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What Is a Comprehension Test?
A comprehension test is a type of cognitive assessment which is used to assess an individual's language and comprehension skills.
Employers will then use the results of tests such as this to evaluate how well candidates can understand the information presented to them in the form of text.
Comprehension tests can be found at any level of recruitment; however, they are more commonly asked for when employers are hiring for graduate and management level positions.
As a general rule, the difficulty of the test will vary depending on how much skill is required for the role.
This style of testing is not only used in private company recruitment.
It is common for individuals who are applying for the emergency services or military to be asked to complete a range of cognitive assessments.
Students may also be asked to complete comprehension tests as part of the admissions process to some schools and colleges.
What Will a Comprehension Test Involve?
Candidates are shown a series of questions that involve reading a passage and then answering questions about what they have read.
This is normally in the format of a multiple-choice question where individuals are required to select the correct answer.
The test will typically be timed; therefore, candidates must be aware of how long they spend thinking about each question.
You will not be shown the passage or questions beforehand, so it is likely to be a subject matter which is unfamiliar to you.
Lurchers are a crossbreed of dog that originated within the UK but has now spread across the globe. Initially, they were used as a way of getting around medieval rules regarding the ownership of hunting dogs. Ordinary people weren't allowed to own sighthound breeds such as greyhounds, whippets, Saluki and Irish wolfhounds as these were thought to be the dogs of the nobility. Because of this, sighthounds were crossed with working dog breeds such as border collies to create a dog that is known for its speed, tenacity and intelligence. They quickly became the dog of choice for poachers looking to supplement their diet with rabbit and other small game animals. Because of the variety of crossbreeds that have occurred across the centuries, they can range from small, whippet-sized dogs to large Irish Wolfhound sized breeds.
Question: For a dog to be considered a lurcher, what combination of breeding should it have?
a) Sighthound and sighthound
b) Sighthound and herding
c) Sighthound and working
d) Sighthound and terrier
The correct answer is: c) Sighthound and working. This is stated within the passage.
Pluto used to be considered the smallest planet in the solar system. In 2006, it was downgraded from 'planet' to 'dwarf planet'. This is because scientists concluded that it is too small to be a planet but too large to be a moon. Current measurements show that it is only about 1,400 miles wide, which makes it approximately half the width of the United States. It is estimated that Pluto is 3.6 billion miles away from the sun. The atmosphere is believed to primarily be made of Nitrogen, Methane and Carbon Monoxide. In 2015, the New Horizons space mission, which launched in 2006, became the first probe to pass Pluto. The reconnaissance mission led to clear images of Pluto and its moons being seen for the first time. One of the images showed that Pluto is home to an ice glacier that is larger than the state of Texas.
Question: How long did it take for the New Horizons probe to reach Pluto?
a) 8 years
b) 9 years
c) 10 years
The correct answer is: b) 9 years. This is because the text states that the probe launched in 2006 and reached Pluto in 2015. By calculating the difference between the two numbers, you can conclude that the answer would be 9 years.
How to make toast:
Select the toasting level you want. The numbers on your toaster refer to the length of time your bread will be toasted for. If you like lightly toasted bread, choose a lower number. If you prefer well-cooked toast, then a higher number would be appropriate.
Next, put your bread into the toaster and push the lever down. This will start the toasting process. It is important to remember to only put one slice of bread into each section of the toaster. This ensures an even toasting process.
When the toaster pops, check that your toast is the way that you like it. If it needs extra time, then you may need to put it down again.
Finally, top with whatever spreads and condiments you want and enjoy your toast.
Question: The numbers on a toaster refer to the level of toastiness
a) This is true
b) This is false
c) They don't mean anything at all
The correct answer is: b) This is false. Within the text, it states that the numbers refer to the length of time that bread will be cooked.
Eye colour can vary dramatically from person to person and often seems to be related to where in the world people live. There will be areas of the globe where concentrations of a particular colour will appear higher. In reality, eye colour has very little to do with location and is controlled by genetics. There is evidence to show that there could be as many as 16 different genes responsible for deciding eye colour.
Just because eye colour is determined by genetics, this does not mean that location doesn't play a part at all. Studies have shown that Europeans have the widest range of potential eye colours. This is likely to be because of the huge variance in cross-continent travel throughout history, with trade routes meaning that people from different areas of Europe, Asia and Africa regularly came together. Other areas of the globe had less travel, which means that there were fewer opportunities for DNA mixing. In these areas, there is likely to be less variance of eye colour.
Question: Which of these is accurate?
a) Europeans are more likely to have brown eyes
b) Europeans are more likely to have blue eyes
c) Europeans are more likely to have varied eye colour
d) Europeans are more likely to have the same eyes as one another
The correct answer is: c) Europeans are more likely to have varied eye colours. This is because the text states that Europeans have the widest range of potential eye colours due to extensive historical trade routes.
Tips for Passing a Comprehension Test
Take Practice Tests
As with all tests, it can be very helpful to use practice papers.
This will help you to understand the format of the questions and understand the type of passages that you might see.
It can also be a good way of understanding any areas where you need to improve and enables you to work on those weaker areas.
There are many websites that offer free practice tests.
These are generally a good place to start when it comes to preparing for your assessments.
Pay Attention to Time Limits
The Comprehension test is likely to be timed. Make sure that you know exactly how long you will have to complete the test.
Using practice tests, you can make sure that you are able to complete the assessment within the required time limits.
The time limit on the real assessment may be different to the limit on practice papers. It is always a good idea to check what the limit is before you start.
Read the Passages Quickly but Thoroughly
You will need to spend most of your time during the assessment answering the questions. Because of this, it is important to read the passage quickly yet thoroughly.
Make sure that you understand what is written before you start answering questions.
Remember, if there is something you are unsure about, you can always go back and take another look at the passage.
Only Use the Passage to Answer Questions
All of the answers will be found within the passage.
It is important to remember that this is an assessment of your ability to understand what is written. It is not looking at whether you can imagine what an answer would be or whether you know additional information about the subject.
You should choose your answers based on only the information within the passage.
Make Sure That You Get Enough Rest
Sleep affects your ability to concentrate and can also impact how well you are able to understand questions.
It is important to make sure that you are well rested ahead of the assessment, as this will enable you to perform to the best of your ability.
Practice Relaxation Techniques if You Suffer From Anxiety During Tests
If you are someone who suffers from pre-test nerves, then it can be helpful to practice relaxation techniques such as mindfulness and breathing techniques.
This can help you to get a handle on your nerves and enable you to fully concentrate on the assessment.
Comprehension tests are essentially designed to assess a skill, which most of us will use every day without even realising that we are doing it.
The most important thing to remember when taking one of these assessments is that it is looking to assess a skill you already own.
Practice papers and understanding the time limit will enable you to perform at your best on the day. Above all, don't get overconfident.
Being overconfident going into the assessment can lead to not taking enough time to fully understand what is being asked of you.
A thorough approach can help to avoid unnecessary errors.