Sat, Nov 24, 2007 - Page 14 News List

the International English Language Testing System

Cat  /  93998

Reading: Following instructions

The Reading test can seem daunting at first because of the amount of material to be read in such a short time; three 900 word articles, in one hour. One way to improve your score in this section is to make sure that you follow the instructions. Knowing what to expect and developing good in-test habits can help.


Familiarise yourself with the types of questions the IELTS uses. There are around 15 different types, and you can see some examples in the exercise today. As the series progresses we will cover each of these types of questions in greater detail. Today's questions focus on your scanning skills and following instructions. Be aware that, unlike in the other sections of the test, there is no time allowed for you to transfer your answers onto the answer sheet at the end. The answer sheet must be filled in during the 60 minutes of test time.

In-test skills

Read the questions first: Before you look at the text, read the questions. This will help you identify what information you need to look out for. It will also help you to pick up the gist, or the main topic of the article before you read it. This will help you to be able to scan the text looking for the answers.

Follow instructions: Read the instructions for each question carefully. Make sure that you don't lose marks by providing the wrong type of answer. For example, are you required to put one answer or two for a multiple choice question?

Don't assume: When completing True, False, Not Given questions, don't make assumptions. Even if you know something to be true, double check it is stated in the article.

Look for key phases: Watch out for other types of questions that may tempt you to answer using common sense or your own knowledge instead of cross-checking. Some examples of wording to look out for are "mentioned in the article", "according to the writer", "stated by the writer", "views of the writer" and "information given".

Read the whole question: When answering sentence completion questions make sure you read the whole question before choosing the answers. Check your answers against the article. Also, check the answer you give is grammatically correct.

Frequently asked questions

Will I get penalized if I guess an answer incorrectly?

No. It's always worth having a guess. However, bear in mind that your time is limited, so if you really don't understand a question, move on. If you can easily put a possible answer, such as a letter in a multiple choice, do so.

Are there any easy ways to improve my score?

You will get penalized for spelling mistakes, so make sure that you copy names and new unfamiliar terms correctly where appropriate.

How long should I spend on each passage?

Roughly 20 minutes, although they become increasingly difficult, so don't waste too much time on the first passage.

reading TEST

Michelin guide steps out of the West

France's esteemed Michelin guide next week launches its first edition outside the western world in Tokyo, where the project has stirred intense interest but also concerns about Eurocentrism. The Michelin reviewers, who can make or break chefs in Europe, have an intimidating task in Tokyo, which has at least 160,000 restaurants, more than any other city in the world.

The Tokyo version of the famous red book will be published in both Japanese and English. Sixty-five percent of the restaurants covered serve Japanese cuisine, with most of the rest French, said Jean-Luc Naret, the global director of Michelin guides. "The number that will be awarded stars will remain a surprise," he said. He pledged that the selection of restaurants "will truly pay tribute to Tokyo and to the different currents of Japanese cuisine." He added that the guide would cover restaurants serving kaiseki, Japan's artistic haute cuisine in which small, simple portions of food are presented individually with utmost care. Other restaurants include specialists in soba, buckwheat noodles which are one of Japan's most popular dishes, and fugu, the storied fish which can only be prepared by licensed chefs because its entrails contain deadly poison.

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