8) Passage-based Reading: Types of Questions 3/3
3. Main Ideas
The last questions are the main idea questions. These ask you about the passage as a whole. They typically look something like this:
– The author’s tone in this passage could best be described as…
– In this passage Stacy’s attitude towards her mother shifts from…
These are not questions that you can answer by looking at any one line or sentence. They require you to have a reasonably good grasp of the entire passage. If you think about the difference between literal comprehension and extended reasoning, these questions are the very hardest extreme of the extended reasoning type.
They’re the most difficult reading questions on the test, and usually take the longest to answer. It’s smart to save them for the very last questions you do, for two reasons:
First, working on specific questions first gives you the chance to get familiar with the passage before you have to pass judgment on it as a whole.
Second, it saves the most time-consuming questions for last. One question about the author’s tone might take the same amount of time as two or three specific questions – but by doing the specific questions, you get a chance at more points for your time. To maximize your score, front-load the faster questions, and then reach for the main idea questions if you have time left at the end.
In fact, some students might want to skip the main idea questions completely. That’s perfectly fine. If you’re aiming for a very competitive score, you’ll want to tackle them, but it’s perfectly possible to do just fine without killing yourself over the author’s tone in every passage.
Remember: the questions aren’t marked as belonging to any of these categories on the test. You’ll have to identify them for yourself. They also don’t go in order; you might get a main idea question first even though it’s better test strategy to save these questions for last. So be willing to skip around and do the questions on each passage in whatever order will score you the most points, not the order the test writers decided to pick.
Armed with the knowledge of these three question types, you’ll be ready to use your time wisely on the Critical Reading passages, improving your score by tackling the shorter questions first and saving the hard ones for last. This kind of strategy won’t replace solid prep time, but if you learn it now, and apply it when you’re practicing, it has the potential to significantly boost your score.
Source : https://study.com