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Saturday, 4 May 2013

Reading Lessons

Reading Lesson 1 - Matching Paragraph Headings
Objective: to practice matching paragraph headings to paragraphs.
A common type of IELTS Reading question will ask you to select headings of paragraphs and match them to the paragraphs from a text.
On this page there is a full reading text and some practice questions. At the end of the page, there is a discussion of the answers and how you should have identified the correct match.

Strategies to answer the questions
1.      Quickly read through the paragraph headings so you can see what they say.
2.      Then look at the first paragraph.
3.      Often only the topic sentence needs to be read carefully because the main idea and answer are there - you may be able to just skim the rest.
4.      Sometimes, however, the answer is not in the topic sentence and the whole paragraph needs to be read more carefully.
5.      If a match is not immediately obvious, move on to the next one.
6.      If you are unsure between two answers at first, put them both in. You may be able to eliminate one answer later if it fits another paragraph better.
7.      If at the end you are still stuck between two answers for a question, pick which fits best.
Things to beware of
1.      There are always more choices of paragraph headings on the list than paragraphs, so be careful when matching them.
2.      Watch out for synonyms - often words in the paragraphs and paragraph headings will not be the same; they will be synonyms.
3.      Having a noun from a heading that is in the paragraph does not guarantee they match - you still need to read it carefully to check.
One Paragraph Practice Exercise
Before you do a full reading, we'll have a practice with one paragraph.
This is the first paragraph from the full reading you will do. There are only five choices of paragraph headings for this first one (less than on the full reading).
Follow the procedure shown above, and click on what you think is the correct answer. The topic sentence is in red to remind you to focus on that.
Yoruba Towns
A. The Yoruba people of Nigeria classify their towns in two ways. Permanent towns with their own governments are called “ilu”, whereas temporary settlements, set up to support work in the country are “aba”. Although ilu tend to be larger than aba, the distinction is not one of size, some aba are large, while declining ilu can be small, but of purpose. There is no “typical” Yoruba town, but some features are common to most towns.
Top of Form
1.      Match the correct heading to the paragraph.
Town facilities
Oyo’s palace
Urban divisions
Architectural features
Types of settlements

Bottom of Form
Now you know some strategies and have practiced with one paragraph, you can now practice matching paragraph headings with a full text.
Matching Paragraph Headings - Practice
Read and focus on the topic sentences in the text below and then match the paragraph headings to their paragraphs. One has been done for you.
The reading passage has seven paragraphs: A – G.
Choose the most suitable paragraph headings B – G from the list of headings on the right.
Write the appropriate numbers (i –ix) in the text boxes below the headings. NB There are more paragraph headings than paragraphs so you will not use them all.
Yoruba Towns
A. The Yoruba people of Nigeria classify their towns in two ways. Permanent towns with their own governments are called “ilu”, whereas temporary settlements, set up to support work in the country are “aba”. Although ilu tend to be larger than aba, the distinction is not one of size, some aba are large, while declining ilu can be small, but of purpose. There is no “typical” Yoruba town, but some features are common to most towns.
B. In the 19th century most towns were heavily fortified and the foundations of these walls are sometimes visible. Collecting tolls to enter and exit through the walls was a major source of revenue for the old town rulers, as were market fees. The markets were generally located centrally and in small towns, while in large towns there were permanent stands made of corrugated iron or concrete. The market was usually next to the local ruler’s palace.
C. The palaces were often very large. In the 1930’s, the area of Oyo’s palace covered 17 acres, and consisted of a series of courtyards surrounded by private and public rooms. After colonization, many of the palaces were completely or partially demolished. Often the rulers built two storey houses for themselves using some of the palace grounds for government buildings.
D. The town is divided into different sections. In some towns these are regular, extending out from the center of the town like spokes on a wheel, while in others, where space is limited, they are more random. The different areas are further divided into compounds called “ile”. These vary in size considerably from single dwellings to up to thirty houses. They tend to be larger in the North. Large areas are devoted to government administrative buildings. Newer developments such as industrial or commercial areas or apartment housing for civil servants tends to be build on the edge of the town.
E. Houses are rectangular and either have a courtyard in the center or the rooms come off a central corridor. Most social life occurs in the courtyard. They are usually built of hardened mud and have roofs of corrugated iron or, in the countryside, thatch. Buildings of this material are easy to alter, either by knocking down rooms or adding new ones. And can be improved by coating the walls with cement. Richer people often build their houses of concrete blocks and, if they can afford to, build two storey houses. Within compounds there can be quite a mixture of building types. Younger well-educated people may have well furnished houses while their older relatives live in mud walled buildings and sleep on mats on the floor.
F. The builder or the most senior man gets a room either near the entrance or, in a two storied house, next to the balcony. He usually has more than one room. Junior men get a room each and there are separate rooms for teenage boys and girls to sleep in. Younger children sleep with their mothers. Any empty room are used as storage, let out or, if they face the street, used as shops.
G. Amenities vary. In some towns most of the population uses communal water taps and only the rich have piped water, in others piped water is more normal. Some areas have toilets, but bucket toilets are common with waste being collected by a “night soil man”. Access to water and electricity are key political issues.
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Paragraph Headings Answer Discussion
Paragraph B
(vi) - Historical foundations
B. In the 19th century most towns were heavily fortified and the foundations of these walls are sometimes visible. Collecting tolls to enter and exit through the walls was a major source of revenue for the old town rulers, as were market fees. The markets were generally located centrally and in small towns, while in large towns there were permanent stands made of corrugated iron or concrete. The market was usually next to the local ruler’s palace.
In this first question, the word 'foundation' is in the topic sentence. This does not automatically make 'vi' the correct answer. However, it is a good reason to flag this up as a possibility. The heading also refers to 'history', so the reference to '19th century' in the topic sentence tells us the paragraph is about the history. A quick skim of the paragraph confirms this.
Paragraph C
(ix) - Various changes
C. The palaces were often very large. In the 1930’s, the area of Oyo’s palace covered 17 acres, and consisted of a series of courtyards surrounded by private and public rooms. After colonization, many of the palaces were completely or partially demolished. Often the rulers built two storey houses for themselves using some of the palace grounds for government buildings.
The second part of the paragraph goes on to discuss changes that took place.
Paragraph D
(iii) - Urban divisions
D. The town is divided into different sections. In some towns these are regular, extending out from the center of the town like spokes on a wheel, while in others, where space is limited, they are more random. The different areas are further divided into compounds called “ile”. These vary in size considerably from single dwellings to up to thirty houses. They tend to be larger in the North. Large areas are devoted to government administrative buildings. Newer developments such as industrial or commercial areas or apartment housing for civil servants tends to be build on the edge of the town.
The answer is first seen in the topic sentence. The word 'divided' should have flagged this up to you as a possibility. Notice the use of the synonym 'urban' to replace 'town'. It is common to see synonyms in paragraph headings questions and other IELTS reading questions.
Paragraph E
(iv) - Architectural features
E. Houses are rectangular and either have a courtyard in the center or the rooms come off a central corridor. Most social life occurs in the courtyard. They are usually built of hardened mud and have roofs of corrugated iron or, in the countryside, thatch. Buildings of this material are easy to alter, either by knocking down rooms or adding new ones. And can be improved by coating the walls with cement. Richer people often build their houses of concrete blocks and, if they can afford to, build two storey houses. Within compounds there can be quite a mixture of building types. Younger well-educated people may have well furnished houses while their older relatives live in mud walled buildings and sleep on mats on the floor.
The topic sentence starts to give you a clue that 'iv' is the correct choice of the paragraph headings as it discusses architectural styles, which are then discussed further in the supporting sentences that follow.
Paragraph F
(vii) - Domestic arrangements
F. The builder or the most senior man gets a room either near the entrance or, in a two storied house, next to the balcony. He usually has more than one room. Junior men get a room each and there are separate rooms for teenage boys and girls to sleep in. Younger children sleep with their mothers. Any empty room are used as storage, let out or, if they face the street, used as shops.
In this context, 'domestic' means of or relating to the home, so the heading is referring to the arrangements within the home. Again, just by reading the topic sentence you can see that this paragraph is discussing home arrangements and skimming through the rest of the paragraph confirms this.
Paragraph G
(i) - Town facilities
G. Amenities vary. In some towns most of the population uses communal water taps and only the rich have piped water, in others piped water is more normal. Some areas have toilets, but bucket toilets are common with waste being collected by a “night soil man”. Access to water and electricity are key political issues.
'Facilities' is a synonym of 'amenities' so this is the first clue that this could fit this paragraph, but you need to read on to confirm that the paragraph is discussing the facilities of the town, which it is.
Lesson 2: IELTS Multiple Choice Practice
Objectives:
·         To practice IELTS multiple choice questions
·         To practice scanning techniques
·         To look at the use of synonyms in IELTS reading questions
Strategies to answer the questions
1.      Look through the questions first
2.      Underline key words from the question
3.      Then scan the text for those key words that you have underlined
4.      The answer should be found close to that word
5.      The answers will be found in the text in the same order as the questions
Things to beware of
1.      There will be synonyms used in the reading - the words in the IELTS multiple choice questions may not be the same as in the text
One Paragraph Practice Exercise
Before looking at a longer reading, we'll have a practice with two paragraphs. It is the first part of the full reading you will do.
Identify the key word in the question first of all. Then scan the text to find it. When you have done this, read the sentences around this key word and see what information best matches the three choices you have.
Top of Form
1.      What is dry farming?
Preserving nitrates and moisture.
Ploughing the land again and again.
Cultivating fallow land.
Bottom of Form
Australian Agricultural Innovations:
1850 – 1900
During this period, there was a wide spread expansion of agriculture in Australia. The selection system was begun, whereby small sections of land were parceled out by lot. Particularly in New South Wales, this led to conflicts between small holders and the emerging squatter class, whose abuse of the system often allowed them to take vast tracts of fertile land.
There were also many positive advances in farming technology as the farmers adapted agricultural methods to the harsh Australian conditions. One of the most important was “dry farming”. This was the discovery that repeated ploughing of fallow, unproductive land could preserve nitrates and moisture, allowing the land to eventually be cultivated. This, along with the extension of the railways allowed the development of what are now great inland wheat lands.
To answer this question you should have highlighted the word dry farming.
You should then have been able to scan the two paragraphs to quickly find this word.
Reading the information around it more carefully would the give you the answer:
Cultivating means to improve and prepare (land) by ploughing or fertilizing, for raising crops.
So the answer was "the ploughing of fallow land...to eventually be cultivated."
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Full Practice - IELTS Multiple Choice
Top of Form
1. What is dry farming?
Preserving nitrates and moisture.
Ploughing the land again and again.
Cultivating fallow land.
2. What did H. V. McKay do?
Export the stripper.
Improve the stripper.
Cut, collect and sort wheat.
3. What was the stump jump plough’s innovation?
It could cut through tree stumps.
To put the plough shear on wheels.
It allowed farmers to cultivate land that hadn’t been fully cleared.
4. What did John Custance recommend?
Improving wheat yields.
Revitalising the industry.
Fertilizing the soil.
5. Why was William Farrer’s wheat better?
It was drought resistant.
It wasn’t from England or South Africa.
It was drier for Australian conditions.
Australian Agricultural Innovations:
1850 – 1900
During this period, there was a wide spread expansion of agriculture in Australia. The selection system was begun, whereby small sections of land were parceled out by lot. Particularly in New South Wales, this led to conflicts between small holders and the emerging squatter class, whose abuse of the system often allowed them to take vast tracts of fertile land.
There were also many positive advances in farming technology as the farmers adapted agricultural methods to the harsh Australian conditions. One of the most important was “dry farming”. This was the discovery that repeated ploughing of fallow, unproductive land could preserve nitrates and moisture, allowing the land to eventually be cultivated. This, along with the extension of the railways allowed the development of what are now great inland wheat lands.
The inland areas of Australia are less fertile than most other wheat producing countries and yields per acre are lower. This slowed their development, but also led to the development of several labour saving devices. In 1843 John Ridley, a South Australian farmer, invented “the stripper”, a basic harvesting machine. By the 1860s its use was widespread. H. V. McKay, then only nineteen, modified the machine so that it was a complete harvester: cutting, collecting and sorting. McKay developed this early innovation into a large harvester manufacturing industry centred near Melbourne and exporting worldwide. Robert Bowyer Smith invented the “stump jump plough”, which let a farmer plough land which still had tree stumps on it. It did this by replacing the traditional plough shear with a set of wheels that could go over stumps, if necessary.
The developments in farm machinery were supported by scientific research. During the late 19th century, South Australian wheat yields were going down. An agricultural scientist at the colony’s agricultural college, John Custance, found that this was due to a lack of phosphates and advised the use of soluble superphosphate fertilizer. The implementation of this scheme revitalised the industry.
From early days it had been obvious that English and European sheep breeds had to be adapted to Australian conditions, but only near the end of the century was the same applied to crops. Prior to this, English and South African strains had been use, with varying degrees of success. William Farrer, from Cambridge University, was the first to develop new wheat varieties that were better able to withstand dry Australian conditions. By 1914, Australia was no longer thought of as a land suitable only for sheep, but as a wheat growing nation.
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Lesson 3:
IELTS True False Not Given
Objectives: to practice answering IELTS True False Not Given questions.
This lesson explains how to answer True and False questions for IELTS.
You also have a Not Given option with this type of task.
Firsly, you will be presented with a list of facts.
You then have to look at the text in order to decide if the facts are true, false, or not given.
Below are some tips and strategies to help you answer this type of question.

Tips
·         If the fact you are given is clearly in the reading it is True
·         If the reading says the opposite of the fact you've been given it is False
·         If it is not true or false, it is Not Given

Strategies to answer the questions
·         The questions follow the order of the text.
·         Read the question carefully to make sure you fully understand what it is saying.
·         Scan the text to find where the answer is using key words from the question
·         When you find where the answer is, read the text carefully to identify if you think it is T, F or NG.
·         The questions will probably use synonyms rather than the words in the text.
·         Look out for controlling words such as “only”, “all’, “never” etc. For example, if the fact in the question says 'some' and the fact in the text says 'all', then it is F.
·         Do not spend a long time looking for the answer to one question; it is probably NG, if you cannot find it.
·         Make sure you use the correct code; 'Yes', 'No', 'No Information' is sometimes used (these question are slightly different and you look for opinions rather than facts).

Example
Look at this statment, taken from the first sentence in the reading below:
Chiles originate in South America and have been eaten for at least 9,500 years.
Here are some example IELTS True False Not Given statements with answers:
1.      Chiles come from South America - T
2.      People began eating Chiles in the last few centuries - F
3.      South Americans were the first people to start eating Chiles - NG
Number one is clearly true. Notice the use of the synonym 'come from' used instead of 'originates'. It is common to use different words.
Two is clearly false as it was 9,500 years ago, not a few 100 years ago.
Three is not in the text. Be careful about making assumptions then thinking it is true. It is quite probable the South Americans began eating Chiles first as they originated there; however, you can't be sure of that and the text does not tell you that.
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IELTS True False Not Given - Practice
Now, read the following text and answer the questions to the right of the reading using the drop down menu to choose either True, False, or Not Given.
An explanation of the answers is provided below.
Do the following statements agree with the information in the text? Mark them:
T if the statement agrees with the text
F if the statement does not agree with the text
NG if there is no information about this in the text
Chilies
Chiles originate in South America and have been eaten for at least 9,500 years. Organised cultivation began around 5,400BC. Christopher Columbus was the first European to encounter chilies, when he landed on the island of Hispaniola in 1492. He thought it was a type of pepper and called it the “red pepper”, a name still used today. After their introduction to Europe they were an immediate sensation and were quickly incorporated into the diet. From there they spread to Africa, India and East Asia.
The reason for the chili’s “hotness” lies in a chemical called Capsaisin. Capsaisin causes temporary irritation to the trigeminal cells, which are the pain receptors in the mouth, nose and throat. After the pain messages are transmitted to the brain, endorphins, natural pain killers, are released and these not only kill the pain but give the chili eater a short lived natural high. Other side effects include: an increased heart rate, a running nose and increased salivation and sweating, which can have a cooling effect in hot climates.
The reason for the presence of Capsaisin is thought to be to deter animals from eating the fruit. Only mammals feel the burning effects; birds feel nothing. As birds are a better method of distributing the seeds, which pass intact through their guts, Capsaisin would seem to be a result of natural selection.
The smaller chilies tend to be the hottest. This may reflect the fact that they tend to grow closer to the ground and are therefore more vulnerable to animals. The heat of a chili is measured on the Scoville scale. The hottest types such as the Habenero and the Scotch Bonnet rate between 100,000 and 300,000, the world famous Tabasco sauceÒ rates at 15,000 to 30,000, about the same as the Thai prik khee nu, while the popular Jalapeno is between 5,000 and 15,000. Powdered chili is 500 to 1,000 and the mild capsicins and paprikas can range between 100 and 0.
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IELTS True False Not Given - Answers Discussion
Question 1
Chilies became popular as soon as they were brought into Europe - T
After their introduction to Europe they were an immediate sensation and were quickly incorporated into the diet.
There two statements are clearly saying the same thing. Notice the use of synomyms:
Became popular = sensation
As soon as = immediately
Brought into = introduced
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Question 2
Capsaisin damages the mouth - F
Capsaisin causes temporary irritation the trigeminal cells.
This is false as the statement says 'damage'. This is not the same as a 'temprary irritation'.
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Question 3
Chilies can be part of a birds diet - T
Only mammals feel the burning effects; birds feel nothing. As birds are a better method of distributing the seeds, which pass intact through their guts
This is true as this section in the reading clearly tells us birds feel nothing (when they eat them) and they distribute them around when it leaves their body. So clearly chiles are eaten by birds. In other words, they can be a part of a birds diet.
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Question 4
All large chilies grow high off the ground - NG
The smaller chilies tend to be the hottest. This may reflect the fact that they tend to grow closer to the ground and are therefore more vulnerable to animals.
We are told here that small chiles grow closer to the ground. It can be assumed then that many of the large ones are higher off the ground.
However, it says 'all large chiles'. We are not given any information to say all of them grow high off the ground. It's possible some don't, so we don't know which means it is Not Given.
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Question 5
People breed chilies for their heat - NG
The heat of a chili is measured on the Scoville scale.
Again, this is Not Given. We are given some information about heat in this sentence and those that follow.
But these are just descriptions about how they are hot. We are not told specifically that this is the reason they are breeing them.
Lesson 4:
IELTS Paragraph Headings
This lesson provides you with further practice on IELTS paragraph headings matching type questions.
Imagine you are doing a reading task which involves choosing the correct headings for paragraphs from a list of possible headings. It may be very tempting to cross off the headings that you have used as you go.
For example, here is an example of a task that someone is halfway through after choosing four IELTS paragraph headings.
i.            A climate of fear
ii.            Fan violence returns
iii.            FIFA's response
iv.            A repeat offender
v.            Legal action
vi.            Not just the fans
vii.            A serious problem
viii.            Not to blame
ix.            Violence in the news
x.            A widespread problem

What is the possible problem with this way of doing things?
The problem with crossing off choices is that it means you no longer consider those options for any of the remaining paragraphs.
Let's suppose that you have incorrectly chosen heading i for paragraph 1, when heading i should in fact be used for paragraph 5. If you cross out the options as you go, it means that when you come to do paragraph 5 you will choose a different incorrect option.
In this way, making one mistake can lead to another. Making two mistakes early on can easily lead to five or six wrong answers!
A much better idea is just to write down a paragraph number at the end of each option as you go. For each paragraph consider all the possible headings, and at this stage don't worry if you have more than 1 paragraph number after each heading.
So you may, for example, have something like this as you go through the exercise:
Paragraph 2 - viii / iv
When you get to the end of the passage you will probably have a single paragraph number after most of the IELTS paragraph headings. You can now cross off those options. For one or two perhaps you will have more than one. For each of these go back to the passage and decide which of your choices is the best; the paragraph you are left over with must need one of the other headings that you didn't choose.
Paragraph 2 - viii / iv
We are now going to try this method. You will be reading a short article about the problem of soccer violence from the Guardian newspaper.
Use the boxes at the side to input your answers. You can put in more than one choice as you go along if you are not sure, but remember to delete one of them at the end before you submit your answers.
Don't look below the reading until you have finished as there is a discussion of the answers.
Soccer Violence
1. Fiorentina's exclusion from the UEFA Cup after a match official was injured by a firecracker thrown during their second-round match with Grasshopper Zurich in Salerno brought hooliganism back to centre stage.
2. The Florence club are appealing against the decision, arguing that the object was thrown by rival Salernitana fans and the ban would set a dangerous precedent. But UEFA will have borne in mind that Fiorentina were playing so far away from home only because they had been banned from their own ground for crowd trouble in Europe last season.
3. Whether Fiorentina have been hard done by or not, fan violence is a problem in the Italian game. Fighting before Sunday's 1-1 draw between Bologna and Roma left eight people in hospital, two with stab wounds. After the game a Roma supporters' bus was stoned and set on fire.
4. But Italy is not the only country suffering from what used to be called "the English disease". At the weekend police in Bucharest fired tear-gas and made 20 arrests after a pitch invasion at the Steaua-Dinamo derby, reflecting a marked growth in hooliganism in Romania. The Greek first division match between PAOK Thessaloniki and Olympiakos Piraeus last week was abandoned after one of the linesmen was left concussed by home fans furious at a disallowed goal, a decision which brought 10,000 people on to the streets of Salonika in protest. In neighbouring Albania, Skenderbeu Korce were fined and docked three points last month after a brawl involving players, fans and the referee.
5. Hooliganism is taking its toll on the South American game too. An Argentinian judge suspended all second division matches this month in an effort to combat rising violence.
6. The same judge halted the first division for two weeks in May for the same reason. Football violence has claimed 37 lives in Argentina in the Nineties and leading clubs routinely have to dole out free tickets and cash to their gangsterish fans, known as barras bravas, whose activities include extortion. A recent survey in Brazil found that 61 per cent of fans said they stayed away from matches because of fear of violence.
7. FIFA is considering the postponement of the Confederations Cup, scheduled for January, which may persuade the world champions France to take part, a FIFA spokesman said yesterday.

IELTS Paragraph Headings - Answers Discussion
1.      You might have chosen heading ii but this is wrong because we don't know that violence ever disappeared. It has to be heading ix because it's back in the public eye.
2.      You might have chosen heading viii but this is incorrect because this is only the claim of Fiorentina. The key point here is that they have been banned before, so it must be heading iv.
3.      The paragraph describes the situation in Italy which is serious, so you should choose heading vii.
4.      This paragraph describes the situation in a number of European countries, so the answer must be heading x.
5.      You might have wanted to choose heading x here, as it does introduce the problems in another part of the world. But, you need this heading for the previous paragraph, and this paragraph talks about the actions of a judge. The answer should be heading v.
6.      You might have wanted to choose heading v here, as it does start by mentioning the further actions of the judge. But the paragraph is really about the effect of organised hooligans on the club and its supporters, and how they are scared, so you should choose i.
7.      Paragraph 7 discusses what action FIFA is considering, in other words, its response. So iii is the correct answer.
Lesson 5:
IELTS Sentence Completion
Objectives: to practice how to answer IELTS sentence completion tasks and to examine paraphrase and synonyms.
Often in the reading the test requires the candidate to complete a sentence.
In this type of task, you are given a sentences from the reading with a gap in it, and you have to fill it with words taken directly from the reading (check if the question tells you to use the exact words from the reading - some do not).
When doing this, various factors are important to keep in mind:
·         make sure the answer does not exceed the stated word limit. Articles and unneeded adjectives can sometimes be left out to achieve this.
·         make sure the answer fits into the statement grammatically.
·         be aware that the statement will not use the same words as the text.
As the statement you are given in IELTS sentence completion tasks will not be taken exactly from the reading, you need to be aware of paraphrasing and synomyms.
These will both be used in the questions. This is what they mean:
Paraphrase: to repeat something written or spoken using different words
Synonym: a word or phrase which has the same or nearly the same meaning as another word or phrase in the same language
So when you look at the question, you will need to find a paraphrase of that sentence and probably some synomyms in the reading in order to find the right one, and then work out the answer.
Practice
Let's have a short IELTS sentence completion practice before completing the task.
Firstly, see if you can find the sentence below in the reading. You will need to find paraphrases / synomyms of the words in bold in order to identify it:
Britain decided to send people to live and govern Australia due to _________________ factors.
You should have identified it as this first sentence in paragraph 2:
A number of reasons contributed to Britain's decision to colonise Australia.
And these were the paraphrases / synomyms:
reasons = factors
Colonise = send people to live and govern
So you should then be able to work out that the correct answer to put in the gap is "a number of".
Now, using this technique and the tips at the top, read the full passage and do the IELTS sentence completion exercise below (the reading is shorter than a real IELTS reading).

IELTS Sentence Completion Practice Exercise
European Settlement of Australia
European settlement of Australia began in 1788 when a British penal colony was established on the east coast. From this starting point Australia grew rapidly and continually, expanding across the entire continent.
A number of reasons contributed to Britain's decision to colonise Australia. The most important factor was Britain's need to relieve its overcrowded prisons. Several violent incidents at overcrowded prisons convinced the British government of the need to separate unruly elements from the rest of the prison populace.
Additionally, Australia was of strategic importance to Britain, and it provided a base for the Royal Navy in the eastern sea. Also, Australia could be used as an entry point to the economic opportunities of the surrounding region. All these points figured in the decision by Lord Sydney, secretary of state of home affairs, to authorise the colonisation.
To this affect, on May 13, 1787, Captain Arthur Phillip, commanding eleven ships full of convicts, left Britain for Australia. He successfully landed a full fleet at Botany Bay on January 18, 1788. However, they left the bay eight days later because of its openness and poor soil, and settled instead at Port Jackson, a few kilometres north. The ships landed 1,373 people, including 732 convicts, and the settlement became Sydney. Australia Day is now celebrated on 26 January each year, to commemorate this first fleet landing.
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Complete the following statements using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS.
(put your choice into the gaps - use small letters)
Top of Form
1. Australia was originally founded as .
2. The major consideration in colonizing Australia was Britain’s .
3. It was thought that Australia could be utilised as to the neigbouring region.
4. Lord Sydney took every factor into account when he gave official permission for of Australia.
5. Botany Bay was abandoned by the settlers due to the lack of cover and .
Bottom of Form
These are the paraphrases and synonyms that you would have needed to identify in order to successfully find the answers:

Original word from the reading
Synonym / paraphrase from the question
Question 1
began
founded
Question 2
most important factor
major consideration
Question 3
used
utilized
surrounding
neighbouring
Question 4
all these points figuered
took every factor into account
authorise
official permission
Question 5
left
abandoned
openess
lack of cover

Lesson 6:
IELTS Reading Multiple Choice
Objective: IELTS reading multiple choice and skimming and scanning practice.
You won't have time in the reading test to carefully read the whole passage all of the way through, so you need to find the answers in the text quickly.
This lesson shows you how skimming and scanning can help with this.
Identifying the question type
Before you start any reading pasage, you should firstly take a look at the question stems to get an idea of what you may need to look out for.
So now look at the IELTS reading multiple choice questions below this reading.
If you look at the question stems, you will see that names are often mentioned e.g.James Alan Fox, John J. DiIulio, Michael Tonry. So this immediately tells you it is a good idea to underline 'names' as you read the text.
You will then be able to quickly scan the text later to find where the answers are.
Looking at the question stems first also gives you an idea of what the reading is about.
Underline / highlight key words
As you read the text, you should get into the habit of highlighting words that you think may be important and will help you find answers later.
These are often nouns like names, dates, numbers or any other key words that stand out as a key topic of that paragraph.
Looking at the IELTS reading multiple choice questions quickly first may help with this.
IELTS Reading Multiple Choice Questions
This type of question follows the order of the text. So when you have found one answer, you know that the next one will be below, and probably not too far away.
When you start looking at the questions, you should underline key words in the question stem to help you find the answers in the text.
Look at the IELTS reading multiple choice questions again - as you will see, key words have been highlighted. You can use these to help you scan the text to find the answers more quickly.
Reading in detail
When you read the text for the first time, you should focus on the topic sentences, and skim the rest of the paragraph.
But once you start answering the IELTS reading multiple choice questions and you have found where the answer is, you will need to read the text carefully in order to identify the correct choice.
Tip: Do not think that just because you have found some words in the multiple choices (a, b or c) that match the words in the text that this must be the right answer.
It's usually not that simple so you must read the section where you think the answer is carefully.
IELTS Reading Multiple Choice - Practice
NOW FOR THE BAD NEWS: A TEENAGE TIME BOMB
Para. 1
They are just four, five and six years old right now, but already they are making criminologists nervous. They are growing up, too frequently, in abusive or broken homes, with little adult supervision and few positive role models. Left to themselves, they spend much of their time hanging out on the streets or soaking up violent TV shows. By the year 2005 they will be teenagers--a group that tends to be, in the view of Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox, "temporary sociopaths--impulsive and immature.'' If they also have easy access to guns and drugs, they can be extremely dangerous.
Para. 2
For all the heartening news offered by recent crime statistics, there is an ominous flip side. While the crime rate is dropping for adults, it is soaring for teens. Between 1990 and 1994, the rate at which adults age 25 and older committed homicides declined 22%; yet the rate jumped 16% for youths between 14 and 17, the age group that in the early '90s supplanted 18- to 24-year-olds as the most crime-prone. And that is precisely the age group that will be booming in the next decade. There are currently 39 million children under 10 in the U.S., more than at any time since the 1950s. "This is the calm before the crime storm," says Fox. "So long as we fool ourselves in thinking that we're winning the war against crime, we may be blindsided by this bloodbath of teenage violence that is lurking in the future."
Para. 3
Demographics don't have to be destiny, but other social trends do little to contradict the dire predictions. Nearly all the factors that contribute to youth crime--single-parent households, child abuse, deteriorating inner-city schools--are getting worse. At the same time, government is becoming less, not more, interested in spending money to help break the cycle of poverty and crime. All of which has led John J. DiIulio Jr., a professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton, to warn about a new generation of "superpredators," youngsters who are coming of age in actual and "moral poverty,'' without "the benefit of parents, teachers, coaches and clergy to teach them right or wrong and show them unconditional love."
Para. 4
Predicting a generation's future crime patterns is, of course, risky, especially when outside factors (Will crack use be up or down? Will gun laws be tightened?) remain unpredictable. Michael Tonry, a professor of law and public policy at the University of Minnesota, argues that the demographic doomsayers are unduly alarmist. "There will be a slightly larger number of people relative to the overall population who are at high risk for doing bad things, so that's going to have some effect," he concedes. "But it's not going to be an apocalyptic effect." Norval Morris, professor of law and criminology at the University of Chicago, finds DiIulio's notion of superpredators too simplistic: "The human animal in young males is quite a violent animal all over the world. The people who put forth the theory of moral poverty lack a sense of history and comparative criminology."
Para. 5
Yet other students of the inner city are more pessimistic. "All the basic elements that spawn teenage crime are still in place, and in many cases the indicators are worse," says Jonathan Kozol, author of Amazing Grace, an examination of poverty in the South Bronx. "There's a dramatic increase of children in foster care, and that's a very high-risk group of kids. We're not creating new jobs, and we're not improving education to suit poor people for the jobs that exist."
Para. 6
Can anything defuse the demographic time bomb? Fox urges "reinvesting in children": improving schools, creating after-school programs and providing other alternatives to gangs and drugs. DiIulio, a law-and-order conservative, advocates tougher prosecution and wants to strengthen religious institutions to instill better values. Yet he opposes the Gingrich-led effort to make deep cuts in social programs. "A failure to maintain existing welfare and health commitment for kids," he says, "is to guarantee that the next wave of juvenile predators will be even worse than we're dealing with today." DiIulio urges fellow conservatives to think of Medicaid not as a health-care program but as "an anticrime policy.''
695 Words
(Source: Time Magazine)

IELTS Reading Multiple Choice Questions
Top of Form
1. Young children are making criminologists nervous because
(a) they are committing too much crime.
(b) they are impulsive and immature.
(c) they may grow up to be criminals.
2. The general crime rate in the US is
(a)increasing
(b)decreasing
(c)not changing
3. The age group which commits the highest rate of crime is
(a)14 - 17.
(b)18 - 24.
(c)24 +.
4. James Fox believes that the improvement in crime figures could
(a)make us complacent in the fight against crime.
(b)result in an increase in teenage violence.
(c)result in a decrease in teenage violence.
5. According to paragraph 3, the government
(a)is doing everything it can to solve the problem.
(b)is not interested in solving the problem.
(c)is not doing enough to solve the problem.
6. In comparison with James Fox, Michael Tonry is
(a)more pessimistic.
(b)less pessimistic.
(c)equally pessimistic.
7. Jonathan Kozol believes that
(a)there is no solution to the problem.
(b)employment and education are not the answer.
(c)employment and education can improve the situation.
8. Professor DiIulio thinks that spending on social programs
(a) should continue as it is
(b)should be decreased.
(c)is irrelevant to crime rates.
Lesson 7:
Guessing meaning from context
Guessing meaning from context in the IELTS exam is an important technique that will improve your reading skills and the speed with which you can read.
Obviously you do not have a dictionary in the exam so there are likely to be a lot of words from the reading text that you do not understand and you cannot check.
If you come across a word you do not understand, then you cannot spend a lot of time working out its meaning because you only have 20 minutes for each reading.
Therefore, guessing meaning from context is necessary.
This means work out what it means (or have a good guess at least) from the words that are around it and from the topic of the paragraph.
Take a look at this example:
It had been raining hard through the night so the ground was saturated.
What does 'saturated' mean?
You may already know, but if you do not, you should be able to have a good guess from the rest of the sentence.
It had been raining which means the ground must be wet. It was raining 'hard' so this means the ground is probably very wet.
saturated = completely wet
By doing this you are guessing meaning from context and you should try and use this technique for words you do not know.
It may not always be clear from the actual sentence and you may have to look at other sentences around the word.
However, only do this for words that seem important for an understanding of the text. If it looks like they are not, then leave it and move on with the reading. You probably won't have time to do it with every word, especially if you are at a lower reading level.
_________________________________
Guessing meaning from context - Practice
Look at the reading below. Some of the words are in italics and bold. They are quite difficult words so you may not know them.
Try to guess their meaning from the sentence it is in, or sentences around it, and from the topic of the paragraph.
When you think you have guessed, choose from the words below the reading.
Thai Museum Catalogs Opium Dreams -- and Nightmares
CHIANG SAEN, Thailand, Wednesday December 04 (Reuters).
First reactions to Thailand's giant new opium museum in the Golden Triangle are confused: pleasant surprise at cool air after the intense tropical heat, but then disorientation, shock, even fear. Visitors enter the 100-acre complex through a long, dark, mist-filled tunnel, which winds into the base of a hill past bas-reliefs of distorted human figures before emerging suddenly into bright sunlight in front of a field of poppies. "This is the mystery, the contradiction of opium," says Charles Mehl, head of research for the Mae Fah Luang Foundation, which has just completed the $10 million museum. "Opium is one of the very best drugs we have for treating chronic pain and bringing relief from suffering. But it can also be one of the worst, destroying lives if it is used for recreation or exploited for commercial gain."
Built into a hillside by the Mekong River on the northern tip of Thailand, the museum lies at the heart of the Golden Triangle. Chiang Saen town is about 470 miles north of Bangkok, overlooking the junction of the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. The Golden Triangle is a largely lawless region that last year produced more opium and heroin than Afghanistan and more synthetic stimulant pills than all the rest of the laboratories in Southeast Asia put together, drugs agencies say.
Western backpackers and busloads of other day-trippers pour daily into the picturesque Chiang Saen district, in Chiang Rai province, to buy souvenirs on the Mekong's banks. Some try illicit puffs on opium pipes in nearby villages. The museum, which will open officially early next year, aims to exploit this tourist business, luring the curious with the promise of entertainment and impressive audio-visual displays in English and Thai. But as visitors progress down the labyrinthine corridors that stretch across three floors, the warnings against narcotic abuse gradually become more powerful. "People think at first they know what they will see -- a quaint presentation about hill tribes growing opium. But that's only a small part of the story," said Mehl.
Mae Fah Luang has fought a 15-year battle against drug-taking and addiction in Chiang Rai province, establishing what the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says is probably the best anti-drugs crop-substitution program in Asia. Lessons from that program, which has succeeded in the nearby Thai mountains of Doi Tung in part by offering farmers of opium poppies a better income from alternative crops such as coffee and macadamia nuts, are built into the museum. But it also offers a thorough lesson in the history of opium, its derivatives such as heroin and laudanum, and explains how the drugs trade has helped change the world for hundreds of years.
Tradgedy and Trauma
Thought to have been used first along the coast of the Mediterranean, archaeologists say the earliest evidence of opium was found in Switzerland dating from the Neolithic period. It was a popular sedative in ancient Egypt and Greece before spreading to northern Europe and Asia and becoming a key commodity that was exchanged for Chinese tea and other spices by the British and Dutch. With 360-degree special effects, the museum traces the 19th century opium wars between Britain and China before looking at prohibition in the 20th century and official efforts, often spectacularly unsuccessful, to stop the use of illegal drugs.
The museum asks visitors to themselves decide what could be the best approach to narcotics -- prohibition, drug eradication schemes, decriminalisation or legalisation -- but it pulls no punches on the tragedy and trauma inflicted by drugs on abusers. A final, heart-wrenching gallery recounts the powerful true stories of victims of drug abuse around the world through intimate video testimonies by their families.
"The feelings which develop through a visit to the museum change toward the very end when there is evidence of the death and suffering that drug abuse produces," said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the Vienna-based UNODC. "The end message is very strong, namely that use of drugs should be fought. Society has to use all its instruments, which means law enforcement for sure, but not only law enforcement. Prevention and treatment are equally important."
By guessing meaning from context, choose the answer that has the closest meaning to the word:
Top of Form
1. The word "disorientation" in paragraph 1 is closest in meaning to:
2. The word "distorted" in paragraph 1 is closest in meaning to:
3. The word "poppies" in paragraph 1 is closest in meaning to:
4. The word "contradiction" in paragraph 1 is closest in meaning to:
5. The word "exploited" in paragraph 1 is closest in meaning to:
6. The word "synthetic" in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to:
7. The word "illicit" in paragraph 3 is closest in meaning to:
8. The word "curious" in paragraph 3 is closest in meaning to:
9. The word "narcotic" in paragraph 3 is closest in meaning to:
10. The word "addiction" in paragraph 4 is closest in meaning to:
11. The word "alternative" in paragraph 4 is closest in meaning to:
12. The word "prohibition" in paragraph 5 is closest in meaning to:
13. The word "eradication" in paragraph 6 is closest in meaning to:
14. The word "tragedy" in paragraph 6 is closest in meaning to:
IELTS True False Not Given reading questions
This lesson provides further practice on IELTS true false not given reading questions.
Before looking at the questions for the reading, you should take a quick look at the reading passage and get an idea of what it is about.
This will help you tackle the questions.
·         Look at the title - what is the reading about?
·         Look at the topic sentences - what topics does the reading discuss?

What is the difference between False and Not Given?
Follow this link for some general strategies on IELTS true false not given reading questions.
A particular problem, though, for students is spotting the difference between something that is 'False' and 'Not Given'.
Firstly see if the statement agrees with what is in the reading. If it does it is true. If not it is obviously false or not given.
The important point is that if you can say 100% from what you are given in the text that the statement you have been given is not true, then it is 'false'.
If the evidence is not there to say that it is false, that means that it could be true or false but you don't know - you cannot know from the information you have been given.

IELTS true false not given reading questions: Practice
Using these strategies, look at this reading and answer the questions that follow.
UN warns over impact of rapidly ageing populations
The world needs to do more to prepare for the impact of a rapidly ageing population, the UN has warned - particularly in developing countries. Within 10 years the number of people aged over 60 will pass one billion, a report by the UN Population Fund said. The demographic shift will present huge challenges to countries' welfare, pension and healthcare systems. The UN agency also said more had to be done to tackle "abuse, neglect and violence against older persons".

The number of older people worldwide is growing faster than any other age group. The report, Ageing in the 21st Century: A Celebration and a Challenge, estimates that one in nine people around the world are older than 60. The elderly population is expected to swell by 200 million in the next decade to surpass one billion, and reach two billion by 2050. This rising proportion of older people is a consequence of success - improved nutrition, sanitation, healthcare, education and economic well-being are contributing factors, the report says.

But the UN and a charity that also contributed to the report, HelpAge International, say the ageing population is being widely mismanaged. "In many developing countries with large populations of young people, the challenge is that governments have not put policies and practices in place to support their current older populations or made enough preparations for 2050," the agencies said in a joint statement.

The report warns that the skills and experience of older people are being wasted, with many under-employed and vulnerable to discrimination. HelpAge said more countries needed to introduce pension schemes to ensure economic independence and reduce poverty in old age. It stressed that it was not enough to simply pass legislation - the new schemes needed to be funded properly.

The UN report used India as an example, saying it needed to take urgent steps in this area. Almost two-thirds of India's population is under 30. But it also has 100 million elderly people - a figure that is expected to increase threefold by 2050. Traditionally, people in India live in large, extended families and elderly people have been well looked after. But the trend now is to have smaller, nuclear families and many of the country's elderly are finding themselves cast out, says the BBC's Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi.

There are more and more cases of physical and mental abuse, including neglect, suffered by the elderly at the hands of their families. It is slowly becoming a widespread social problem, particularly in urban areas, one which India still has not got to grips with, our correspondent says.

By contrast, the UN report cited the case of Bolivia as an example of good practice in the developing world. All Bolivians over the age of 60 get a pension that is the equivalent of about $30 (£19) a month. Bolivia suffers from frequent flooding and landslides, and older people there have been organised into "Brigadas Blancas" - White Haired Brigades. They help with preparations for emergencies, and accessing humanitarian aid.
Source: BBC News Website
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading?
Mark:
TRUE - if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE
- if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN
- if there is no information on this
Top of Form
1. The growth of the elderly population is going to make it extremely difficult to provide adequate social service provision
True
False
Not Given
2. Approximately thirty per cent of the population are over 60 years old
True
False
Not Given
3. Developed countries are much better prepared than developing countries for 2050
True
False
Not Given
4. More financing is necessary to ensure new pension schemes are successful
True
False
Not Given
5. Elderly people in India are not always being looked after as well as they were in the past
True
False
Not GIven
6. India is starting to deal with the neglect of its elderly population
True
False
Not Given
7. Bolivian Families tend to look after their elderly relatives better then many other countries
True
False
Not Given


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