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Understanding IELTS Reading Question Categories

1. Specific Information Question

Specific information refers to the exact, precise facts or descriptions of something mentioned in the text. Reading for specific information involves understanding what information, or what kind of information, you’re looking for, locating it and then reading the relevant part carefully to get a full and detailed understanding. However, reading for specific information also involves reading to see if the information is contained in a text; not given questions.

What are the types of specific information questions?

The question types that are used to test your ability to identify these details are:

2. Summary Completion Questions:-

Summary Completion questions are another group of fill in the blanks but in the form of a summary from the reading passage that tests your ability to locate and identify particular details in the reading passage. These questions are presented among candidates in the form of one or two separate paragraphs. Most of the summary completion asked till date can be found in the final passage followed by the second and then the first one.

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There are two types of Summary Completion questions:

  • questions with a box of possible answers
    (i.e., you choose answers from a box of possible answers)
  • questions without a box of possible answers
    (i.e., you find the appropriate word or expression from the reading passage).

For these two types of Summary Completion questions, you will be given a one-paragraph summary of either the whole reading passage or a part of the passage. In summary, there are a number of blank spaces (blanks) that show where there are words missing. You will then have to choose the most appropriate word or word groups that belong in the blank spaces. The instructions will tell you the word limit, from one to four words.

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3. Viewpoint Questions:-

Viewpoint is someone’s ability to see the world in their own way. Viewpoint questions are used to test your ability to recognize the writer’s opinion on a topic in the passage. This is a test to know your ability to distinguish facts from opinion.

A fact is a piece of information that has been discovered or proved true. The following statements are facts:

  1. Children in Germany start learning English at the age of seven.
  2. Over 20% of Australia’s population is foreign-born.
  3. We all need water to survive.

An opinion is a statement that reflects a person’s individual viewpoint on a topic. Also, most writers and speakers don’t put ‘I think’ in front of every opinion they give. This means that as a reader, you need to look for other words that help to indicate a personal opinion.

The following statements are opinions based on the above facts. The words that show the writer’s opinion are in bold:

  1. Germans are very good speakers of English.
  2. Australia has a good balance of different cultures in its society.
  3. Free bottled water should be given to students in schools.

The question types that are used to test your understanding of the writer’s viewpoints are:

4. Overview Questions

An overview is a general summary of something. An overview gives the big picture while leaving out the minor details. Overview questions test your understanding of the main ideas of the whole reading passage or paragraphs in the passage. They are of two types:-

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