Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Scanning the Reading Passage – IELTS Reading Test

With 3 passages to read and 40 questions to answer, how are you supposed to manage getting a good score on the reading sub-test?  You can try reading and remembering the details of all 3 passages and answer the questions, if you have a very good memory and an above average reading speed.
Scanning is the method you can use when you need to search a page or passage for specific information as quick as possible.  A good example of scanning is when you are using the White Pages to search for a specific phone number of someone you know; reading all
the entries in the White Pages will be a waste of time and totally impractical.  Scanning through the White pages will be the logical thing to do, although it is a very good example of scanning, I wouldn’t recommend it as a practice tool; the White Pages is arranged in a chronological order and thus making it simple for people to scan through, the reading passages will of course not be arranged in that manner.  I will recommend other ways to practice at the end of this post.
The question now is how you scan the reading passage.  First thing to remember is not read every word, but please don’t rush.  It is good practice to use your finger/s or pencil to guide your eyes through the passage, occasionally reading in details parts that seemed important; continue slowly back to scanning for the information needed. 
Knowing the topic of each paragraph will give you an idea where to find the answer. Especially when verifying a “Not Given” answer; in cases like this it is good to get a keyword from the question and start scanning for the specific keyword in the passage and read around the keywords for details.
For practice, try watching the prime time news and practice scanning tomorrow’s newspaper for details that stood out.
To find out what to expect from the IELTS Reading test and the different question task click here
For other Reading Tips click here

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