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Everything IELTS Academic - A Comprehensive Guide to IELTS Academic

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  1. Paraphrasing Technique

    Paraphrasing Technique - Two Methods to Paraphrase a Sentence
    1 Quiz
  2. Reading
    Part 1: Everything IELTS Academic Reading
    3 Topics
  3. Part 2: Text Types in IELTS Academic Reading
    3 Topics
  4. Part 2: Questions Forms and Reading Rules
    2 Topics
  5. Part 4: Types of questions and Strategies
    9 Topics
  6. Part 5: Common Mistakes
    2 Topics
  7. Part 6: IELTS Academic Reading Practice Tests
    7 Quizzes
  8. Listening
    Part 1: Everything IELTS Listening
    4 Topics
    1 Quiz
  9. Part 2: Detailing Questions
    3 Topics
    5 Quizzes
  10. Part 3: Summary Questions
    4 Topics
    4 Quizzes
  11. Part 4: Common Mistakes
    4 Topics
  12. Part 5: IELTS Listening Practice Tests
    10 Quizzes
  13. Writing
    Part 1: IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Reports
    15 Topics
    7 Quizzes
  14. Part 2: IELTS Writing Task 2 - Essay
    16 Topics
    18 Quizzes
  15. Part 3: Two-task Practice Tests
    9 Quizzes
  16. Speaking
    Part 1: Introduction to IELTS Speaking
    3 Topics
  17. Part 2: A good IELTS Speaking Performance
    2 Topics
  18. Part 3: Common Mistakes in IELTS Speaking
  19. Part 4: IELTS Speaking Practice Tests
    7 Quizzes
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The trick and the mistakes

In IELTS Reading, information flooding refers to a situation in which a “flood” of information (distractors) is presented alongside the correct answer. This is a common trick in ‘Fill in the gaps’. The “flood” frequently takes the form of “adjective + noun”, “noun + noun”, “adverb + verb”, “verb + adverb”, “noun, noun”, “verb, verb”, and “adjective, adjective” to trick you into choosing the wrong words to fill in the gaps.

For example, you need to choose between “beautiful” and “house” in the phrase “beautiful house”; between “quickly” and “recover” in “recover quickly”; between “inflation” and “rate” in “inflation rate”.

The most serious mistake you may be making is selecting the incorrect word for the gap. The reason for this is that the given phrase (in the text) is not shown in the question (paraphrased), but terms are separated, with one word specified in the text and one word missing. The answer is the missing word. To add to the confusion, the given word is usually in a synonymous form (a synonym). As a result, you may select a word at random (or even write both words), resulting in an incorrect response.

Example 1

Text: The Filipino islanders who weave their dreams, 2023

For at least three centuries, the Indigenous T’boli people have passed down the practice of dream-weaving, or T’nalak, in rural villages around Lake Sebu, a turquoise lake nestled in the lush mountains of southern Mindanao. These textiles are made from natural fibres stripped from the stems of the banana-like abacá plant. Villagers believe that the goddess, Fu Dalu (the spirit of abacá), communicates with women by appearing in their dreams as an animal or human figure. Master dream-weavers then interpret these visions into patterns that usually take three to four months to weave. The process is done entirely by hand with all-natural ingredients, and while it’s led by the master weaver, it is a collective effort by the community that is considered a sacred tribute to the goddess.

Question: Write no more than two words.

Without any artificial substances, the textiles from dream-weaving are created from _____ that are deprived from the abacá plants.

Answer: fibres

When you read the phrase “natural fibres”, you tend to rush to write “natural fibres” as your answer because this gap allows maximum of 2 words. But the word “natural” is separated from the word “fibres” and replaced by “without any artificial substances” at the beginning of the question. In this case, if you write “natural fibres”, the word “natural” is repeated. So, “natural fibres” is the wrong answer. Moreover, in this gap, you need a plural noun, so “fibre” and “natural” are also wrong answers.

Let’s change the question a little bit!

Example 2

Question: Write no more than one word.

The textiles from dream-weaving are created from _____ that are deprived from the abacá plants.

Answer: fibres

The answer is still “fibres” even when there is only one word allowed because “natural” is an adjective and you need a plural noun for this gap.

Avoid the mistakes

In example 1, the root of the mistake is often the lack of understanding of the question and “obsession” with the exact words. The question already contains the word (or words) that represent one (or more) word in the phrase. You just need to look for the missing words. However, if you do not see the exact words, you tend to think they are not mentioned yet (“obsessed” with the exact words). So, based on the number of word limit, you just write the full phrase as your answer or random guess the needed word.

To avoid the mistakes, you should:

  • Make sure you remember the elements and the tips for ‘Fill in the gaps’.
  • Focus more on the meaning of the questions and the words, rather than looking for the same words.
  • When confused, read the question again and ask if any of the words are mentioned in the question yet.

Note: Proficiency in grammar can help you eliminate the wrong words (such as in Example 2).