In Korea, learning English starts from memorizing vocab words. For example, all students memorize all the vocabulary first, and then they learn grammar rules. Interpreting each sentence, the student in the end understands the paragraph which in turn leads to a full understanding of the passage. In the test, one of the most important ideas to grasp is the main idea. When students come from Korea this method creates a mindset for Korean students which block them from interpreting a greater range of vocabulary. They should not think that by knowing the words, they understand the passage. It is good to memorize the words, but it is not the only way to learn the techniques correctly. To link each vocabulary word to an overall situation allows the reader to read between the lines. Using this tactic, comprehension comes along.

 

     First, read critically through the passage without stopping.  Students from Korea tend to have an inefficient habit to interpret the passage, sentence by sentence. For example, while a student is reading a passage, s/he keeps reading until s/he find any vocabulary words that s/he cannot remember. Then they stop, wondering and give up the hard to understand passage. Once you read the whole passage Aor one paragraph, try to understand the message the author wants to deliver as the reader, to you.   If you can pinpoint your idea, you have been successful in reading the passage. Almost being done with half of reading and comprehension, the student is ready. It is great progress to be able to understand the hard parts of critical reading and writing.  After a full understanding of the passage, answer the asked questions. Next, you need to figure out what the question is asking for in regards to a specific paragraph or sentence and then figure out the actual meaning of the context to solve the problem.  If there is vocabulary you do not know from that part, it is definitely fine.  Just use your brain and think about the picture you draw in your brain and what will be happening in your picture you just drew and infer the consequences.  And check the front and back lines or sentences of the sentence the question is asking to find the answer.  If you understand those parts, then it will be much easier to understand the meaning of that sentence or passage what the question is asking you to find.  Use your brain and it will happen in your picture and pop our and we became a huge doodle.

 

     For example, in SAT, there was a passage regarding prehistorical Cro-Magnons. The main topic of this passage was about the art of Cro-Magnons. According to the passage, we are able to find that they were more intelligent and assess a higher level of culture than we could have thought of.  From this topic idea addressed in the first paragraph, the second sentence described, “Upon entering the larger caves in France, the answer seems obvious. The long, high, silent corridors of Gargas and Rouffignac fill the viewer with awe, while the riot of colored stalactites and stalagmites in Cougnac stuns us with its beauty.”  The question was asked about the implied definition of “riot”.  With only two sentences, many of the words the student may not know.

 

     Without the meanings, do not give up reading! Follow the streamline format of the passage and infer the conclusion of the problem addressed in the writing. First, the sentence is about entering caves. Then, the next scene in your brain would be in the dark cave, adjusting to the cave’s dark beauty. Stunned by its beauty,” when you enter the cave”, you can reflect on your experiences when you actually enter the cave in the past,  you may think종유석 (Jongyouseok), 종부석 (Jongbooseok) in Korean. Then, you can guess what Stalactites and Stalagmites are something like 종유석,종부석.  That’s it. They are Stalactites and Stalagmites.  Then, those are displayed and created here and there and down from the ceiling or up from the bottom or from the side… everywhere and lots and lots of things are everywhere.  The writer expresses riot to explain these scenery you can imagine in your brain. 

 

     Lastly, before reading the passage, it is effective to skim through the questions first.  The main reasons of skimming through questions are how much you will need to focus on reading passages.  And when you read questions with underline, it is effective to mark the part in the passage in advance. Then, you can read the passage and solve the problem at the same time.

 

Eugenia Kim, KSNE