How to Improve on IELTS Reading Multiple Choice questions

How to Improve on IELTS Reading Multiple Choice questions

With so many IELTS Reading questions types, students often feel overwhelmed. You can find out about the other IELTS Reading questions types here.

Also, check out:

Top 5 tips for staying focused in the IELTS Reading Exam


How to stay focused in IELTS reading

Take the following simple steps to improve your skills in IELTS Multiple Choice questions.

1. Make sure you know exactly how many words your answer can be. If you look at the example above it says NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER

In my 15 years teaching the IELTS test, I’ve seen many students make mistakes at this stage.

Nerves often cause students to rush and fail to read the question statement well.

Please take your time and make sure you understand exactly how many words and/or a number the test wants.

Prevent a mistake here by drawing a circle/box around the question statement. Then at the end of the test, take the time to go through your answers again and check to see if your words and numbers match what have been asked. Use the circles and boxes as your guide.

  • Make sure you don’t use your own words. Only use the words from the text.

Students try to overcomplicate the exam sometimes and add synonyms. This is not necessary. The exact words from the test are just fine.

  • Read the questions and underline key words before reading the passage. Then skim.

Time is not your friend in the IELTS reading exam, so read the questions first and get an idea of what you need to find in the text. If you try to read the passage first, you waste time and may struggle to finish the test in 60 minutes.

  • After skimming, scan for the information you need to answer the question

Say the mantra out loud of you will:

Skim to find, scan for detail. Skim to find, scan for detail.

  • Make sure your answer makes grammatical sense

You’d be surprised how many amazing IELTS students fail to read their answer closely and miss simple grammar errors. Check the grammar of short answer questions at the end of the test and save yourself some points.

  • Eliminate

You will often be able to eliminate one of even two of the possible answers, making it much easier for you to think about the meaning of the remaining two answers.

Make your IELTS life easier… eliminate.

  • Never leave a question unanswered

You would be surprised how many students leave questions unanswered. This is madness. You have at least 25% chance of getting the answer correct. Guess it, you never know!

  • The answers are in the same order as the text

You will not need to go back further than the last question you answered. Why not cover up the text as you move along? If large blocks of text confuse you, this will keep you focused.

  • Focus on your skills, not your knowledge

Students can panic when they see a difficult passage heading:


A neuroscientist reveals how to think differently

Okay, you might not know what a neuroscientist is, but don’t worry. You not expected to know the meaning of every word. Instead focus on your skimming and reading for detail skills.

  • Stay focused on your keywords

Often the passage contains other words from the question. You don’t need to worry about these. Focus on your underlined key words only. Stay focused.

What Reading Skills will help me crush IELTS Reading Multiple Choice Questions?

  1. Locate the main idea in the text
  2. Reading closely for specific detail

Be careful when reading for specific detail as often more than one answer appears correct. If this happens, go back to the relevant part of the passage again and read again.

Warning: Make a note beside the test of the number of the question and move on to the next question. Then at the end of the IELTS reading exam, you can go back and try again. Often when you read again, the answer will be more obvious.

These three IELTS Reading tips will help you increase your IELTS score, but you also need to improve your reading technique.

Click here for how you can increase your IELTS reading speed

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