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September 19, 2016


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I strongly agree.Scanning never worked with me.

Are u saying we should read the passage first before answering?

Maya what worked for u?


That's not what Simon meant here. The technique is that
- read the 1st question and underline the keywords.
- find the keywords or similar words in the passage
- if there is a name or place in question, we can use scanning technique to find it in passage, but YOU SHOULD READ FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE 1st PARAGRAPH until you find the name. DON'T JUMP STRAIGHT to paragraph containing the name (for example it's the 2nd paragraph) without reading the 1st paragraph.

Hope my explanation can help you

Dear Simon

I have a problem with : finding the main topic" , I've always made wrong on it . Some people said, " finding the main topic" is the easiest part on reading, but not for me:(

Dear Simon,
When ever I'm doing reading part of exam I run out of time and miss atleast 3 or 4 question at the end,due to which I always get 6.5 score in exam.can you please give me some advice regarding it.

OK. I will follow this, then there won't be any chance to get lost.

Dear Simon,
Can I use Cambridge book 1-3 for reading practice ?

Dear Simon,
Will I get penalized if I do not capitalize True, False and Not Given in the Reading test?

I also have problem in reading. My reading speed is so slow that when time is up, I only finish 2 passages and have 1 left. I am so worried about this.

Regarding reading, I am a bit slower reader. I first mark the key words of the questions and then go to the main passage. I read quickly the whole passage and whenever I find the possible area of an answer, I read that part carefully and slowly and try to write the answer. I move on this way from the first to last. In this way, I find that I can do answer of around 9-10 questions by reading the whole package first time. For the rests, I again go to the respective part of the passage and try to find out the answer.

If I organize my reading:
1. Marking key words (1-2 minutes)
2. Reading the whole passage (10-12 minutes) - 7-8 answers done
3. Back to passage again for deep reading (3-4 minutes) - other answers

However, if there are questions to write/match headings, I first read frist paragraph and answer the related headline matching questions and find out other questions which answers can be found from the first paragraph. In this way, I move on and write/match the answers with the headings and other related questions to the respective paragraphs.

In this way, I see that I can score 28-31 in reading part.

The answer to question one is often in paragraph one, question two in paragraph two, and so on. Sometimes there is a paragraph with no questions, sometimes with two, but the answers are often in the same order as the questions.
So just read question one and start reading at the beginning. You don't have time to read anything twice.

Scanning skill may help us to find out an answer quickly, especially in the time is going up. However, it never worked well with me.


Jay is right: the first answer is usually near the beginning.

However, in the example that I described in the lesson above, we missed the first section of questions (because it was paragraph matching question - I suggest doing these last). So, the answer to the first question that we attempted was not near the beginning of the passage. We found the first answer by scanning, but, as I said, the fact that we hadn't read the first few paragraphs made our life difficult later - we didn't have an overall understanding of the topic of the passage.

So the lesson is: it's almost always best to read from the beginning of the passage until you find the keywords for the first question that you are attempting. And, skimming and scanning techniques don't usually help - they might make you panic!

Note: I'm not advising you to read the full passage before looking at the questions. Just start with the first question (unless it's a paragraph matching question), and read at normal speed from the beginning. You WILL read the whole passage eventually - but you will do this as you go question by question.

Dear Simon I would like to thanks for your tremendous course here in Manchester which gave me a huge boost.You are really an awesome and marvellous teacher.

I found difficult to do the paragraph matching question. Most of time I only got very few questions correct(like 3 out of 7 or 2 out of 5). I aim to achieve 7.0 in reading(I only got 6.0). However, this makes me feel frustrated! Anyone has any suggestion for me to tackle this section will deeply appreciated.

I'm glad you enjoyed the course Muhammad!



Here are my tips for 'paragraph headings' questions:


and for "which paragraph contains..." questions:


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