Paraphrasing – one of the key skills for the IELTS exam as a whole
You are tested in four areas of your understanding of English in IELTS – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. There are some skills which are specific to one of the four areas you are tested in but there are many skills that touch all the four parts of the test. Paraphrasing skill is one of the vital skills that you must be excellent at if you wish to ace the IELTS.
Paraphrasing is important in the Listening task – what is written in the question booklet and what you hear will not be exact. Synonyms will be used, different sentence structure will be used. So unless you know what paraphrasing is you might miss the answer to the question as you are listening to the audio The audio may say, ‘a vital part of our food supply’ and the gap filling question may look like, ‘an essential source of ____________.’ The ‘vital part’ has been paraphrased as ‘an essential source of.’
In the Reading test too the questions may contain phrases paraphrased from the Reading passage. The Reading passage may contain the phrase, “Violent crime is on the rise among teenagers” and the question you get could be, “Is it true that the violent offences being committed by youngsters is increasing?” The paraphrasing has changed crime to offences, rise to increasing and teenagers to youngsters.
In the Writing passage too paraphrasing is of immense use. In Writing task – 1 for instance, your opening statement should be an introduction to the graph/table/diagram/process. The description of the same is given in the question. But you should not repeat the question as an introduction, then you will lose marks. You should restate the question in your own words. The description of the graph could read, “The graph below shows the reasons for the increasing level of pollution in Mumbai from 2001 to 2018.” If you repeat the same as your introduction to the graph, you will certainly lose marks. Your introduction sentence should state the description of the graph in your own words, something like, “The causes of the rising level of pollution in Mumbai during the eighteen year period between 2001 and 2018 are shown in the graph.”
In the Speaking test also paraphrasing comes in handy. If the examiner asks you, “Where do you live?”, you can say, “I live in…” but when you paraphrase it to “I reside in…” it sounds better. For the question, “Have you helped a stranger any time?”, instead of saying “Yes I helped…” it will be better if you can say, “Yes, I once assisted…”
Paraphrasing is one of the most invaluable skills needed for IELTS. Keep your focus on it.
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