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The increasing number of university students entering foreign universities and the international employment market has helped to assess the capabilities of the leaner language by providing a standard language test. This refers to one of the most commonly used evaluations of the International English Language Testing Framework (IELTS). IELTS has been a trustworthy instrument internationally for testing academic capabilities and has subsequently been adopted into curricula for many school systems. The test requires four skills, including reading, hearing, writing and conversation. Any skill requires special teaching approaches to enhance student confidence. There have been many studies on how to express listening, writing and speech modules, but there has been no attention paid to reading.
This study is intended to find the reading techniques that help students get high score in Ielts reading test as well as their difficulties in doing that kind of reading test.
In helping me to complete this study, I am highly indebted and thoroughly grateful to Ms Tran Thi Ngoc Lien, my teacher and my guide in the research course. She is a constant source of motivation and also helps me sharpen my translation skill which is extremely useful when I worked for to finish my study. Best regards,
CHAPTER 1: OVERVIEW OF THE STUDY “Khóa Luận: Techniques in achieving high scores reading Test”
The rising number of students entering universities abroad and the international job market has contributed to a need for a standardized language exam to determine the abilities of the leaner language. As a result the International English Language Testing System has one of the most widely used assessments for this purpose (IELTS). IELTS became a trusted tool globally for assessment of learner abilities and was thus incorporated into multiple school systems’ curricula. The exam requires four competencies, including reading, listening, writing and communicating. In order to improve students’ confidence, each ability requires special teaching methods. Many experiments have been performed on how to communicate the modules surrounding listening, writing and voice, although the area of reading has not gained much attention.
The studies that research undergraduate reading through the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) have experienced a dramatic rise in recent years (e.g., Krishnan, 2011; Moore, Morton, & Price, 2012; Weir, Hawkey, Green, & Devi, 2009). IELTS is commonly used by Australian universities to test foreign students for English language proficiency. International students are required to show a certain degree of proficiency expressed in their IELTS band ratings, typically with a cumulative score of 6.5 or higher without a sub-score (Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing) below 6.0. This high-profile situation will lead foreign students to concentrate on entry scores instead of English language proficiency. Although IELTS is just an indication of proficiency, the accuracy of the test as a metric can be undermined by the concentration of foreign students on test results. “Khóa Luận: Techniques in achieving high scores reading Test”
In general, Weir et al. (2009, p. 78) findings supported IELTS as an academic reading test in which participants first used search reading and then read more carefully on specific test items. However, the time limit is a major concern for IELTS Academic Reading reviewers. Students can use strategic reading methods to increase their response and their test score as a countermeasure (Everett & Colman, 2003; Mickan & Motteram, 2009). While these techniques can provide an effective answer, the need for textual understanding is reduced and the validity of the test as a barometer for actual reading ability may be potentially undermined.
The reading by foreign languages (Aebersold and Field, 1997) has for a long time been treated as a requirement for reception as it is an important source of feedback for the production of other skills. Reading is also important in the growth of universities, particularly when learners need to work on an enormous amount of materials for their own foreign language subjects (McDonough and Shaw, 2013). According to Grabe (1991), this critical significance has prompted a substantial rise in the number of studies on reading foreign languages in academic contexts.
1.2. Aims of the study “Khóa Luận: Techniques in achieving high scores reading Test”
This study aimed to clarify the techniques in reading IELTS test in order to get high score. I was really motivated to choose this topic for two main reasons. The strongest motivation is my belief that reading has an essential role to play in English for Academic Purposes. It is an indispensable language skill for international students who have to read various academic materials for their study at universities. Besides, reading techniques to get high scores, which are undoubtedly a common concern among English learners preparing for IELTS test. This is also the case for Vietnamese students who have to enhance their skills both in English and reading techniques. The dissertation is also aimed to have a closer look at the really deep strategies in reading may have some challenges for Vietnamese learners to improve their English reading in academic contexts of IELTS test. Three major research questions were carefully investigated:
- Which reading techniques were used by students when they do in achieving high scores in IELTS reading test?
- Did the students get any challenges/difficulties when applying these techniques in IELTS reading test?
1.3. Research methodology
The purpose of this study was identified in the previous section. The population was the students who from universities with requires mandatory conditions on Ielts. The purposive sampling method was used to conduct the survey.
A questionnaire was used as a research tool of this study. The questionnaire is designed to survey challenges in business English correspondence for trainees in export import field. The questionnaire contained both closed-ended questions and open-ended questions. The questionnaires were collected after the respondents completed them within ten days of distribution.
1.4. Organization of the study “Khóa Luận: Techniques in achieving high scores reading Test”
In addition to the acknowledgement, conclusion, references and appendices, the study divides into 4 main chapters as follows:
Chapter 1: Overview of the study
In this chapter, the author focuses on presenting an overview of the research topic. Introduce the rationale of research and the urgency of the topic. In addition, in this chapter the author also provides information related to previous studies, research objectives, subjects, scope, methodology and organization. At the same time, present an overview of the research method, primary data collection method and tools used to statistically describe collected data.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
This chapter focuses on the definitions of commercial correspondences, the role of these, the theory of techniques in achieving high scores in Ielts reading test. In addition, the author also progresses to collect and inherit experience from previous studies on the impact of techniques in achieving high scores in Ielts reading test. From there, make assumptions for the research model and the proposed research paradigm.
Chapter 3: Methodology
This chapter presents the methods used to collect and analyse data in research. It describes research design, overall engineering, sampling, data collection tools and procedures, and data processing, and data analysis methods appropriate to achieve the goals.
Chapter 4: Research findings
In this chapter, the author focuses on presenting the results and findings of the data collected to find techniques in achieving high scores in Ielts reading test and difficulties for students in achieving high scores in Ielts reading test.
Chapter 5: Recommendations and suggestions
In this chapter, the author gives conclusions about the hypothesis of the research, the level of completion of the research objectives of the topic, give some recommendations and suggestions and presentation of the limitations of the topic.
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW “Khóa Luận: Techniques in achieving high scores reading Test”
2.1. Conception of reading
Reading can be described as an operation that engages intensively with the passage and results in fluency of reading. Reading needs a lot of work from readers to grasp the true sense with the use of a combination of language skills and experience. In addition, the difficulty of the reading has led many scholars to see and focus on the smooth reading process by exploring the elemental skills process (Grabe, 1991). The componential skills are then defined by researchers:
- Automatic experience of identification
- Structural awareness and vocabulary
- Awareness of formal speech arrangement
- Awareness in content/world
- Competency/Strategy synthesis and assessment
- Monitoring of metacognitive information and abilities.
Studies undertaken over the past 30 years have changed our view of reading as a decoding process. As Carrell and Eisterhold saw reading as a ‘game of guessing,’ in which ‘readers’ recreate a text encoded by a writer (1983) as a ‘intensive method of interpreting students requires to teach techniques to read more effectively (e.g., guess from a context, set goals, read inferences).’ Paran (1991) thought that reading was a continuous variance operation that would subsequently be reject or verified.’ In other words, a reader does not read all the phrases the same way but depends on a few words – or ‘questions – to predict the coming phrases (1996). Zhang (1993) believes that Afflarbach relates reading to hypothetical experiments when after evaluating the original theory, the reader arrives at the principal idea, given the reader has relevant context information.
There are some different meanings of the word reading. This may include reading aloud, a very difficult ability, including first comprehension of black marks and then creating the proper noise or reading, quiet reading (Moorman et al, 1994). Reading designation for the purpose of reading. For purposes of reading, extensive reading and intensive reading may be graded.
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2.2. The IELTS Academic Reading Test Structure “Khóa Luận: Techniques in achieving high scores reading Test”
The IELTS reading exam consists of 3 passages of about 2,500 words extracted from novels, journals, magazines and newspapers. These passages are written for a non-specialist population and cover scholarly subjects of general interest with a wide variety of academic topics: physics, society, history and so on. A error was made (Gabb, 2000). They vary from the abstract, factual and analytical. Diagrams, maps or pictures may be attached to each letter, and it is anticipated that the participants would demonstrate that they understand these too. Each reading passage includes 10 to 15 questions. There are different types of questions: multiple choice, matching, true/false/not given, finalizing a sentence or overview tasks. Three sections include a literacy test:
Section 1 includes two or three short factual texts, one of which can consist of 6-8 short texts on a subject, e.g. hotel advertising. The topics are important in an English speaking country for daily life.
Section 2 includes two brief factual texts on job related questions, such as workforce application, business practices, wages and conditions, employment services, career growth and preparation.
In Section 3, a longer and more complex text on a general interest problem is included.
Two separate reading assessments are given by the IELTS framework in its present form: a general training module and a school module. This general curriculum is structured for a number of cohorts and tests “base skills in the survival of society and education.” The academic module notes that the English skills needed for academic or professional recognition shall be evaluated” The general education module (IELTS, 2007). The present analysis only includes the above modules. The skills tested in IELTS’s academic reading include: following directions, locating principal thoughts, defining the underlying definition, creating the connections between the key concepts and drawing logical conclusions according to test requirements (Alderson, 2000; IELTS, 1996). “Khóa Luận: Techniques in achieving high scores reading Test”
Usually, an IELTS Academic Reading Test consists of three parts (or test panels) arranged in each passage. These passages are rendered in various sources, including newspapers, newspapers, books and magazines, of theme of general interest, written for a non-specialist audience, which are around 750 words in total. These passages are of ordinary. There are a number of activities (40 in total) that surround the reading passages for the students to grasp content within the allotted 60 minutes. IELTS (1999) is the following feature of these activities or techniques:
- Multiple choice
- Short answer questions
- Sentence completion
- Notes/summary /diagram/flow chart/table completion
- Choosing from a heading bank for identified paragraphs/sections of text
- Identification of writer’s view/attitudes/claims
- Matching lists
- Matching phrases.
Alderson (2000) noted the use of various approaches to assess an interpretation of a certain passage is the “interesting aspect of the IELTS reading test. He implies that this is a strength since readers in real life also respond in several ways to reading texts. Includes the following set of activities for each reading passage in the Official IELTS Materials (2007):
- Section 1: Match section-summary; Summary gaps; true/false/not granted
- Section 2: true/false/not given; category-information match; multiple choice
- Section 3: overview section match; finalization of the expression
Since its introduction in 1989, the IELTS Academic Reading Exam has undergone several significant changes. Among this was the elimination of subject-specific read sub-tests and the removal of the thematic connection between reading and writing tests. The most significant of this was the outcome of comprehensive testing and appraisal work at the beginning of the 1990s (eg Clapham 1996). The argument for these changes is widely debated in the literature of the IELTS (Charge and Taylor, 1997; Taylor, 2007). The elimination of the basic discipline of the reading test, for instance, resulted in results indicating that the diversity of subject modules was not justified, and that a single test did not discriminate against or for particular candidates from multiple disciplines (eg Taylor, 2007). The decision to distinguish the lecture from the writing test was based on the finding that the candidate’s use of reading content in the written tests differed significantly, and its impact on justice. Moreover this relation has raised the possibility of confusing the appraisal of the abilities to write and read (Charge and Taylor, 1997). The research focuses solely on the reading activities, not the accompanying reading passages. However, it must be understood that a differentiation of these elements somewhat restricts the view. For this reason, Alderson (2000) has pointed out that the text type can be related to the kind of work or process it may use.
2.3. Reading competence requirements “Khóa Luận: Techniques in achieving high scores reading Test”
It takes 60 minutes for any IELTS to read. Candidates should be able to skim – read about 170 words a minute and don’t read three passages for as long as 15 minutes. In order for students to fulfill IELTS reading standards, they must be able to:
*Read skim short and fast. The key idea of each passage in reading in general and each paragraph in particular should be defined by the candidates. To do this, students should not read the supporting phrases or disregard unfamiliar words or phrases (Drucker, 2003).
*Clave words to describe. This allows students to search the reading text and questions in order to recognise persons, places names and dates in the text. *Paraphrase recognition. Students should be able to understand the similarity between the problems and those expressed in the reading passage (Grelette, 1990).
*Manage time. Time scheduling. The reading test consists of 40 problems, some of which are straightforward, some medium difficult and the rest highly demanding. To achieve the best outcome, students can reflect on the simplest questions they can answer before wasting the remainder of their time on tougher questions.
*Advance the wording. For scholarly purposes, IELTS readings are. A strong command of terms, words and phrases is needed (Brown, 1994). Students are encouraged as much as possible to enrich their university language.
2.4. Reading difficulties
According to Aebersold and Field (1997), although the reading process cannot be observed with the eye, through research, we can identify the abilities that affect reading ability and the difficulty that affects the reading ability of readability. According to Scarcella and Oxford (1992), four aspects are grammatical competency (knowledge of foreign grammar), sociological capacity (ability to use foreign languages properly in different social contexts), The oral capacity (understanding patterns in written and spoken language) and strategic competency (the ability to apply appropriate reading strategies to read effectively) are the four competencies within the communicative competency framework that influence readability. Meanwhile, Ur (1996) listed ten difficult factors that affect foreign language reading by comparing the characteristics of ineffective and efficient readers. He pointed out list of five reading difficulties (lack of interest, lack of background knowledge, lack of concentration, lack of vocabulary and lack of grammatical knowledge). “Khóa Luận: Techniques in achieving high scores reading Test”
2.5. Reading techniques enabling students to acquire IELTS high score
2.5.1. Frameworks used in reading assessment studies
A great deal of study has focused upon taxonomies to separate reading habits into a number of capacities and subcompetences in diverse fields of reading. The list of general language skills used both for research programs and materials and for test design was especially important for Munby’s (1978). Munby distinguished a total of 266 skills in a list which he described then as not exhaustive” – divided into 54 classes of reading knowledge such as:
- Understand the contact meaning of the phrases and expressions with explicit markers
- Comprehension of the connections between texts by grammatical continuity reference instruments, contrast, etc.
- Scan to find information that is actually needed: one point/over one point, which requires a single search.
- In the complexity of Munby’s method, a fundamental distinction can be established between reading abilities involved in the basic understanding of texts and those that require comprehension.
There have been attempts in recent years to simplify this taxonomy to a more controllable catalog of skills (Carver 1997; Grabe and Stoller, 2002). In Grabe and Stoller (2002), reading is better recorded in seven headings: “scanning,” “skimming,” “skimming,” “writing,” “memorizing.” For example, Carver (1997) defines five basic elements as “standard’ or “natural,” which happens when adults read something which is reasonably easy to understand (Carver 1997):
- Reading to search for simple information
- Reading to write (or search for information needed for writing)
- Reading to skim quickly
- Reading to learn from texts
- Reading to critique texts
- Reading for general comprehension
- Reading to integrate information
- One note that in a recent analysis for the TOEFL reading test (Enright et al, 2000)
- this latter collection takes a very condensed form:
- Reading to find information (or search reading)
- Reading to integrate information across multiple texts
- Reading to learn
- Reading for basic comprehension “Khóa Luận: Techniques in achieving high scores reading Test”
The most beneficial for the current project was that of the numerous taxonomies developed by Weir and Urquhart (1998) and was applied in another recent review of Weir et al IELTS’s academic reading test (2009). Weir and Urquhart construct a taxonomy around two dimensions of distinction instead of assembling the list of distinct skills: degree reading and form readings. The standard of reading differentiates between text-centered processes on a more systemic level and those that work on a local basis. The difference between “careful reading and “expeditious” reading for reading type is the former with close and thorough text readings and the latter “fast and selective reading … for important information to be extracted according to the intended purposes.” In terms of reading sort (Weir and Urquhart, 1998).
2.5.2. Proposed models of techniques in achieving high score in IELTS reading test
In IELTS, the author ‘s suggested reading techniques model in achieving high score in IELTS reading test includes three phases: before reading stage, during reading stage and after reading stage of the techniques by Oxford et al (2004). The three parts characteristic of intentional reading (the IELTS review here is based on Oxford et al’s strategic reach (2004).
Chart 1: Proposed model for Techniques in achieving high scores in IELTS reading test
126.96.36.199. Techniques in Pre-reading stage
Pre-reading stage: this stage provides students with an introduction to reading, inspiration and variety of reading strategies. Students must have vocabulary, active foundations and reading knowledge during this time (Hammer, 1992).
The use of analogies for scanning and scanning: Usually, the student’s ability to grasp a passage of all linguistic knowledge would be suggested during the reading process. Language and schemes (Abott et al., 1990). Students may find it difficult to understand the difference between these two readings. “Khóa Luận: Techniques in achieving high scores reading Test”
Students should be read easily and predictively before skimming: Students need to use Flash reading before skimming. This includes attempting in a very short period to extract as much details as possible from a letter (Anthony & Richards, 1980). Hearing the headline, subtitle and headings, and find the thesis statement are the principal aims of the fast reading of the subject. Then, after 3-5 minutes of skimming the passage, the students re-read the passage and affirm the belief.
188.8.131.52. Techniques in Official reading stage
Post-skimming test questions need to be asked: this is the duty of the subject after reading. Answers can be conveniently developed and specialization in reading passages can be given. These questions compel students to read the whole passage again (Carrell et al., 1989).
Students are asked to do the review task: they are expected to spend 2-3 minutes with a partner to outline the letter, without looking at the reading passage. This practice is viewed as a good way to see if the pupil has understood the key points of the text.
The questions must illustrate methods of interpretation: readings give students the ability to exercise those credentials so students are deemed qualified in examination circumstances. Existing and common techniques.
Unfamiliar words should be used by students: Unknown words are still a concern for any reader. Therefore, when learning to read, students should practice unfamiliar words. It is recommended that teachers not automatically come up with meanings of terms but attempt to prove the indices by meaning. Unfamiliar terms are sometimes vocabulary in IELTS reading and in these passages students can find a simple meaning of words. Other contexts may also offer sufficient hint to the meaning for an unclear term through logical associations, parallel expressions and compound terms. Students should set their practical objectives: Students will certainly reach 40 correct answers. To achieve correct 27 responses, time management skills are sufficient. Note, 30 from 40 is a rather good result and students can concentrate on 27 the easiest questions quite als 13 the most challenging ones, which are equal to IELTS 7.0. In Academic ranking. “Khóa Luận: Techniques in achieving high scores reading Test”
Students ought to differentiate between scholarly and technical vocabulary: as they read, they can probably notice several unfamiliar words since IELTS is a reasonably academic reader. And the function of the teacher is to help students find the right words for learning. Three language classes exist:
– Principal word vocabulary: it is believed that there are between 2000 – 3000 words in English which are known to students and are considered an everyday language.
– The language is formal. This category consists of around 1000 families of words, many of them containing adjectives and verbs. These terms are not typically used in regular conversation but students know all of them.
The most critical aspect of IELTS comprehension is advanced vocabulary: In the reading passage they are nevertheless still established. Students need guidance to recognize their gaps and priority academic vocabulary learning in the last two vocabulary classes. “Khóa Luận: Techniques in achieving high scores reading Test”
- Students sholud learn outside class assignments
The students should learn what they learn in the lecture class as a mix of reading ability, language skills and suitable reading strategy is required. Only with too much repetition can this be done. Task-based reading examples are as follows:
- Set the theme phrases
- Recognize in the reading passage scholarly and technological terms
- Specify noun pronouns
- Find an argument of the writer and write any responses
- Find and interpret the names of persons with their opinions or ideas
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