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Ielts Reading-tips and handbook

By:-Love Bassi
Academic Reading Texts are taken from magazines, journals, books, and newspapers. Texts
have been written for a non-specialist audience. At least one text contains detailed logical
argument. Texts may contain non-verbal materials such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations.
If texts contain technical terms then a simple glossary is provided. What reading skills are
tested in IELTS Academic Reading? This is a test of reading comprehension in a general
academic context. The texts used and the skills tested are intended to reflect the target
language needs of undergraduate and postgraduate students, without bias for or against
students of any particular discipline. What is reading for detail? When we read for detail we
read every word in a text and think carefully about the meaning of every sentence. It is often
necessary in IELTS Academic Reading to read a certain section of a text in detail in order to
answer a question correctly. Usually a candidate must skim or scan the text first to find the
right section and then, having found the relevant section, read for detail. How do we read
text? In everyday life we use different strategies or approaches to read different texts.
Sometimes we read quickly, skimming for general ideas or scanning for a specific point.
Sometimes we read slowly, trying to gain a detailed understanding. How we read depends on
the text its length, its type and our purpose in reading it. General Training Reading The
first section, social survival, contains texts relevant to basic linguistic survival in English
with tasks mainly about retrieving and providing general factual information.

Training survival, the second section, focuses on the training context, for example on the
training programme itself or on welfare needs. This section involves a text or texts of more
complex language with some precise or elaborated expression.

The third section, general reading, involves reading more extended prose with a more
complex structure but with the emphasis on descriptive and instructive rather than
argumentative texts, in a general context relevant to the wide range of candidates involved.
What reading skills are tested in IELTS General Training Reading? In IELTS General
Training Reading candidates are expected to be able to deal with texts from a range of social
and educational, training and work contexts which are general rather than discipline specific.
Technical terms are avoided and low frequency lexical items may be glossed. It is a test of
reading and not of general knowledge.

Read Academic Texts


Read in your free time! The IELTS texts are general academic texts. This means they are
taken from sources such as textbooks and specialist magazines and journals. If you are not
familiar with reading these kinds of texts in English it is essential that you start reading them
in your free time so that you are used to the types of language and structure used when you
meet them in the exam. Three typical sources for IELTS texts are (in order of difficulty
easiest first) the National Geographic, the New Scientist and the Economist. You can get
these magazines in most newsagents.

Focus
Focus on the text first, the questions second! A good understanding of the text helps you
answer the questions more efficiently and effectively.

Categorise
IELTS exam writers select a range of specific types of texts. Learning to recognise the type
of text you are reading can help you predict its structure and therefore understand it more
quickly. There are four types of IELTS texts a) analytic texts, which discuss the reasons why
something happened or make recommendations or explain a concept b) descriptive texts,
which describe a situation, explain how something is done or categorise something c)
discursive texts, in which different opinions are expressed about an issue and d) narrative
texts, which explain a chronological sequence of events.

Skim
Develop your ability to skim. Skimming is reading quickly by skipping over unimportant
words like prepositions and ignoring difficult words that you dont need to understand. Do
this to get a general idea about a text or a paragraph or to intensively search for the answer to
a question.

Scan
Learn to scan. Scanning is what you do when you look for a price in an advertising text or a
name in a telephone book. When you scan you do not actually need to read the text but move
your eyes quickly over it. You can scan from left to right or right to left, from top to bottom
or bottom to top. Do this to find the location of answers in the texts looking out for easy to
spot words like numbers, dates and words beginning with capital letters such as place names.

Structure
Learn to recognise paragraph structure. This often involves spotting the relationship between
the main ideas and supporting ideas in a paragraph. Paragraphs are most frequently
descending, i.e. they begin with the main idea somewhere near the start and develop from
there, although some, frequently the first and last paragraphs of a text, are ascending the

main idea is located towards the end. This can be particularly helpful when matching
headings to paragraphs.

Overview
Get an overview of a text before dealing with the questions. Do this by reading the title and
subtitle as well as focusing on the beginnings and ends (but not JUST the first and last
sentences) of paragraphs. This helps you process the information in a text (and thereby
answer the questions) more quickly.

Parallel Phrases
Learn to spot parallel phrases. These are different ways of expressing the same thing, such as,
I like to ski and skiing is enjoyable. Many questions, e.g. YES NO NOT GIVEN
questions and gap fills, test your ability to match up a similar phrase in the task with its
equivalent in the text.

Don't Panic
Dont panic when you encounter an unknown or difficult word. IELTS texts are packed with
highly specialised vocabulary. Skip over difficult words which are not essential for your
understanding of the text. For words you do need to understand, practise trying to guess their
meaning using the overall context of the text and sentence as well as the form of the word
e.g. is it a noun or verb.

Manage Your Time


Time manage in the exam. Most IELTS candidates run out of time in the third reading
section. Each text should take you roughly 20 minutes (the examiners will tell you after 20
minutes have passed). Never spend too long on a single question guess the answer or leave
it to return to later. Also if you feel you are running out of time, tackle questions like gap-fills
before doing easy to guess tasks like YES NO NOT GIVEN questions. Dont forget you
also have to have all your answers on your mark sheet by the end of the test. A good tip is to
write them on the mark sheet in pencil as you go, correcting where necessary at the end.
Like the listening test, there are no short cuts to a good reading test score - the only route is
hard work. However, with the reading test, there are no excuses; you can practice reading
where you want and when you want. However, the following tips will help you approach the
reading test.
1. Just having a very basic gist of what a text is about before you start reading will make it
easier to understand. Looking at graphs, tables and any illustrations will often give you a
good idea of the topic of the text.
2. Remember - there is no transfer time for the reading test. Make sure you put your answers

down on the answer sheet - not the question paper. (See an example of the answer sheet
below.)
3. The reading test is designed to be general and designed for people with a variety of
educational backgrounds. This means you don't need any specialist knowledge to understand
any of the texts. However, some readings may be more familiar than others.
4. If you are reading and answering texts out of sequence, take special care to ensure you
don't write your answers in the wrong places on the answer sheet.
5. If you are not sure of the answer to a question, it is natural to read text carefully to try to
find the answer. If you dwell on a question in this way, you may run out of time. Remember,
the reading test is 60 minutes long and there are 40 questions. If you spend one minute of
each question that gives you 20 minutes to read a lot of text. If you really can not find the
answer to a question easily, move on to the next question.
6. Although there is no grammar component to the IELTS Test, grammar is important. As
with the listening test, you can predict possible answers using the grammar of a question and
using the reading text to check which answer is correct. Look at this example.
There have been at least 500 ........... to correct this problem.
a) Attempts b) Versions c) Tries d) Table Monolith
The fact that '500' precedes the missing word might suggest it should be a plural noun or an
adjective. There are no adjectives in the answers and only three plural nouns: Attempts,
Versions, and Tries. Now you can use the text to check the answer.
7. As with the listening test, do not deduce the answer. This is especially true in True / False
Not given questions. The answers are in the text, you do not need to work them out. For
example:
"The introduction of new government policies gave people better lives: they had jobs and
more money to spend."
Now look at the answer:
The introduction of new government policies had positive long-term benefits on peoples'
lives. True / False / Not given
If people had jobs and more money, surely this is better for them, and so it is natural to
consider this a 'true' statement. However, the key here is 'long-term'. From the text, it is
impossible to say whether the new jobs lasted 20 years or one day. If you don't make
assumptions it is impossible to answer question. As a result the correct answer should be: Not
given.
8. True / False / Not given questions are by far the most difficult types of question to answer
as they are designed to trick people into thinking about the answer and giving their deduction
as an answer.

9. Many students are generally very good at reading tests - they are very good at spotting the
key words in a question, finding those keywords in a text, reading around the key words and
finding the answer to the question. However, as with the listening test, in the IELTS reading
test the words in the questions are often not the words you will find in the answer. As a result
you have to look for synonyms of key words as well as the actual keywords. Consider a word
like 'correct' - among others, possible synonyms include:
a. Right
b. Accurate
c. Exact
d. Truthful
e. Spot on
f. Proper
g. Acceptable
h. Accepted
Depending on the context, only some of these synonyms might apply. You need to be aware
of for these words as well as the keywords you are looking for. In addition, consider
antonyms - words with the opposite meanings. A sentence like 'It wouldn't be wrong' would
mean 'correct' in certain contexts. As you can see, you will need a fairly deep understanding
of vocabulary.
10. If aren't going to finish, guess some of the answers. It is surprising how many students
leave multiple choice answers blank because they don't know the answer. If you have the
choice of A, B, C or D, you have a 20% chance of getting the question right so just put one of
the answers in!
11. If you really don't know the answer to a True / False / Not given question, and you want
to guess the answer, DON'T choose "Not given" - it's the least frequent answer.
12. If a reading text is very specific in topic (e.g. the development of the computer chip),
don't think to yourself that you don't know anything about that topic and therefore can't
answer the questions - the more specific the topic, the more factual and straightforward it will
to allow everyone to have a chance at answering the questions.
13. Some texts contain an opinion which you have to recognize. Remember that sentences
starting with phrases like 'While it can be argued that' do NOT express the author's
opinion, they are more often a statement of someone else's opinion.
14. You might get a text with masses and masses of long, complicated words. Very often
these words are key to the meaning of a sentence and therefore key to answering a question.
However, equally often these words are unnecessary - they are adjectives or adverbs that
provide greater description rather than play a part in meaning. If you start focusing on words
you don't understand, you will run out of time. If the some words are too difficult, ignore
them. Try this as an exercise - get a copy of an English language newspaper and find an
article with lots of words in it you don't understand. Physically cross all the words out and
then read the article to see if you can understand it. Chances are you will be able to.
15. If you get a text with a lot of dates, circle them as you go along - chances are the dates are
going to be important. If you circle them you can find them again easily.

16. Likewise with names; even if there aren't a lot of names, circle the ones you find so you
can find them again easily.
17. Don't worry about writing on the question paper if you need to.
18. The biggest tip of all: read a lot. Every day read something. The more you read the easier
it will be. Study the sentence structure and punctuation of what you read, but most of all, try
to grasp the ideas in what you read. Look at a piece of writing and write down some
predictions about what the reading will be about. As you read check off these predictions which ones were right and which ones wrong?
19. If you are really running out of time leave all the True / False / Not given and Multiple
Choice questions until the end because you don't have to read anything to answer them.

TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN- YES/NO/NOT GIVEN TIPS


So here are the Techniques for answering T/F/NG and Y/N/NG:
1. Read each statement carefully and look for key words in each statement that you can
scan for in the passage. Prepare to look for similar words or expressions to those
key words (they most likely wont be the exact same words).
2. Take note of comparisons ( is like, more than, less than, bigger, etc) or
qualifying expressions (a lot, many, little, not, most, some, much, slightly, never,
sometimes, often, etc.)
3. Once you have located the right sentences about the statement READ
CAREFULLY and compare it to the statement.
4. If you can clearly see the statement reflects whats written in the passage, choose
TRUE.
5. If youre unsure check to see if it says the opposite. If its not clear to be the
opposite, you can guess Not Given.
For example, in the following Y/N/NG statement you see:
The destruction of land for food and firewood is linked to desertification.
Key words I identify: destruction of land, firewood, desertification
Actual sentences in the corresponding passage that I found by scanning for my key words or
similar words:
Transport systems including roads within and between cities need to be constructed or
upgraded to create motorways; green fields are turned into airports; virgin forest is stripped to
provide food and firewood. In poorer regions, this newly exposed land becomes desert,
completing the cycle of destruction.

I had scanned the reading passage and found firewood and destruction. I also scanned
desert, which is part of the word desertification, which means making land that was
once fertile with vegetation into a desert. If you didnt know this vocabulary word, you
could try to guess the connection between desert and desertification since the statement
is about destruction of land.
After locating these sentences, I read carefully around the words to match the statement to the
information in the passage.
As you can see, from the passage, it says that forest is stripped for food and firewood and
then becomes desert. It also mentions completing the cycle. Different parts of a cycle are
all linked to each other. Therefore, I see the statement clearly reflects the claims of the writer
as its written in these sentences. So the answer is YES.
Heres another example of a T/F/NG question from The History of Salt:
The first tax on salt was imposed by a Chinese Emperor.
Key words I identified: first tax, Chinese Emperor
When I scanned for these words I found:
In 2200 BC, the Chinese Emperor Hsia Yu levied one of the first known taxes. He taxed
Salt.
Reading carefully, take note of the difference between THE first tax as in the statement,
and one of the first known taxes as in the passage. One of the first known is NOT the
same as the (absolute) first. Therefore the answer is FALSE.

This section will help you to answer True/False questions better by showing you how to
look for traps in the test.
Problem: Many candidates expect to hear the answer as it is written in the True/False
statement.
For example:
Statement: There are six children in Johns family.
Tapescript: Ive got six children in my family.
It isnt likely that you will hear the answer as it appears in front of you on the question paper,
although there might be one or two easier questions like this. The people who write the
exams often put in traps to mislead you and to try to get you to answer the question
incorrectly.
For example:

Statement: There are six children in Johns family.


Tapescript: Johns got four kids, hasnt he ?...Or is it five ?...no, no, I forgot Sara is the
youngest yes, five and Sara.
So, if you answer the question too quickly, you will get the answer wrong. Also, you dont
hear the exact number six.
The above example is of a question that is True. Look at the same question, but where the
answer is False:
Statement: There are six children in Johns family.
Tapescript: Johns got six kids, hasnt he?...Yes, six ?...no, no, I forgot its Tony.
Whos got six Johns got three.
Here, you hear the same number as in the statement three times before you hear the correct
one. So, again, answering too quickly will mean it is wrong.
Have a look at these other traps that you can get in True/False questions.
i) Changing the modifier only
Statement: All students have to register before 08 August.
Tapescript: Most students have to register before 08 August.
Answer: False
ii) Changing the answer twice.
Statement: Peter decides to go to the cinema.
Tapescript: PETER: Lets go to the cinema, theres a new film on.
JANE: Id like to go to the theatre instead to see the play.
PETER: OK, thats fine, well go to the theatre.
JANE: Great, thanks, oh no maybe the cinema would be better.
PETER: OK the cinema it is then
JANE: Are you sure?
PETER: Yes, sure. No, the theatre definitely!
Answer: False
iii) Using words that mean the same (synonyms)
Statement: All students have to register before 08 August.
Tapescript: All students have to enroll before 08 August.
Answer: True

iv) Using opposites (antonyms)


Statement: Robert is very upset.
Tapescript: Im worried about Robert, he isnt happy at all these days.
Answer: True
v) Changing the wording
Statement: You have to pay on or before 08 August.
Tapescript: You cant make payment after the 7th of August.
Answer: False
PARAGRAPH MATCHING/HEADING

Strategies to answer the questions


1. Quickly read through the paragraph headings so you can see what they say.
2. Then look at the first paragraph.
3. Often only the topic sentence needs to be read carefully because the main idea and
answer are there - you may be able to just skim the rest.
4. Sometimes, however, the answer is not in the topic sentence and the whole paragraph
needs to be read more carefully.
5. If a match is not immediately obvious, move on to the next one.
6. If you are unsure between two answers at first, put them both in. You may be able to
eliminate one answer later if it fits another paragraph better.
7. If at the end you are still stuck between two answers for a question, pick which fits
best.

Things to beware of
1. There are always more choices of paragraph headings on the list than paragraphs, so
be careful when matching them.
2. Watch out for synonyms - often words in the paragraphs and paragraph headings will
not be the same; they will be synonyms.
3. Having a noun from a heading that is in the paragraph does not guarantee they match you still need to read it carefully to check.

4. Matching Paragraph Headings - Practice


5. Read and focus on the topic sentences in the text below and then match the paragraph
headings to their paragraphs. One has been done for you.
6. The reading passage has seven paragraphs: A G.
Choose the most suitable paragraph headings B G from the list of headings on the
right.
7. Write the appropriate numbers (i ix) in the text boxes below the headings. NB There
are more paragraph headings than paragraphs so you will not use them all.

Yoruba Towns
A. The Yoruba people of Nigeria classify their towns in two ways.
Permanent towns with their own governments are called ilu, whereas
temporary settlements, set up to support work in the country are aba.
Although ilu tend to be larger than aba, the distinction is not one of size,
some aba are large, while declining ilu can be small, but of purpose. There
is no typical Yoruba town, but some features are common to most towns.
B. In the 19th century most towns were heavily fortified and the
foundations of these walls are sometimes visible. Collecting tolls to enter
and exit through the walls was a major source of revenue for the old town
rulers, as were market fees. The markets were generally located centrally
and in small towns, while in large towns there were permanent stands made
of corrugated iron or concrete. The market was usually next to the local
rulers palace.
C. The palaces were often very large. In the 1930s, the area of Oyos
palace covered 17 acres, and consisted of a series of courtyards surrounded
by private and public rooms. After colonization, many of the palaces were
completely or partially demolished. Often the rulers built two storey houses
for themselves using some of the palace grounds for government buildings.
D. The town is divided into different sections. In some towns these are
regular, extending out from the center of the town like spokes on a wheel,
while in others, where space is limited, they are more random. The
different areas are further divided into compounds called ile. These vary
in size considerably from single dwellings to up to thirty houses. They tend
to be larger in the North. Large areas are devoted to government
administrative buildings. Newer developments such as industrial or
commercial areas or apartment housing for civil servants tends to be build
on the edge of the town.
E. Houses are rectangular and either have a courtyard in the center or the
rooms come off a central corridor. Most social life occurs in the courtyard.
They are usually built of hardened mud and have roofs of corrugated iron
or, in the countryside, thatch. Buildings of this material are easy to alter,
either by knocking down rooms or adding new ones. And can be improved
by coating the walls with cement. Richer people often build their houses of
concrete blocks and, if they can afford to, build two storey houses. Within
compounds there can be quite a mixture of building types. Younger welleducated people may have well furnished houses while their older relatives
live in mud walled buildings and sleep on mats on the floor.
F. The builder or the most senior man gets a room either near the entrance
or, in a two storied house, next to the balcony. He usually has more than
one room. Junior men get a room each and there are separate rooms for
teenage boys and girls to sleep in. Younger children sleep with their
mothers. Any empty room are used as storage, let out or, if they face the

street, used as shops.


G. Amenities vary. In some towns most of the population uses communal
water taps and only the rich have piped water, in others piped water is more
normal. Some areas have toilets, but bucket toilets are common with waste
being collected by a night soil man. Access to water and electricity are
key political issues.
569 words
8.

9. Paragraph Headings Answer Discussion


10. Paragraph B
11. (vi) - Historical foundations
12. B. In the 19th century most towns were heavily fortified and the foundations of these
walls are sometimes visible. Collecting tolls to enter and exit through the walls was a
major source of revenue for the old town rulers, as were market fees. The markets
were generally located centrally and in small towns, while in large towns there were
permanent stands made of corrugated iron or concrete. The market was usually next to
the local rulers palace.
13. In this first question, the word 'foundation' is in the topic sentence. This does not
automatically make 'vi' the correct answer. However, it is a good reason to flag this
up as a possibility. The heading also refers to 'history', so the reference to '19th
century' in the topic sentence tells us the paragraph is about the history. A quick skim
of the paragraph confirms this.
14. Paragraph C
15. (ix) - Various changes
16. C. The palaces were often very large. In the 1930s, the area of Oyos palace covered
17 acres, and consisted of a series of courtyards surrounded by private and public
rooms. After colonization, many of the palaces were completely or partially
demolished. Often the rulers built two storey houses for themselves using some of the
palace grounds for government buildings.
17. The second part of the paragraph goes on to discuss changes that took place.
18. Paragraph D
19. (iii) - Urban divisions
20. D. The town is divided into different sections. In some towns these are regular,
extending out from the center of the town like spokes on a wheel, while in others,
where space is limited, they are more random. The different areas are further divided
into compounds called ile. These vary in size considerably from single dwellings to
up to thirty houses. They tend to be larger in the North. Large areas are devoted to
government administrative buildings. Newer developments such as industrial or
commercial areas or apartment housing for civil servants tends to be build on the edge
of the town.
21. The answer is first seen in the topic sentence. The word 'divided' should have flagged
this up to you as a possibility. Notice the use of the synonym 'urban' to replace 'town'.
It is common to see synonyms in paragraph headings questions and other IELTS
reading questions.
22. Paragraph E
23. (iv) - Architectural features

24. E. Houses are rectangular and either have a courtyard in the center or the rooms come
off a central corridor. Most social life occurs in the courtyard. They are usually built
of hardened mud and have roofs of corrugated iron or, in the countryside, thatch.
Buildings of this material are easy to alter, either by knocking down rooms or adding
new ones. And can be improved by coating the walls with cement. Richer people
often build their houses of concrete blocks and, if they can afford to, build two storey
houses. Within compounds there can be quite a mixture of building types. Younger
well-educated people may have well furnished houses while their older relatives live
in mud walled buildings and sleep on mats on the floor.
25. The topic sentence starts to give you a clue that 'iv' is the correct choice of the
paragraph headings as it discusses architectural styles, which are then discussed
further in the supporting sentences that follow.
26. Paragraph F
27. (vii) - Domestic arrangements
28. F. The builder or the most senior man gets a room either near the entrance or, in a two
storied house, next to the balcony. He usually has more than one room. Junior men get
a room each and there are separate rooms for teenage boys and girls to sleep in.
Younger children sleep with their mothers. Any empty room are used as storage, let
out or, if they face the street, used as shops.
29. In this context, 'domestic' means of or relating to the home, so the heading is referring
to the arrangements within the home. Again, just by reading the topic sentence you
can see that this paragraph is discussing home arrangements and skimming through
the rest of the paragraph confirms this.
30. Paragraph G
31. (i) - Town facilities
32. G. Amenities vary. In some towns most of the population uses communal water taps
and only the rich have piped water, in others piped water is more normal. Some areas
have toilets, but bucket toilets are common with waste being collected by a night soil
man. Access to water and electricity are key political issues.
33. 'Facilities' is a synonym of 'amenities' so this is the first clue that this could fit this
paragraph, but you need to read on to confirm that the paragraph is discussing the
facilities of the town, which it is.

Reading Gap-fill tasks


Strategies for Reading Gap Fill Tasks
Looking at question 1, these are the strategies you can try following:
1. Read through the summary carefully to make sure you understand it.
2. Work out which section of the reading the summary comes from (in this example, the
whole of the text is summarized but in the real test you'll need to look through the
reading to find the right paragraphs).
3. Carefully read the sentence with the first gap and think about what form will fit i.e.
should it be an adjective, noun, infinitive, present participle etc? And what type of
word is needed i.e. is it an amount, a change, an action?
4. You should have worked out that for questions 1 you are looking for a noun because
'an' comes before it.

5. Then look at the words that are in the box - which ones have the right form to fit and
the right type? There are several nouns.
6. Look at the correct part of the full reading that refers to the reading gap fill section
you are looking at and decide what happened for the first time to do with air rage in
the 1940s?
7. Use this information to help you choose the correct word for the reading gap fill..
___________________________________________

Reading Gap Fill Practice


Air Rage
The first recorded case of an airline passenger turning seriously violent during a
flight, a phenomenon now widely known as air rage, happened in 1947 on a
flight from Havana to Miami. A drunk man assaulted another passenger and bit
a flight attendant. However, the man escaped punishment because it was not
then clear under whose legal control a crime committed on plane was, the
country where the plane was registered or the country where the crime was
committed. In 1963, at the Tokyo convention, it was decided that the laws of the
country where the plane is registered take precedence.
The frequency of air rage has expanded out of proportion to the growth of air
travel. Until recently few statistic were gathered about air rage, but those that
have been indicate that passengers are increasingly likely to cause trouble or
engage in violent acts. For example, in 1998 there were 266 air rage incidents
out of approximately four million passengers, a 400% increase from 1995. In
the same period American Airlines showed a 200% rise. Air travel is predicted
to rise by 5% internationally by 2010 leading to increased airport congestion.
This, coupled with the flying publics increased aggression, means that air rage
may become a major issue in coming years.
Aside from discomfort and disruption, air rage poses some very real dangers to
flying. The most extreme of these is when out of control passengers enter the
cockpit. This has actually happened on a number of occasions, the worst of
which have resulted in the death and injury of pilots or the intruder taking
control of the plane, almost resulting in crashes. In addition, berserk passengers
sometimes attempt to open the emergency doors while in flight, putting the
whole aircraft in danger. These are extreme examples and cases of air rage more
commonly result in physical assaults on fellow passengers and crew such as
throwing objects, punching, stabbing or scalding with hot coffee.

Look at the words in the table and decide which word will fit in the reading gap fill summary.
Type the word into the gap (when you have completed it you can click below to reveal and
check your answers).
predicted

rose

incident

established occurring hoped

passenger found

assault

increased injury

passengers

Summary
The first time that an (1)
of air rage was recorded was in the 1940s, but the
passenger was never actually charged for an offence because there were no clear rules in
place to specify where to prosecute. It was later (2)
where the plane is registered. Air rage has (3)

that it would be the country


significantly since this time,

growing by a staggering 400% from 1995 to 1998. Air rage is (4)


to be a major
problem in the future as air travel increases, as do levels of aggression. Angry (5)
can put everyone in danger including the pilots, the crew and the other
passengers, with some form of (6)

being the most common consequence.

Reading Gap Fill Answer Discussion


(1) Incident
You should have worked out the this is a synonym for 'case'. The other nouns in the box
would not fit here.
(2) Established
'Establish' can mean to set up something up such as a system of rules. So this word fits here.
You may have thought it was 'found', but this means to discover something. The new
legislation wasn't 'discovered'.
(3) Increased
If you refer to the reading you can see that this is the trend referred to. 'Rose' does not fit
grammatically.
(4) Predicted
The reading and the summary show that the future is being discussed, so this word fits.
(5) Passengers

It must be the plural as it is being used as a general noun. For the singular, an article would
need to have been used.
(6) Assault
If you put 'injury' this is wrong as the reading does not say people are commonly injured, but
it does refer to assaults. You can get assaulted without getting injured.

Multiple Choice Questions-Task


Strategies to answer the questions
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Look through the questions first


Underline key words from the question
Then scan the text for those key words that you have underlined
The answer should be found close to that word
The answers will be found in the text in the same order as the questions

Things to beware of
1. There will be synonyms used in the reading - the words in the IELTS multiple choice
questions may not be the same as in the text

One Paragraph Practice Exercise


Before looking at a longer reading, we'll have a practice with two paragraphs. It is the first
part of the full reading you will do.
Identify the key word in the question first of all. Then scan the text to find it. When you have
done this, read the sentences around this key word and see what information best matches the
three choices you have.
1. What is dry farming?
Preserving nitrates and moisture.
Ploughing the land again and again.
Cultivating fallow land.

Australian Agricultural Innovations:

1850 1900
During this period, there was a wide spread expansion of agriculture in
Australia. The selection system was begun, whereby small sections of land
were parceled out by lot. Particularly in New South Wales, this led to
conflicts between small holders and the emerging squatter class, whose
abuse of the system often allowed them to take vast tracts of fertile land.
There were also many positive advances in farming technology as the
farmers adapted agricultural methods to the harsh Australian conditions.
One of the most important was dry farming. This was the discovery that
repeated ploughing of fallow, unproductive land could preserve nitrates and
moisture, allowing the land to eventually be cultivated. This, along with the
extension of the railways allowed the development of what are now great
inland wheat lands.
To answer this question you should have highlighted the word dry farming.
You should then have been able to scan the two paragraphs to quickly find this word.
Reading the information around it more carefully would the give you the answer:
Cultivating means to improve and prepare (land) by ploughing or fertilizing, for raising
crops.
So the answer was "the ploughing of fallow land...to eventually be cultivated."

Diagram label completion task

Some technical rules to remember:

You are given specific instructions on how many words are allowed to use (ie. No
more than two words). If you write more than the specified number of words, it will
be marked wrong.
You may be given a set of possible words to choose from. Remember to write the
words you choose exactly as they are given.
Spelling counts
Hyphenated words count as one word

Heres your strategy:


1. Make sure youre clear about how many words are allowed or if there is a selection of
words you can choose from.

2. Look over the diagram and try to get the main idea of what it is showing.
Underline/circle key words or labels that you will scan for in the passage.
3. Scan for those words to locate where in the passage you will find the description for
this diagram.
4. Once you find the paragraph/area in the passage, you will read more intensely and
carefully making sure you have found the exact words/phrases. You can try to do it in
order, but you can also choose to do the easiest label that is, the one with a key word
youve scanned and can easily find in the passage.
5. If you arent given possible answers to choose from, also think of the type of words
that would fill in the blank, ie. verbs, nouns, proper nouns, etc. as you read carefully
and search for the answers.

As you can see, the pink circles show the key words that I target for scanning. Straight away I
start with the numbers on the left side because numbers are the easiest and quickest to
scan for. And straight away, I find numbers in the second paragraph, which Ill underline in
yellow. This is where Ill start to read more intensely to find the missing labels:

Since I saw 30 cm below the dung pat first when I scanned the text, Ill read that more
intensely since it correlates to question #7 on the diagram (the lowest tunnel thats closest to
the 30 mark on the diagram). As I also know from skimming the question that my possible
answers in the box are names of country origin for these dung beetles, I keep that in mind too
as I read. See what Ive underlined here:

Ive circled France and then look at the box of choices given under the diagram and I see
French is a choice. Therefore, my answer for Question 7 is FRENCH.
Now I move to where I scanned 20 cm, which correlates to Question 6, and has the tunnels
closest to the 20 mark. Reading intensely, here is what I find:

I can see that South African is an option. I also notice that South African ball roller is also a
choice, so I read the next sentence just to be sure. This sentence that follows talks about
species that are shaped into balls, but they are attached to the bases of plants, so Im
confident the answer for Question 6 is SOUTH AFRICAN.
And finally, I look for an answer to Question 8. I dont see 10 cm mentioned anywhere in
that paragraph, but I can guess it is one that is the shortest or shallowest or closest to the
surface or something similar to that. I read carefully and here is what I find:

As you can see here, the shallowest is used, so vocabulary is important here you need to
know or be able to guess (based in context) that shallow means not very deep and therefore
closest to the surface, which is a safe guess for tunnels of 10 cm below the surface. If I wasnt
sure of the meaning for shallowest, I would look at the choices I have left in the answer
box. There is no mention of Mediterranean or Australian Native . Weve already seen where
South African ball rollers are, so therefore I can confidently choose SPANISH for
Question 8.
NOTE To read and answer as efficiently as possible:

As you can see I didnt answer the questions in order. I attacked the easiest one
first, which was Question 7 which was straightforward in stating dung beetles from
France burrow tunnels to 30 cm. Then I worked my way to the hardest.
For this set of questions, I didnt read the other paragraphs in the passage - I only
focused on the 3 4 sentences that had the key words I needed from the diagram.

Summary Completion-TASK
Keep in mind:

The summary may be of the whole passage or just part of the passage.
There are two versions one where a list of word choices are given (with always
more choices than there are answers) and one where you must find the correct words
in the reading passage itself.

Heres how to approach the task:


1. Make sure you understand the instructions and the example if given.
2. Read through the summary quickly for a general understanding.
3. Read it again carefully looking at the words before and after each gap. Think about the
general meaning of the word and the kind of word that would go in the gap (i.e. part of
speech noun, adjective, verb, adverb). If you have a list of words to choose from even
better narrow your choices down.
For example: Complete the summary below. Use ONE word from the passage.
Some plastics behave in a similar way to (1) ________ in that they melt under heat and can
be moulded into new forms. Bakelite was unique because it was the first material to be both
entirely (2) _________ in origin, and thermosetting. There were several reasons for the
research into plastics in the nineteenth century, among them the great advances that had been
made in the field of (3) _______ and the search for alternatives to natural resources like
ivory.
Notice that for (1) a noun would fit because it is comparing plastic to something else. For (2)
an adjective would fit best because its describing why Bakelite is unique therefore its a
quality/characteristic. In (3) you have the words field of preceding the blank, which would
fit a noun particularly an area of study or research.
4. If you dont have a list of words to choose from or have to choose between 2 or 3 possible
answers from a list, then look at the key words in the sentence (you would have underlined
these as a general strategy, right?) and then SCAN for those target words or similar
expressions to those target words (key words in the summary sentences may not be the

exact words in the reading passage). This is where vocabulary is important and in being
able to identify synonyms. Read carefully and youll find your answer there.
Other tips:

Since the ideas from the passage are rewritten into a summary, the answers usually
come in passage order.
Finding the part of the passage that contains the idea and then working out what the
missing words are also makes it easier to find other information.
Pay attention to the grammar of the sentence and make sure it is correct when your
answer is added. * Very important!
There may be two gaps in a sentence and this may be worth one or two marks. The
word both in the sentence or summary signals that two answers may be required.