Strategies for Indirect Questions

Answering indirect questions requires the reader to make inferences. An inference is where you take evidence and make a conclusion that is non-obvious. The National Foundation for Educational Research's report Effective Teaching of Inference Skills for Reading elaborates on the disagreements between researchers in the field, but for the purposes of OSSLT preparation, the way inferences are conceived of by Graesser et al. in Constructing Inferences During Narrative Text Comprehension is one of the most useful:

Text Connecting inferences help a reader understand the meaning of a sentence. One example of this inference is the use of pronouns (he, she, etc.), where the person isn't named, but the reader still understands who is being referenced.

Extra-textual inferences are where the reader activates their background knowledge and draws their own conclusion. For example, if a character gives a red rose to another, the reader can understand that the character has romantic intentions. These are the types of inferences that are most difficult for students on the OSSLT.

The report goes on to discuss several ways to improve students' inferencing skills:

Being An Active Reader

Because the reader needs to access their background knowledge in order to effectively make extra-textual inferences, it is vital to always be questioning the text and relating it to other experiences. If there is something in the text that is confusing, the reader should resolve that confusion immediately by going back and reviewing some text or using other strategies like visualization in order to better understand the characters or events.

Less-able readers tend to be less aware:

Skills for Inferencing