The IELTS Exam And The Importance of Paraphrasing

In the IELTS exam there are various sub-skills which help you perform well, and one of them is paraphrasing. It is a very vital skill that will catapult you to success in each of the four major tasks.

Paraphrasing is a way of expressing a unit of spoken or written thought in different words. Its purpose is to simplify without changing the whole idea. Take a look at this: “The crowd greeted the speaker with a tumultuous applause.” This can also be expressed in a simpler way: “The audience clapped their hands for the speaker.”

The IELTS Listening task contains some tricky questions and is designed to challenge your lexical foundation (vocabulary) and grammatical background, besides listening skill. In every section of the test, you need to develop a good paraphrasing skill in order perceive and comprehend pieces of information and ideas easily. To answer the multiple-choice and short-answer questions, you need to take note the slight difference between the keywords in the audio recording and in the set of questions. More challenging than this, are Sections 3 and 4 which both contain academic audio materials. The words are no longer very simple, thus requiring you to be more cautious.

In the IELTS Reading task, more paraphrasing is involved. Although you can read the three different passages, you only have an hour to answer the 40 questions. The tasks involve matching items, completion (of sentences, notes, and even the summary of the given article), labelling, and of course, multiple-choice questions. The main issue about paraphrasing here is that all passages are quite long. This simply means there are much more words presented. As a result, the number of correct answers you will get depends on how well and fast you can locate the answers in the passages. The corresponding questions and key words in each section’s tasks are no not extracted word for word. So, you need to spend more time understanding the ideas presented.

The basic paraphrasing to do in the Writing task is on the introduction and conclusion of the essay. You need to paraphrase the topic and make it a good thesis statement to introduce your main points in the body. Also, if you decide to use the repetition technique to come up with a concluding paragraph, you may just paraphrase the thesis statement, and then you can have it as your topic sentence (the most important sentence in your conclusion).

Lastly, a very helpful benefit of paraphrasing is to apply it in the Speaking task. In parts 1 and 3, you will be asked about various topics. Each of the topics has a couple of related questions. A good way to do this is to simply paraphrase each question and combine it with your own actual answer, and that is how you construct your first and most important sentence. In part 2, you will speak in two minutes about a particular topic. You may begin by paraphrasing the topic and have it part of your introduction. Continue in your discussion by answering the three guide questions. As a result, you will have a coherent and fluent delivery.

Understanding how thoughts on different levels of spoken and written discourses are paraphrased (from simple to complex) and will help you finish the tasks (both in the two perceptive tasks) more quickly and accurately. In addition, knowing how to apply paraphrasing skills in creating your own written and spoken discourses will definitely make your outputs (both in the two productive tasks) excellent.

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