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IELTS Reading: Multiple Choice Question(MCQ)

MCQ is the most common type of question for many students, because it's been practiced in classrooms almost all around the world. This question may appear in both forms: 

  • Either you might need to complete the question sentence, or

  • You might be asked to choose a reply from the given options

This question tests your skill how ​good you are at understanding the main idea of the reading text. It also judges how fast you can locate the information in the text. Look at the example below from a previous test question:


IELTS Reading Multiple Choice Question

Source: Cambridge English IELTS Past Papers

In the example above, you are asked to choose your answer from multiple options that you are given. Here in this example, you need to choose one out of four questions. Sometimes you might be asked to choose two out of five or even three out of six questions. You are required to write the  letters (A-D) of the correct answers in the answer sheet.

Common Problems

Falling into the Examiner's Trap

Most of the time students fall into examiner's distraction trap. Examiners know that you are tend to locate the keywords that appear in the question sentence. That's why sometimes they put those keywords at the wrong places in the reading text. Therefore if you rush to answer just looking at the keyword in the reading text, you might end up with throwing away some easy marks.​

Missing Qualifying Words

Some students miss the qualifier words because of not reading the whole sentence properly. The qualifier words like however, nevertheless, but etc. can change the complete meaning of a sentence. 

Blind Reading

In the test, a reading passage appears at first, and then the questions appear, usually on the next page. Therefore, as students see the passage first, they rush to read the passage before reading the question section. This is a problem and a wrong approach. When they are reading the passage before reading the questions, they don't know what they are looking for. That's why it's a completely blind reading.

Forgetting Negative Marking

Many students tend to forget that there is no negative marking in IELTS exam for the wrong answer. Therefore, leaving the answer blank is a big mistake.

Solution Tips

  • This is an order question. Answers will appear in order in the reading text according to question order. That means the answer of the second question will be there somewhere after the answer of the first question, likewise the answer of the third question will appear after the answer of the second question, and so on. Once you know this million dollar information, you know where to start searching for your next question.

  • Be aware of synonyms and paraphrases. Underline the keywords like name, date, number etc. in the question sentence, and find the synonyms or paraphrases of the keywords in the reading text.

  • Read the questions multiple times, and try to predict the answer before you start looking for it.

  • Never leave any answer blank. Even if you cannot guess the answer, still fill the answer box. There is no negative marking, you have always chance to get marks, so what are you afraid of?😎

  • Please read the question before reading the text. We're sure it will work much better for you than the other way around.

  • Eliminate the options which seem more irrelevant to your question. You will always find these types of options. This strategy will raise your accuracy rate.

  • Be aware of examiners' distractions. Don't rush to answer looking at the matching keywords or just by reading a sentence partially. Rather, read the whole sentence before you decide the answer.

Check the other Reading question types with their detailed discussion:

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