Trying to improve in GP comprehension can feel like a futile battle, especially if you don’t have an inkling what you are really supposed to do. Hardworking students may blindly follow the advice to ‘just keep practising’, but not see the results they hope for. Is that the case for you?
Well, the problem is not that you are not working hard enough. Many students don’t know how to practise and they don’t know what skills they need to hone. Similar to O Level English, GP comprehension is very skills-based and you need patience and consistency if you really want to do well.
Hoping to achieve more targeted and effective practice sessions for GP comprehension? We’re about to tell you how – by sharing the essential skills you need to know to finally improve.
For the GP comprehension paper, paraphrasing is a key skill required for success. And it is not just for the summary section; you should not be lifting whole phrases from the passage for short answer questions (SAQ) too. Additionally, you will need to paraphrase ideas from the text when you explain and elaborate on arguments in your application question (AQ).
Paraphrasing is a way examiners check if you really understood the text. But if you lack the vocabulary, your ability to paraphrase will suffer.
Pro tips for paraphrasing:
- Improve your vocabulary by keeping a word bank and reading widely
- Make and study lists of synonyms
- Be sensitive to the degree and connotation of words
- Don’t just substitute word for word
- Vary the sentence structure
- Understand the main idea and then write it without looking at the original sentence
2. General knowledge
There’s a reason why it’s called ‘General’ Paper. If you think general knowledge like current affairs and world issues is only relevant for the essay component, you can’t be more wrong.
The AQ is a mini-essay that requires all the same skills and type of knowledge that you would need for the actual GP essay. Read our previous post on how to study for the GP essay and you will also find that useful for the AQ.