IELTS Computer Delivered Tests + Band Score

Referencing in IELTS Reading

Referencing is often discussed in relation to writing or speaking but referencing in IELTS reading is also important to understand.

This lesson will help you to understand referencing and give you practice with skimming and scanning to find answers.

What is Referencing?

Referencing is a technique which is used by writers where they connect ideas within a text by linking back to a previous idea or point already mentioned without using repetition.

As IELTS candidates it is key to understand these references as the reading test will often provide the answer through referencing. The answer to a reading question will often be linked to a reference in the question.

Here are some examples of how referencing is used.

Referencing Examples

  • The government has implemented new policies. These aim to reduce unemployment.

  • After hours of meticulous work, the team finally cracked the encryption algorithm, and it revealed a hidden message.

  • Pollution is a major problem and this issue needs to be addressed urgently."

  • Climate change is a global concern. This environmental crisis requires immediate action.

In each example the words in bold are referring to the same thing.

Referencing in IELTS Reading

Referencing in IELTS reading will often be used to try to obscure the answer and trick you. For example:

Question: What was the main factor in causing the business to collapse?

Text: Heritage Ltd faced several problems throughout their career including lack of opportunities, lower morale and lower wages. This ultimate factor was the driving force behind his decision to change track.

Answer: Lower wages

'Ultimate (i.e. last, final) factor' tells you it's the final one in the list - 'lower wages'. This one you are told was the driving force (main factor) behind the collapse.

As you can see this question requires you to find the reference in the text and then identify the original object of the reference to work out the correct answer.

It is therefore important to be able to understand how referencing in IELTS reading is used and how to work out the references.

Practice Referencing 

Exercise 1

Before doing some exercises to identify referencing in the IELTS reading text, please skim the passage below and answer the questions that follow:

Edinburgh University – Transcending History

If you're looking for a world-class education, then Edinburgh University should definitely be on your radar. A truly historic enterprise, steeped in tradition, but also renowned for cutting-edge research and innovation. The prolific curiosity and inquiry is what makes one of the world’s premier educational in the Athens of the North. This venerable institution has educated some of the finest minds, boasting no fewer than 23 Nobel laureates among its alumni. In addition to these luminaries it also paid host to the early education of Charles Darwin.

At the centre of western development during the enlightenment, and hosting such figures as David Hume and Adam Smith, the historic campus witnessed foundational discoveries in the spheres of medicine, law, philosophy, engineering and economics. These revelations changed the future of Western civilization and gave birth to the modern world.

Founded in 1582 under the charter of James VI, the budding centre of knowledge would rise to even higher acclaim than the emerging monarch who founded it. When you visit Edinburgh University’s central campus for the first time, this tradition becomes clear. With buildings situated in the old town amongst medieval grandeur and Victorian excess, the grey foreboding towers of learning loom over you, reminding you of your insignificance as an individual in the face of such a sandstone memorial to knowledge and discovery. It is easy to forget in this mausoleum of knowledge that Edinburgh remains at the cutting edge of developments in medicine, IT, economics and law. These blossoms of the future will ensure that the history of this timeless establishment will not stop here but will continue to push the limits of the possible.


1)        What is the article about?

2)        Why is Edinburgh university famous?

3)        What does the future of the university look like?

Show / hide answers

 

Exercise 2

Now, scan the text and identify what these references in the IELTS reading refer to. Place your answer in the box.

  1. venerable institution
  2. historic luminaries
  3. revelations
  4. budding center of knowledge
  5. emerging monarch
  6. foreboding Towers of learning
  7. Blossoms of the future

Show / hide answers

 

Exercise 3

Edinburgh University – Transcending History

If you're looking for a world-class education, then Edinburgh University should definitely be on your radar. A truly historic enterprise, steeped in tradition, but also renowned for cutting-edge research and innovation. The prolific curiosity and inquiry is what makes one of the world’s premier educational in the Athens of the North. This venerable institution has educated some of the finest minds, boasting no fewer than 23 Nobel laureates among its alumni. In addition to these luminaries it also paid host to the early education of Charles Darwin.

At the centre of western development during the enlightenment, and hosting such figures as David Hume and Adam Smith, the historic campus witnessed foundational discoveries in the spheres of medicine, law, philosophy, engineering and economics. These revelations changed the future of Western civilization and gave birth to the modern world.

Founded in 1582 under the charter of James VI, the budding centre of knowledge would rise to even higher acclaim than the emerging monarch who founded it. When you visit Edinburgh University’s central campus for the first time, this tradition becomes clear. With buildings situated in the old town amongst medieval grandeur and Victorian excess, the grey foreboding towers of learning loom over you, reminding you of your insignificance as an individual in the face of such a sandstone memorial to knowledge and discovery. It is easy to forget in this mausoleum of knowledge that Edinburgh remains at the cutting edge of developments in medicine, IT, economics and law. These blossoms of the future will ensure that the history of this timeless establishment will not stop here but will continue to push the limits of the possible.


Finally, read the text in detail to find the following information:

  1. Who are the famous attendees mentioned in the text?
  2. In which part of Edinburgh is the university located?
  3. How old is the University?

Are the following statement TRUE, FALSE, or NOT GIVEN
4a. The “Athens of the North” refers to Scotland.

4b. Adam Smith attended the University.

4c. The university sits amongst buildings from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

4d. Edinburgh is a large city.

4e. Edinburgh university is fading in importance.

Show / hide answers

 

IELTS Reading Lessons:


Join IELTS buddy for Free IELTS Tips!

Comments

Any comments or questions about this page or about IELTS? Post them here. Your email will not be published or shared.




Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Band 7+ eBooks

"I think these eBooks are FANTASTIC!!! I know that's not academic language, but it's the truth!"

Linda, from Italy, Scored Band 7.5

ielts buddy ebooks