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Question type 3 of 9: Multiple choice questions in IELTS reading


Question type 3 of 9: Multiple choice questions in IELTS readingQuestion type 3 of 9: Multiple choice questions in IELTS reading. On this page, we will look at the third of the 9 types of question used in the IELTS reading test – Multiple choice questions in IELTS reading.

What do I have to do for Multiple choice questions in IELTS reading?

With multiple choice questions, you need to decide which answer is correct from a choice of three to five possible options. There are three different types of multiple choice question – in one type, you need to finish the sentence with the correct ending. In the second type, you need to find the right answer to a question. In the third type, you might need to find two or three correct answers from a list of choices.

Here are examples of each type:

Type 1: Answer a question

Why has the organisation proven so successful?

  1. Because of the role of middle management in key decisions.
  2. As a result of the marketing of their international image.
  3. Due to strong internal relationships and employee motivation.
  4. They had a strong foothold in the domestic market.

Type 2: Complete a sentence

Breaks in the casing of the product revealed that …

  1. there were significant design issues
  2. the product was dangerous
  3. the test group feedback was not positive
  4. the connection of the device was weak

Type 3: Select more than one answer

Which of the following are likely causes of the failure

  1. Inferior products
  2. Poor maintenance
  3. Rushed tested
  4. User error
  5. A computer error

What is this question type testing my ability to do?

This question type is testing your 2 different abilities. For some multiple choice questions, you are being tested on ability to locate and understand specific information. Other types test overall understanding of main points in the passage.

What are the best steps for answering True False Not Given questions in IELTS reading?

There are 4 steps that we recommend following for this question type:

Step 1 – Analyse: In the first step, you need to read the first part  (that’s either the question or the unfinished statement, depending on which type of multiple choice question it is) very carefully. Identify the keywords that will help you identify the correct area of the reading passage.

Step 2 – Decide: This is a tricky step. At this point, you need to decide whether you have enough keywords from just the first part (that’s either the question or the unfinished statement) in order to locate the right area. Let’s look at the examples shown at the top of the page. In the first example, the first part is a question- ‘Why has the organisation proven so successful?’. The keywords here are ‘organisation’ and ‘successful’. However, that’s not very information to scan for, so you might decide that in this case, you need to read all of the possible answers as well to get more keywords. In the second example, ‘Breaks in the casing of the product revealed that …’ has more easily-identifiable keywords (‘break’, ‘casing’, ‘product’, ‘revealed’). It’s more likely that with these keywords you will be able to find the right area in the reading passage WITHOUT reading all the possible answers. The advantage of not having to read ALL of the possible answers before you start to scan is that it’s easier to stay focused on exactly what you are looking for.

Step 3 – Locate: Using the keywords you have identified in Step 1 and 2, you now need to find the relevant section of the reading passage.

Step 4 – Eliminate: Once you’ve found the general area that refers to the keywords in the reading passage, you need to look at the 3 or possible answers and eliminate any that are not correct. Note that in the majority of multiple choice questions, there will be some reference to all of the possible answers, but they won’t match completely.

Step 5: Select: Either through elimination in Step 4 (leaving you with only one possible correct answer) or by finding direct evidence for one particular choice, you then need to select your answer.

What useful tips are there for this question type?

  • TIP 1: For multiple choice questions where you complete an unfinished statement with the correct answer, the grammar won’t help you – all the possible options will be grammatically correct.
  • TIP 2: There will be a reference to parts of all of the possible answers in the reading passage. You need to make sure the entire possible answer is correct.
  • Tip 3: You might need to combine information from more than one sentence in order to find the answer.

Now practice!

Click the link in the table below to test your skills with Multiple choice questions in IELTS reading


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