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Avoiding Digressions

Avoiding Digressions

Author: Sydney Bauer

This lesson explains how to avoid digressions when answering reading comprehension questions.

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Quick Reminder: A digression is when you begin to focus on irrelevant details (or loosely related details), instead of maintaining focus on directly responding to the question. It’s when your train of thought switches tracks and heads off in another direction.


So why is it so important to avoid digressions?

It is important to avoid digressions because…

  • Digressions take you off track and prevent you from answering the question you’ve been presented with.
  • Digressions will make your response too wordy, confusing, or complicated, which makes it harder for your teacher to understand your ideas and give you a grade for your response.
  • By definition, a digression means you’re focusing on irrelevant details. This means you waste precious time (and energy) creating a response that doesn’t answer the question.


To avoid digressions

  • Make a quick note (2 – 3 words) of the main point you want to make in your response and make sure it answers the question. As you create your response you can look back at your note and check the details you include against it.
  • Limit yourself to presenting only the most important details
  • Always check your response against the question you are answering 

Avoiding Digressions