Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Every language comprehension exam is full of tricks and traps.

The test writers are trying to trick you into getting the wrong answer.

This makes the test a better measurement of language skills.

Today we’ll give you insider info from Jessica’s years of writing exam practice textbooks.

This is only a sneak peek into the strategies you need for the IELTS Reading exam.

For the rest of the strategies that can earn a 7 or higher, sign up for 3 Keys IELTS!

Where can you find insider advice?

Every week in our 3 Keys IELTS Facebook group, Jessica shares insider Examiner tips.

Today she posted a reminder to watch out for distractions.

Answers may seem right or have one matching word but are actually incorrect.

#1: Negatives

This is the most common distractor on the IELTS exam.

  • Never go with the first answer.

This is often contradicted immediately after.

I would like the red one. No, wait, I think I’ll choose blue.

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#2: Parallel expressions

The Examiner doesn’t want to make the answer obvious.

In the answers that are wrong, you will hear words directly from the passage.

The answer that is correct cannot be that obvious!

It will often have a synonym or parallel expression.

The answer says “you could possibly lose your job.”

The passage says “you will likely be fired.”

You have to know that “possibly” and “likely” do not have the same meaning!

#3: Pronouns

When matching names to statements, watch for pronouns!

The answer will often be next to the pronoun, rather than the name.

You see the name, with no matching information.

Later, the person is referred to again with details matching the answer.

  • He also invented the typewriter.

Practice Tips

Write your own questions.

Use today’s podcast and write 5 multiple choice questions about it.

Write your own headings for articles.

Think about the tricks we use and put them in your questions.

Every answer will have a word from the passage.

Be sure your questions also have words from the passage but the incorrect answers contradict the passage.


If you are not aware of these traps, you will fall for them.

Work backwards with test questions to see what tricks the test writer used.

Write your own questions to get inside the mind of the question writer!

The more you are aware of pitfalls in the exam, the more you will recognize them.

Our 3 Keys IELTS modules and practice exercises prepare you for all of these tricks so sign up today!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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