The Reading Test

Are question types limited to one section in the Reading test?

No, they aren't. However, you will usually find summary gap-fills in Section 3 only.

Can I ask the invigilator questions?

The invigilator is not allowed to answer any questions to help you understand the Reading test

Can I write on the question paper?


Can I use a pen?

No, you must use a pencil.

Can I use typex/correction fluid?

No, you may only use an eraser or cross your answer out.

Are there penalties for the wrong answers in the Reading test?

No, there aren't. If you are not sure of an answer, you should guess.

Should I answer the questions in sequence, i.e. Section 1, then 2, then 3?

It is a good idea because the texts get progressively longer and the questions more difficult.

Should I write the answer in the question booklet first and transfer them to the answer sheet at the end?

No, this is a complete waste of time.

How long should I spend on each question?

There are 10 questions in the test and you have an hour, so you have an average of 1.5 minutes per question. Therefore you should spend approximately 20 minutes on each section.

Why does it waste time if you read the text first and then answer the questions?

You will never have to read every word of any text to answer the questions. Your aim is to answer the questions, so you should practise scanning and skimming in order to locate the answers as quickly as possible.

If there are only 10 minutes left but I still have 10 questions to answer, what should I do ?

You should continue answering the questions using the appropriate strategies, but if you really run out of time you should guess.

What should I do if I can't find the answer to one of the questions in the Reading test?

Don't waste lots of time looking for the answer to one questions .

Is it important to spell answers correctly?

If the spelling errors are serious your answer may be market incorrect.

Does the answer have to be grammatically accurate in the 'complete with up to 3 words' questions?

There are 2 types of these questions. When you have to 'complete a sentence' the answer should be grammatically correct. However, when you have to 'answer a question' in no more than 3 words the answer does not have to be a complete, grammatically correct sentence.

When I write short answers, I often use words from the text. Do I have to always use the same word form as the word in the text.

No, not always. You will sometimes have to change the form of some words--from nouns to adjectives, from verbs to gerunds, and so on .

If the instruction says to write a letter of the alphabet on the answer sheet, but instead I write the answer in full, is that all right?

The answer will probably be marked wrong.

What is the difference between a statement that is FALSE and NOT GIVEN?

If an answer is FALSE, you must be able to find that the opposite is true somewhere in the text. If there is no complete information about something then it is NOT GIVEN.

Is it possible to answer a questions with TRUE or FALSE if the answer is only implied and not specifically written?

No, it must be stated, although it might not necessarily be in the same words.

How do I improve any reading?

By reading more often--including a greater variety of texts, brochures, posters, etc.--and by practising the various skills described in this book.

How do I interpret my scores?

Since the texts are scaled according their level of difficulty, you cannot say that 50% =Band 5. However you can use that as a rough guide. So if you are regularly getting 75% of the questions right., you are doing well.

Will the time be announced during the test?

Yes. The invigilators are supposed to give various time warnings during the test.

The Writing Test

Can I use a pencil or do I have to use a pen?

It's up to you . You can use whatever you like as long as it is legible.

Do I have to count my words?

No, but it is a good idea to know roughly how many words you usually write to a line. Then you can count the number of lines you write.

What will happen if I don't write enough words?

If you have not answered the questions as completely as you should, you will get a lower score.

What will happen if I write too many words?

If you write far too many words, you might include irrelevant information and /or ideas for which you may be penalised. Also, if you write far too many words for one of the tasks, you may neglect the other.

Is spelling important?

Spelling is important, although the occasional minor mistake won't matter.

Can I start with Task 2 first?

You can do the text in any order. Just make sure you keep to the times advised.

What should I do if I don't understand the question?

You cannot ask the invigilator or use a dictionary. You will have to guess and answer as well as you can.

What's the best way to correct any mistakes than I make?

The quickest way to correct mistakes is to cross them out and write the correction clearly next to or above the mistake.

Will I lose marks if my essay is very messy with lots of crossings out?

No, you won't. But you must make sure that it is legible. Obviously the easier your essay is to read, the happier the examiner will be .

What do I do if I realise I have forgotten to include something important in one of my essays?

You can add it in afterwards, by writing it at the bottom of your essay and showing where it should to with an asterisk or an arrow.

What do I do if I don't know anything about the topic in Task 2?

You will have to do the best you can. Take a few minutes to note down some ideas. Once you start, more details will almost certainly come.(See Step 2 in the Writing section.)

If I don't have enough time to finish, should I finish in note form, like a plan?

No. Anything written in note form will not be read. Just continue in sentences.

Should I memorise answers to a variety of general topics?

No. Anything that the examiner suspects is copied will not count towards the number of words, and you may also be penalised for copying.

Should I write on every other line?

If you have very large writing it might be a good idea. However, for average sized writing it is not necessary because there it still room to make correction.

I can't write very quickly. What should I do ?

You don't actually have to write a lot in time allowed (400 words in one hour is less than 10 words a minute). However, you should practise writing to time as often as possible, to improve your speed.

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