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IELTS GENERAL TRAINING READING TIPS FOR SECTION 1, 2, 3

IELTS GENERAL TRAINING READING TIPS FOR SECTION 1

written by IELTS Editor March 7, 2017

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

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IELTS GENERAL TRAINING READING TIPS FOR SECTION 3

written by IELTS Editor March 16, 2017

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.

+ Step 1: Survey the text

+ Step 2: Skim the text to identify its organization

+ Step 3: Read the question

+ Step 4: Skim or scan for the answer

In this section there is only one longer reading text (about 700 words), usually without subheadings. There will be three or four different types of questions. The question-types could be:

• any of those from Sections 1 or 2

• completing a summary

• completing a table

• identifying qualities or characteristics.

Because the text is quite long, and because you will be looking for different kinds of information, it is a good idea to first survey the text to identify the topic, and then skim the text to identify how the information is organised before you start answering the questions.

As with Section 2 of the test, the skills of scanning and skimming are very important in this section. You must use your time efficiently. The following Demonstration section will show you how to answer die questions widiout wasting time. Skills and strategies will be discussed in the Analysis and Practice section which follows the Demonstration.

Do not read the demonstration text and questions first. Go directly to the How to Answer section on page 47, and refer back to the reading text as instructed.

Demonstration — Text and Questions 

Questions 1-4: The passage has 8 paragraphs labelled A-H.

Which paragraphs contain the following information?

Write the appropriate letters A-H in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet.

You only need ONE letter for each answer.

Note: You may use each letter more than once.

Example Answer: Numbers living in cities between 1950 and 1985. A

1. The number of large cities in Africa.

2. The projected population of Mexico City.

3. An explanation of what ‘natural’ population increase is.

4. The lack of clean water in cities.

                                                                                     URBANISATION

A. The United Nations Human Development Report 1990 has called this “the century of the great urban explosion”. Between 1950 and 1985 the number of people living in cities m the world nearly tripled. In the developing world, it quadrupled—from less than 300 million to about 12 billion. In Africa, the: population of the larger increased more than sevenfold over this period.

B. Although the rate of city growth is expected to slow in the future, the absolute numbers added each year will continue to grow. Most of this growth is much as two-thirds in many Asian and Latin American cities— will come from natural increase (ex: the excess of births over deaths) of populations already in cities. The rest will come from rural-urban migration i pan a result of high rural fertility putting pressure on agricultural livelihood and the urbanization of currently rural areas.

C. In future, the urban population of the developing countries is expected to grow by nearly another billion in the next fifteen years. By 2015, half die developing world’s people will live in urban areas. Growth rates will be fastest in Africa, though absolute growth will be greatest in Asia, where cities will gain 500 million inhabitants between 1985 and the turn of the century.

D. An increasing proportion of the urbanized population will be living in huge cities. The number of cities with a million or more inhabit i in developing countries was only 28 in 1950. By 1989 there were 125, and there will be a projected 277 in the year 2000. Africa had only city in 1951 . By 2000 Africa could have 60 cities of a million or more.

E. However, urban growth in developing countries has not been evenly distributed between all cities. In most one or two giant cities have grown out of all proportion, cornering the lion’s share of investment industry and government spending—but also creating problems of congestion, squalor and unrest.

F. In 1970, only 13 per cent of the urban population of developing countries lived in cities with more than four million people. By 2025, such cities are expected to house 28 per cent of town dwellers. While many northern cities such as London or Paris have leveled out or reduced their population. The dominant cities of developing countries have grown exponentially. The populations of Tehran, Karachi and Manila grew at 5 per cent or more a year in the 1970s, and those of Delhi, Mexico City, Seoul, Sao Paolo and Jakarta at between 4 or 5 percent. A number of cities may grow to gigantic size. Mexico City, which had a population of 15 million in 1980, may grow to nearly 25 million by the year 2000. Greater Bombay, which had only 3 million inhabitants in 1950, is expected to be the second largest with over 15 million. Jakarta will be third, with an estimated 13 million or more inhabitants by the turn of the century.

G. While the balanced, gradual growth of cities of half a million or less is rarely a problem, rapid urbanization, especially in poor countries, nearly always is. The growth of urban populations has regularly outpaced the growth of paying jobs and of government resources for infrastructure and services, such as sewerage and water supply. Large proportions of urban dwellers live in illegal, self-built housing without secure tenure or facilities. An estimated 40 per cent live in such conditions in Nairobi, Lima and Manila, and around 60 per cent in Delhi and El Salvador. One city dweller in three had no access to clean water in 1983 and two our of three had no proper sanitation. Some make their homes – and their livings – on rubbish dumps.

H. In dealing with problems like this, attention must be focused not only on cities. City dwellers do need cheap land and building materials, secure tenure and local employment. More attention also needs to be given to reversing appalling urban environmental deterioration. But improving conditions in rural areas will also help. People in country areas would then have much less incentive to migrate to cities. Any measure that leads to a slowing down in the rate of urban population growth will contribute to an improvement of living conditions there.

Questions 5-9: Complete the table below using A NUMBER, OR NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS. Write your answers in boxes 5-9 on your answer sheet.

Questions 10-13: The following is a brief summary of part of the reading passage. Complete each gap in the summary by choosing a word from the box.

Note: There are more words than gaps so you will not need to use them alL You may use any word more than once.

Summary

Example: Urban growth is a problem when it is faster than the growth in jobs and essential services.

Many people living in (10) …………….. have inadequate housing without sanitation or dean water supplies. There are two main ways of addressing these problems. The first is to improve conditions in cities, for example by providing cheaper, more secure housing and improving urban (11) ………………. The second is to spend more money on (12) …………………. development, thereby (13) ………………… the rates of migration from rural to urban areas.

 

Developing countries       Growing

Reducing                             Increase

cities                                     Housing

environments                     Rural

Problem                               Expensive

Urban

How to Answer 

In this section, we show you how to answer only some of the Demonstration questions. At the end of Section 3 we will ask you to answer the remaining questions, using the skills and strategies that you learn and practice in the following pages.

Step 1—Survey the text

The title of the extract, ‘Urbanization’, tells you (if you know the word) that the text is about the growth or development of cities. There arc 8 paragraphs labelled A-H. No other information is available from quickly surveying the text, so to find out about what aspect of urbanization is discussed in the text, you will have to go on to step 2.

Step 2—Skim the text to identify its organization

Paragraph A introduces the idea of cities growing fast, especially in developing countries.

Paragraph B deals with the future growth of cities. By reading only those words in black print in the remainder of the paragraph we see that reasons are given for this growth.

Paragraph C gives some details of the size of future growth. If you read only the words in black print in the rest of the paragraph, you can see that the paragraph goes on to talk about the ‘fastest’ growth, in Africa and Asia.

Paragraph D mentions ‘huge cities’. The rest of the paragraph gives details about the past and future growth of very big cities.

Paragraph E introduces the idea of uneven growth of cities in developing countries. The rest of the paragraph talks about the problems of the ‘giant’ cities.

Paragraph F introduces the topic of cities which have a population of over 4 million. The rest of the paragraph lists some of these ‘giant’ cities and gives details of their size and growth rates.

Paragraph G touches on the problems of these very large cities in poor countries. The paragraph continues to give examples of some of the problems.

Paragraph H starts to talk about solutions to the problems mentioned earlier in the text. The remainder of the paragraph states what these solutions are.

From skimming the text we know how the text is organized. The organization of the text can be summarized as follows:

Question 1

Step 3—Read the question

You are looking for the location of pieces of specific information. You have to indicate the location by choosing only one paragraph. (Notice that the key words in the sentence are underlined.)

The number of large cities in Africa.

Step 4—Look for the answer

From your knowledge of the organization of the text, you can guess that this information might be in paragraphs A, C or D.

Scanning for the key word ‘Africa’, you see that the sentence with this word in paragraph A says nothing about numbers of cities. The same is true of paragraph C. In paragraph D, the last two sentences mention ‘Africa’. Here the text gives numbers of cities, so D is the correct answer.

Question 2

Step 3—Read the question The projected population of Mexico in the year 2009.

Step 4—Find the answer

It is difficult to predict the location of this information. Paragraphs A, C, D or F could give details of the population of a large city like Mexico. However, it will be relatively easy to scan for the name of the city.

Mexico City is mentioned twice in paragraph F. The second time gives the predicted future population—F is the correct answer.

Questions 3 and 4

These questions are not answered here. At the end of Section 3 you will be asked to answer them, using the skills and strategies that you will learn later in this section.

Question 5

Step 3—Read the question

The instructions tell you to fill in the numbered gaps in the table with a number or one, two or three (but no more) words.

Before trying to answer questions 5-9, it is important to be able to read the table. Move your eyes across the tabic to get an idea of how it is organised. There are three types of information included: when, where and wfiat. To see what kind of answer is needed for question 5, read across the table: where? ‘in developing countries’; what? ‘half the population will be living in cities’. The missing information is the answer to the question when?

Changing the gap in the table to a question you get:

When will half of the populations of developing countries be living in cities?

The word ‘will’ indicates that you must look for a time (a year) in the future. Step 4—Find the answer

From the Initial skim reading of the text, you can guess that this information will be in either paragraphs A, C, or D.

By scanning paragraph A you will not find a future time reference. Paragraph C mentions the year 2015 in the second half of the first sentence. Reading this sentence confirms that it talks about the specific information mentioned in the question—2015 is the correct answer.

Question 6

Step 3—Read the question

Use the information in the where and what columns to clarify the question:

Where did the number of people living in cities increase by about 3 tunes between 1950 and 1985?

Step 4—Find the answer

This information could be in paragraphs A, D or F. Scanning for the years 1950 and 1985—numbers are always easier to scan for than words—in paragraph A, you find both of them in the second half of the first sentence. Three statistics arc given for this time period, regarding the number of people living in cities.

1. ” ……. in the world nearly tripled” (tripled = 3 times)

2. “In the developing world … quadrupled” (quadrupled – four times)

3. “In Africa (larger cities) … increased more than sevenfold” (sevenfold = 7 times)

So the correct answer is the world. (If you did not know what the word ‘tripled’ means, the word ‘nearly’ could help you to choose the correct answer. In this context, ‘nearly’ has a similar meaning to the word which is used in the question, ‘about’.

Questions 7-9

These questions arc not answered here. At the end of Section 3 you will be asked to answer them, using the skills and strategies that you learn later.

Questions 10-13

Step 3—Read rite question

You are instructed to complete the summary of part of the text by choosing words from the box. But which part of the text does it summarise? Briefly skim the whole summary. The first half of the summary talks about the problems of utban growth, and the second half talks about rite solutions. You already know that paragraph G deals with the problems, and that paragraph H deals with the solutions, so it is reasonably clear that the summary deals with the last two paragraphs of the text.

Question 10

Step 3—Read the question

Many people living in (10)……………. have inadequate housing without sanitation or clean water supplies.

Step 4—Find the answer

Looking at the first sentence you can see that you need a noun to fill the gap. If you scan the words in the box you can eliminate the words reducing, urban, rural, growing and expensive. Scanning paragraph G for ‘inadequate housing* or synonyms, you find ‘live in illegal, self-built housing without secure tenure or facilities’. The subject of the verb live is ‘large proportions of urban dwellers’, so you are looking for a word which means ‘urban’ but is a noun. Look at the box again and you will find the word cities. This is the correct answer.

Question 11

Step 3—Read the question

The first is to improve conditions in cities, for example by providing cheaper, more secure housing and improving urban (11) ……………..

Step 4—Find the answer

Looking at the sentence you can see that you need a noun which can be described by urban. If you scan the words in the box you can eliminate reducing, urban, rural, groumg, expensive and does. Looking back at the summary sentence you will sec that the first example of improving urban conditions is ‘cheaper, more secure housing’. You need to find another example, so it is also unlikely that the answer is housing.

Now scan paragraph H. The second sentence in that paragraph mentions four solutions to improve conditions in cities—land, materials, tenure and employment. The first three are covered by the words ‘cheaper, more secure housing’ in the summary, and the fourth solution, employment, is not mentioned in the choices in the box. Therefore you must go on to the third sentence in paragraph H, which talks about ‘reversing appalling environmental deterioration’. If you look in the box for a noun form of ‘environmental’ or its synonym, you will find the word environments. This is the answer.

Questions 12—13

These questions arc not answered here. At the end of Section 3 you will be asked to answer them, using the skills and strategies that you learn later.

Analysis and Practice

As with Section 2 of the test, in Section 3 there are main idea questions and questions for specific information. Skimming and scanning are very useful. You will probably find these skills difficult to acquire, initially, but with continued practice you will see more clearly how useful they are.

To read any complete text carefully takes time so remember that to answer questions about a text you only need to read parts of the text carefully. Skimming and scanning will help you find those important parts of the text so you will not waste time on irrelevant parts of the text.

ACTIVITY 16

In the following text some of the words have been printed in black. These are an example of the words you might read while skimming to identify the organization of the text. Read only the words in black print and then try to complete the table of the main topics of the various paragraphs below.

Time target: 4 minutes

                                                                           The Coming Crisis In Long-Term Care

1. The greying of America has many health-care planners worried. The life expectancies of even the very old (85 and older) have increased significantly in recent years. But at the same time, this group faces the highest risk of chronic disease and disability requiring long-term care. Paying for this care could wipe out the entire life savings of many people within a year.

2. The number of Americans aged 85 and older is expected to grow three to four times as fast as the general population between 1990 and 2010 and is expected to increase from 2 million in 1980 to 16 million by the year 2050. Of major significance for long-term care arc the lengthening life expectancies at age 85, which have increased 24% since 1960 and are projected to increase mother 44% by 2040.

3. While only 5% of Americans over 65 currently reside in nursing homes, that percentage rises sharply with age.  Twenty-two per cent of persons 85 and older live in nursing homes.

4. According to national estimates, one year in a nursing home costs an average of $22 000, and this figure is expected to more than double by 2018. Given that the mean income for Americans aged 65 and older is currently $19 000, most people in that age group will simply not be able to stay in nursing homes.

5. Long-term care is costly even when provided in the home. One study found that more than 60% of elderly people living alone and 40% of elderly couples would become impoverished after one year of seven-days-a-week care.

6. Many people still mistakenly believe that Medicare covers long-term chronic care, the report says. But Medicare typically covers hospital and physicians’ costs for acute illnesses or injuries and covers nursing-home stays of no more than 150 days. Awareness of Medicare’s limitations is growing, however, and more people now see some form of long term care insurance as desirable to protect against financial ruin.

7. But how will such insurance be funded—publicly or privately? While some groups urge a publicly funded program, there are grave doubts about the willingness of taxpayers to pay for a public program. The federal government already faces a budget deficit, which threatens cutbacks in existing programs. The substantial extra expenditure of a publicly funded program would certainly lose votes.

8. Two possible routes for private insurance plans are individual plans and employer-sponsored plans. Individual policies covering long-term care are currently the most widely available coverage. In 1983, only 16 companies offer individual care policies. In 1988, there were more than 100. By 1987, about 400 000 people owned long-term care insurance policies; in 1988, there were more than 1 million. However, these are mostly younger workers. The number of those over 65 with such policies today is still relatively small, at approximately 100 000.

9. Employer-sponsored plans are, however, gaining acceptance especially when offered as part of a flexible, or ‘cafeteria’, benefits program.

10. Providing for long-term care insurance through employer groups can help lower plan costs by spreading the long-term care risk over a larger risk pool and through concurrent savings in administrative costs. Another advantage of employer – sponsored plans over individual policies is that they encourage younger workers to enter the program. The younger the participant is at the time of entering the program, the lower are his or her premium rates. Successful plans would also have an inflation-protection feature.

11. Employer-sponsored programs are unlikely to be paid entirely—or even partly—by employers. Rather, employee-pay-all plans are the most likely scenario, given the rising employer costs for the employer-paid benefit plans already in effect.

12. Individuals would thus still be responsible for footing the bill for their own long-term care. But by planning well ahead of time and entering early in an employer -sponsored insurance plan, an individual may pay as little $20 a month in premium.

Check your answers in the Answer Key.

Completing a Table

The first activity related to this text is completing a table. These are simply questions for specific information in another form. It may help you to convert the space in die table into a question in the usual form. For an example see questions 5-9 in the Demonstration for Section 3.

ACTIVITY 17

By filling in the above table you know something about the organization of ‘The Coming Crisis in Long-Term Care’, and where you might find  certain information. Reread the entire text then answer questions 1-4. Use your knowledge of the text and scan for key words or numbers. Don’t forget to survey the table to understand its organization before you begin to look for the answers.

Time target: 3-4 minutes

Questions 1-4: Complete the table below which gives information about two age categories mentioned in the reading passage. Write A NUMBER in the correct boxes on your answer sheet.

Check your answers in the Answer Key.

Matching a quality or a characteristic

In the next activity, there is another question type for the same text, namely matching a quality or characteristic to a subject. This type of question requires you to look for specific information. To answer the questions efficiently, you should use your knowledge of the organization of the text and, using key words, scan for the specific information needed.

ACTIVITY 18

Time target: 3 minutes

Questions 1-4: Look at the features of different insurance schemes listed. State which scheme has these characteristics

In boxes 1—4 on your answer sheet write:

I                             if it applies to individually funded schemes

M                          if it applies to Medicare

P                           if it applies to other publicly funded schemes

E                            if it applies to employer-sponsored schemes

1. currently the most popular long-term scheme

2. does not provide long-term nursing care

3. is unlikely because it is politically unpopular

4. reduces the costs by insuring in work-related groups

Check your answers in the Answer Key.

ACTIVITY 19

Survey and skim the next extract, ‘Killer Robots’. Then complete the chart following the text to show that you have identified the organization of the text. You should be able to complete the chart quickly by skimming. Do not waste time reading the text carefully.

Time target: 4 minutes

                                                                                             Killer Robots

                                                                           Rules for working safely

A. Robots are taking over many hazardous jobs, but they are also creating new hazards, according to a report by the International Labour Office (ILO).

B. Being struck by a robot arm in motion, being trapped between the robot and another object, and being hit by an object dropped by an overloaded robot gripper are the main hazards that robots pose to humans, according to the report. Safety in the Use of Industrial Robots. In many cases, workers are in the way when the robot makes a sudden, unexpected movement or starts when it isn’t supposed to. Such miscues may result from software problems, electrical interference, or faults in the hydraulic, electrical, or pneumatic controls.

C. The first robot-related death occurred in Japan in 1981, and one survey of robot use in Japan showed a total of 10 fatalities reported by the end of April 1987. The causes were the victim’s error in four cases and ‘spontaneous start of robot’ in the other six, according to Japan’s Ministry of Labour. Each year, approximately five or six workers are injured in robot accidents in Japan, and there have been many more ‘near-misses’. But, as the ILO points out, more than 100 000 robots are used in Japanese factories.

D. In the United States as well, control problems account for a large share of injuries to workers, but one fatality described in the report was the result of a worker simply ignoring safety precautions and attempting to clean up an area where a robot was operating.

E. Even when robots arc used safely, other problems may develop, says the report. When robots create unemployment of humans, workers may suffer from ulcers, colitis, and emotional stress. New jobs created by robotization generate stress, too, such as anxiety in trying to keep pace with a robot’s work pace.

F. ‘In general, while technological innovation may free people from physical labour, it may give rise to mental load,’ the report notes, ‘and it is thought likely that new occupational diseases may arise in time. The development of a special curriculum, in Japan known as robot medicine, acknowledges the connection between emerging technology and stress.’

G. The report cites several rules for robot workers that may help prevent future injuries. For example, robots should be easy to operate. Robots should also be designed so that in the event of a breakdown, they can only harm themselves and not humans. In addition, robots should leave an area after finishing their task so that they do not interfere with other workers—human or robotic.

H. The report also mentions rules that will help reduce robot-related anxieties. Robots must not replace people in desirable jobs but only jobs people do not wish to do or find dangerous. Also, robots must obey humans so that they do not psychologically or physically oppress people. Finally, if robots replace humans on a job, the people affected must give their approval.

Paragraph                                                    Main topic

      A                                                            Introduction

      B                                                 The ways that injuries happen

      C

      D

  E and F

     G

     H

Check your answers in the Answer Key.

In the next activity, there arc three question types for the text you have just read. Questions 1-4 Identifying which paragraph contains certain information (see the Section 3 Demonstration). Scan for key words, names or numbers using your knowledge of the organization of the text.

Questions 5-6: Identifying a number of qualities or characteristics from a list—in this case two causes of something. This is a question for specific information. It is easier to find the relevant information about the causes first, and then compare that information against the list to find the correct answers. Do not waste time looking in the text for items on the list—many of them will not be mentioned in the text.

Questions 7-8: Completing a statement in no more than three words (see Section 2). These are questions for specific information. Use your knowledge of the organization of the text and scan for key words.

ACTIVITY 20

From your skim reading, you already know something about the organization of the texL While you are answering the questions, try to concentrate only on those parts of the texts where you think the answers might be found.

Time target: 10 minutes

Questions 1-4: The passage ‘Killer Robots’ has 8 paragraphs labelled A-H. Which paragraphs contain the following information?

Write the appropriate letters A-H in the correct boxes on your answer sheet. You need only one letter for each answer.

Note: You may use each letter more than once.

Example Answer: Description of an incident in the United States –> D

1. The most common ways that robots cause physical injuries.

2. Regulations to prevent stress-related problems.

3. Tire names of illnesses caused by the psychological effects of robots on workers.

4. The number of physical injuries which occur.

Questions 5-6: The reading passage gives two main causes of mental stress from robots. Identify these two causes by choosing two items from the list below.

Write the appropriate number (i-v) in the correct boxes on your answer sheet. The order is not important.

i. robots are difficult to operate

ii. robots work too fast

iii. robots injure workers’ friends

iv. people lose their jobs to robots

v. robots make sudden unexpected movements

Questions 7-8: Complete the following statements in NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS. Write your answers in the correct boxes on your answer sheet.

7. The reading passage is based on information from the ………………….

8. To prevent physical injury, robots which have completed the job they were working on should ………………….

Check your answers with the Answer Key.

Summary Gap-fill

The final question type involves choosing the correct word or group of word to fill in sentence gaps in a summary of the text (For an example, see the Section 3 Demonstration questions 10-13.)

For summary gap-fill questions, you should practice the following steps.

Step 1: Identify whether the summary applies to all or only part of the text If it covers only part, you will have to find which part. The easies way to do this is to read the beginning of the summary and match that information with the text itself.

Step 2: Read from the beginning of the summary up to and including a sentence with a gap.

Step 3: Go to the relevant part of the text. Skim or scan for the answer. Check the choices in the box to find the word from the text or a synonym.

Step 4: If you are unsure of your answer, identify the part of speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb) of the word needed to fill the gap. Then look again at the choices in the box. You can immediately eliminate some of the choices because they are the wrong part of speech.

Step 5: Go back to tire summary and read up to and including the next sentence with a gap, and so on.

ACTIVITY 21

The following activity contains some summary gap-fill questions for the Killer Robots’ text. Answer the questions by following the steps noted above.

Time target: 6 minutes

Questions 1-6: Complete the summary of the reading passage. Choose your answers from the box following the summary and write them in the correct boxes on your answer sheet.

Note: There are more words than spaces so you will not need to use them all. You may use any word more than once.

                                 Summary

(1) ……………… the benefits of using industrial robots, there are two main problems which can arise, firstly, although some robot-related injuries can be said to be caused by the (2) ……………… robots themselves sometimes cause physical injury or even (3) …………….. because of various hardware and software faults. Secondly, robots create various (4) ……………….. problems in humans. These are being addressed by a new field of study called robot-medicine. (5) ………………….prevent both of these kinds of problems, various(6) ………………… about tire design of robots and their use and application should be observed.

ACTIVITY 22

The Demonstration text in Section 3—‘Urbanization’—discussed the growth of cities and resulting problems. Not all of the text questions were answered in the Demonstration so should now answer the remaining questions—questions 3-4, 7-9, and 12-13. Go through all of the necessary steps. You will have to survey the text again and skim it to identify its organization before you begin answering the questions.

SummarySection 3

Section 3 of the test has one longer reading text with up to four different question types.

Question types

• any question type from Sections 1 and 2

• completing a table

• identifying qualities or characteristics from a list

• completing a summary.

Strategies

Skimming—looking quickly through a text and reading only some of the words in order to get a general idea about the topic or main idea.

Scanning—looking quickly for key words or synonyms.

To make finding the answer easier remember to follow these steps:

Step 1: Survey the text

• look at any parts of the text which stand out i.c. titles, headings, pictures etc.

Step 2: Skim the text to identify its organization

• the topic is usually found in the first sentence

• skim the rest of the paragraph to confirm the topic

Step 3: Read the instructions and the question

• identify the question type

• underline key words in the instructions and the question

Step 4: Skim and/or scan for the answer

• do not read every word in the text –> Step 2 will help you find information in the text quickly and efficiently.

Use the appropriate strategy according to the question type.

Skills Focus

Unliking Words

Knowing the meaning and the purpose of linking words in sentences can be very useful for both the Reading and the Writing tests. The more common linking words can be divided into six main groups according to their purpose. (The following example sentences have all been taken from the reading ‘Killer Robots’ in Section 3.)

Showing sequence

Finally, if robots replace humans on a job …

Giving additional information

In the United States as well. …

Giving examples

For example, robots should be easy to operate.

Expressing consequence or result

… robots should leave an area after finishing their task so that they do not interfere with other workers.

Giving reasons or causes The causes were the victim’s error in four cases …

… one fatality described in the report was the result of a worker simply ignoring safety precautions …

Showing contrast

Robots are taking over many hazardous jobs, hill they are also creating new hazards …

ACTIVITY 23

Put the words in the box below into the correct group in the table.

SequenceAdditionExample
finallyas wellfor example

 

Reason/ CauseConsequence/ ResultContrast
the cause

be the result of

so thatbut

Note: Even though the above linking words may be in one group, they arc often used in different ways in sentences. Check your dictionary or grammar book for examples of how co use these words in grammatically correct ways.

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