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How to succeed on IELTS Reading

September 4, 2016

 

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Hello. My name is Emma, and in today's lesson, I am going to teach you some very good tips

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on how to succeed on the reading module of the IELTS. So this video is for anyone who

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is taking the IELTS. This video will really help you learn about some of the question

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types and how to do well on them. So let's get started.

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My very first tip is very important. When you're practicing doing the IELTS, when you're

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preparing for the IELTS, one way to prepare is to start learning synonyms. Now, what's

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a "synonym"? A "synonym" is a copy of another word where the meanings are the same, but

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the words are different. So an example: "intelligent" and "smart". These are synonyms. They have

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the same meaning, but they're different words.

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Now, why should you learn different synonyms for the IELTS? Well, one very good reason

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is oftentimes, on the IELTS you will have a text or a reading passage, and then, after

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that you will have a bunch of questions. Now, sometimes, in the questions, you need to look

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for certain information in the reading passage. So you read a question, and you need to find

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the answer in the reading passage. Now, one way to do this is looking at keywords. You

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might see a keyword in the question. And you're looking for that same word in the reading

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passage. But they often don't use the same words in the question and the reading passage.

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Oftentimes, they will use synonyms. So for example, maybe in the question the keyword

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is "intelligent". In the reading passage, the word that you'll actually need to find

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is "smart". So by knowing synonyms, you'll be able to do the questions a lot faster,

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and you'll be able to find information faster. And on the IELTS, time is very important,

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so you want to be able to do things very quickly.

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My second point has to do with a lot of the question types, especially the "not given"

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question types. There's a question type called "True, False, or Not Given". There's also

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one called "Yes, No, Not Given". This point is for those.

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Oftentimes, you need to pay close attention to negative words on the IELTS. So for example

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"never", "rarely", "hardly", "seldom". Depending on what the question is, sometimes, if it's

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a true or false question, it's very important to look for these words. This is one of the

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tricks you might find on the IELTS -- well, it's not exactly a trick, but sometimes, you

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might put down "true", but the answer is actually false because of these negative words. So

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key point: Notice and pay attention to these types of words in both the "True, False, and

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Not Given", and the "Yes, No, Not Given".

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Point No. 3: Similar to point No. 2, it's very important to pay attention to frequency

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words, especially in the same part, and the "True, False, Not Given". You might see "always",

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"often", "sometimes", "never". Why is this important? Well, if you see something that

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says, "Sometimes the Pharaoh of Egypt -- or the Pharaohs of Egypt were buried in tombs",

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but the actual answer is true or false, and it says, "Pharaohs were always buried in tombs",

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you might get confused. You might put down the wrong answer. So it's very important to

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pay attention to "always", "often", "sometimes", "never" in true or false questions.

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Point No. 4: This is probably one of my favorite points. During tests -- this happens to all

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students -- they will pick on answer; and then, they'll think about it; and they'll

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see another answer; and they'll want to change their answer; and they don't remember -- they

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don't know, "Which one should I pick?" It's good to go with your first instinct. So if

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you're doing multiple choice, and right off the bat you think, "Okay, the answer is A";

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and then you look, and you think, "Okay, well, maybe the answer is C -- if both of them seem

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like good possibilities, and you don't know, choose the one you thought of first. Okay?

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Go with your gut feeling. Go with your instinct.

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No. 5: Questions often follow passage order. So what does this mean? Well, it means that

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Question 1 will probably be somewhere near the top of the reading; Question 2 will be

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underneath Question 1 in the reading. So the questions -- one will be at the top, then

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two, then three, then four, then five. So it's important because if for example you

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find the answer for Question 2, it's very probable that the answer for Question 1 is

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above Question 2. So it's very important that questions often -- not always, but often -- follow

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passage order. This can help you find answers for other questions.

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My next tip for the reading is that it's very important to understand how paragraphs work.

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What do I mean by that? I mean understanding specifically topic sentences. There are a

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lot of questions in the IELTS -- the reading module -- where if you know what a topic sentence

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is, it can help you find things a lot quicker, a lot easier. So what is the topic sentence?

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For every paragraph, there's usually one sentence that almost sums up the paragraph. It's the

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main idea of the paragraph. Where do you find the topic sentence? Not always, but usually,

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it's the first sentence, or it's at the beginning somewhere in the paragraph. So this is a very

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good tip, especially for paragraph heading and matching questions. By understanding what

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a topic sentence is and where to find it, you will save a lot of time.

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My seventh tip is that you should really practice each question type. I've mentioned some different

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question types in this video. I just talked about paragraph heading matching, multiple

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choice, short answers, True, False, Not Given. There are many different types of questions

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on the reading module of the IELTS. So it's very important that you get familiar with

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each of these questions, you practice each of these questions, so then, on test day,

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you feel more confident, more comfortable, and there are no surprises. So practice a

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lot. Practice each question type.

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My eighth tip is that -- and this isn't just for the reading modules of the IELTS; it's

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for tests in general. If you are doing a test where there are other people around, it's

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good not to practice only in your home. On test day, when you're doing the reading module,

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there will be other people around you. And if you're not used to taking tests with other

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people around you, you might get distracted. You might hear this person over there chewing

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their bubble gum. You might see that person over there crying because they have a very

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bad answer, and they're having difficulty on the IELTS. You can see all sorts of things

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in the room with you. And that could distract you. So it's very, very important to get used

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to being distracted while you're taking the test. So what I recommend: Try to do the IELTS

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at a library. Get a practice test; go to the library; do it there. Try it on the bus, even.

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You can do it on different places so you're used to distractions so on test day, those

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distractions won't distract you.

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My ninth tip is a warning: Be careful. Be careful of what? A lot of the times, students

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will see in both the reading and the questions the same word. So a question will be looking

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for some sort of word -- you know, it's in the reading. And so they'll think that because

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they see the word in the question and in the reading that that's the word they need or

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that's the heading they need. It's not always the case. It's very important to not use this

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logic. It's important to know that this is not always a correct method. You know, sometimes,

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you will need specific detail, and you might write the wrong thing. So if you see the word

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in the question and the reading passage, it's not necessarily the correct answer.

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No. 10 -- okay. This is something we're going to practice together, now. It's good to practice

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skimming and scanning in general for the reading test. "Scanning" is where you use keywords,

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and you just quickly look through the passage looking for a specific word or a specific

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piece of information, okay? So one way to get good at skimming -- not skimming; scanning

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-- is to scan backwards. Now, how would I do this? Okay, I'm going to ask a question.

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How many passages are on the IELTS? Now, before you read, I want you to look for a number,

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and look this way. Okay? So you can start scanning. How many passages are on the IELTS?

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You're just looking for the keyword. If you read the sentence, like, "Students read three

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passages. They get progressively harder", you're wasting too much time reading. It's

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a lot better if you just look for the piece of information, in this case, a number. So

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I could just go, "Three. There are three passages." Okay.

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So what I'd like you to do is come visit us at our website www.engvid.com. You can practice

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our test there to see how well you understand these tips. You can also go to www.goodluckielts.com

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where there's a lot more information on the IELTS. So good luck. I know you're going to

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do a great job on test day. Until text time, take care.

 

 

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