Comprehension: Identifying similarities and differences

8 11 2011

This sort of question has come out in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2009.

While the answers will come form the passage, the skill to note is the way you structure your answers.

For questions that ask you to identify similarities or resemblances, you should not simply paraphrase the two lines in the text that are similar. Instead, you need to give an overarching similarity that encompasses both line references. Your answer should look like this:

Both __________ and ______________ are similar in that ________________________.


Both children and the pups of hunting animals are similar in that they use play to find out about their environment. (2009)


When it comes to differences, phrase your answer in this manner:

While ___________ [subject 1] _____________ [characteristic of subject 1], ________________ [subject 2] is different in that ____________________ [contrasting characteristic of subject 2].


[Note: Here, there are three subjects; subjects 1 and 2 are being contrasted with subject 3]

While animals [subject 1] have to act as their natural urges direct them [characteristic of subject 1] and inanimate objects [subject 2] submit to whatever their surroundings do to them [characteristic of subject 2], humans [subject 3] are distinct in that who have the free will to make decisions [characteristic of subject 3 which contrasts with the characteristics of both subjects 1 and 2]. (2004)




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