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In Reading Part A there are 3 types of questions:
Questions 1-7 will always be matching. Matching given information to the correct text (A, B, C, D). Questions 8-20 will be in 2-3 sections of either gap-fill or short answer questions. The best way to answer these questions will be to use scanning techniques.
Scanning is when you look quickly for a particular detail in a small amount of text. Before you start scanning, you will already have a good idea what detail it is you are looking for. This will help you move your eyes quickly over the page to find what you want to know. In Reading Part A, you will find this information from the question.
In a gap-fill task, the words around the gap will help you identify what type of word you are looking for. They also act as key words to scan for in the text to narrow down what you need to read to maybe 1 or 2 sentences.
Here’s an example:
Make sure the patient isn’t wearing any (17) _______________________ on the part of the body where the plaster backslab is going to be placed.
In this sentence, the words before the gap ‘wearing any’ and the words after the gap ‘on the part of the body’ tell us that the missing word is going to be a plural noun. It could be an adjective + a noun. The verb ‘wearing’ also helps to narrow the category of the noun to words for clothes or other items worn on the body.
The words ‘plaster backslab’ are key words to scan the text for to help you find the exact noun (+ adjective) which will complete this gap. Answering questions 1-7 will have given you a good idea of how the contexts of 4 texts are different. This will help you start with the 1 text you think is most likely to contain the key words.
More information about Matching strategies.
Imagine you are speaking to a patient. You ask them to tell you about their recent history, symptoms and concerns. While you listen, you take notes of what they are saying to you. You don’t write down everything you hear. Instead you include the most important points which will help you to decide the best treatment route for them. Some of what they say you simplify into medical language because this is what is most familiar to you.
This is essentially a Listening Part A task. What you are reading are the healthcare professional’s notes. What you are listening to is the patient answering the professional’s questions and providing their own information. There will be a lot of words that are the same but occasionally, they will express something in words familiar to them which are written differently in the notes.
Understanding this can help you follow the notes provided so you can keep track of the recording during each Listening Part A consultation. It can also avoid confusion when the patient uses slightly different language to the professional’s notes.