IELTS Reading Tips | Identifying Information Question

How to master the Identifying Information Question
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How to master the Identifying Information Question

  • Matching paragraph information question may seem a little overwhelming, as it requires strong scanning skills. Many test takers may be under the false assumption that they need to understand every single word, when the key here is to look for specific information within a paragraph.
  • IELTS Reading Tips - Identifying Information
  • Objective: You must identify the paragraph that contains the information in the question.
  • Skills Used: You will need to look for specific content in the text. You will need to scan the text and understand the content.
  • The questions will be statements – in other words, sentences that mention information found somewhere in the text. The answers don’t come in order which may make the question seem overwhelming, but fortunately, the information in the questions will always be in the text.

You can follow the steps below:

  • Read and understand the questions
  • Because you are looking for specific information in the text, it essential that you read the statements carefully and understand what they mean.
  • Paraphrase the questions
  • Paraphrasing the question statement means saying what they mean in different words, focusing particularly on their key words and/or phrases. For example:
  • 'species of penguins and their partners'
    In other words: 'the type of partners/mates that different kinds of penguins have.'
  • If you explain the questions in other words, you make sure you understand them better, and you can see more easily where the meaning is expressed in the paragraphs.
  • Scan the Text for Information
  • To scan a text means to read it quickly while looking for specific information. You don’t need to read or understand every single word, as long as you are able to identify specific information that helps you answer the question, including synonyms to key words you have paraphrased.
  • Choose the Correct Answer
  • After you made sure you understood the statement, and you have scanned the text for specific information, you can choose the paragraph that mentions the information in the statement (paragraphs usually each have a letter: A, B, C…)

Useful Tips:

  • The number of paragraphs may not be the same as the number of questions. Sometimes you will need to use a paragraph more than once. Other times, not all paragraphs will be used. You must read the instructions carefully.
  • Read all the matching paragraph questions before reading the IELTS reading paragraphs. Because some of the information is not given in the text and the answers do not come in order, you want to make sure you know what topics you are expected to look for in the text before answering the questions. This will help you make the most of your time.
  • Matching paragraph questions will be statements, and they will include a general topic you will need to identify in the paragraphs. They will not tell you explicitly what words to look for in the paragraphs, but rather the type of information to look for. For example:
  • 'The rituals male penguins undertake to attract a mate'
    It will be: 'A description of the courting process'
  • In the example above, the general topic is ‘courting process’. However, within the text, related words to ‘courting process’ could be ‘ritual’, ‘attract a mate’ or ‘impress a mate’, amongst others. Those are the types of words to look for in the paragraphs, in order to accurately locate the topics that are mentioned in the questions.
  • You do not need to understand all the words in the IELTS reading text. It is enough to identify specific information in the text that relates to the topic in the questions.
  • The answers will not come in order, so it is important to understand what information is mentioned in the questions, so you can use the time and find the answers more efficiently.
  • Paragraphs tend to have a letter each (A, B, C…), but make sure to read the instructions carefully so you know how to answer the question correctly.
  • You may try to do matching paragraphing question type after you have finished other types of question in that reading text. This way, you will have a reasonable understanding of the entire passage as well as the individual paragraphs. This should make your task of location information much faster.
  • Now is the time to practice this type of question:

  • A    Extreme cold is one reliable way to keep artefacts relatively fresh for a few thousand years, but once thawed out, these materials experience degradation relatively swiftly.
    B    As the ice has vanished, it has been giving up the treasures it has preserved in cold storage for the last 6,000 years.
    C    Fieldwork is hard work - hiking with all our equipment, often camping on permafrost - but very rewarding.
    Which section contains the following information? Choose the correct letter, A-C.
  • A reference to the physical difficulties involved in an archaeological expedition
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