How to deal with multiple choice questions in IELTS Reading
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How to deal with multiple choice questions in IELTS Reading

IELTS Reading multiple choice

In the IELTS Reading exam, there are several types of questions. Multiple choice are one of them. They regularly appear in both modules of the test: General and Academic. Most candidates tackle them with no effort. However, they might be quite tricky. That is why it does not take much effort for candidates and students of IELTS to pick up the wrong answer.
Today, we will look at some useful tips that will help you find correct answers and achieve high score at the IELTS Reading exam.

What is the task about?

In such type of task, you will have to read the first half of a sentence, a statement or a question about the text, and choose the most appropriate sentence ending, response or answer from a choice of a number of options (usually 4 or 7). The instructions can be set out like this:

IELTS Reading

This type of question tests if you can:

  • understand the main idea of each paragraph
  • scan for specific information
  • read for details to differentiate between several possible answers

The answers for such type of questions in the Reading sections are very likely to come in order. Bare this in mind when reading the questions and scanning for information. Therefore, the strategy you will need to use is scanning. If more than one answer is possible, read in detail.

Key tips

Tip # 1. Read the passage quickly. Spend around 2 minutes on this. It will help you get general idea, and look at the organization of the paragraph, especially if multiple choice questions are the first questions to a passage.

Tip # 2. Read the questions/ statements/ incomplete sentences. However, do not read the options yet. Next, underline the keywords in it and ‘translate’ it into simple English. What does this mean? Make sure you understand the question.

For example:


Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

One of the facts provided in David Storey’s study suggests that …

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Tip # 3. Scan the passage and locate the question. Use quick reading, keywords and proper names from the question to look for the information in the text.

For example:


Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

One of the facts provided in David Storey’s study suggests that …


If the job market grows more flexible, the old may find more jobs that suit them. Often, they will be self-employed. Sometimes, they may start their own businesses: a study by David Storey of Warwick University found that in Britain 70% of businesses started by people over 55 survived, compared with an overall national average of only 19%. But whatever pattern of employment they choose, in the coming years the skills of these ‘grey workers’ will have to be increasingly acknowledged and rewarded.

Tip # 4. Look for the answer to the question in the passage. Once you have found it, underline it. You will need it further.

READ ABOUT: 25 phrasal verbs to avoid in IELTS Academic Writing

Tip # 5. Return to the options. Now, it is time to read the options that the task suggests and compare them with the answer you have underlined in the passage. Choose the one you think is the best.

Tip # 6. If in doubt, check all the options critically. You might still hesitate. So, it’s a good idea to think why the other options are wrong and cross them out. These options are, as a rule, not related to the topic.

Tip # 7. Watch out for distractors. In the Reading section of the IELTS, they are the same words that you can see in the options and in the paragraph. In fact, they may be there only to distract you. The meaning of the sentence that contains such words is usually different from the correct answer.

Now you know how to tackle multiple choice questions in IELTS Reading. You may use our tips as an action plan even if you have to choose more than one option. In this case, go through steps 1 – 4. Next, read the options. Compare with the passage. Choose the number of options you need. After that proceed with steps 6 and 7.

In our course, we will explore multiple choice questions in more detail, look at examples and work out more useful tips. You will save all the advice you get in a Knowledge Bank, receive instant feedback, develop other skills like listening, speaking and extensively work on your academic writing, track your progress and a full mock Speaking and Writing tests with a detailed feedback from IELTS preparation experts.

Recently, we have written about IELTS Reading key facts.

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