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How to use the "keyword technique" in IELTS Reading?

How to use the "keyword technique" in IELTS Reading?

(18 votes)



We can use Keywords Technique for all the types of question in the IELTS Reading Test.

How IELTS Reading questions are made?

The examiner who write the questions for IELTS Reading do something like this:

  • They take a reading passage. 
  • They read through the passage and stop when they find something interesting. 
  • They make a question about that part of the passage, usually by paraphrasing it. 
For example, if the phrase "way of life" is used in the passage, the question writer might create a question with the words "lifestyle".

In other words, IELTS examiners use the "keyword technique" to write the questions so this is why we should use it to find the answers.

What is the 'keyword' technique?

  • This technique is finding words in the text that have a similar meaning to words in the questions.
  • Key words help you to locate the place in the text where the answer lies and to pick out EXACTLY which part of this group of sentences is the one that you need for the correct answer.

(Source: Simon IELTS)

It's time to practice!

Complete the table in the link below: 

How to solve this test?

Just using the 'keyword' technique. That means you have to find words in the text that have a similar meaning to words in the questions.

Keyword table for this practice test:

Keywords in Questions

Similar words in Passage

Rio de Janeiro: more 1____ lifestyle

The study concludes that people are more helpful in cities with a more relaxed way of life such as Rio.

People don’t have so much 2____ 

The results show that cities where people have less money generally have friendlier populations.



Question 1: (Rio de Janeiro: more 1____ lifestyle

  • In this question, you have to find the keywords: Rio and lifestyle.
  • Find the synonyms of these keywords in the reading passage: lifestyle = way of life
  • The Q1 form is adjective so the correct answer is relaxed.

Question 2: (People don’t have so much 2____ 

  • In this question, you have to find the keywords: Peopledon’t have so much.
  • Find the synonyms of these keywords in the reading passage: People =populations ; don’t have so muchhave less
  • The Q2 form is noun so the correct answer is money.

Now continue this technique with another questions. This may seem like a lot of work and in the beginning it will take a little time. But once you have practised this many times, you will be able to find your answers really fast and with much better accuracy and that will improve your reading score.


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