Understand Discursive Passages in IELTS Reading & Learn To Score Better in It

A discursive passage is included in the IELTS Reading examination mainly for academic test takers. Candidates appearing for the test are required to demonstrate the best of their abilities while attempting it. Before we discuss it in detail let us first learn what Discursive Passages are and how to attempt them in order to score higher in them.

To help you prepare effectively for this task, we have covered certain essentials, guides/tips, and other relevant information that needs to be followed while attempting a discursive passage question to get the desired Band score.

Discursive Passages in IELTS Reading – Overview

Discursive passages in IELTS reading involve complex texts that present different arguments and opinions on a topic, often with specialized vocabulary. You must understand and analyze the main ideas, supporting details, and arguments, while also inferring the author’s tone and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments. To approach these passages effectively, you should practice reading and analyzing different texts. Develop strategies for identifying key details, expanding vocabulary, and familiarizing yourself with common discourse markers and connectives.

What is the importance of Discursive Passages in IELTS Reading and how it works?

Discursive passages are an important component of the IELTS Reading test because they test your ability to understand and analyze complex arguments and viewpoints on various topics. These passages require critical thinking skills and the ability to evaluate and interpret information from different sources.

In the discursive passages, you will encounter a range of arguments and viewpoints, which can help you, develop your own critical thinking skills and form your own opinions on various topics. This is particularly important for academic and professional environments, where you may need to evaluate and discuss complex issues with others. To do well on discursive passages in IELTS Reading, it is important to have strong reading comprehension skills and the ability to identify the main arguments, viewpoints, and evidence presented in the passage. You also need to be able to evaluate the credibility of the information presented and recognize any biases or assumptions in the arguments.

By practicing with discursive passages, you can improve your ability to read and understand complex texts, as well as develop your critical thinking and analytical skills. This will not only help you succeed in the IELTS Reading test but also in academic and professional environments where you need to engage with complex arguments and ideas.

Things to Consider while Attempting the Discursive Passages in IELTS Reading

Here we have discussed seven essentials to keep in mind while attempting the Discursive Passages in IELTS Reading. These can ease your task and help you perform better resulting in a good score.

Have a look at the 7 things to keep in mind while attempting discursive passages:

Read the passage carefully: Take your time to read the passage carefully and understand the author’s main argument and the different viewpoints presented.
Identify the main ideas: Identify the main ideas presented in the passage and the arguments made for each idea. Take note of the supporting evidence presented to back up each argument.
Understand the author’s position: Determine the author’s position on the topic, and be aware of any biases or opinions that may influence their argument.
Pay attention to the language used: Discursive passages often use complex language and idiomatic expressions. Make sure you understand the meaning of these expressions and how they relate to the argument being presented.
Use context clues: If you come across any unfamiliar words, try to use the context of the sentence to help you understand their meaning.
Practice paraphrasing: Discursive passages may have complex sentences and use academic vocabulary. Try to paraphrase the information presented in simpler language to improve your understanding.
Answer the questions based on the passage: Make sure your answers are based on the information presented in the passage, and avoid bringing in outside knowledge or opinions. Be precise and concise in your answers, and use keywords and phrases from the passage wherever possible.  

About the Common Vocabulary Related to Discursive Passages 

Knowing about the common vocabulary useful when attempting the Discursive Passages in IELTS Reading can be of great help. If you devote your time to it, the result can surprise you.

Here are some common vocabulary words that may be useful to you:

Viewpoint: A particular way of looking at or thinking about something.
Perspective: A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something.
Evidence: Information that supports a claim or argument.
Concede: To admit that something is true or valid, often reluctantly or after initial resistance.
Argument: A statement or series of statements used to persuade someone to believe or do something.
Rebuttal: A refutation or contradiction of an argument or viewpoint.
Synthesize: To combine different ideas, concepts, or information to create a new understanding or perspective.
Counter-argument: An argument or viewpoint that opposes another argument or viewpoint.
Bias: A particular preference or inclination, especially one that prevents impartial judgment.
Credible: Believable or trustworthy.
Controversial: Causing disagreement or discussion.
Consensus: A general agreement or opinion.
Implication: A conclusion that can be drawn from something, although it is not explicitly stated.
Rhetoric: The use of language to persuade or influence others.
Fallacy: A mistaken belief, especially one based on an unsound argument.
Conjecture: an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information
Corollary: a consequence or result that follows naturally or logically from a given fact or situation
Empirical: based on observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic
Erudite: having or showing extensive knowledge acquired chiefly from books
Hegemony: leadership or dominance, especially by one country or social group over others
Incontrovertible: not able to be denied or disputed
Inductive: characterized by the inference of general laws from particular instances
Paradigm: a typical example or pattern of something; a model
Polemic: a strong verbal or written attack on someone or something
Pragmatic: dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical considerations
Redundant: not or no longer needed or useful; superfluous
Synthesis: the combination of ideas or information to form a theory or system

The Top Tips to Prepare Better for the Discursive Passages 

Preparation questions for every single section in different IELTS Modules need you to invest your time. Also, disciplined and time management matters for an applicant preparing for the test which actually is not easy. Tips from experts can be of help to you in this case. So why not go through them and ease your task to some extent?

The below tips can help you prepare better for the discursive passages in IELTS Reading:

Read regularly: Reading regularly can help you develop your reading comprehension skills and get familiar with different writing styles and vocabulary.
Practice with sample papers: Practicing with IELTS sample papers can help you become familiar with the types of questions and passages that you will encounter in the actual International English Language Testing System test.

Analyze the structure of discursive passages: Pay attention to the structure of discursive passages and how the author presents different arguments and viewpoints. This can help you understand the main ideas and arguments more easily.

Take notes while reading: Taking notes while reading can help you identify and remember the main arguments and evidence presented in the passage.

Learn new vocabulary: Learning new vocabulary can help you understand the meaning of complex sentences and arguments, and can also help you answer the questions more accurately.

Focus on understanding the main ideas: When reading discursive passages, focus on understanding the main ideas and arguments presented, rather than trying to remember every detail.
Practice summarizing and paraphrasing: Practicing summarizing and paraphrasing the information presented in the passage can help you improve your reading comprehension skills and answer questions more effectively.
Practice critical thinking and analysis: Discursive passages require critical thinking and analysis skills. Practice analyzing different arguments and viewpoints and evaluating the credibility of the evidence presented.
Time management: In the IELTS Reading test, you have 60 minutes to answer 40 questions. Make sure you manage your time well and don’t spend too much time on any one question or passage.

Stay calm and focused: Finally, try to stay calm and focused during the test. If you encounter a difficult passage, take a deep breath and read through it carefully, taking your time to understand the arguments presented.

To succeed in the IELTS Reading test, you must be able to comprehend and analyze complex discursive passages that cover a variety of topics and contain specialized vocabulary. Effective strategies for approaching these passages include reading and analyzing different types of texts, expanding vocabulary, and identifying key details and common discourse markers and connectives. You can improve your ability to succeed in the IELTS reading test with sufficient preparation and practice.

Get in touch with our IELTS experts at Study Smart Overseas Education to get more information on discursive passages in IELTS reading and how to get a good score in the same.

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