On standardized tests with a verbal, reading comprehension or critical reading section, your ability to process and understand what you've read is going to be tested. There's just no way around it! Not only will you need to understand how to find the main idea, determine the author's purpose of writing, understand vocabulary in context, you'll also need to understand how to make an inference at some point, too.
So, what is an inference?
An inference is an assumption made based on specific evidence. We make inferences all the time in real life. For instance, your girlfriend might say to you, "Nice hair," and you could make the inference that she is being rude because she was smirking when she said it. Or, if a woman looking like the lady in the photo on the right asked you if you lost your elbow, you might make the inference that she's a little nutty. In life, it's pretty easy to infer the implied meaning - the meaning not stated directly - because you can use context clues like body language, tone, and gestures to help you get the real meaning.
So, what does that mean for the reading comprehension portion of an exam? Quite a bit as inferencing is a skill test writers love to assess! Check out the following articles to get the answer to that question along with tips for how to make an inference on a multiple choice exam and practice!