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How to Answer IELTS Reading Multiple Choice Questions

Ron Ross April 8th, 2020

In your IELTS preparation, you'll need to practice a total of 11 IELTS reading question types. In this post, we'll look at the Multiple Choice IELTS reading question type in detail and provide you with many IELTS reading Multiple Choice practice questions.

First, join IELTS Instructor Tina below to learn how to approach an IELTS reading Multiple Choice question. Click either General Training or Academic to watch the associated video lesson.


Table Of Contents

IELTS Reading Multiple Choice Question Introduction

In this question type, you are asked to choose the correct answer from a list of possible choices. There are different numbers of answer choices, but test takers can expect to choose from usually 3 or 4 possible options, which are usually letters (A, B, C, or D). The most common exercise will require test takers to choose from 4 different options, but you may also have to choose two answers out of five options, or three answers out of six options. This question type requires scanning for specific information as well as understanding information in the passage, as you will have to either complete a sentence or answer a question.

Below is a sample practice. Give it a try! Remember to click either General Training or Academic based on the IELTS test you are taking or plan to take.

Questions 1-9
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in boxes 1-9 on your answer sheet.

1. Psychologists who hold a PhD

2. The term 'philosophy'

3. When earning a PhD, a dissertation is

4. The requirements for completing a PhD

5. Candidates who apply for work as full-time faculty at the university level

6. Those who hold a PhD and teach in higher education

7. Adjunct faculty members are usually hired

8. The increase of 2-year colleges

9. Individuals who choose to follow a self-governing career path


  • spellcheck Answers
    1. B
    2. A
    3. C
    4. A
    5. C
    6. D
    7. B
    8. A
    9. C

People who choose to study psychology have a variety of choices when it comes to long-term careers. A bachelor's degree in psychology can provide a good foundation for a range of different professions. Statistics show that many students who graduate with a bachelor's degree in the subject have no intention of actually becoming psychologists. 

Professionals who hold a PhD in psychology have far more options open to them than graduates with a bachelor's or a master's degree. In fact, completing doctoral level training is often a requirement in order to be officially recognized as a 'psychologist.' Higher salaries and improved career prospects are also an incentive.

In general, anyone wishing to continue a career in psychology at a 4-year institution of higher education must earn a doctoral degree in psychology. In most areas of psychology, this translates into earning a PhD in a relevant area of psychology, such as family counseling or trauma. Some PhD candidates choose applied psychology whereas others opt to focus on research. Depending on the amount of training received, or the desired specialty of a candidate, an individual could be anything from a biological psychologist to a clinical psychologist in an academic setting.

The term 'PhD' refers to a doctor of philosophy degree, but 'philosophy' is a broad term. In this case, 'philosophy' refers to diverse disciplinary perspectives that would be grouped together in a traditional college of liberal arts and sciences.

Although the requirements to earn a PhD vary depending on the country, individuals obtaining this degree can expect to complete a dissertation, which is a thorough research paper describing experiments or studies done as part of the doctoral training of a candidate. In order for the degree to be conferred, a dissertation usually must be defended before a committee of expert reviewers. However, this requirement varies depending on the country.

Once someone earns a PhD, the individual can begin seeking out a faculty appointment at a college or university. This usually involves multi-tasking duties and splitting time between teaching, research, and service to the institution and profession. This is one reason why professors relocate to different institutions in a short amount of time; they must find the best personal fit among the various academic environments that are available to them

Often times, schools offer more courses in psychology than their full-time faculty can handle. In these cases, it is not uncommon to find adjunct faculty members or instructors who take on teaching various courses. Although adjunct faculty members have the necessary training to teach in the university setting, they often hold primary careers outside of the academic setting and utilize their teaching experiences as secondary careers. Although rare, these faculty members may not hold the doctoral degree required by most accredited 4-year institutions and use these opportunities to gain useful experience in teaching.  

As many 2-year colleges are coming to fruition, many of them are in need of faculty to teach their psychology courses. Although a qualification at this level will not lead directly to employment in the field, it can provide a solid foundation in the subject and a stepping stone to more advanced studies. These types of colleges are often in need of faculty to teach their psychology courses. In general, many of the people who pursue careers at these institutions hold at least a master's degree in psychology, although some PhDs choose to develop careers at these institutions as well.

Recent PhD graduates may also choose to start an independent career, establishing an office and offering therapy sessions to the public. Usually, these individuals completed job shadowing or internships with an experienced psychologist during their academic career, efficiently preparing them for best practices when choosing to work in this setting. Although this option is very appealing to many newly qualified psychologists, some find it difficult to manage the business side of the practice. While they may have all the skills required to be a good clinician, they may lack the necessary financial and marketing acumen.

It is not uncommon for individuals who have just earned their PhD to enroll in postdoctoral training programs. These programs assist candidates in obtaining experience before going on to serve as faculty at the given institution. Those interested in scientific psychology will usually complete a few postdoctoral programs, allowing them to develop research programs and broaden their research skills under the helpful supervision of other professors in the psychology field. 

In terms of what the future holds, it is widely predicted that the demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals and health centers will increase dramatically in the next ten years. Industrial-organizational psychologists, who focus on behavior in the workplace, are expected to be particularly sought after. In addition, aging populations in many parts of the world will require the services of psychologists specifically trained to help people face the mental and physical challenges associated with growing older.

28. B - (In most areas of psychology, this translates into earning a PhD in a relevant area of psychology, such as family counseling or trauma.) This is another way to say that obtaining a PhD in psychology usually involves studying a specific area of psychology. The other options are not stated in the text.
29. A - (In this case, 'philosophy' refers to diverse disciplinary perspectives that would be grouped together in a traditional college of liberal arts and sciences.) “Disciplinary” in this context is an adjective which means “connected to an area of study,” while “perspectives” are attitudes or points of view. Overall, “diverse disciplinary perspectives” is another way to say, “a set of principles and studies.” The other options are not stated in the text.
30. C - The definition of a “dissertation” is given in the text. (… a dissertation, which is a thorough research paper describing experiments or studies done as part of the doctoral training of a candidate.) This is another way to say, “a complete description of various experiments relating to the training a candidate has completed.” (Why not A?) There is no mention of a dissertation being optional. Although dissertations are not required in all countries, you can't choose whether you complete one or not. (Why not B?) (… a dissertation usually must be defended…) The key here is not always
31. A - (… This requirement varies depending on the country.) None of the other options appear in the text.
32. C - (This usually involves multi-tasking duties and splitting time between teaching, research, and service to the institution and profession.) This is another way to say that candidates who apply for work as full-time faculty at the university level can expect to have to divide their time between a number of different roles.
33. D - (… professors relocate to different institutions in a short amount of time; they must find the best personal fit among the various academic environments that are available to them.) This means that professors could move from one institution to another in an effort to find the academic environment that suits them best.
34. B - (Often times, schools offer more courses in psychology than their full-time faculty can handle. In these cases, it is not uncommon to find adjunct faculty members or instructors who take on teaching various courses.) This means that there are not enough full-time faculty to teach all the psychology courses, so adjunct faculty members are taken on to relieve some of the pressure. “Relieve the pressure” is another way to say, “offset the burden.”
35. A - (As many 2-year colleges are coming to fruition, many of them are in need of faculty to teach their psychology courses.) Therefore, it is true to say that the increase in the number of 2-year colleges provides more career opportunities for potential Psychology faculty. (Not just those with PhDs – or just those with master's degrees.)

36. C - (Usually, these individuals completed job shadowing or internships with an experienced psychologist during their academic career, efficiently preparing them for best practices when choosing to work in this setting.) Thus, the correct answer is that these individuals most likely completed on-the-job training with a professional.
37. postdoctoral training - The statement, 'It is not uncommon for individuals who have just earned their PhD to enroll in postdoctoral training programs.' proves this to be correct.
38. scientific psychology - The statement, 'Those interested in scientific psychology will usually complete a few postdoctoral programs…' proves this to be correct. 'Interested in' is a synonym for 'keen on'.
39. research skills - The statement, '...allowing them to develop research programs and broaden their research skills' shows that candidates will broaden (or expand) these skills.

40. supervision - The statement, '...under the helpful supervision of other professors in the psychology field.' shows that candidates are usually supervised by professors in the field.

Practice this sample practice on our IELTS App

Questions 1-5
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

1. Neuroeconomics is a field of study which seeks to

2. According to the writer, iconoclasts are distinctive because

3. According to the writer, the brain works efficiently because

4. The writer says that perception is

5. According to the writer, an iconoclastic thinker


  • spellcheck Answers
    1. C
    2. B
    3. D
    4. C
    5. B
Reading Passage

In the last decade a revolution has occurred In the way that scientists think about the brain. We now know that the decisions humans make can be traced to the firing patterns of neurons in specific parts of the brain. These discoveries have led to the field known as neuroeconomics, which studies the brain's secrets to success in an economic environment that demands innovation and being able to do things differently from competitors. A brain that can do this is an iconoclastic one. Briefly, an iconoclast is a person who does something that others say can't be done.

This definition implies that iconoclasts are different from other people, but more precisely, it is their brains that are different in three distinct ways: perception, fear response, and social intelligence. Each of these three functions utilizes a different circuit in the brain. Naysayers might suggest that the brain is irrelevant, that thinking in an original, even revolutionary, way is more a matter of personality than brain function. But the field of neuroeconomics was born out of the realization that the physical workings of the brain place limitations on the way we make decisions. By understanding these constraints, we begin to understand why some people march to a different drumbeat.

The first thing to realize is that the brain suffers from limited resources. It has a fixed energy budget, about the same as a 40 watt light bulb, so it has evolved to work as efficiently as possible. This is where most people are impeded from being an iconoclast. For example, when confronted with information streaming from the eyes, the brain will interpret this information in the quickest way possible. Thus it will draw on both past experience and any other source of information, such as what other people say, to make sense of what it is seeing. This happens all the time. The brain takes shortcuts that work so well we are hardly ever aware of them.

We think our perceptions of the world are real, but they are only biological and electrical rumblings. Perception is not simply a product of what your eyes or ears transmit to your brain. More than the physical reality of photons or sound waves, perception is a product of the brain.

Perception is central to iconoclasm. Iconoclasts see things differently to other people. Their brains do not fall into efficiency pitfalls as much as the average person's brain. Iconoclasts, either because they were born that way or through learning, have found ways to work around the perceptual shortcuts that plague most people. Perception is not something that is hardwired into the brain. It is a learned process, which is both a curse and an opportunity for change. The brain faces the fundamental problem of interpreting physical stimuli from the senses. Everything the brain sees, hears, or touches has multiple interpretations. The one that is ultimately chosen is simply the brain's best theory. In technical terms, these conjectures have their basis in the statistical likelihood of one interpretation over another and are heavily influenced by past experience and, importantly for potential iconoclasts, what other people say.

The best way to see things differently to other people is to bombard the brain with things it has never encountered before. Novelty releases the perceptual process from the chains of past experience and forces the brain to make new judgments. Successful iconoclasts have an extraordinary willingness to be exposed to what is fresh and different. Observation of iconoclasts shows that they embrace novelty while most people avoid things that are different.

The problem with novelty, however, is that it tends to trigger the brain's fear system. Fear is a major impediment to thinking like an iconoclast and stops the average person in his tracks. There are many types of fear, but the two that inhibit iconoclastic thinking and people generally find difficult to deal with are fear of uncertainty and fear of public ridicule. These may seem like trivial phobias. But fear of public speaking, which everyone must do from time to time, afflicts one-third of the population. This makes it too common to be considered a mental disorder. It is simply a common variant of human nature, one which iconoclasts do not let inhibit their reactions.

Finally, to be successful iconoclasts, individuals must sell their ideas to other people. This is where social intelligence comes in. Social intelligence is the ability to understand and manage people in a business setting. In the last decade there has been an explosion of knowledge about the social brain and how the brain works when groups coordinate decision making. Neuroscience has revealed which brain circuits are responsible for functions like understanding what other people think, empathy, fairness, and social identity. These brain regions play key roles in whether people convince others of their ideas. Perception is important in social cognition too. The perception of someone's enthusiasm, or reputation, can make or break a deal. Understanding how perception becomes intertwined with social decision making shows why successful iconoclasts are so rare.

Iconoclasts create new opportunities in every area from artistic expression to technology to business. They supply creativity and innovation not easily accomplished by committees. Rules aren't important to them. Iconoclasts face alienation and failure, but can also be a major asset to any organization. It is crucial for success in any field to understand how the iconoclastic mind works.

 
27. C – understand how the brain is linked to achievement in competitive fields.In the first paragraph, the statement “…neuroeconomics, which studies the brain's secrets to success in an economic environment that demands innovation and being able to do things differently from competitors.” . The key word “competitive” is used in the statement as “competitors” and the idea of “achievement” is linked in this statement from the passage with its use of the word “success”. This makes it quite clear that C is the correct answer. Notice that B is not viable because 'good decisions' are not discussed in the passage. D is not a viable option because the 'specific firing patterns' is not discussed in this section. Lastly, A is not viable because it is too general—while scientists are mentioned, C is the best option as it is more specific to this statement.
 
28. B – their brains function differently. In the second paragraph, the statement “This definition implies that iconoclasts are different from other people, but more precisely, it is their brains that are different in three distinct ways: perception, fear response, and social intelligence.”. The key word 'differently' is the main clue here. The information here is quite general, and the only option that is general enough to fit it is B. By using POE, you can effectively eliminate C because the section does not mention personalities. Further, A is not an option because the passage does not mention anything unusual. Then, D can be eliminated as well because neither decisions nor easily is mentioned.
 
29. D – it relies on previous events. In the third paragraph, the answer for this question can be found separated in two parts. The key word “efficiently” helps us pinpoint where to start skimming for information. The statement is “…so it has evolved to work as efficiently as possible.” Then, further along, “Thus it will draw on both past experience and any other source of information…”. Therefore, it is clear that D is the correct option. Option A: “it uses the eyes quickly”, could be a cause for confusion since “eye” is located in this section of the passage. Perhaps you could consider this an option and go on to look at option B: “it interprets data logically”. This option has nothing to do with the current section and can be eliminated. Option C: “it generates its own energy” also has nothing to do with the current section and can be eliminated. Therefore, if you must choose between A and D, A must be eliminated because the brain works efficiently NOT because it uses the eyes quickly, but because it relies on previous events due to suffering from limited resources.
 
30. C – a result of brain processes. In the third paragraph, the statements “Perception is not simply a product of what your eyes or ears transmit to your brain. More than the physical reality of photons or sound waves, perception is a product of the brain.” Thus, the answer is C. However, this is an especially tricky question because key words are used throughout the answers. If we look at option A: “a combination of photons and sound waves”, it may seem like a viable option. Option B: “a reliable product of what your senses transmit” also seems viable because the key word 'product' is used in the statement and answer. Lastly, option D: “a process we are usually conscious of” should be effectively eliminated first, since the key words are not present in the passage. Therefore, we are left with options A, B, and C. Option B should be eliminated next because the first part of the statement is “perception is not simply a product..” therefore, B can be eliminated. Option A should then be eliminated because it contains the word “combination”, and the passage does not state that perception is a combination of photons and sound waves, and then later states that “perception is a product of the brain”, which can be understood as a brain process.
 
31. B – avoids cognitive traps. At the beginning of the fourth paragraph, the statement “Their brains do not fall into efficiency pitfalls as much as the average person's brain. Iconoclasts, either because they were born that way or through learning, have found ways to work around the perceptual shortcuts that plague most people.”. “Pitfalls” is another way to say “traps” and is used as a synonym. Let's take a look at the options. Option D: has more opportunities than the average person, can be effectively eliminated because the passage does not discuss “opportunities”. Option C: “has a brain that is hardwired for learning” can also be eliminated because the section does not discuss iconoclasts that are better for learning, but rather, just brains that do not fall into “efficiency pitfalls”. Lastly, Option A: “centralizes perceptual thinking in one part of the brain” can be eliminated because the text does not speak about “one part of the brain”, although it does discuss perceptual thinking.

Practice this sample practice on our IELTS App

Now that you're familiar with the Multiple Choice question type, it's time to teach you some IELTS reading tips & strategies for successfully answering a Multiple Choice question.

How to Answer Multiple Choice Questions

Similar to other sections in the IELTS Reading, answers for the Multiple Choice section will most likely come in order. This will help when reading the questions and scanning for information. Additionally, the strategy required is scanning for information and using Process of Elimination, which we will detail below.

What To Do:

1. Read the Questions and Underline Key Words - As the answers are most likely to appear in the text in the same order as the questions, test takers should pay close attention to the order of questions. Read each statement first in order to get an overview of the theme of the passage, and underline key words in both the question and the answer options.

Quick Tip: Pay close attention to "absolute" words in these answer options. These words include many adverbs of frequency and words that generalize ideas. The most common include: mainly, all, some, sometimes, often, usually, occasionally, hardly ever, never, only, and always. When these words are included in an answer option, it is usually harder to prove correct, and they are often included as answer options.

2. Scan for Information in the Passage - Once you have successfully understood the information presented in the question and answer options, it is time to search for this information in the text.

Quick Tip: If you are "stumped" by any given question, skip it and move on. Remember, the answers will most likely come in order for this section, so you can check your answers later and get a better understanding for where the difficult question’s answer may be.

3. Skim Read as Necessary - As we detailed above, scanning is an important strategy, but you’ll also have to understand the information in order to correctly answer the question. Check back on the answer options and begin to use Process of Elimination until you have reached an answer. Once you answered the question, you should make marks in the passage(such as a line or dot to signify where the answer can be found). This way you know what to reference when you want to double check if your answer is correct.

Process of Elimination (POE): More often than not, there will be two answers that are very difficult to choose from. For this reason, it’s best to use Process of Elimination (POE) for each question. First, you can eliminate the option that is the most different from what you believe to be the answer, or the most different from the information in the passage. If the option is not even discussed in the passage, you can eliminate it from your options first. Then, use POE for the remaining two options until you arrive at your answer. We will detail this strategy in our example below.

What Not To Do:

Do not read the entire passage. As a general rule for the Reading section, it is not necessary and actually time-restrictive to read the entire passage, word for word. Be sure to use the scanning technique, first and foremost, and then the skimming technique as necessary. Some test takers believe that reading the entire passage is helpful since there are many answer options in questions, but it is actually best to devote your time to the questions at hand and use your time wisely with POE.

Do not forget to use POE. Even if a question is very difficult, you can use POE to narrow down your options. With this in mind, do not leave anything blank. By using POE, you can increase your chances of getting the question correct, even if it’s just a guess.

Recap

Here are some brief tips to remember when approaching this question type:

Do:

  • Read the questions first, underline key words, and scan for information.
  • Remember that answers will most likely come in order.
  • Remember to use POE.
  • Make marks in your passage as to where you’ve found various answers.
  • Skip a question if it is difficult and move on. Then, you should be able to better locate the answer to a difficult question in the text, since it will most likely be between some of your marked information.

Don’t:

  • Read the entire passage first.
  • Leave any answers blank - by using POE, you can greatly increase your chances of answering the question correctly.
  • Forget to pay close attention to the wording in the answer options. Just one word can change the meaning of the entire phrase.

IELTS Reading Multiple Choice Practice List

Now it is time to practice! Check out the following Multiple Choice practice questions.

Academic Reading - Multiple Choice Questions Practice List

multiple choice Practice 1 - 16
Practice 1Practice 2Practice 3Practice 4Practice 5Practice 6Practice 7Practice 8Practice 9Practice 10Practice 11Practice 12Practice 13Practice 14Practice 15Practice 16
multiple choice Practice 17 - 32
Practice 17Practice 18Practice 19Practice 20Practice 21Practice 22Practice 23Practice 24Practice 25Practice 26Practice 27Practice 28Practice 29Practice 30Practice 31Practice 32
multiple choice Practice 33 - 48
Practice 33Practice 34

General Reading - Multiple Choice Questions Practice List

multiple choice Practice 1 - 16
Practice 1Practice 2Practice 3Practice 4Practice 5Practice 6Practice 7Practice 8Practice 9Practice 10Practice 11


 
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