IELTS - 3 Reading Strategies


Hi again. Welcome back to I'm Adam. Today's lesson is about IELTS. As

usual, with IELTS lessons, I will be speaking a little bit faster than normal. It's good

for your listening practice. But if you're not taking the IELTS, you can still listen

and try to follow us as we go through this section.

So, let's begin. Today, I'm going to look at the IELTS reading section. I'm going to

look at three different approaches to tackling the IELTS reading section. Students always

ask me: "What should I do with the reading? How do I do it? How can I finish on time?

How can I answer more questions?" Right? So I'm going to give you three approaches, three

different ways to try to do the IELTS. Okay? We're going to look at three different ways.

They're completely different from each other.

The most important thing I want to tell you before we start: you have to know what works

for you. Okay? One of these approaches will work for you; the others may not. Practice

all three. If you're comfortable with one and it seems to work for you, and your score

seems to be getting better, stick with that one and practice that one. Don't try to do

all three each time. Figure out which one works, and just practice that one the most.


The most obvious one and the first one we're going to talk about: read the entire passage,

and then tackle the questions. Now, a few things to say, good and bad, about this approach.

So, you have 20 minutes, let's say, that you're going to start from the first passage, you're

going to do about 17 minutes; the second passage, you're going to spend 20 minutes; the last

passage, you're going to spend 23, 24, 25 minutes. So, you have to do this very fast.

So: can you read the entire passage and do the questions in that timeframe? Okay? That's

the question you must ask yourself. Are you a fast reader? Can you comprehend everything

you're reading? How is your vocabulary? Things like this. Some people, they must read everything,

from beginning to end, and then go to the questions. But they can also keep; they can

retain the information they've read, so when they go to the questions, they know where

to go back and look for the answers.

Now, the good part about this is that you have all the information in your head once

you've read the entire passage. The bad part is that you're going to be reading the passage

twice. Okay? Or not the whole passage, but you're going to read big chunks of the passage

twice. You'll have read it the first time, you'll go to the questions, and then you'll

be reading again to find the answers, because you're looking for specific words now. When

you get to the questions, sometimes it's only one word difference

from what you read in the passage.

So, do I recommend this? Yes and no. If you're a fast reader and you can comprehend, then

yes, do that. If you're not a fast reader, then no, don't do this. You'll be wasting

too much time and reading more than you need to.

What I'm going to do with these two approaches is show you how to read less. So you don't

need to read the entire passage; you just need to read the areas that contain the answers

to the questions.

So, the second approach: go straight to the questions. You look at the question. First

of all, understand the type of the question. Is it a multiple choice? Is it a fill-in-the-blank,

like a summary? Are you looking for like headings for each paragraph? Are you looking for the

title? Etc. Figure out what you're looking for, read the question carefully, pick out

the keywords in the question or the key idea in the question, and then scan the passage.

Don't read the passage. Just quickly look everywhere for where that information ought to be.

Now, keep in mind, you're going to have a... Let's say you're going to have four questions

in one section, four types of questions. Start with 15. Figure out what it's asking, go to

the passage, find out the area where that information is, and then start reading there

to try to answer as many of the questions as you can. The problem with this approach

is that sometimes question 15, the answer will be here; question 16, the answer will

be here. So it's not always chronological; it's not always in order of the questions.

Some question types are in order. Okay? If you have like a summary a passage with fill-in-the-blanks,

and you have to summarize a certain section, then you go to the beginning, find the beginning,

and then each one will be the same. Okay? So 15, 16, 17, 18. It will be chronological.

But that's for that type of question; it doesn't apply to all question types.

Questions such as: "Yes/No/Not given", or: "True/False/Not given", this sometimes will

work; sometimes it won't. Okay? Especially for the "Not given", because you can have

the "Yes", "Yes", "No", "Not given". Okay? So this will help you in most cases, but in

some cases, it will not help you. But practice this. If it works for you, do it. Okay? Remember:

it's all about time management. You have to be able to get through the entire passage

and the entire questions three times in one hour. Yeah? You want to try to finish everything.

Now, the third section. Before I even start to explain how it works, I want you to understand

that it's difficult, it's really not easy, it takes a lot of practice, but if you can

do this and do it well, you can finish the entire test on time and read the absolute

minimum that you have to. Okay?

How does this work? Before you do anything else, I want you to summarize each paragraph

by itself. How do you do this? You go to the paragraph, you read the topic sentence. The

topic sentence will always be the first or second sentence. It will give you a general

idea of what the paragraph is about. Because remember: in good writing, one paragraph has

one central idea. That idea will be in the topic sentence. Once you understand what the

general idea is, then you scan the rest of the paragraph, looking for keywords that support

that topic sentence.

Once you have the topic, once you find the keywords that support that topic, then you

know what this paragraph is about. Write two-three word(s) summary of that paragraph. Okay? Then,

once you have the summary of everything, you do the entire passage... You should be able

to get yourself to do it 5 to 7 minutes you should be able to go through the whole passage.

Okay? That gives you over 10 minutes to work on the questions.

Then you go to the questions. Now, the key is to know where the answers should be. Why?

If you understand the question, the question is about the history of something. Well, here,

in paragraph "A", the history of this thing. If the question is about the people involved,

well, here, you already wrote: "People involved". Right? So you know where to go look. So now,

you go straight to the paragraph where the answer should be, and you find out the information.

Then you're... Then you're doing the same thing here. Sorry, as number two. You're matching

keywords and matching your answers.

Now, there's two reasons this is good. One: you're reading less, two: you're doing it

much quicker. You've gone through the whole passage very quickly. You don't need to read

anything that has nothing to do with the questions. Okay? And three: one of the question types

on the reading section is: "Give each paragraph a heading." If you did the summary, then you've

already done these questions. Okay? There's going to be usually 5 or 6 at least headings,

like 5 or 6 paragraphs. Each one you have to give a heading to. If you've done the summary,

then you've already did that question type. You look at the headings, you match them to

your summary, and then there's your answer.

Two: if the passage does not have a title... If the passage does not have a title, automatically

you can understand one of the questions will be: "What is a good title for this passage?"

If you've done the summaries, already start thinking about the title if there isn't one,

because that's going to be one of your questions. So you're actually killing two, sometimes

three birds with one stone by doing it this way. Okay?

Now, I know it's not easy. I know it's very difficult, it takes a lot of practice, but

we're going to work on one paragraph together just so you know what I'm talking about.

Okay, so now, let's look at how to do approach three, how to do a bit of a summary of a paragraph.

So what we're looking at here, we're looking at a passage. I'll give you a background,

because actually you can see I only have one paragraph and not even a complete paragraph,

because it was too long. But this is a passage about the history of recorded music or even

recorded sound. This is not the first paragraph. The first paragraph was probably an introduction

about sound recordings, because today, we have all kinds of different ways of listening

to music. We have iPod, MP3 player, all kinds of digital recordings. We used to have CDs,

and we used to have 8-tracks, and vinyl records, and tapes. So what we're looking at is the

history and probably evolution of recorded music.

So, now, what came probably before this paragraph was a paragraph about the phonautograph, which

is a type of machine that was invented a long time ago to record sound. We also had a paragraph

about how it worked, how it did this. Okay? So now, when we get to this paragraph, we

already have some background information, and now we want to know what this paragraph

is about without reading the entire paragraph.

So we read the topic sentence, which is basically and usually the first sentence. "The Phonautograph

eventually evolved into the Phonograph." So now, what is the main idea of this...? Of

this paragraph? It's about the change into something else, or the next step. Okay? How

do we know? We have the word "eventually", which suggests time, something is happening

over time. "Evolved", "evolved" means changed into something better, usually. Evolution

is usually into something better. Devolution, something worse. "Into the Phonograph", and

we're going to find out: what is a Phonograph? Okay? So this, right away, we have the idea

that this paragraph is about the evolution or the change into the Phonograph, the next

step from what came before.

So now, what we want to do... We don't want to read the rest. We want to confirm our idea

that this is about the evolution of something, of the Phonograph. We want to find keywords

in the paragraph to support that. So, first of all, we have Thomas Edison. He wasn't mentioned

before; he's mentioned now. If you know who he is, he's a famous inventor from a long

time ago. He "discovered" something. Okay? Usually evolutions come with discoveries.

We have an "1878", we have "1887" also. We have time progression. Okay?

Now, he found a "way". Before, we spoke about how sound was recorded on a cylindrical, like

a disc that spun like this, cylindrically. Okay? And it went like this, and something

was grooved onto it. Now, we have: "He discovered a way to record on impressionable material

- tinfoil, lead", so different material. Okay? Before it was on metal with charcoal, basically.

Again, we don't know that here; we knew that from the paragraph before. Now we have different

material, so again, we have evolution, "or wax".

And then we continue reading, then "discovery", blah, blah, blah, we're continuing to reading.

Oh, we have a "flat disc". Before, we had a cylinder. Now we have a flat disc. Okay?

"Creating a medium", we have a new medium. We have a new name. Somebody else is now getting

involved in this evolution. Okay? Now: "instead of tracing", now, this word "instead" tells

you that instead of what was here, we now have something else. "Over a rotating" something

else, and: "the resulting disc". Right? So everything points to an evolution of something;

we're going to the next step, to a different way of recording sound.

So now, what do we want to do? On the side... We don't want to write a full sentence. We

don't want to take this full paragraph and summarize it in one or two sentences. We want

to summarize it in one or two words. Okay? We already have the word "evolution" in our

minds. Very simple. There's a new medium. This paragraph is about the new medium. In

the... In which case is going to be the disc. Okay? I could write: "New medium - disc".

The last paragraph: the cylinder. This paragraph: the disc. The next paragraph... I mean, this

paragraph will continue. If you go to and take the quiz, you will see the entire

paragraph there, it will make more sense. But here, I have a brief explanation of how

the disc worked as compared to the cylinder, and I also have an explanation of why it was

good, why it was an evolution, why they did this.

Then the next paragraph will likely go to the next step. The next step will be electrical,

and then you have magnetic, and then you have digital, and then you have all kinds of steps

from the beginning of the recording of music till today. Okay? Because it's the history

of... The entire passage is about the history of recorded music.

So, now, when I go to my questions and they ask a question about the disc or they ask

a question about Emile Berliner, or they ask a question about mass production of music

mediums or media, you know where to come looking. The answer should be in here somewhere, because

this is where they're talking about the disc, this is where they're talking about the next

step, where they're talking about mass production, which will come a little bit later. Oh, here,

"mass produced". Okay? So you know all this because you're talking about the new medium

- the disc.

Now, this is especially, especially effective for the "Yes/No/Not given" or the "True/False/Not

given" questions. Especially in that especially the "Not given" because "Yes/No", "True/False",

you can look for the keywords, you can find them and compare the sentence here, then compare

the sentence in the questions. In the "Not given" sentences, if they're not given, then

there's nothing to find. Right? So the only thing that you can look for is the "should".

The answer to this question should be here. So you look around, you can't find it, the

answer is not given. Okay? And this is usually the most difficult question everybody has

on the IELTS reading section.

So, again, summarize. If you do this first, do every paragraph. A: you can do the "Not

given" questions, B: all the find a heading, match a heading to each paragraph - that's

already done because you did it this way. And you don't have to read all the passage.

You're saving yourself a lot of time, and you know where exactly to go look for your

answers to your questions. Okay?

It takes practice. I'm not going to tell you it's easy. It's not easy. If you can practice

this and be able to do a proper summary of the whole passage in five minutes, you got

15 minutes for the rest of the passage for the questions, and you should be able to finish

all 40 questions in the time. Okay? All 40 questions in the 60 minutes, and do... Get

a very high rate of correct answers.

Now, if you have any questions about this, please go to Go to the for...

To the comments section and ask questions. Do the quiz; hopefully it will help you out a little bit.

Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, and come again soon. Bye.