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The Language Files - Everybody wants IELTS! (Reading test - part 2)

Agosto 2014
Quaranta domande, tre passaggi da leggere attentamente. Continua la nostra guida all’esame IELTS con la seconda parte del reading test: academic.

di Rachel Roberts

Rachel Roberts
Rachel Roberts

In the Academic Reading Test there are 40 questions, each worth one mark, based on three reading passages of progressive difficulty, appropriate to candidates entering university courses or pursuing a career opportunity. They may come from books, magazines or newspapers and contain a variety of styles.

Start by skimming each text quickly to find the writer’s main purpose. Skimming means looking only for the general or main ideas – when you skim milk, you take off the cream – and in this case what you read is more important than what you leave out.

Scanning is another useful tool for speeding up your reading. In this case you look only for a specific fact or piece of information, like looking for your friend’s phone number in a telephone book.
If  the question requires you to match the beginnings and endings of sentences, remember that the beginnings, not the endings, follow the order of the information in the text. Exclude any endings that don’t fit logically or grammatically, then highlight any key words in the remaining possible endings and scan the text for them.

Some questions require you to label diagrams or graphs. Read any given labels very carefully and note the position of the questions numbers. The answer to question 35 will always come after question 34 in the text, but the two numbers may not be next to each other on the page.
If you are completing a summary, study the words before and after each gap and decide what kind of expression you need, for example a verb or a noun phrase. When you have filled in all the gaps, check your spelling and make sure the completed summary makes sense.
Note that true/false/not given questions focus on the facts, whereas yes/no/not given questions are often about the writer’s opinions. If you can’t find any mention of the topic, “not given” may be the answer.

When identifying the writer’s views and purpose, watch out for these stylistic devices: adverbs that make the writer’s opinion clear, e.g. fortunately, surprisingly; expressions that show the writer’s attitude, e.g. without any doubt, it cannot be denied that..; irony, e.g. “this huge success” meaning this complete failure.

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