DSE English Paper 1: 5 quick reading skills to upgrade to Grade instantly


I believe that many students will encounter the problem of insufficient time in the DSE English reading paper. Even if they have a good English foundation, they may lose points due to negligence. This article shares 5 practical reading skills to help you save time, race against time, and improve yourself to a higher level in the DSE English reading paper.

Table of contents

Don’t read the entire article at once

In the exam, your goal is to find the most correct answers in the shortest time. Don’t spend a lot of time reading the entire article initially unless you have a photographic memory. In DSE reading, most of the questions are asked sequentially. It is recommended that after every one or two questions you read, you can immediately go to the corresponding part of the article to find the answer, and so on.

Such steps are not difficult to implement, but your mentality must change. Don't wait until you fully understand the entire passage before you start writing your answer. Instead, have a treasure-hunting mentality and try to find the answer in the article in the shortest possible time.

  • Don’t read the entire article at the beginning
  • Adopt a treasure hunt mentality and focus on finding answers
  • Read the headlines, subtitles, and the first and last paragraphs of the article

Make good use of paragraph and line number tips in the title

In DSE English reading, most of the questions are asked in sequence, which means that you can make good use of the paragraph and line number prompts of the questions to quickly locate the answer position. Even if some questions do not clearly indicate the location of the answer, through speculation and correlation with the context, the scope of finding the answer can be effectively narrowed down.

paragraph prompts

  • Different topics will mention different paragraphs of the article, and you can quickly locate the corresponding paragraphs according to the topic prompts.
  • Infer the location of the answer by understanding the relationship between the question content and the article paragraphs

Line number prompt

  • When a question provides a specific number of lines, you can quickly find the corresponding location to find the answer.
  • Use the number of adjacent lines prompts to further narrow the answer range and improve search efficiency.

Making good use of paragraph and line number prompts can not only help candidates find answers quickly, but also effectively improve reading efficiency within a limited time and ensure more correct answers.

Review full-text questions in advance

Full-text questions play an important role in DSE English reading, especially for candidates who want to obtain Level 4 or above. Although full-text questions are usually left to be answered last, reviewing the full-text questions in advance and having a general understanding of the question requirements can make it easier for candidates to answer the full-text questions when completing the sequential questions.

Full-text topic requirements

  • Sometimes you are asked to do subtitle matching
  • Provide excerpts of some character sentences, and then ask which sentences the characters in the article are more likely to say.
  • Understand the question requirements

Browse the full-text questions in advance and have a general understanding. Even if you don't need to search for answers when completing the sequential questions, the full-text questions will become easier to answer. You can try this method the next time you practice the test paper. Skimming the final full-text questions may only take 20-30 seconds.

Circle key words while reading

When reading the DSE English paper, circling names, numbers and proper nouns is a very effective technique. These keywords usually play an important role in full-text questions, especially when doing matching questions. By skimming the full text question requirements in advance and circling these keywords during the reading process, you can greatly improve the efficiency of finding answers.

Benefits of circling keywords

  • Improve the matching efficiency of full-text questions
  • Save time and reduce re-reading
  • Increase your chances of checking your answers and avoid losing points by mistake

Don't get into trouble

When you encounter a question you don't understand, don't fall into irrational thinking mode. Most of the questions in the DSE reading paper are 1-mark questions, and each question should not take more than 1.5 minutes to answer. If you encounter a difficult question, you can put it down temporarily and answer the questions that you are more confident and easier to answer first.

  • Don't spend too much time on one question
  • Use your time to answer questions with more confidence
  • Put aside difficult questions for now and answer other questions first

Other resources

In addition to the tips and tricks mentioned above, there are some other resources that can help you achieve better results in the English DSE exam.English private tutoring

Supplementary English

If you wish to further improve your English reading and comprehension skills, you may consider seeking professional English tutoring. A senior English tutor can help you master more reading skills and strategies, and provide targeted guidance to deal with various question types in the DSE English reading paper.

If you are interested in English tutoring, you may consider learning more aboutSupplementary Englishinformation.



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