Many standardized tests for reading use the cloze method. This method gives an essay, article, or paragraph, then students have to fill in the correct word based on the content of the writing piece.

Usually students are given four choices. One choice is the best answer. The second is almost as good. The third is off the point. The fourth is the opposite of the correct answer.

In order to pick the best answer, a student needs to look for hints in the writing. The following hints can help you when you take any kind of reading test:

  • Always read the title carefully. It almost always gives clues about the main idea.
  • Use context clues.
    • Look for definitions in the writing.
    • Look for meaning or definitions inside quotes or dashes.
    • Sometimes definitions of unknown words are given to you.
  • Read the sentences before and after the blank word very carefully.
    • Look for words that suggest similarities:
      • like
      • same
      • same as
      • similarly
      • also
    • Look for words that suggest opposites:
      • however
      • on the other hand
      • but
      • although
      • conversely
      • can’t be called
  • Guess the meaning of sentences or words based on your own knowledge.
  • Skim or scan the reading before you begin answering questions.
  • Learn prefixes, suffixes and roots.
  • Try to think of the correct answer before you look at the possible choices. Then read again, then look at the choices. Then pick the best answer.
  • If a noun is repeated throughout the reading, that word is usually part of the main idea.

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Reading ESL

JSAC 1225



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