Study S1 English English - Comprehension Skills (IYOW Questions) - Geniebook

Comprehension Skills (IYOW Questions)

In this article, we will be learning about comprehension passages IYOW questions or In Your Own Words questions. We will be looking into the following:
 

  1. In Your Own Words Questions
  • Identifying ‘IYOW’ questions
  • ‘Isolating’ key words
  • Don’t forget the adverbs 
  1. Text 3 (factual) - Rats
  • Practice Questions
  1. Current Affairs Discussion
  • Why have there been so many rats recently?

 

What to do when You Get In Your Own Words (IYOW) Questions

  1. Look out for words like ‘Explain,’ ‘identify, ‘summarise,’ ‘outline,’ ‘What is…’, ‘according to the writer,’
  2. Find the piece of the passage which contains the correct answer.
  3. ‘Translate’ this section into your own words.  Use the number of marks on offer to help you decide how many points to include.
  4. Be sensible – sometimes there's just no other way of saying something (e.g. names, places).
  5. Have a good range of phrasal verbs and idioms in your vocabulary.

 

Things to Keep in Mind

  1. NEVER quote in this type of question.  Even quoting then putting text into your own words is not acceptable.
  2. Remember to ‘isolate’ key words and emphasise on rephrasing them in your answers.
  3. Do not skip on any key words while rephrasing.  Students tend to ignore rephrasing adverbs while answering these questions.

Example:

“John forcefully struck the door with his fists - John punched the door.”

This paraphrasing may seem acceptable, but it may cause students to lose marks because the adverb forcefully was not rephrased. 

A better answer would read: “John punched the door vigorously.”

 

 

Example 1:

The text below describes the declining population of penguins in Antarctica.

A colony of penguins in Antarctica has suffered a massive decline in population growth over the years. On Petrels Island, scientists have discovered just two surviving chicks, while thousands of others lay scattered across the land. Close to the brink, these two yellow-eyed chicks were swiftly taken into recovery, where a group of conservation experts nursed them back to health. The recent phenomenon is attributed to two main factors – first, an unusual extent of ice surrounding the land and secondly, the ceaseless rainy weather.

 

Question 1:

In the excerpt, the writer describes the two remaining chicks as "close to the brink". Explain this expression in your own words.

 

Answer:

As the comprehension passage is talking about the declining population of penguins in Antarctica and that the penguins are endangered. So, the phrase “close to the brink” mean that the 2 chicks were almost died or about to die. So, the correct answer will be - “The two remaining chicks were near/close to death.”

Inferential questions require the use of clues found in the excerpt to enable you to make deductions. You will have to read between the lines and figure out what the writer is implying by what he has chosen to write.

The word "brink" means to be on the verge or on the extreme edge of something. We know from contextual clues that the colony of penguins "have suffered a massive decline in population growth". With this in mind, we can infer that the phrase "close to the brink" means that the chicks were on the verge of death.

Furthermore, the phrase "nursed them back to health" implies that they were severely ill or injured.


 

Example 2:

The text below depicts the effects of using digital tools on our brain development.

The rise of technology has led to the increased usage of digital tools and social media. These days, navigating a foreign city or communicating with a tourist in a different language is a few taps of a finger away. Overcoming scenarios that were once deemed challenging can now be easily solved with our smartphones. On the flipside, however, experts have sounded the alarm on being too quick to glorify the role that these gadgets play in our lives. Scientists have discovered that prolonged radiation exposure from our mobile phones destroys healthy cells in our brains, important for memory and learning. As people are increasingly reliant on technology instead of their brain, this leaves the right side of the brain – associated with concentration - underdeveloped. This in turn affects attention span and memory.

 

Question 2:

In your own words, explain what the writer means with reference to “sounded the alarm”. (2m)

 

Answer:

It means that experts are warning/alerting individuals (1m) about the harmful/damaging effects of the use of digital tools. (1m)

Inferential questions require the use of clues found in the excerpt to enable you to make deductions. You will have to read between the lines and figure out what the writer is implying by what he has chosen to write.

To "sound the alarm" is an idiom used to alert other people about something dangerous or risky.

 

 

Practice Questions

 

Excerpt 1:

Rats are nocturnal, and out in the moonlight the brown rat’s eyes are small and black and shiny; when a flashlight shines into them in the dark, the eyes of a rat light up like the eyes of a deer. It forages in darkness for prey, so it is peculiar that the brown rat has poor eyesight. It compensates for this with, first of all, an excellent sense of smell. They also have an excellent sense of taste. They are able to detect the most minute amounts of poison, down to one part per million.

 

Question 1:

Why is it ‘peculiar’ for the eyesight of brown rats to be poor? Answer in your own words.

 

  1. The brown rat forages in darkness for prey, so it is peculiar for the brown rat to have poor eyesight.
  2. The brown rat searches in the absence of light for food, so it cannot really see very well.
  3. The brown rat has keen olfactory and gustatory senses, thus one would expect it to also have good vision.
  4. One would expect the vision of the brown rat to be excellent because it hunts for food at night. However, it cannot really see very well. 

 

Answer:

(4) - One would expect the vision of the brown rat to be excellent because it hunts for food at night. However, it cannot really see very well

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (4) - “One would expect the vision of the brown rat to be excellent because it hunts for food at night. However, it cannot really see very well”. It is peculiar for the eyesight of brown rats to be poor as it hunts for food at night, but cannot see very well. In this case, as it hunts for food at night, we expect that the vision of the brown rats will be excellent. However, the opposite is actually indicated & is quite strange as it cannot see very well & still hunts at night.

 

 

Excerpt 2:

At the various subway stations near Herald Square, for example, people come down from the streets and throw the food that they have not eaten onto the tracks, along with newspapers and soda bottles and thousands of no longer-charged AA batteries, waiting to leak acid. Rats are not only shrewd in finding opaque spots to evade capture, the rats are also voracious scavengers. This enables their population to explode.

 

Question 2:

Explain in your own words why the population of rats have exploded. 

(Which answer is NOT acceptable?)

 

  1. It is because rats are skilful in avoiding humans and they are also greedy for food.
  2. It is because rats are intelligent in hiding from humans and they have a ravenous appetite.
  3. It is because rats are ingenuous in hiding from humans and they have a voracious appetite.
  4. It is because rats are clever in avoiding humans and they have an insatiable appetite.

 

Answer:

(3) - It is because rats are ingenuous in hiding from humans and they have a voracious appetite

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (3) - “It is because rats are ingenuous in hiding from humans and they have a voracious appetite”. Option (3) is not acceptable because it is similar to what is provided in the comprehension passage. Options (1), (2) & (4) mentions that rats are “skilful in avoiding humans”, “intelligent in hiding from humans” & “clever in avoiding humans” as this help us answer the part of evading the capture.


 

Excerpt 3:

Rats are nocturnal, and out in the moonlight the brown rat’s eyes are small and black and shiny; when a flashlight shines into them in the dark, the eyes of a rat light up like the eyes of a deer. It forages in darkness for prey, so it is peculiar that the brown rat has poor eyesight. It compensates for this with, first of all, an excellent sense of smell. They also have an outstanding sense of taste. They are able to detect poison, even down to one part per million.

 

Question 3:

Why does the author want to include the expression ‘even down to the one part per million’? (Authorial technique)

 

  1. The author wishes to show how resilient rats are that they can detect such a huge amount of poison.
  2. He wants to suggest that rats have such a good sense of smell that they can detect poison easily.
  3. The author wants to show that even a small amount of poison can kill a rat, so they must do everything they can to avoid it.
  4. He wants to suggest that the rats can detect the smallest amount of poison, to emphasise that their sense of smell and taste are very keen.

 

Answer:

(4) - He wants to suggest that the rats can detect the smallest amount of poison, to emphasise that their sense of smell and taste are very keen

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (4) - “He wants to suggest that the rats can detect the smallest amount of poison, to emphasise that their sense of smell and taste are very keen”. Option (2) is incorrect as the comprehension passage mentions that the rat has an excellent sense of smell & taste. Option (2) has only mentioned that the rats have a good sense of smell but doesn’t mention anything regarding its excellent sense of taste.


 

Excerpt 4:

Despite often being dubbed as unwanted inhabitants, rats are interesting animals with incredible capabilities. A brown rat has strong feet, the two front paws each equipped with four claw-like nails, the rear paws even longer and stronger. It can run and climb buildings with squirrel-like agility. It is an excellent swimmer, surviving in rivers and bays, in sewer streams and toilet bowls.

 

Question 4:

What does ‘squirrel-like agility’ suggest about rats? 

Inference question

 

  1. They are very closely related to squirrels.
  2. They are able to climb and run like squirrels.
  3. It suggests that rats can move very fast/quickly, just like squirrels.
  4. It suggests that rats are just as agile as squirrels.

 

Answer:

(3) - It suggests that rats can move very fast/quickly, just like squirrels

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (3) - “It suggests that rats can move very fast/quickly, just like squirrels”. Option (2) does not describe agility but only mentions that they are able to climb and run like squirrels. Whereas, option (3) describes the agility by mentioning that rats can move very fast or quickly just like squirrels.


 

Excerpt 5:

A brown rat has strong feet, the two front paws each equipped with four claw-like nails, the rear paws even longer and stronger. It can run and climb buildings with squirrel-like agility. It is an excellent swimmer, surviving in rivers and bays, in sewer streams and toilet bowls.

 

Question 5: 

Which piece of evidence does NOT show that rats have adapted to cities? (Direct question)

 

  1. It can run and climb buildings with squirrel- like agility. 
  2. Its two front paws are each equipped with four claw-like nails.
  3. It can swim in rivers and bays.
  4. It can swim in sewer streams and toilet bowls. 

 

Answer:

(2) - Its two front paws are each equipped with four claw-like nails

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (2) - “Its two front paws are each equipped with four claw-like nails”. The actions or behaviour mentioned in the rest of the options are evidence that rats have adapted to cities.

 

 

Test Your Concepts

Answer the following questions based on the concepts we’ve covered in this article. If you get stuck, revisit the relevant section to revise the concepts.

 

Excerpt 1:

Rats also inhabit subways, as most people in New York City and any city with a subway system are well aware. People hold the distorted view that the subways are filled with rats. They will only populate in places where discarded human food and sewer leaks can be found. Many subway rats tend to live near stations that are themselves near fast-food restaurants.

 

Question 1:

What does the word ‘distorted’ suggest about the view that the subways are filled with rats? Inference question similar to IYOW question (Which answer is not acceptable?)

 

  1. The view is false.
  2. The view is altered.
  3. The view is misguided.
  4. The view is misrepresented.


 

Excerpt 2:

The brown rat is sometimes confused with the black rat, which is smaller. The black rat is always a very dark grey, almost black, and the brown rat is grey or brown, with a belly that can be light grey, yellow, or even a pure-seeming white.

 

Question 2: 

What are the differences between the two types of rats mentioned in Paragraph 1? (Answer in your own words.)

 

  1. The black rat and the brown rat differ in both size and colour.
  2. The brown rat is grey or brown and the black rat is black.
  3. They are often mistaken for each other but the black rat is tinier and the brown rat is lighter-coloured.
  4. The brown rat has a stomach that appears very light-coloured.


 

Excerpt 3:

The brown rat’s teeth grow at a rate of five inches per year. Rats, like mice, seem to be attracted to wires such as computer wires. One rat expert theorises that wires may be attractive to rats because of their resemblance to vines and the stalks of plants. After all, cables are like intertwined vines of the city. Rats are often responsible for electric cable breaks and a leading cause of fires of unknown origins. 

 

Question 3:

Identify an expression of not more than five words to support the view that rats are very hazardous. (Direct question)

 

  1. ”Rats are often responsible for”
  2. “a leading cause of fires”
  3. “Responsible for electric cable breaks”
  4. “a rate of five inches”


 

Excerpt 4:

Their den is lined with soft debris, often shredded plastic garbage or shopping bags, but sometimes even grasses or plants; some rat nests have been found stuffed with the gnawed shavings of the wood-based, spring loaded snap traps that are used in attempts to “embrace” the rat. The back of the den, known as a bolt hole, then narrows into a long tunnel that opens up on another hole back on the street.

 

Question 4:

Why is the word ‘embrace’ in inverted commas? [1] (Authorial technique)

 

  1. The writer is sceptical about the word.
  2. The snap traps do not actually embrace the rat but kill it.
  3. The writer is being sarcastic about snap traps ‘embracing’ the rats.
  4. The writer intends to convey sarcastically that the snap traps are not hugging the rat, but for gripping and killing them.

 

Continue Learning
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Comprehension Skills (Inferential Questions)
Continuous Writing: Personal Recount Continuous Writing - Expository
Comprehension Skills (IYOW Questions) Comprehension Skills (Non-narrative Text) - Dialogue Questions
Comprehension Skills (Non-narrative Text) - Summary Writing Skills Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) - Flowchart Questions
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Unusual & Effective Questions Comprehension Skills (Non-narrative Text) Direct Questions
Editing Comprehension Skills - Referencing Questions
Comprehension Skills - Direct Recall Of Relevant Material, Paraphrasing Text 2 Skills: Literacy Devices
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Literary Devices Irony
Summary Writing Situational Writing - Formal Letter of Complaint
Comprehension Skills - Language Arts Comprehension Skills - Vocabulary-based Questions
Comprehension Skills - Identifying Relevant Linguistic Expression Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Technique-Based Questions
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Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text)
Comprehension Skills (Inferential Questions)
Continuous Writing: Personal Recount
Continuous Writing - Expository
Comprehension Skills (IYOW Questions)
Comprehension Skills (Non-narrative Text) - Dialogue Questions
Comprehension Skills (Non-narrative Text) - Summary Writing Skills
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) - Flowchart Questions
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Unusual & Effective Questions
Comprehension Skills (Non-narrative Text) Direct Questions
Editing
Comprehension Skills - Referencing Questions
Comprehension Skills - Direct Recall Of Relevant Material, Paraphrasing
Text 2 Skills: Literacy Devices
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Literary Devices
Irony
Summary Writing
Situational Writing - Formal Letter of Complaint
Comprehension Skills - Language Arts
Comprehension Skills - Vocabulary-based Questions
Comprehension Skills - Identifying Relevant Linguistic Expression
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Technique-Based Questions
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