1. Introduction to Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) in IELTS Reading


This question type aims to assess not only reading comprehension but also reading techniques including skimming and scanning, hence, candidates should prepare a deep insight into Multiple Choice Questions IELTS Reading before taking the test.


multiple choice questions ielts reading


Depending on the requirement of each question, you need to choose one or more than one correct answer. There often exists three forms of questions:


  • Choose only ONE correct answer out of four given answers. (most common)


multiple choice questions ielts reading one correct answer


  • Choose TWO correct answers out of five given answers.


multiple choice questions ielts reading two correct answer


  • Choose MORE THAN TWO correct answers out of many given answers.


multiple choice questions ielts reading more than two correct answer


This article will provide you with strategies together with common mistakes and tips to master the MCQ IELTS Reading.


>> Practice now: IELTS Reading Practice Test


2. Multiple Choice Questions IELTS Reading Strategies


These are various suggested strategies to adapt for the MCQ IELTS Reading. You can take advantage of what suits your learning style the most.


2.1. Read the questions carefully


  • Don’t panic if new words appear in the questions since you can figure them out in the text with a specific context
  • Try to get the main idea of questions


2.2. Skim the text


To get the general idea of the whole passage, you need to skim the text quickly.

2.3. Identify and Underline keywords in questions and choices


  • You can pay attention to 2 types of keywords:
  • Changeable keywords: words that can be paraphrased in the text
    (try to think about the synonyms of keywords)
  • Unchangeable keywords: words that cannot be changed or paraphrased (people’s names, scientific terms, figures, date, etc.)
  • These keywords can help you locate the information in the text


2.4. Differentiate different choices


There might be some differences among options in terms of meaning that should be deterred in order to narrow down the possible answers.


2.5. Predict the correct answer


  • Based on the general meaning of the text as well as the question, you may make a reasonable prediction for the correct answer.
  • Put a mark or highlight your predictions will be recommended for the next steps.


2.6. Locate the answers using keywords


  • Utilize the keywords you identified or the synonym, related terms to locate the part containing the information of the question.
  • For some questions, when the location is indicated in advance, head for the paragraph mentioned


2.7. Read the identified part in detail


Once you locate the information, read that part carefully to thoroughly understand it.


2.8. Go back to the questions and choose the final answer


  • Read the questions together with options again and eliminate the incorrect answers
  • If there is one clearly correct answer, double-check it if any tricks exist
  • If it ends up with two relatively similar choices that make you hesitate to decide, check it carefully by going through all the processes again to assure the final answer


>> Read more: IELTS Reading Matching Sentence Endings


3. Common mistakes and tips for Multiple Choice Questions IELTS Reading


tips multiple choice questions ielts reading

Common Mistakes Tips
1. Reading  carefully the whole text before questions

At the first time of reading, if you jump into blind reading the whole passage immediately, you will waste time due to the lack of targeted information. Besides, re-reading the passage after reading the questions may lead to the incompletion of the task in a given time.

Read the questions before skimming the text
2. Leaving blank answers

An incorrect answer does not lose you a point so don’t leave it blank.

Try to give an answer even when you are not sure about it and you may get a point of 25%
3. Not reading the whole sentence

Many candidates are so sure about the information they have just located in a sentence but read it negligently. Instead, some of them just read half of the sentence and quickly come to a conclusion.

Nonetheless, the meaning can be totally altered due to some contrastive words like “but, however, nevertheless, in contrast, etc.”, which presumably appear in the second half of the sentence or the latter sentence.

Read the whole sentence and even consecutive ones to get the correct answer
4. Reading the text in a hurry

You cannot fully understand the text if reading hurriedly. Moreover, so many distractors can be found in the text that can cause incorrect answers when candidates find the keywords just by chance and then end up losing marks.

Watch out distractors and carefully check the information before choosing an answer
5. Being trapped by the examiner

Examiners regularly trick test-takers with distractors that are more or less the same as the correct answer.

(e.g. many matching keywords appear or qualifying words such as “only, most, all, sometimes, always, one of the…”

Read carefully to deeply understand the questions as well as the alternatives, and be careful with qualifying words

Other tips for Multiple Choice Questions IELTS Reading:


  • In questions with four options, there are often two obvious incorrect answers, which leaves you with two confusing alternatives. In this case, focus on the difference in meaning between them and/or try to rephrase the sentence in your own words to figure out the correct one.


  • Try to predict the correct answer before you read the text and note your predictions. This can help you save more time.


  • Double-check or cross-check is essential to make sure that you will get a point


  • The questions will be arranged in order of the text, so the answer to the next question will be below the previous one.


  • Facts and opinions will be both asked. To distinguish them, facts are always true and cannot be disproved but opinions are what people think.


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