Tips For Multiple-Choice Questions


There are three types of multiple choice questions in the IELTS reading exam.
  • Type 1:    Where there is one possible answer.
  • Type 2:   Where there are multiple answers for only one mark.
  • Type 3:   Where there are multiple answers and one mark for each.

For these questions you may be given the start of a sentence which you have to complete with one out of four choices. Or you may be presented with a question and asked to find two, three or four items in a list of answers.

You could be asked to identify facts or opinions in the texts.

Multiple choice questions can test both your global understanding of the text or ask you for specific information. This means you will have to make the decision yourself whether to skim or scan the text.

Look at the 3 examples below.

Type 1

Questions 1-3

Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in boxes 1-3 on your answer sheet.

1.    According to information in the text, asparagine
A.     is poisonous.
B.     can cause cancer.
C.     is harmless unless heated.
D.     should only be eaten in small amounts.

            2.    According to information in the text, acrylamide
A.    has been found in lots of fried food.
B.    has been found in snacks in Sweden.
C.    is only found in western cooking.
D.    is in water.
3.    According to information in the text, process foods
A.    should be avoided.
B.     are cheaper.
C.     are full of chemicals.
D.     are the most tasty foods.


Type 2

 Question 4:     Write TWO letters A-F in box 4 on your answer sheet.
       Which TWO examples of food is asparagine found in?

A.    peanuts
B.     rice
C.     French fries
D.     asparagus
E.     chocolate
F.     bananas

Type 3

 Questions 5 - 7:       The list below gives some of the problems for dieters raised by Dr Jones.
Which THREE of these problems are mentioned by the writer of text?

A.     Accessible junk food.
B.     Coffee bars and after-work drinks.
C.     Partners.
D.     Stress & emotional situations.
E.     Saboteurs and false friends.
F.     Weakened resolve.

Also note that you may be asked to circle ONE, TWO, THREE or FOUR letters.

How to do the multiple choice questions

  • Read the instructions carefully and check how many letters you need to circle.
  • Skim all the questions and the answer choices quickly. As you do this,
-     Underline the key words (the words that give you the most information).
-     Try to get an idea of the topic you will be reading about from the vocabulary of the questions.
-     Look at any illustrations or diagrams that go with the text.

  • Go back to the first question. Decide if you are looking for specific information or whether the question requires you to understand the whole text . Then either scan or skim the text, as appropriate, to find the answer.
  • Read the relevant part of the text very carefully.
  • Don’t leave any questions unanswered.
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