How to Handle Comprehension Cloze in PSLE English
The Comprehension Cloze in the PSLE is an estimated 200-word passage, excluding the 15 blanks that you have to fill in. This section constitutes a considerable 15 marks out of 95 marks for Paper 2 of the English Language examination. Thus, it is imperative that you do well in this section to attain an ideal grade for this subject.
The passage is usually an information report about, for example, an animal, or it can be a narrative. In a short sentence, there is usually one blank while a longer sentence can contain two or three blanks. You will notice that the first or last sentences of the passage are complete sentences and do not have any blank to fill in. This is because the beginning and ending serve to paint a fuller picture of the passage, and further assist your understanding of the passage.
Before you attempt to fill in the blanks, take some time to read through the entire passage once. Read through it again if you need to. Why do you have to do this?
This is because it is important to know what the passage is about. This is called understanding the context. Contextual clues play a very important role in getting the correct answer. Take this example:
The robber had short hair, unlike his accomplice whose _______ hair gave others the impression that he was a woman.
Is your answer ‘long’? If it is, you would most likely have use contextual clues to obtain your answer. The word, ‘unlike’, provided the clue that the accomplice has hair that is different, and in this case, the opposite of the robber with short hair. The phrase, ‘the impression that he was a woman’, also helps to paint a picture of the accomplice with hair that makes him look like a woman.
You will also notice that the clues come from the same sentence that the blank occurs. However, this may not happen all the time. Clues can sometimes be found in preceding or following sentences, or even in other paragraphs Thus, if you encounter a blank which you do not know the answer, refer to the lines or paragraphs before and after it to see if you can find any clues to help you obtain your answer.
There may be some blanks that you cannot find a suitable word. Do not spend too much time trying to think of an answer. Time is too precious to mull over a blank. Go on to the next one. After you have reached the last blank, go back to those that you had difficulty with and try to fill them in. Avoid leaving any blank unfilled. After completing the entire passage, read through it again to check if it makes sense and is grammatically sound.
To be confident in handling this section, it helps to read widely. Reading just your favorite is not enough. Widen your reading materials to include newspapers, the encyclopaedia or even comics; you will never know when the information will come in handy. Sometimes, the context can be familiar because you have read it somewhere before, and are able to make use of the vocabulary stored in your head.
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