On this page, you will learn:
- What are the 10 types of questions on the Reading test?
- How do you do the IELTS reading?
- How to practice for IELTS reading?
- How to improve your IELTS reading score?
Reading is one of the modules and it’s the second part that takes an hour to complete. That is 60 minutes only. With limited time there are several things you need to check out for you to score a high mark of 7.0 and above in Reading. There are several tips I can share that I am sure will boost your score. To begin with, I need to inform you about different types of questions.
What are the 10 types of questions on the Reading test?
1) Multiple choice questions
These are types of questions that requires you to pick the correct answer from the given choices which are in capital letters of ABC and .This type of questions tests your ability to understand detailed and specific information.
2) Information identification questions
These are types of questions that requires you to identify whether the given information is either true false or it’s not given. This type of question tests your ability to clearly understand what the text is talking about.
3) Information matching
These types of questions requires you to find a specific information and placing them where they fit to be. You need to have clearly understood the text and be able to understand every paragraph and what information it contains.
4) Head Matching
These questions requires you to pick a heading from the given headings and place each of them to the paragraphs. Mainly, if you have clearly understood the given text, you’ll be able to make a heading out of every paragraph.
5) Sentence completion
In this type of question, you will find an incomplete sentence. You are supposed to complete it with words taken from the text. You therefore need to quickly map the incomplete text to a particular location in the text for you to find the correct answer.
6) Summary completion
A summary part of the text will be given to you. You are required to complete it by picking words from the text with a given maximum number of words to complete it.
7) Features matching
These are types of questions that that requires you to find a specific information about given features and match it. For example you can be given different people who discovered different things at different times. You are now required to match who discovered what at what time. You therefore need to be very keen when matching.
8) Matching sentence endings
This is a very simple question. Part of a sentence is picked from a line in the text. What you need to do here is to just locate where it has been taken from and complete the sentence and there you have your have your correct answer!
9) Short answer questions
You have to be extra careful here! This is a question that expects you to answer the question from the given facts in the text. Moreover you need to check the number of words because you are limited. A maximum number of words is always given.
10) Matching information
You just need not to get this question wrong. All that is required of you here is to find some given information and place them where they fit.
How do you do the IELTS Reading?
i) Read many articles
A week or two prior to the exam, ensure that you read as many articles as you can. This will give a certain kind of experience and confidence for that matter. This is the most important tip here. You can’t just wake up someday and go hit a band score of 8.0 in reading module without reading practice.
This is a reading technique that allows you to read through a given text very fast and within the shortest time possible while identifying main ideas of the given text. This technique will help you save on time and will also allow you to have an idea of what the text is all about within the first reading.
This is a technique where you read through every line very quickly looking for a specific word or phrase.
It comes in handy when you are looking for a one word answer. It’s quite different from scanning because the latter doesn’t require you to find any specific word or phrase.
iv) Use keywords
This is self‐explanatory. Reading a text without identifying the keywords is a suicide mission! Don’t try it.
Ensure that you mark some of the keywords as they will be helpful when time for answering questions come .You wouldn’t need more time to scan through the text again.
The title of the text that you are reading will tell you what the text is all about. First read the title. It will give you an idea of the content of the text so you’ll have an ample time comprehending since you already have an idea of what you are reading.
vi) Time management
This is very key! The reading module is 60 minutes long and there are three questions for you to answer.
Do NOT share time equally so that you allocate each question twenty minutes. The IELTS standard works with an increasing difficulty that means the last question difficulty level will be higher than the last two so make sure that you’ll have close to thirty minutes for the last question.
vii) Check grammar
Be extra careful with the grammar at the beginning of the questions. More so the negatives because they totally change the question and if you are not careful enough you may end up answering oppositely with all your gathered confidence. Every beginning of a sentence is very important.
viii) Do not read the whole text.
Yes! You heard me right. Time is of essence here. There will never be enough time to read through all the text. There are parts of that text that you will never find any question rising from so no need to read. Just remember that your job is to look for the right answers not reading everything.
ix) If you can’t find an answer of the current question, leave it pending and proceed.
The trick here is moving from the known to the unknown so just mark it maybe with a big star and move on to answer another question but always remember that you have unanswered question. Once you have finished writing your answers then go back for it.
x) It is very tragic to answer all the questions in the question paper and get caught up by time before transferring it to the answer sheet.
I would strongly recommend that after answering every question, just flip over to your answer sheet and write your answer.
xi) There are those questions that dictate the number of words.
Ensure that you abide by the rules. Count your words one by one and remember that a vowel in a sentence e.g. “a” is also counted as a word.
xii) Spelling mistakes will always count.
Try as much as possible to check on your spelling when you are writing short answers and if you get time after answering all the questions then check once again in case you made any spelling error.
xiii) There are those questions that you are required to complete the sentence.
Make sure that you put all your attention on the meaning of the sentence not just throwing any word to fit in. You need to do well in this exam remember.
xiv) There is something called intelligent guessing.
At times you’ll be given difficult words in the passage that you may have no clue at all. What should help you make a correct guess is the context in which the word has been used. Certainly this difficult word will always be related to the topic of the given text.
xv) At times the unfortunate happens.
I am talking of elapsed time and you haven’t finished up. If you have a multiple choice question left guess! There is always a 25% chance that you’ll get a correct answer in a question of ABC and D multiple choice answer.
How to practice for IELTS reading?
Good place to softly suggest a Kindle: With a Kindle you can instantly check the meaning of the words, it has been shown you read more.
IELTS Reading exam is the most difficult part of examinations for many people. The big chunk of text can look intimidating and the questions can be confusing.
But don’t worry, I’ll tell you exactly how to achieve 7.5!
How to begin practising for IELTS Reading
Learning new words
If you found words that you do not understand, write down a list of at least 10 new words on a piece of paper, and their definitions in English on the other side. (By the way the Kindle ebook reader gives you instant explanations of the word by just tapping it).
The list would then accompany you everywhere you go until all of the words were learnt.
After this, you will progress to writing contextual sentences with the words. This will help you gain better understanding of the words.
The best way to use IELTS Reading practice exams
Once you feel comfortable with the English language, begin doing IELTS Practice Exams.
Find your method
There are two strategies to become better at the Reading Exams:
1. Read the text first and then answer the questions.
2. Look at the questions first, and then read the text with those questions in mind.
Practise both of these methods until you find which one works for you. Simply using the method that you prefer improves your results on the Practice Reading Exam.
Practice, practice, practice…
Resources for IELTS Reading Exam Practice
These are the resources that you can use to practice for your Reading Exam and improve your reading score.
- IELTS Practise test plus Longman (Considered more difficult than normal!)
- IELTS Cambridge Reading test
Key Things Every IELTS Candidate Should Do
Organise your time – not just in the exam, but in your life too. Set long-term goals and make time for studying.
Don’t leave it all for the last month because learning English doesn’t happen overnight. If you want to get great results you have to put in time and effort.
How to improve your IELTS reading score?
ANYONE attempting the IELTS reading section without preparation will struggle to reach a Band 7. This part of the exam is not easy and even native speakers have challenges.
Below we cover:
-the three types of reading
-what is active reading and why it’s useful
-a technique to get you practising everyday
-a range of preparation exercises to get the exam skills you need
THE THREE TYPES OF READING
Elementary – the most basic and deals with “what is being said”. Elementary reading is therefore the style of reading you learn first.
Inspectional – often with a time limit, and covers three points; What the text is about? The structure of the text, and what are the parts of the argument? For this we skim, and pre-read to get a feel for the text. Inspectional reading is the type of reading you will do most in the exam.
Analytical – usually the slowest type of reading, concerned with the details, usually reading every single word in the phrase, mainly for understanding and finding meaning. Analytical is also necessary for the exam but will be used to a lesser extent largely due to the time limit in the exam.
This is another vital skill I would strongly recommend mastering for IELTS success. Active reading means actively getting involved in the text by marking, underlining and drawing on the text. This extra involvement makes it easier to remember because you have now attached something from the physical world to what was previously just in your mind. Active reading helps you focus (and keeps you awake!). It also facilitates understanding because if you can express your understanding in the written form it is more than likely crystal clear in your own mind.
Here are some guidelines to help you when approach some text:
– underline and circle important phrases and words
– vertical lines next to a long important passages
– stars / asterisk in the margin for dates, numbers, measurements and times (common questions in reading exams)
– use a series of numbers to signal the development of an argument or process
– write in the margins and create your own subheadings
If you have to read a lot for your studies or work I would strongly recommend this timeless classic “How to read a book“.
HOW TO PRACTICE EVERYDAY
One of the best ways to learn a new skill is through practice and repetition, and habits are the best source of repetition to harness. For example, if you have difficulty practising IELTS everyday then try and incorporate your IELTS preparation into an existing habit. So if most mornings you start with a coffee and reading some online news site like bbc.com, rt.com, or msnbc.com then start turning that routine into a practise reading session. You could choose an article and start ACTIVELY READING IT instead of just reading it the normal way. You could also engage in some of the exercises below, the point being is that soon you will start doing it every morning and you will be much less likely to skip a session. This technique comes from a great book about habits.
6 DRILLS TO IMPROVE READING COMPREHENSION
1. Pre-assessing an essay
Pre-assessing an essay involves creating a notion of what the essay holds by surveying the title, subtitles, framework and other tools used in the essay. One example would be in a page of a magazine, we can read the heading (and subheadings, if any), and take a quick look at the diagrams, charts or pictures, if any, to get a sense of what the essay is about, and so decide whether it is interesting enough for us to read or not. If the title and images provide the notion of the essay being about a particular place in the globe that you have not seen nor heard of before and you are fond of traveling, then this assessment helps in your decision making process to really read the article thoroughly.
Pre-assessment helps the mind to be open to the ideas related to the seen heading and images, which eventually provide ease in understanding the essay or article.
2. Browsing for the main point
This only requires going through the text lightly and fast to get an overall concept. We go about this by focusing only on getting the general point of the text and not really paying attention to the details. We can use this skill when for instance reading about the ingredients and how a particular dish is prepared to know whether it is good for our health or not.
Browsing in search of a main point is an essential skill when we want to obtain a comprehensive perspective or idea without needing to go deeply into the text.
3. Foreseeing the content and purpose of the text
Knowing the topic, we can use our stock knowledge to speculate about what the text will be on or what it was written for or what it is aimed to do. Let us take a flyer with the name of an amusement park and the images of the different rides and other entertainment activities that they offer, from these you can foresee that they are promoting the services offered by that particular amusement park and that the language or terms used in the flyer will be predominantly about entertainment and leisure.
Foreseeing is a good tool in understanding a text because you make use of your own knowledge and experiences about the topic to draw the ideas that will help you comprehend the complete thought of the text later on.
4. In-depth reading
In depth reading or reading completely while taking note of details involved in the text is a reading exercise that requires a little more effort. It requires more concentration and retention because here, every point must be looked into. For instance, we would like to prepare an éclair for some expected guests. Because the steps are not that simple and easy to remember, and to make sure that it comes out the way it should, not too hard nor too soft, and not too sweet nor lacking in taste, we will need to employ in-depth reading on its recipe. This means that we need to take note of the details like the exact amount of each ingredient, the level of mixing or beating required to produce the exact consistency required, and the necessary oven temperature for every phase of the baking process. In-depth reading may also involve reading the text again to ensure that we have understood or captured every detail and important information in the text.
In-depth reading is a skill that is necessary to develop because it enables us to understand exactly and completely what the meaning and message of the text is.
5. Drawing word meaning from context
It is not expected for us to know every word in the dictionary, hence, it is inevitable that we encounter some words, we have never heard of before or we have known for a particular meaning but it was used to deliver a different meaning in the text. This is why it is important to develop the skill of drawing the meaning of a word from the context of how it was used. This calls for the use of our abilities in analysing, reasoning, and searching for relevant details. In the line, “His family gathered about him after he was knocked out, waiting for him to come around,” the phrase to “come around” is composed of two words with different meanings and when put together may mean “to arrive within a particular location close to the speaker.” But in the given line, the words, “gathered around,” “knocked out,” and “waiting” seem to give clues that the meaning of words, “come around,” was different, in this case it was “to gain back consciousness.”
Drawing the word meaning from the way the word was used in the text is a very helpful skill in enriching our vocabulary and it will be important in understanding the meaning and message of an entire text which is needed in the IELTS exam.
6. Discerning the tone of the writer
Here, we bring focus on the sentiments and viewpoints of the writer. There are texts that are better understood when the thoughts and feelings of the writer are analysed. In the lines, “Is there hope for the youth?”we can feel that the author is concerned about the member of the younger generation and so we can expect that the text is about ways to make things better for them.
There are times when a topic can bring different, even opposing ideas. Examples would be religious or political controversial matters. This is why it is important to get clues about the attitude and perspective of the writer in order to really understand the purpose of the writer for writing the text and the different points that writer aims to draw our attention to.
For more info on IELTS Vocabulary, click here.
If you need more help with your IELTS reading preparation, take a look at our tutorials here : https://www.ieltspodcast.com/reading/