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What is Reading Comprehension at a College Level?

Reading comprehension at a college level requires a range of skills, such as understanding, remembering, summarizing, analyzing, and inferring from what you read. The skill of reading comprehension is crucial to college and career success in a variety of fields. With strong reading comprehension skills, a student can learn more independently by acquiring new skills from books and articles.

A college reading comprehension test measures your abilities by presenting you with reading passages and asking you questions about them. Questions can be about the whole passage, part of the passage, or how a specific word is used in context. Reading passages can be about any school-appropriate topic, including literature, history, science, philosophy, psychology, or even daily life. Don't worry if you're unfamiliar with the topic--you'll be able to answer all of the questions just based on what you read. Even if you are familiar with the topic, you should still answer the questions based on what you read in the passage rather than drawing on your outside knowledge.

Reading comprehension tests are often part of comprehensive exams used by schools, colleges, and universities for the purposes, which can be summarized with the acronym DEEP:

  • Determining eligibility or selection for merit scholarships or prizes
  • Evaluating candidates for admission to a school, college, university, or program
  • Evaluating students' progress in the middle of their program of study
  • Placing students in classes that are at an appropriate level for them

Everyday life also provides plenty of opportunities to use reading comprehension skills. You'll use these skills when you read a contract, terms of service, the newspaper, or anything that interests you. Reading comprehension isn't just on tests. It's everywhere!

Reading Comprehension Tips

  • Be an active reader, with pencil in hand. If the exam is on paper, you can use your pencil for more than just marking your answers. You may be presented with a large text. Instead of being daunted, mark important words and sentences (especially topic sentences) while your read. Active reading is purposeful reading, meaning that as you read, you are deliberately evaluating qualities of the text, such as argument, point of view, and tone. While this is less convenient on a computerized tests, most computerized tests do allow you to take notes on paper.
  • Infer from context. If a word appears that you don’t understand, use the sentence (and even the paragraph) that you found it in to figure out its meaning. Remember: Reading comprehension is not only testing your vocabulary--it is testing your reasoning skills.
  • Practice before. Use realistic testing material with comprehension-based questions to train yourself to develop the skills needed for your upcoming test. TestPrep-Online offers hundreds of reading comprehension exercises with answers and explanations to help improve both your skills, and your confidence.
  • Read a lot of formal English. The more you read, the better you'll get at reading comprehension. Find books and articles about a range of subjects that interest you. You can use any text written in formal English for practice.

Reading Comprehension Exercises for College Students with Answers

Test Prep-Online is proud to offer a Reading Comprehension Pack with extensive practice material. The pack’s reading comprehension exercises are accessible online, anytime, anywhere, giving you the opportunity to be as flexible as you’d like with scheduling your studying time. Start preparing today!

All questions on Our Reading Comprehension Practice Tests for College Students are paired with detailed explanations, revealed after finishing and submitting each test, together with a score report, which gives you an opportunity to review your performance and keep track of your learning process.

Do you have tests in English and math coming up too? For comprehensive preparation, we recommend our English, Reading Comprehension, & Math combined pack with over 1,200 total questions.


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