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IELTS Reading Tutorial 6 | Understanding Argument

What is argument in IELTS reading?

Most types of reading texts present arguments, the views and opinions of the writer or maybe of people the writer is talking about. These views or arguments are frequently used to support a claim put forward by the writer in the article or text. The writer may explore and present both side of an argument sometimes.

Is understanding 'argument' important in IELTS?

Yes, because at least one of the IELTS Reading texts which form part of the IELTS Reading test will present or describe a detailed and logical argument.

Recognizing types of IELTS texts

There are many factual texts such as those you find in encyclopedias, reference books and reports. It is common to find a factual text in Part 1 of the IELTS Reading test. Other reading texts may be argument based, however, most arguments are constructed using facts such as research statistics or data to support the idea presented in the text. Other types of texts may present more of a 'discussion' on a topic and be less well supported by factual evidence or information.

You should develop your reading skills to be able to identify what kind of IELTS Reading text it is. Is the argument well supported by factual information or does the writer simply present several views and opinions?

IELTS Reading Test Questions | selecting from a list

This type of IELTS Reading question is often given in order to test arguments and ideas presented in an IELTS reading text. You should first identify and underline the key words in the question and then identify similar ideas in the IELTS Reading text.


Often, this type of IELTS question asks you to select TWO or THREE items from a list. However, the question is still worth only one mark, so you have to be sure and select the TWO or THREE correct items to get the mark.

IELTS Reading Test Questions | classification

This type of IELTS question normally, but not always, involves matching statements with categories. IELTS classification questions are used to test detail and also ideas and arguments.

How to do the task:

    First, identify and underline the key words in each question
    Make sure you understand the question instructions
    If the questions asks you to identify which category X belongs in (from the list of categories provided) then check the IELTS Reading text for the part where that particular category is mentioned
    Then look for supporting evidence that X fits in that category

IELTS Tip The questions are not necessarily in the same order as the reading text, you may have to scan the entire text several times to locate the correct answers.

IELTS Reading Test Questions | matching

This type of question is often used to test your ability to understand different arguments, view and opinions presented by various different people, organizations or entities in an IELTS Reading text.

IELTS Test Tip Do this task in the order of the people in the box, NOT in the order of the statements in the question.

How to do the task:

    First look at each person/organization listed in the box and identify in the IELTS Reading passage what they say, their point of view, or argument that they present
    Normally the names in the box are in the same order as they appear in the reading text passage, that is why it is easier and faster to follow the order of the names and not the questions
    Read through the list of statements provided in the question. These are normally paraphrased versions of what the people/organizations said in the actual IELTS Reading text. They are not normally in the same order as they appear in the reading text
    Identify the key words in the statements
    Quickly skim the IELTS Reading text until you locate the first name on the list and the idea, view, opinion or argument that person/organization gives
    Then skim through the list of statements in the IELTS question until you find one that matches with what you found in the IELTS Reading text
    Repeat the process for all the names in the list

IELTS Test Tip Some of the options in the box may be used more than once and some of them may not be required at all.

IELTS Reading Tutorial 7 | how to identify a writer's views & claims
IELTS Reading Tutorial 5 | summarizing skills

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