How to Analyze What You Read for the ASVAB

If you plan on taking the ASVAB, you will need to be able to analyze what you read. To analyze a paragraph, you need to examine the passage carefully to identify causes, key factors, and possible results. Analyzing a passage requires you to draw conclusions from what you’ve read and understand relationships among the ideas in the text.

What does that passage mean?

By drawing conclusions about a passage’s meaning, you reach new ideas that the author implies but doesn’t come right out and state. You must analyze the information the author presents to make inferences from what you’ve read. What conclusions can you infer from the following paragraph?

The local school district is facing a serious budgetary crisis. The state, suffering a revenue shortfall of more than $600 million, has cut funding to the district by $18.7 million. Already, 65 teachers have been laid off, and more layoffs are expected.

Can you conclude that the local school district really stinks? Possibly, but that’s not the point. Although the author doesn’t come straight out and say so, you can draw the conclusion that if the state revenue shortfall could somehow be corrected, the local school district’s budgetary crisis could be resolved. The author never actually makes this point, but you can draw this conclusion from the facts presented.

When analyzing a passage, leave your baggage at the door. For example, you may not like the current governor, but nothing in the passage suggests that the writer supports electing a new governor to solve the budget problem.

Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing means to rewrite a passage using your own words. This strategy is often useful when you’re trying to understand a complex idea. Putting the passage in your own words can help you understand the main idea, which can in turn help you discover information that may not be stated directly. Paraphrasing can also be helpful in making inferences and drawing conclusions from the information provided.

Look at the following short passage:

On-the-job training (OJT) is often the most effective method of training because the employer tailors the training to meet the specific job requirements. OJT can be as casual as giving a few pointers to a new worker or as formal as a fully structured training program with timetables and specified subjects.

How would you paraphrase this passage? If you wrote something like the following, you’d be on the right track:

Some OJT programs involve a formal lesson plan, while others simply tell a new employee what to do and how to do it. OJT works well because new employees can be taught what they need to do the specific job.

Paraphrasing is just saying the same thing using different words. In basic training, your drill instructor may say, “You really need to work on your running time,” or he may say, “Get the %$@* lead out of your pants and run faster!” Both mean the same thing.

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