In the reading section, the problem is the time. You are supposed to read three passages and to give a total of 40 answers. You have one hour. Therefore you can devote just 20 minutes for a passage, which is sometimes not enough time. First of all: use just 20 minutes for each section: if after 20 minutes you do not have some answers, guess and pass to the next question. Remember: you won't have extra-time at the end of the hour to transfer the answers to the answer sheet. Therefore write them on it at once: this is an important difference from the listening section, where you will be given time to transfer your answers.
Second: read the questions carefully before reading the passage: this is very very important. If you read the passage without knowing the questions, you will waste your time. Here is a useful procedure: use 3-4 minutes to read the questions; use 10-12 minutes to read the passage and to answer where you can. In this way you should be able to find a lot of answers. Use the last minutes to find the answers in the text that you did not find when you first read the passage. Usually, but not always, you will find the answers in order.
Third: read the instructions given carefully: if you are asked to answer a question taking no more than two or three words from the text, then an answer with more words is definitely wrong. Sometimes you are given a sentence and you have to write YES if it is true according to the text, NO if it is not, NOT GIVEN if the information is not in the text. Remember: ACCORDING TO THE TEXT. You have to be very precise: sometimes just a word in the passage can make you have to decide between two alternatives.
Other times the text is divided into a number of paragraphs and you are asked to choose a title for each paragraph from a list of possible titles. In the weeks before the exam, test when you read an article in a newspaper or in a magazine, try to give a title to each paragraph. The title is usually the main point of the paragraph. This will help you very much.
- Tip from Ros (May 2001):
One day my family and I decided to try windsurfing. We went for a few lessons first (only 5) which gave us some idea of the techniques to use when trying to windsurf. After our introductory course we hired a board and off we went for a day at the sea. Although we were not very good, we knew HOW to practice to improve. We only knew this because of our introductory lessons. Just watching others do it would not have been helpful at all, in fact we would have become frustrated and given up. Reading other peoples model essays is a bit like this. When you read it you think 'it seems so easy' but when you try you find out that it's exasperatingly, frustratingly, anxiety provokingly DIFFICULT. Like the poor people who had no lessons to learn to windsurf, you too feel like giving up. REMEMBER THIS: We only needed 5 lessons to learn enough to be able to HELP OURSELVES. We will never be champion windsurfers, just as you will most likely never be able to write English like me and I will never be able to write Chinese (which I am trying to learn) or any other language, like you. THE GOOD NEWS IS: you don't have to - you only have to get through the IELTS test. We didn't aim at being champion windsurfers - we only wanted to have fun. You, like us, only need to be given some techniques and away you will go. A WORD OF CAUTION: If I had only one hand, for example, I would not have been able to learn to windsurf. If you do not have the basics of English you will be in the same position. However, if you do have the basics all you need is the techniques to tackle the IELTS. MY VIDEO WILL HELP YOU WITH THIS.
After reading the message decide which of the following would be the best heading for it:
(a) The IELTS test and wind-surfing are similar.
(b) The best way to succeed in the IELTS is to get some help from an expert.
(c) The IELTS Tutor will help you to do well in the IELTS
Which one is the best heading (a), (b) or (c).