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. Okay? 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.

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