In Multiple Choice Questions, you always have to select the best answer from the options given in the question.
Sounds simple, right?
But this one is really tricky. While most of the test takers assume this part as easy since the answers are given and you just have to select the best one, finding the correct answer requires actual skill and this skill comes with a lot of reading practice and thorough understanding of the passage given.
To ace this task, it is crucial to understand the basic structure and concept of multiple-choice questions.
There is usually more than one multiple-choice task in your IELTS Reading.
Multiple-choice tasks can come in two forms and ask you to:
- Complete the sentence – You have to select the most desired information from the choices to complete the sentence.
- Answer a given question – In this, find out the best answer that resonates in context with the given question.
Further, the multiple-choice questions can vary on the basis of a number of answers to choose from the alternatives given. There can be these three patterns of questions where you have to select:
- 1 out of 4 choices
- 2 out of 5 choices
- 3 out of 7 choices
This task forms an integral part of the Reading test because it assesses the test taker’s ability to read between the lines and the ability to understand the synthesis of the passage given and its specific points. Hence, skimming and scanning are two skills that can give you an edge to outperform this task with good scores.
This makes it essential to make sure you are prepared for it. You have to read quickly, grasp the main theme of the passage, understand what the writer is trying to convey, and understand the instructions of the question before you select the most suitable answer from the given options.
Let’s check out some best practices and strategies to improve your accuracy and score high in solving Multiple Choice Section.
- Read the questions first to have an idea what to look for when you are reading the passage. Don’t dive straight into the text.
- Start skimming the text passage to get the central idea. Skimming involves reading a large part of the text quickly getting the overview of the passage. Just take a quick look and understand its structure and idea.
- Once you have skimmed the passage, now read the questions and start scanning it for specific details asked. You don’t stop to read details and you don’t waste time with unnecessary information. It will help you find relevant information quicker.
- When scanning the text, it is a wise strategy to highlight, underline any important keywords, phrases, synonyms that are relevant for answering the questions. Don’t forget to take action words into consideration.
- Match the choices in the question with your selected answer from the passage. If there is a difference, find out the reason for the difference in meaning between the different choices.
- Once you have selected the final answer, perform a close reading to ensure that it is correct. Try to grasp the meaning, understand the crux of the sentences and carefully select the final answer.
- You can also use keywords and synonyms to locate the part in the text containing the answers.
- Remember, the questions are presented in the same order their answers appear in the text. This makes it easier for you to find answers without wasting much time.
- When the question asks you to find three answers out of seven choices given, it automatically helps you eliminate the four choices that are irrelevant. If you pay attention to the instructions given, you can save time and answer more accurately. So, it is a smart strategy to narrow down your options immediately.
- Focus on developing a good vocabulary. The passage and alternatives given in the questions will not necessarily have the same language. A lot of synonyms and phrases are used to check your language skills. Hence, good vocabulary will help you improve accuracy in solving MCQs.
- Read a lot of articles from medium to higher difficulty level to improve your reading speed. There are techniques to increase your reading speed. This will help you develop vocabulary alongside your ability to comprehend the meaning of the text with more speed.
- Also, focus on the main ideas expressed in different paragraphs. Each Paragraph in the passage has a different idea pertaining to the main theme and is usually expressed in the topic sentence. Finding the main idea of the paragraphs will further enhance your accuracy of finding the best answer.
- To quickly identify Topic Sentences in Paragraphs, look for it in the first sentence, then the second one and then the last one. Do this while you’re reading.
- Be careful about “quotes”, “keywords”, and “key phrases”. If you find a question that mentions some “quote”, it could be twisted by the examiner to confuse you. Therefore, read the sentences carefully.
Practice, Practice and Practice! Skimming, Scanning, Good vocabulary are skills that develop with practice. The more you practice, the quicker you will be able to solve the task with higher accuracy. What works for you, might not work for someone else or vice versa. Research a lot of test strategies from different resources but try to develop your own because your strengths are unique. You can always combine the tips and methods and create your own method to solve.
So, we conclude four vital skills a test taker should develop when it comes to solving the Multiple Choice Questions with higher accuracy:
- Art of Skimming and Scanning the Text accurately
- Having a Good Vocabulary
- Close Reading to find the best answer
- Time Management
- Having your own Test Strategy
Just follow the above tips and practice daily reading tests to work on improving your reading score. You can time yourself to check your reading speed while implementing the above in our Free Reading tests at Yuno Learning. Also, you can find more recommendations to improve your IELTS Reading Score.
Just avoid reading too fast. The above tips will remain the same for solving multiple-choice questions in both IELTS Academic and General Training. All you need is a well-balanced approach to yield results.