IELTS General Training Reading Tips For Section 1

The IELTS General Training Reading test takes 60 minutes. It is divided into three sections.

Section 1: has short texts which come from advertisements, timetables, instruction manuals and the like.

Section 2: has longer texts (usually two texts of about 500 words each) which give information and advice about education and training.

♦ Section 3: has one longer text (about 700 words) with more complex language and structure. The text will be about a general topic and will come from sources like general interest magazines.

There are between 38 and 42 questions to answer. The questions may come before or after the reading texts. There is a variety of questions. Often there are examples of how to answer the questions.

You may mark or write on the question paper, but all answers must be written on the answer sheet.

For Section 1, you should use the following three-step strategy:

+ Step 1: Look at the text quickly (Survey the text)

+ Step 2: Read the instructions and the question(s)

+ Step 3: Find the answer

We will now look at a demonstration of how to apply this strategy to various Section 1 questions. Later, the strategics will be discussed in more detail and you will be able to practice them.

DemonstrationText and Questions

Do not read the following text and questions first. Go directly to the How to Answer section which will show you the most efficient way of answering the questions.

                                                                           YOUR POST OFFICE

                                                                                   at your service

At our main offices we are introducing, where appropriate, a number of changes to help improve the standard of service provided to our customers.

Similar developments are taking place at many of our agency offices.

Improvements:

• more staff at peak periods for faster service

• a single queuing system for fairer service

• special service windows for some transactions

• Post-Shops in main offices with their own separate service till for greeting cards, stationery, stamps and gifts

• the refurbishment of a number of main offices to provide a better environment

• new vending machine services such as cash-change machines, and phonecard and stamp dispensers for faster service

• extended opening hours at selected main offices

• a new range of air package services.

Questions 1-3: Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage above? Write:

TRUE                  if the statement is true

FALSE                if the statement is false

NOT GIVEN      if the information is not given in the passage

in the correct boxes on your answer sheet.

1. All offices will have more staff throughout the day.

2. There will be special service windows for cash transactions at all main offices.

3. It will be possible to obtain some items from machines in many offices.

Question 4: Using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS answer the following question.

4. Which change will ensure that the customers are treated more fairly?

Question 5: Choose the correct answer by writing A, B, C, or D.

5. Which offices will stay open longer?

A. all offices

B. all main offices

C. some main offices

D. some agency offices

How to Answer: Before You Answer Any Questions

+ Step 1: Look at the text quickly (survey the text)

The heading tells you that the text is about service at post offices. The sub’ heading and the points listed below it show eight improvements to the services.

QUESTION 1

+ Step 2: Read the instructions and the question

The instructions for questions 1-3 tell you to write True, False or Not Given on the answer sheet.

You are looking for specific information in die passage. The key words for question one are:

All offices will have more staff throughout the day.

The question is about more (additional) staff. You should also note that the question specifies all (not just some) offices and it also mentions throughout the day (that is, all day, not just part of the day).

+ Step 3: Find the answer

The best way to find the answer is to look quickly through the text for the key words or their synonyms (words with similar meaning). Then, read the phrase or sentence that contains those words.

Looking for the word ‘office’, in the first section of the text you find that the changes are being introduced in ‘our main offices’ and ‘many of our agency offices’. It seems that the changes do not refer to all offices.

The word ‘staff’ is in the first improvement listed. It says there are ‘more staff at peak periods’. This means that there are only more staff at the busiest times of the day and not all day. Therefore, the answer is FALSE.

QUESTION 2

+ Step 2: Read the question

The key words are underlined:

There will be special service windows for cash transactions at nil mam offices.

You need to find information about special service windows, namely: their functions (are they used for cash transactions?) and where they are located (are they at all many offices?).

+ Step 3: Find the answer

“Special service windows” are mentioned in the third point, hut cash transactions are not mentioned. There is no information in the text about what kinds of transactions take place. Nor is there any information about whether these windows will be at nil main post offices. Therefore, the correct answer is NOT GIVEN.

QUESTION 3

+ Step 2: Read the question

The key words are:

      It will be possible to obtain some items from machines.

You should search the text for the word ‘machines’ or synonyms.

+ Step 3: Find the answer

Point 6 mentions ‘cash machines’ and ‘phone card and stamp dispensers’. So you can obtain (get) cash (one item) from a machine, but what are ‘dispensers’? The text tells you that they provide a faster service, and vending machines do that, so it is reasonable to guess that a dispenser is a kind of machine. So, you can get some items from machines. Therefore, the correct answer is TRUE.

Note: If you don’t know the meaning of a word, you may be able to work out its meaning by looking at the words around it. This technique is called guessing from context. It is a very important skill and will be discussed in detail at the end of Section 2.

QUESTION 4

+ Step 2: Read the instructions and the question

Here you are instructed to write your answer in up to three words (i.e. one, two or three words).

The key words in the question 4 are:

        Which chance will ensure that the customers are treated mote fairly?

All of the changes mentioned in the text are to ‘help improve the standard of service*. Which one provides fairer service?

+ Step 3: Find the answer

Point one provides ‘faster service*. Point cwo provides ‘fairer service*. You don’t need to read further than this. The answer is ‘single queuing system’ (3 words).

QUESTION 5

+ Step 2: Read the instructions and the question

The instruction tells you to write a letter (A, B, C or D), not a word.

The key words in the question are underlined:

        Which offices will stay open longer?

Tire answer choices also help here. Factors such as the type of office (main or agency) and whether it is some or all offices are relevant.

+ Step 3: Find the answer

We have already looked for the key word ‘office’ (in question 1) and found that the changes arc being introduced in ‘our main offices’ (sentence 1) and ‘many of our agency offices’. It seems that the changes do not refer to all offices.

Looking quickly for stay open longer or synonyms, we find ‘extended opening hours’ in the seventh improvement. However, it mentions only ‘selected main offices’. The answer is therefore C—‘some main offices’.

Analysis and Practice  

The three different kinds of questions used in the demonstration are the most common question types in Section 1 of the Reading test.

• True-False-Not Given (questions 1-3)

• Short answer of no more than three words (question 4)

• Multiple choice (question 5)

Following the three-step strategy:

• Survey the text

• Read the instructions and the question(s)

• Find the answers

is usually the fastest and surest way of doing the kinds of questions you will find in Section 1. We will now look at each of these steps in more detail.

Step 1—Survey the text

You can quickly obtain a lot of useful information about a text by just looking at:

• the title

• section headings or subheadings

• any words in special print (bold, italics, CAPITALS or underlined)

• any diagrams, tables or pictures

• any unusual features of the text (e.g. layout or boxed text).

Surveying cells you about the topic or subject of the text. It may also tell you something about how the text is organized (subheadings arc especially useful). Surveying may also tell you something about the writer’s purpose—whether the intention is to give instructions, to compare, to give information, and so on.

ACTIVITY 1

In the following text you can see only the layout, the title, the subheadings, the illustration and a few words in special print above the illustration. These are the features of the text you look at when you survey. With only this information, answer the questions that follow the text.

Time target: up to 2 minutes

1. What is the text about?

A. the heart

B. smoking

C. healthy habits

D. heart attacks

2. How many signs of a heart attack are described?

3. Name two things that are not good for your heart.

4. The semi-recumbent position is dangerous for someone who has had a heart attack. Is this statement TRUE, FALSE or is the information NOT GIVEN?

Check your answers with the Answer Key.

The next activity gives you a complete text, but do not read the complete text in the normal way. You should be able to answer the questions below the text by only surveying the text.

ACTIVITY 2

Survey the following text and then answer the questions using the strategy described in the Demonstration.

Time target: 2 minutes

If you travel by bus, car, boat, plane or train with your children, make sure that travel-sickness doesn’t spoil the journey.

Take a of packet of EASY RIDERS.

Easy Riders arc chocolate flavoured but they aren’t lollies. They’re children’s travel-sickness tablets.

The tablets contain doses that are safe for children, so there’s no danger of overdose if you follow the instructions on the packet.

You can give EASY RIDERS to your children as a preventative measure or wait to see if travel-sickness develops and then give one.

So if you’re taking your children on a journey, don’t forget the EASY RIDERS.

An easy ride for your children means an easier ride for you. Available from your local chemist or drugstore.

Produced by

LUCKY PHARMACEUTICAL CO.

Questions 1-3

1. Easy Riders are:

A. a kind of game

B. a travel company

C. a kind of medicine

D. special bus tickets

2. Name one place where you can buy Easy Riders?

3. Who are Easy Riders for?

Check your answers with the Answer Key.

Step 2—Read the instructions and the question

Reading the instructions

It is very important that you read the instructions carefully. If you do not follow the instructions and write your answer the wrong way—for example, if the instructions tell you to write a letter (A, B, C) and you write a word— your answer may be marked incorrect.

ACTIVITY 3

Here are some questions about the first part of this book. The questions are followed by a candidate’s sample answers. Is the information in each answer correct? Try to check the answer by scanning earlier pacts of this book. Also, check that the questions have been answered in the correct way. If not, what is wrong with them?

Questions 1-3: Using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS, answer the following questions.

1. Who published this book? Oxford University Press

2. Where must the candidates write their answers in the IELTS Reading test? On the official answer sheet

3. Name one thing a reader can learn about a text by surveying it.

The topic, organization and writer’s purpose

Questions 4-6: Read the statements below. Write:

TRUE                       if the statement is true

FALSE                     if the statement is false

NOT GIVEN           if there is no information about this in the text

4. The first section of the Reading test has longer texts than the other sections in the test. False

5. Candidates should read instructions carefully before writing their answers. True

6. Most IELTS Reading texts come from British publications. No information

Questions 7: Answer the questions by choosing the appropriate letters A-D.

7. If the instruction says ‘USING NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS’, how many words should you write? one, two or three

A. more than three

B. exactly three

C. one, two or three

D. less than three

8. Which of the following do you NOT do when surveying a text? B

A. read the title

B. read most of the words in the text carefully

C. look at illustrations and diagrams

D. read section headings and/or subheadings

Check your answers with the Answer Key.

In the real IELTS Test, it is also essential that you write your answer in the correct box on the answer sheet. You should keep checking that you are writing every answer in the box that has the same number as the question. You will have a chance to practice this when you do the Practice tests at the end of this book.

Reading the question You should try to identify:

• the topic (the subject, or what the question is about)

• exactly what you need to know about the topic.

It is a good idea to underline the key words in the question as you read. (Remember that you can write on the question booklet.) Look back at the Demonstration answers for Reading Sample 1 to see how you should do this. For multiple choice questions you may have to underline key words in tire answer choices as weU as in the question.

Step 3—Looking for the answers

In exams you do not have time to read every word carefully. Remember that your task is to answer the questions, not to understand all of the text. It is often only necessary to read a small part of the text carefully to answer the questions.

The best way to find details quickly is to use scanning. Scanning is searching for key words or synonyms by looking quickly through the text. Your eyes move across and down through the text without reading in the normal way. For example, you scan when you look for a word in a dictionary. You do not read every word as you search for the word(s) you want.

It is easiest to scan for numbers or words which start with capital letters (such as most names) because these stand out in a text.

ACTIVITY 4

Answer the questions that follow the next text by scanning. Use the names and numbers to find the answers to the questions.

Time target: 3 minutes

                                                                                            SOURCES OF VITAMINS

Most vitamins we need are available in sufficient quantities in vegetables and fruits. To give some examples, we need about 50mg of vitamin C per day. and we can get it readily from citrus fruits, tomatoes and green vegetables. Vitamin A (800mg per day) is also available mainly from green vegetables.

Some vitamins, however, can only be found in sufficient quantities in animal products. For example, vitamin B12, of which we need about 2mg per day for healthy red blood cells, is usually obtained from liver, sardines and eggs. The 15mg of niacin we need is most readily obtained from lean meats and fish.

Vitamin D is unusual in that it is usually produced by our own bodies after receiving sunlight on our skin. The growth and development of bones and teeth relies partly on us having 10mg of vitamin D per day.

1. What is one source of Vitamin A?

2. We need 15mg per day of which vitamin?

3. We need 2mg per day of which vitamin?

4. How much Vitamin D should we have per day?

Check your answers with the Answer Key.

Scanning for normal words is a bit more difficult than scanning for numbers or names, but if you practise you will be able to do it more quickly and efficiently.

ACTIVITY 5

Go back to the text ‘Easy Riders’ extract. Answer the following question by scanning only.

1. How many times is the word ‘children’ mentioned in the text?

Time target: 20 seconds

Check your answer in the Answer Key.

ACTIVITY 6

Now try to answer some IELTS-type questions about the ‘Easy Riders’ text First, survey the text (Step 1) again. Read the instructions and the question (Step 2). Decide which words from the following questions are key words and then scan for those key words or their synonyms to find the answer (Step 3).

Time target: 2 minutes

Questions 1-3: Do the following statements agree with the information given in the Reading text?

Write:

TRUE                                   if the statement is true

FALSE                                 if the statement is false

NOT GIVEN                      if the information is not given in the text

1. Easy Riders can be used for land, sea or air travel.

2. Easy Riders are chocolates.

3. An overdose of this medicine is not dangerous.

Question 4: Choose the correct answer by writing A, B, C or D.

4. When should you give Easy Riders to children?

A. only before the journey begins

B. only when the child is sick

C. both one before the journey starts and another during the journey if there are symptoms of travel sickness

D. either one before the journey begins or one during the journey if there are symptoms of travel sickness

Check your answers with the Answer Key.

ACTIVITY 7

In this activity we will again practice scanning for synonyms. The complete ‘Heart Attacks’ text follows. Do not read the text in the normal way. Look at the underlined words and phrases below and scan for their synonyms in the text.

Time target: 3 minutes

1. The person who has had the heart attack may not be conscious.

2. Check the heart rate and breathing.

3. Try to lose weight.

4. Victims of heart attacks have difficulty breathing.

5. Pain may begin suddenly in the centre of the chest.

6. The person should sit in a way that does not put too much pressure on the chest.

Check your answers in the Answer Key.

                                                                                                  HEART ATTACK

A heart attack is caused by a reduction in the blood supply to the heart muscles. This is most commonly caused by a blood clot obstructing an artery in the heart. Heart attacks can be mild or severe. If you suspect that someone has had a heart attack call for medical help immediately.

Signs of a heart attack

• Sudden onset of pain in the centre of the chest. The pain will be vice-like, crushing. It could be confused with very severe indigestion. It may spread upwards and outwards to the throat, jaw and arms.

• Shortness of breath.

• The pulse rate may become faster or weak and irregular.

• The casualty will become pale and sweaty and show signs of shock (page 39).

Action to take

Call an ambulance. Check the heartbeat and breathing. If it has stopped, then commence external chest compression and mouth-to-mouth ventilation immediately.

If the casualty is conscious, move gently and as little as possible into a comfortable position. A semi-recumbent position (shown below) is the best. It is easiest for the casualty to breathe in this position and takes some of the strain off the heart.

Loosen any clothing around the neck and reassure that help is on its way. Monitor heart rate and breathing regularly until help arrives. If the person becomes unconscious move to the recovery position.

Preventing a heart attack

+ Stop smoking

Smoking is the major cause of heart disease. It damages the arteries and the circulation of blood. Stop immediately.

+ Take regular exercise

Steady and regular exercise is very beneficial. Walking is a good form of exercise.

+ Check your blood pressure

High blood pressure can cause a heart attack. Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure.

+ Eat a sensible diet

Cut down on the amount of fatty foods that you eat. Cut fat off meat.

+ Keep your weight down

If you are overweight, this puts an extra strain on the heart. Shed those excess pounds now!

+ Avoid unnecessary stress

Do not push yourself to unrealistic targets. Be sensible about the amount of work you do each day.

Put the patient in a semi-recumbent position

ACTIVITY 8

Now try to do some IELTS-type questions about the ‘Heart Attacks’ text. First, survey the text quickly again (Step I). Read the instructions and the question (Step 2) and then finally scan for the answer (Step 3).

Time target: 5 minutes

Questions 1-2: Choose the appropriate letters A-D.

1. What causes a heart attack?

A. too much blood getting to the heart muscle

B. not enough blood getting to the heart muscle

C. an artery in the heart

D. an obstructed heart muscle

2. Which of the following is not a sign of a heart attack?

A. pain in the centre of the chest

B. indigestion

C. breathing difficulties

D. fast or weak and irregular pulse rate

Questions 3-4:  Complete the sentences below with words token from the reading passage. Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

3. If you think someone has had a heart attack, try to get …………..

4. After calling an ambulance, check the casualty’s …………….

Questions 5-7: Do the statements below agree with the information in the Reading passage?

Write:

TRUE                                      if the statement is true

FALSE                                    if the statement is false

NOT GIVEN                          if the information is not given in the passage

Example Answer:

External chest compression and mouth-to-mouth ventilation should only be given by someone with medical training.   NOT GIVEN

5. Avoid moving the casualty more than necessary.

6. Sitting in a semi-recumbent position strains the heart.

7. Loosening clothing around the neck reduces the casualty’s blood pressure.

Check your answers with the Answer Key.

Summary—Section 1

Question Types

The most common question types in Section 1 of the Reading test are:

• multiple choice

• True, False or Not Given

• short answers (of no more than 3 words).

Strategies

+ Step 1: Survey (look quickly at) the text

• look for any parts of the text which stand out such as titles or pictures

+ Step 2: Read the instructions and the questions

• make sure you know how you must answer

• underline the key words in the question (and instructions)

+ Step 3: Look for the answers

• scan for key words and synonyms by looking over the text

• do not read every word

• numbers and words beginning with capital letters are the easiest to scan for

IELTS General Training Reading Tips For Section 1
Rate this post

1 Comment

  • Pingback: URL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *