In the third instalment of our blog series on approaching Reading Comprehension Passages, we discuss the second approach i.e. the Mixed Approach of Revisit, an approach of coordination, harmony, conciliation, and synergy.
The Revisit is the approach most commonly advocated by trainers and rightly so. This approach is ideal when you have decent preparation time and just that. Those who lack a literary background and possess a rather diminutive reading repertoire.
Reading a passage is a taxing, draining, and gradually saturating process, the absorption taking place in a manner similar to cell phone charging or heat transfer. The longer the process takes place the slower it gets. Once you have taken in a significant amount from the passage, that amount starts to hinder further transfer, and the rest of the passage gets absorbed at an increasingly slower pace. Keeping this progressive impediment or retardation in mind, it’s wise to get a threshold familiarity with the passage and stop there. One only needs to give a full, deep, probing read to the passage in the parts that are invoked by the questions, on a case by case basis, since you might take as much time to trickle-down, piece together, and complete the last 10% as you did to speed through the first half. So, it is advisable that the initial read only skim a quarter to a half of the depth of the passage and then depending on the demands of each question, revisit the relevant parts. The shallow read also helps in rumination, the initial read slowly brewing and churning in your creative and generative subconscious, saving on some active processing time.
It is important to delineate the methodology of the initial, scanning, shallow read. It shouldn’t be a mere glancing or grazing of the surface without breaking it. The first read ought to be graceful, peeling off the covering layer after taking off the lid, then taking a generous taste of the passage, the way you dip your finger or spoon to taste a dish. This should be followed by a quick tour of the passage, quickly creating a roadmap, circuit, or mind palace in your head where seemingly important arguments, keywords, and key ideas are flagged as checkpoints. Spontaneously identifying and picking up these vital cues, turning points, and sharp points of inflexion is important as they become reference points and hence serve as major time savers in the segment-wise reruns. The initial read should thus optimally prepare one for the revisit, collecting the most critical spots and ideas in the passage and placing anchors there as if you are marking directions and checkpoints in a treasure hunt or trail.
All in all the Mixed Approach yields the greatest dividends of all approaches if you know what instalments to invest in at exactly what times. Such a wise apportionment and exact selection of ideas you pick up during your scouting shall lend you a distinctive edge of time and accuracy over your competition.
The final instalment of the series shall discuss the third approach, The Thorough Read.