Read­ing­be­tween the lines

New Straits Times - - Higher Ed - LEELA CHAKRABARTY ed­u­ca­ MEAN­ING OF WORDS FROM CON­TEXT

AS has been men­tioned in the pre­vi­ous is­sue, the MUET Read­ing is an as­sess­ment of your abil­ity to cope with dif­fer­ent types of read­ing texts. This pa­per com­prises 45 mul­ti­ple­choice ques­tions — which also carry 45 per cent of the over­all marks — based on pas­sages from texts which may be taken from news­pa­pers, mag­a­zines and journals.

All 45 ques­tions will be in the form of ei­ther 3-op­tion mul­ti­ple choice ques­tions or 4-op­tion mul­ti­ple choice ques­tions. The mul­ti­ple choice ques­tions can be di­vided into three cat­e­gories: ques­tions with three an­swer op­tions (True, False and Not Stated), ques­tions with three an­swer op­tions (A, B and C) or four an­swer op­tions (A, B, C and D).

You will be tested not only on what is ac­tu­ally stated in the text but also on what can be in­ferred from the in­for­ma­tion given in the text. The texts given in the exam will vary in type, length and level of com­plex­ity and may be sourced from journals, news­pa­per and mag­a­zine ar­ti­cles, aca­demic texts and elec­tronic texts.

To date, at least one of the texts in­cludes a graphic stim­uli such as a ta­ble, a chart or a graph. Do note that there are var­i­ous skills as­sessed in the test.

You will need to score 39 out of 45 to qual­ify for Band 6; 33 out of 45 for Band 5; 27 out of 45 for Band 4 and 21 out of 45 for Band 3.

In the last is­sue we dis­cussed and prac­ticed on how to iden­tify facts from opin­ions. In this is­sue, let’s dis­cuss how to use con­tex­tual clues to get your an­swer.

Con­tex­tual clues are hints found within a sen­tence, para­graph, or pas­sage that you as a reader can use to un­der­stand the mean­ings of new or un­fa­mil­iar words. You must be aware that many words have sev­eral pos­si­ble mean­ings. You can de­cide upon an ap­pro­pri­ate def­i­ni­tion to fit the con­text by be­ing sen­si­tive to the cir­cum­stances in which a word is used. The con­text is the words, sen­tences, and ideas that come be­fore and af­ter a word or phrase.

Some­times you won’t un­der­stand ev­ery word in a read­ing pas­sage. Con­text clues are bits of in­for­ma­tion from the text that, when com­bined with prior knowl­edge, al­low you to de­cide the mean­ing of un­known words in the ar­ti­cle you are read­ing.

As a reader you must act sim­i­lar to a de­tec­tive and put to­gether clues from sen­tences sur­round­ing an un­known word in or­der to make an in­tel­li­gent “guess” as to what the def­i­ni­tion of a word is.

Writ­ers and au­thors in­clude words or phrases to help their read­ers un­der­stand the mean­ing of a new or dif­fi­cult word.

These words or phrases are built into the sen­tences around the new or dif­fi­cult word. When we be­come more aware of the words around a dif­fi­cult word, we can make log­i­cal guesses about the mean­ings of many words.

The phrase “a large mass of ice mov­ing slowly” tells us what a glacier is.

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