IELTS Reading Tutorial 5 | Summarizing

Why summarizing is important in IELTS Reading

You need to be able to summarize a text or part of a text to show that you understand the content and can explain it in your own words (paraphrasing). This is an important skill in academic study and many professional careers as well as for the IELTS Reading test. So learn a skill for life.

What type of IELTS Reading questions ask you to summarize?

You may be asked to summarize a complete IELTS Reading text to show you understand the main ideas put forward or alternatively you may be asked to summarize one section of an IELTS Reading text that deals with a specific idea.

The IELTS Reading test contains two different types of question which may require you to summarize. You will see a summary with blank spaces (or gaps) and will be asked to complete the summary using words from the text or possibly by selecting words from a list provided or a box of options.

How to tackle IELTS Reading summary questions

Look at the summary heading and identify which part of the IELTS Reading text it relates to.

Read the summary text provided and try to guess or predict the missing words to fill the blank spaces.

Identify keyword in the summary to help you locate the correct part of the original IELTS Reading text.

If the task requires you to use words from the original text make sure that you copy them correctly and follow the question instructions about the number of words or numbers permitted. Do not write unnecessary words in your summary.

When you have finished, reread the summary checking that your answers 'fit grammatically' and that it makes sense.

IELTS Reading Test Tips

The answers are not always in the same sequence as in the original IELTS Reading text. You should always check above and below where you found the previous answer for the next information you need.

Some words in the summary may be exactly the same as in the original IELTS Reading text. This helps you find the right location in the text for the answer you need.

Summary completion : options in a list/box

One of the types of IELTS Reading summary questions you could be asked to complete involves a series of sentences with gaps and a list/box which contains several options to choose from to complete the summary.

How to tackle this type of IELTS Reading summary question

First, read through the summary trying to guess or predict what the missing words might be. Use contextual clues and your knowledge of vocabulary and grammar to help you.

Review the original IELTS Reading text and decide if the summary covers the entire text or only part of the text.

Identify key words to help you choose the most appropriate option from the list/box.

When you have finished, reread the summary and make sure that the words you have selected 'fit grammatically' in the summary and the meaning of the sentences is logical.

IELTS Reading Test Tips

There are usually extra word options in the list/box which you do not need to use. You cannot use any of the words in the box more than once. Pay attention to the instructions of the individual question.