Reading A – 3 common trick questions

In this post we will talk about three reasonably common trick questions in Reading A that aim to find the best students. It is very easy to lose marks on these questions when you are rushing because they are very sneaky, but being aware of them can increase your chance of getting them correct.

1. Plural and singular
Text: “Screening mammograms are the best method for detecting breast cancer in the early stages”
Question: “The best method for detecting breast cancer in the early stages is …..?…..”
The text and the question sentences almost look identical, although obviously the order of information has changed. The other thing that has changed is that where the text used the plural verb “are” the answer has the singular verb “is”; therefore, we need to change the words “screening mammograms”, which is plural, into a singular form – the answer is “a screening mammogram”

2. Splitting up acronyms
Text: “25% of Australian adults are obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher”
Question: “Obesity is defined as a …..?….. index of greater or equal to 30”
The answer is obviously to do with body mass index, and as they have used the abbreviation BMI in the text we are allowed to use this for our answer. However, note that the question already has the word “index” written down, so writing “BMI” will be marked wrong, because you are saying “body mass index index”. The answer is therefore “body mass”, and we do not use an abbreviation.

3. Fractions and percentages
Text: “When treated with both a statin and ezetimibe, the rates of STEMI were lowered by 40%”
Question: “Combination lipid-lowering therapy was associated with a two …..?….. reduction in myocardial infarction incidence”
As has been mentioned in previous posts, for all reading you should be comfortable changing between simple fractions and percentages (1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/10). This question type revolves around being comfortable with these. The answer in the text is 40%, but of course we can’t put this in our answer because “two 40%” does not make any sense. Instead, we have to convert this to a fraction – 40% is two-fifths, so the answer would be “fifths”.

26 August 2017


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