Multiple Choice Questions

In this post, we will be looking at multiple choice questions.

In the IELTS Reading Test, multiple choice questions are testing your skills of understanding the main idea in the given text.

Some multiple choice questions start with a question, that has (for example) four possible answers. Others may start with an unfinished sentence, that has (for example) four possible endings. The questions will ask you to choose one, two three or four options.

TIP >> You must make sure you read the instructions before beginning to answer the questions so that you choose the right amount of answers.

TIP >> You should also use your skim reading skills so that you can scan the text quickly for the main idea.

Multiple choice question examples;

  • Choose one answer from A-D
  • Choose two answers from A-E
  • Choose three answers from A-G

Understanding the main idea >>

Skim read the paragraphs below from a text taken from  The World Health Organisation (WHO) website.

There is increasing global awareness that good quality care is key to keeping mothers and babies alive and well. Today, each year there are 303 000 deaths of women during pregnancy and childbirth, 2.6 million stillbirths, and 2.7 million deaths of babies during the first 28 days of life. Better care can prevent many of these deaths.

More babies are being born in health facilities. A new UN- and partner-supported "Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health" aims to help countries improve the quality of care in those facilities and to respect the rights and dignity of those who seek care.

What is the subject?

What is the main idea expressed?

Where do you find the main idea? 

The main idea is usually in the opening sentence, then it is supported by other sentences. The main idea in this text is that the quality of care in health facilities is improving.


Exercise 1

Read the paragraph below from a text taken from  The World Health Organisation (WHO) website.

Awareness about elder abuse, still largely a taboo topic, has started to increase across the world. It is defined as actions or lack of appropriate action which can cause harm or distress to an older person, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust. All types of elder abuse can have an impact on the health and well-being of the older person. Psychological abuse is the most pervasive and includes behaviours that harm an older person’s self-worth or wellbeing such as name calling, scaring, embarrassing, destroying property or preventing them from seeing friends and family.

What is the main idea of the text?

Choose one letter A-D

A. The elderly suffer psychological abuse

B. The mistreatment of older people is on the rise

C. People should know more about the abuse of the elderly

D. The government is trying to raise awareness of the abuse of the elderly

Answers are at the bottom of the page.


Exercise 2

Read the paragraph below from an article taken from  The New York Times.

There are many ways to cope with exercising in hot weather. But one of the most effective may be, surprisingly, to soak in long, hot baths in the days beforehand, according to a well-timed new study of how best to prepare for athletic competitions in the heat. Across the United States and much of the Northern hemisphere, summer temperatures are spiking, which can make outdoor exercise gruelling. When it is hot, our hearts labour to shunt more blood to the skin, which allows internal heat to dissipate but also leaves us feeling fatigued and potentially at risk for heat illnesses, ranging from nausea to grievous heat stroke.

What is the main idea of the text?

Choose one letter A-D

A. How to cope with exercising in hot weather

B. How to exercise outdoors in the summer

C. How to prepare for your exercise routine

D. How to survive a workout in scorching temperatures

Answers are at the bottom of the page.


Exercise 3

Read the paragraph below from an article taken from  The Economist.

America is one of only a few countries in the Western world that still puts criminals to death. Even there, executions are on the wane: just 20 were carried out in 2016, down from a peak of 98 in 1999. Popular support is declining, too. Just 60% of Americans approve of the death penalty for murder, down from 80% in the 1990s. Only eight states have carried out an execution since 2015, and around two-thirds either have abolished capital punishment or have a moratorium on its use. But it has not disappeared altogether: during an eight-day stretch in April, Arkansas executed four people, so as not to waste its expiring supply of a lethal injection drug. And last month in Alabama, a man who spent 35 years on death row—and eluded seven execution dates—was finally put to death. Why does America continue to execute people?

Which two of the following points best describe the paragraph?

Choose two letters A-E

A. Though the American people mostly agree with the death penalty, it has been declining over the past few years

B. Punishing people to the extreme 

C. America's judiciary system still includes execution in selected areas

D. All Americans believe in lethal injections as a punishment for committing murder

E. Death row is a place where many criminals wait for sentencing

Answers are at the bottom of the page.


Exercise 4

Read the excerpt below from an article taken from The BBC News.

But for years already, the country has been struggling with another form of isolation - depression and suicide. A new report by Unicef contains a shocking statistic - New Zealand has by far the highest youth suicide rate in the developed world. A shock but no surprise - it's not the first time the country tops that table. The Unicef report found New Zealand's youth suicide rate - teenagers between 15 and 19 - to be the highest of a long list of 41 OECD and EU countries. The rate of 15.6 suicides per 100,000 people is twice as high as the US rate and almost five times that of Britain.

What does the author want to communicate to the reader?

Choose one letter A-D

A. The rising suicide rate of people in New Zealand

B. The appalling data collected of adolescent suicides in New Zealand

C. The growing number of people who have depression and feel isolated

D. A report was commissioned by UNICEF

Answers are at the bottom of the page.


Review and Strategy

The multiple choice questions are common in the IELTS Reading Test, therefore you should practice and develop a strategy for answering. 

TIP >> Read the instructions before you start reading the questions or the text. Take note if the question asks you for one, two or three choices.

TIP >> Read the questions.

TIP >> Skim read the text and look for the main idea. 

TIP >> Choose your answers through an elimination process. Which ones do not fit? Which ones can you dismiss? Don't be fooled by the answers that use the same words as the text. 


Answers >>

Exercise 1 Answer >> B

Exercise 2 Answer >> D

Exercise 3 Answers >> A and C

Exercise 4 Answer >> B


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