You are on page 1of 31

!

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!All the information included in this pdf can be found in the following books:
!
!
!McCarter, Sam and Whitby, Norman (2007), Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills,
!Macmillan Education, Oxford
!
!
!OSullivan, Kerry and Lindeck, Jeremy (2000), Focusing on IELTS: Reading and
!Writing Skills, National Centre for English Language Teaching and Research,
!
!Sydney
!
!
!
!

READING TIPS FOR IELTS

Page 1 of 31

!
!
!

Contents!

1. Reading For IELTS...3!


2. The Three-Step Strategy.....4!
Skim....4
Scan5
Read Intensively5
3. Reading Skills That You Need....6!
Understanding The Words..6
Understanding What Writers Are Doing...7
Descriptive Writing..7
Argumentative Writing.....10
Matching Information When You Read...13

4. Tips to Solve Exercises.....14!


Matching Statements.....14
Matching Headings16
Matching Names17
Matching Phrases......18
Sentence Completion (Matching Endings).......19
True/False/Not Given.....19
Yes/No/Nog Given......20
Completing Tables.....22
Labelling Maps...22
Labelling Diagrams.......23
Answering Questions....24
Short Answer Questions....24
Summary With Wordlist.....25
Sentence Completion....26
Multi-Choice Questions.....26
Searching For Words.29
5. References......30

Page 2 of 31

!
!

Reading FOR IELTS!

In the IELTS Reading Module try to answer all the questions, if necessary, guess
the answer, there are no penalties for wrong answers.

The IELTS test requires you to read effectively and efficiently. Being a effective
and efficient reader means more than knowing what each word in the passage
means. When you star to read a passage you need to ask yourself 3 questions:

. What I am reading?
. Why I am reading it?
. How am I going to read it?

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

!
!
Page 3 of 31

!
!

The Three-Step Strategy!

There are three fundamental ways to read in a successful way:

. Skim the passage to get a general understanding of the main points in the
passage;
. Scan the passage to locate the specific information needed to answer a
question;
. Read the information intensively to decide on the answer.

In the IELTS test, use the three-step strategy of reading:

!
!

Skim: Read fast, extract the meaning or topic of a text without looking at all of
the words. Look only at the words that are connected with the word you want to
find, ignore the other words.

Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

Skim the passage so you have a general understanding of the main points in it,
jump from paragraph to paragraph finding the main points in each one (often the
first sentence in which paragraph).

The sentence with the main point is usually called the topic sentence and should
provide a reasonable summary of the exact action and if you find a question that
relates to this sentence, you can come back and read it more intensively.

!
!

Page 4 of 31

Scan: Look at a piece of text to find one word or phrase, not to understand the

whole text. Look for specific data.

To be successful when scanning you should:

- Look only for specific words/phrases


- Look for each word or phrase in turn
- Try not to think of the meaning as you scan

When you are looking for words, the better way to find them is scanning vertically
from the bottom to the top or from the bottom, right to left and then left to right.

!
!

Reading Intensively:

!
!

Read one section of the passage carefully to

understand what is needed to answer the question. This is different from


skimming or scanning, when you skim or scan you only need to understand
some key words: subject, verb and object.

So, remember:

Skim the passage and the questions to get a quick general understanding!
Scan the passage to locate the information you need to answer each question!
Read the information intensively so that you can answer the questions!

!
!

These three steps are useful for IELTS tests, practice exercises and university,
college or generally reading.

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Page 5 of 31

Reading Skills That You Need


!
!
. Understanding the words
. Understanding what writers are doing
. Matching information when you read

!
!

Understanding the Words:

When you skim or scan is not necessary to

understand every word in the passage, but you must know 50% of the words if
you want to understand the main points of a passage.

You need to expand your vocabulary, this is important, not only for your reading
but also for writing, speaking and listening.

You cannot and should not try to learn every word, you need to learn the most
useful words, those that can be used in a wide range of passages because
technical weds have a limited use as they are usually used in one field only.

There are different ways of learning new words, my favourite is: create your own
dictionary with all your new words and arrange them functionally, for example
words associated with the university or words that can help you compare.

Dont try to remember or learn every new word, just look up for those you think that
might be useful. And use an English-English dictionary, even if you dont
understand the precise meaning of the word, you are expanding your vocabulary.

Faced with unknown words, some readers panic and believe they will not be able
to answer the questions, however, you do not need to understand every word to
carry out the required tasks. You can guess the meaning of an unknown word,
especially if you can see what the writer is doing.

Guessing is an important strategy when reading. One way of guessing is to


look at the relationship of that word to other nearby words. If there are words you
dont know, dont stop and dont panic. Keep moving forward, look at each
question after the passage and if there are questions that relate to the words you
Page 6 of 31

dont understand, look at the nearby words and sentences and then guess the
meaning of the unknown words.

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Pictures taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)

Understanding What Writers are Doing: That is recognising the language


that writers use to describe and argue.

If you are able to see what writers are doing, it will be easier to understand what
they are saying. And this may help you to do the following question types in the
reading module: classifying, presenting arguments, choosing from a list of
headings, reading graphs, tables and illustrations, reading notes, summaries,
diagrams, flow charts and tables.

Usually writers describe, they do what is called descriptive writing (a manual for
a microwave oven, a library catalogue, a news article about a car accident, a
childrens story, a laboratory report).

They present information and describe processes, what it happening. They define
and label things or classify things into different types.
Page 7 of 31

!
When you read descriptive texts, you need to be able to read definitions, labels,
classifications and descriptions of processes and when you know what the
writer is doing you have a better chance of understanding individual words.

A common way of defining is to say that this person/thing is a (noun) who/that


(clause), see the examples above:

!
!

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)
!
Sometimes writers will show you that a word is a label by using inverted commas
(), if it is a technical label or a foreign word they may use italics. Usually the label
and the explanation are simply placed side by side.

As you can see in the examples is called, known as, that is, so-called are some
key words that can help you identifying labels.

!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Page 8 of 31

!
!
!
!
!
!
Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)

!
!

Here are some examples of key words that can help you identifying classifications:

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)

When writers describe processes, they are describing a number of steps in a


particular sequence:

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

!
Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)

Page 9 of 31

Writers also argue, they do what is called argumentative writing (a letter to the
editor of a newspaper, a newspaper editorial, a political pamphlet, a university
essay about the advantages and disadvantages of using computers).

They give opinions and express their viewpoints. They make claims, give reasons
and give evidence to support their claims.

When you read argumentative texts, you need to be able to judge the writers
viewpoint, read comparisons and contrasts, examples and reasons.!

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

!
Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)

When writers argue they put forward their own opinions. They say things like: this
is better than that, that problem was caused by this, this will change or I
think we should do this.

To decide a writers viewpoint about an issue, you must locate evidence, judge
the evidence and make a decision. Apart from making and judging the evidence
you need to pay attention to the words that the writer chooses, because this
can also show the writers viewpoint and attitude.

You have to make sure that you can recognise comparisons and understand them
immediately when you see them in a reading passage:

!
!
!
!
!

Page 10 of 31

!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)

Comparing is the same as contrasting, that is, looking at something and


expressing the difference in two situations or events:

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

!
Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)

When describing a situation that is in contrast to expectations, writers frequently


use the expressions despite and in spite of. Look at the example:

Page 11 of 31

Mr Jones is rich, you might expect him to live in a big house. But, in fact, he lives
in a small house.

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)

It is common in booth descriptive and argumentative texts to give examples, often


writers use the following sentences to give examples:

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)

As you are reading, it is important to follow the reasons that writers give to explain
events or situations. Another term for reasons is cause and another term for the
situation or event that consequently happens is effect. The following examples
include some of the basic structures for describing cause and effect:

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)

Page 12 of 31

Matching Information when you read:

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Successful reading means being

able to see the relationships between different words, that is, being able to
match information.

Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)

When reading you need to understand references, that is, how one word refers to
other words. If you cant understand all the references you cant understand the
passage.

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)

Page 13 of 31

Tips to Solve Exercises!

!
!
Matching Statements:!

When you decide whether a statement is true, false or not given according to a
passage you are matching two statements: the statement given in the question
and the statement given in the passage.

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

!
Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)

!
!
You must ask yourself three questions:
!

. Do the words that specify the nouns match?!


When people want to talk about something they must specify, that is, they must say
which noun they are talking about. There are many ways to specify a noun and you
must check whether the nouns are the same in the statement and in the passage.
Are they specified in the same way?

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)

Page 14 of 31

. Do the words that specify verbs match?!


We use verbs to describe what nouns do and to say what condition or situation
these nouns are in.

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
Pictures taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)
!
!

. Do the facts match?!


Sometimes, the difference between the statement given in the test question and
the statement given in the reading passage is in the accuracy of the information
provided. This applies both to words that specify nouns and to words that specify
verbs.

!
!
When the information does not match:
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)
!
!
The answer is false.
Page 15 of 31

!
When the two statements use different words but have the same meaning:
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)
!
!
The answer is true.
!
!
And when the passage does not give enough relevant information to make a
choice:

!
!
!
!
!
!
Picture taken from the book Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing Skills (see cover)
!
!
The answer is not given.
!
!
!
Matching Headings:!

- Skim the headings for a summary of the passage, to form a general idea of the
-

topic, note repeated words;


Identify and underline the organisation words like effects, problems
Scan for words in the headings which help locate the information;
Predict which paragraph each heading relates to;
Read and match each paragraph in turn, thinking of the writers overall purpose;
Check that the sequence of paragraphs makes sense by reading your heading
in order;
Page 16 of 31

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

Matching Names:!

- Scan the passage for each name in the list and draw a box around them,
this limits where you need to look for their findings;
- Skim to see whether the persons findings occur before or after their name, then
read the findings;
- Read down the list of statements to find the correct match;

!
!
!

Page 17 of 31

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

Matching Phrases:!

!
-

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Identify which phrases refer to a part of the whole paragraph;


Decide where the information is likely to be: the beginning, middle or end;
Scan for the words in the phrases or synonyms of them;
Ignore irrelevant information;

Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

Page 18 of 31

Sentence Completion (Matching Endings):!

- Decide first, according to the context if the words needed are adjectives, nouns,
-

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

adverbs or verbs;!
Look at the beginnings, put a box around any scanning word such as names or
places;!
Skim the endings, look at the relationship, like examples or cause and effect;!
Predict the answer by deciding what is likely to go together, eliminate endings
which cannot match, think about collocations and meaning;!
Use the scan word to find the right part of the text and check your answers.!

Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

True/False/Not Given:!

- Use words from the sentences easy to identify in the text, words which could
be used to scan the passage, words easy to see. Like proper nouns (capital
letter), nouns that can not be expressed in another way, numbers, numbers in
words or comparison structures;
- Look also for words which qualify or limit each statement, so it will be easier;
Page 19 of 31

- Look for words in each statement to help you scan, identify comparisons or

qualifying expressions in the statements, try to predict some answers and find
your scan words in the text, then read around them to locate the answers.

!
Exercise (example)

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Not Given

False

True

!
!

Pictures taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

Yes/No/Not Given:!

- Look for words in each statement to help you scan;


- Identify cause and effect statements, scan for the relationship in the passage
and try to predict some answers;

Page 20 of 31

- Identify comparisons or qualifying expressions in the statements, qualifying


adverbs and adjectives and scan the passage for words whit similar/
opposite meaning;!
- Find your scan words in the text, then read around them to locate the answers;

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

!
Diagrams, tables or graphs have a title or a heading and give information,
usually the writer is comparing and classifying something, showing relationships or
describing trends and processes.

Use the three-step strategy to analyse them:

Skim to get a general understanding of what the writers is doing.


Scan to locate the specific information needed to answer a question.
Read that information intensively to decide on the answer.

!
!
!
!
!
!

Page 21 of 31

Completing Tables:!

- You should look to the headings at the top and side of the table, look for the topic
of the passage, decide which give you the organisation and the topic of the
passage. It will be easy in this way.

Organisation

Topic

Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

Or analyse the information and predict the headings:

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Location

Types of Power

Environmental

Homes Supplied

Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

Labelling Maps :!

!
-

You are looking for names of places so putt a boxes around the names;
Number the names in the text according to the map;
Underline directions (north, west, east);
Describe the location of the places in relation to one of them (example: the
location of places 1-6 in relation to 7: 1 and 2 are west of 7, 3 and 4 are south of
Page 22 of 31

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

7, 5 is south-east of 7 and 6 is east of 7) it will be easy to locate the places in the


text;

Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

Labelling Diagrams:!

!
-

Study the diagram and identify the type of word for each gap;
Underline scan words, try to predict some of the answers;
Scan the text to identify which section describes the information in the diagram;
Read the section carefully and complete the gaps, using the scan words to
guide you to the answers.
- Remember, the sequence will probably follow the same order as the numbers on
the diagram.

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Page 23 of 31

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

Answering Questions:!

- Use key words, witch kind of thing are you looking for (What? Who? How?
Which?);
- Read the title and skim the questions first, use the information from these to
predict the content of the reading passage;
- Remember that the questions are a summary of the passage;
- Scan for meaning, try not to read the whole paragraph that is no efficient, look
for the words that indicate the meaning and read around them.

!
!
!

Short-Answer Questions:!

- Look for a scan word in each section and scan the whole passage for that word;
- In the passage, put a box around all the names from the questions and number
the names in text according to the questions;
- Read around the names to find the answers.

!
!
!
!

Page 24 of 31

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

Summary With Wordlist:!

!
-

Scan the text for the section which relates to the summary;
Skim the summary and try to complete the spaces with your own words;
Look for words/ideas from the list that collocate with words in the text;
Find words/phrases in the list which are opposites, words that you can eliminate
from the list;
- Read the relevant section of the text and complete the answers;

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

Page 25 of 31

Sentence Completion:!

- Decide first, according to the context if the words needed are adverbs,
-

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

adjectives, nouns or verbs;!


If you need to predict the meaning of the missing words in a exercise without
reading the passage you need to use the information in the summary and the
collocations of the words;!
Skim and say the word blank for each missing word, skim the summary first
before you look at the passage;!
It involves using the context, your own knowledge as well as the reading
passage;!
Remember that the answers are in order, note the word which limit for each
gap, look for words in each sentence to help you scan, find your scan words in
the text and then read around them to locate the answers.!

Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

Multiple-Choice Questions:!

- Find out if the question is about reasons or consequences (find words that can
give you that clue - example: the word because indicates that the question is
about reasons);
- Pay attention to there words in the question, because they will guide you, they
will help to find your answer (example: the word mainly indicates that you
should look for the most important option)

!
!

Page 26 of 31

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

- Analyse the type of words that are given (example: the word describes indicate
that the words given are adjectives);
- Find similar words in the text (example: words that describe the different types
of groups - cosy, formal, easy-going, unthreatening);
- Find the phrase in the text that relates whit the question (example: in this case
the phrase in the text must relate with most of the clubs/most book groups, you
should find a phase with the same meaning - the overwhelming majority are
easy-going).

!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

- Try to divide the options in two groups (example: in this case, options that
describe who chooses the books - B and D and options the limitation on book
choice - A, C and D);
- Read the tex and decide which ones are false and/or not given, then decide
which one is true (example: according to the text the focus of each group is
different as it turns solely on the make-up of the members and their predilections
- so, A is false, C and D are not given)

Page 27 of 31

!
!
!
!
!

Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

- Find out if the question is about the writers opinion or the writers purpose
(example the words thinks that indicate that you should look for the writers
opinion);
- Find which option accurately paraphrases his opinion and which ones are the
opposite or not given, confirm in the text (example: option C is the opposite of
the writers opinion and options B and D are not given, according to the text
book clubs are sure to survive and expand)

!
!
!
!
Picture taken from the book Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills (see cover)

!
In general:!

!
-

!
!
!
!
!
!

Predict the likely location of the answer in the passage;


Predict answers by using what you know from previous questions;
Identify the relationship between the options and the stem (cause and effect);
Identity scan words in the stem and use them to locate the correct section;
Read around that section and match the meaning in the text with the correct
paraphrase from the options.

Page 28 of 31

Searching For Words:!

- To find words or phrases with the same meaning in the text you should scan the
text:
- Scan from the bottom right to left, then left to right if the paragraph reference is
given;
- Scan from the bottom right of a paragraph to the top left, looking either side of
the diagonal line if the paragraph is not given.

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Page 29 of 31

References!

!
OSullivan, Kerry and Lindeck, Jeremy (2000), Focusing on IELTS: Reading and
Writing Skills, National Centre for English Language Teaching and Research,
Sydney

!
!
!
!
Page 30 of 31

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
McCarter, Sam and Whitby, Norman (2007), Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills,
Macmillan Education, Oxford

Page 31 of 31