IELTS Reading: Summarising & Paraphrasing

IELTS Reading: Summarising & Paraphrasing

The brilliant thing with practicing this skill is that it is used in all of the four test types. Summarising information is akin to being able to paraphrase well, and it needs a good level of vocabulary to do so.

With the IELTS exam, you need:

  • a wide range of vocabulary
  • the ability to understand the meaning of sentences even if you don't know all of the words
  • the ability to paraphrase and put a sentence into similar terms but, use other language- this is where synonyms come into play!

When will you need to apply these skills?

  • For all of the tasks in the reading paper- they all require you to understand what the text is about, so your range of language is crucial in providing accurate answers.
  • For your writing exam, you will need to have clear and accurate expression. You will need to paraphrase in your opening paragraph and use precise vocabulary throughout your writing.
  • For your speaking exam, being able to express yourself with ease is of the most importance. Having a good range of vocabulary also means that you avoid being repetitive.
  • For your listening exam, vocabulary and synonym skill are key. It will allow you to fill in meaning if you are unsure of what has been said. If you have a good range of lexical resource, then you will be able to pick up meaning.
Look for synonyms and paraphrases in the text rather than words that directly match.

Sample text

Sample questions

Information about the sample text

You may notice that the sample text isn't an IELTS one. And you may have heard others tell you to only practice with IELT texts alone. And you should be using IELTS materials to practice with.


You also don't need to shut yourself away from other short reading passages that prompt similar skill sets, such as; thinking of and identifying synonyms, paraphrasing, summarising, identifying information, short answer questions, identifying writer's views or ideas.

Exposing yourself to other short form of writing, whether fiction or non fiction, means you are expanding your language skills and increasing your vocabulary. Both being complementary skills for your IELTS exam.

This sample text really tests your breadth of vocabulary. See how in the questions, they aren't asking you to define words but to know enough language that you can spot a similar meaning being created.

Answers for sample text

Summarising and paraphrasing strategies

  1. Note how many words they ask you to write- if it is just a word, or short phrase then stick to the instructed amount
  2. Try to understand each paragraph and write a short note of what is being discussed- you want to understand the overall meaning
  3. Be aware of words that collocate in the sentence as this could help hint to what the answer is
  4. Be careful with synonyms. You can check if it is correct by replacing the word with the new synonym, if it doesn't change the meaning then its likely to be a fine fit
  5. Look for language that is similar, not exactly the same. You may miss it if you do the latter.