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How to Scan
This lesson focuses on the skill of scanning. Scanning is a very important skill for the IELTS reading paper. Remember, the IELTS reading paper, they really don’t give you enough time to read each passage carefully and to answer all the questions. You need skills like scanning to be able to get through all our questions in enough time.
So, we’re gonna take a look at how to scan and how it’s gonna help you on your IELTS reading paper. Okay, so the first thing you do when you’re scanning is you go to your question. When you’re looking at your question, what you wanna do is find 1 or 2 keywords that you’re going to go search for in your reading passage to help you answer the question.
Now, keywords are really another way of saying synonyms, okay. These are the most important words in the question but, you can expect it when you look for them, in the reading passage. They’re not going to be exactly, the same as in the question. They may be synonyms, they may be paraphrases, they may be the same words but, in a different form in the reading passage, okay?
You have to keep an open mind as you’re looking for keywords. About which words might mean the same thing as the words that you’ve identified as keywords from your question, okay. So, when you found your keywords and your question, you go back to your passage. Don’t read full sentences as you go back and scan for your words in the passage. You need to be efficient by making multiple passes up and down the passage.
And I advise keeping your eyes focused on the middle of the passage, going up and down searching for keywords that are similar or basically the same, as the ones in the question you’re trying to answer. Once you find your keywords. In the passage, that’s when you slow down and read the sentences surrounding your keywords to see if they’re going to help you answer your question.
So, let’s look at an example. Let’s say that we have a question like this on the IELTS reading paper. According to the second paragraph what is true of sexual reproduction in clonal plants? Okay, so we’re gonna look at paragraph 2 of our sample essay, and we’re gonna try and scan for this answer to the question.
Remember, what is true of sexual reproduction in clonal plants? Well, if I’m looking at this question I’m looking for keywords, I think we can definitely say that what they are asking us to find is information about sexual reproduction, okay. So, I’m going to underline this as my key word for the question. Going to the passage then, let’s follow our advice for scanning, right?
We’re not looking at full sentences. What we’re doing is we’re gonna train our eyes in the middle of the passage and we’re gonna try to find words that are similar. To the one’s that we’ve identified as our key words. Well, by doing that in this paragraph, you might come across, Reproduce sexually.
Good key word example because these are basically the same words as our keywords from the question, they’re just in a different form, right? In the question they asked us to find information about sexual reproduction and here we have reproduce sexually as keywords. All right, so on exam day, I’m gonna find these keywords, and then I’m gonna stop, slow down, and I’m going to read the sentences surrounding my keywords to see if they help me answer the question that they’ve asked, okay?
This is how you scan. It saves you time because you’re not reading word for word in your essay to find specific answers. You’re looking for keywords and only stopping to slow down. And read carefully around those keywords that are most likely gonna help you answer the questions successfully.
The scale is really important on these types of questions, multiple choice, identifying information,matching information. Matching features, sentence completion, diagram label completion. Now, when we get to our reading lessons we gonna have a lesson on each of these types of reading questions. Okay, but for now what we wanna know is that as a general scale what you need to develop is your ability to scan for specific information.
To help you answer all of these types of questions which ask for detailed information.
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