This lesson is about how to answer multiple choice questions in the Reading section of the test.
What does this type of question look like?
10. By the mid-1980s, farmers in Denmark
[This is called the stem]
- used 50 per cent less fertiliser than Dutch farmers. [These are the choices]
- used twice as much fertiliser as they had in 1960.
- applied fertiliser much more frequently than in 1960.
- more than doubled the amount of pesticide they used in just 3 years.
Which is more important, the stem or the choices? Discuss with your partner.
The stem may be in the form of a statement (above) and you have to select the choice which correctly completes the statement - according to the information in the text.
the stem may also be in the form of a question:
12. Which one of the following increased in New Zealand after 1984?
- farm incomes
- use of fertiliser
- farm diversification
What do I have to write in the answer sheet?
You have to choose the best answer from four alternatives. Write the letter of the answer you have chosen on the answer sheet, for example:
Sometimes you may have to choose the best two answers from five alternatives, or the the best three answers from seven alternatives. It doesn’t matter which order you put your answers on the answer sheet.
What am I being tested on?
This type of question tests a wide range of reading skills, including a detailed understanding of particular points, or a general understanding of the main points of the text.
How should I approach this question?
- The questions are in the same order as the answers in the text, so the answer to the first question in group will appear in the text before the answer to the second question.
- Read both the stem and the choices carefully. However, the stem is more important so pay most attention to this.
- Identify the key words in the stem.
- Activity: What are the key words in the stem of question 10, above. Discuss with your partner.
- Think of possible synonyms for the key words. It is very likely that the answer will appear as a synonym in the text. For example, the answer to question 10 is B, `used twice as much fertiliser as they had in 1960`. However, the text says that `Fertiliser use doubled in Denmark in the period 1960-1985`. `Doubled` is a synonym for `twice as much`.
Please open the exercise to continue.