth, every type of question, be it a 短文、中文、長文, 総合理解、情報検索 questions, you cannot apply the same reading technique. I found out after buying a reading guide written for Japanese 中学生 and 高校生. In that guide, the book presents 15 ways of answering different types of passages.

1) P->Q->A->P->A (The traditional reading technique)
In this reading technique, you will read the passage, read the questions, read the options available, read again parts of the passage to find the answer and then answer the questions.You will find that you will spend quite a lot of time reading and understanding the passage. This reading technique is not desirable, unless you have a lot of time to spare (which in N1 and N2 exam, this is seriously impossible)

2) Q->A->P->A (The reading technique taught in some language schools here in Singapore)
In this reading technique, you will read the questions, read the options available, read the passage, then answer the questions. This reading technique is quite good. But it has its flaws too. If you are reading a 長文, you will find that you will tire yourself out very fast. Cause you have 3-4 questions in your 長文 and after reading the whole 長文, you might not even remember what options are available. This reading technique should be used when doing your 中文。In some cases, using this reading technique for  短文 is also quite good, unless you find that the 短文 is too hard to comprehend.

3) Q->P->Q->A (Funny reading technique)
In this reading technique, it’s quite funny isn’t it? Reading the questions first, passage, question again and answers. This reading technique is surprising good for 情報検索 questions. In 情報検索 questions, there isn’t any lengthy passages to read. If you think about it, does it make more senses to read the question first to find out what they want, read the ad, then the questions again and answers straight away. =)

4) P(read faster)->P->Q->A (長文 Killer)
In this reading technique, i call it the 長文 killer, cause i often use to tackle 長文. Of course it doesn’t really work all the time, at times i had to often refer back to the passage. The first time, you will read the passage fast to get a gist of what the passage is all about. After you have read it, the idea here is to 想像 what kind of questions you think the questions will ask (while reading, ask yourself, if you are the examiner what kind of questions will you ask)  Then read again slowly to understand what the author is trying to say, read the questions, and answer.

5) P->Q->A (短文 Killer)
In this reading technique, my students love to use this for 短文, thus, i call it the 短文 Killer. Very good for tackling 短文。 (^_^)
I really have the joy of having my great students to help me test out all these answering techniques in the exam and sharing with me what works and what doesn’t. In the next article, I will share more about time allocation for 読解. I hope i have time for that cause i am going to Japan again! (^_^)


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