Multiple Choice : Choose Single Answer (Reading)

Multiple Choice : Choose Single Answer (Reading)

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Part 2: Reading

MCQ : Choose Single Answer

Made Easy

  • Length of text: 70 - 110 words
  • Correct response 1
  • Number of these tasks: 1 - 2
  • Total time for all tasks: 29 - 30 minutes

Multiple-choice, choose single answer (Reading) tests your ability to understand the main ideas, detailed information, purpose, organisation, and inference in a short academic text.

People commonly attempt to do more than one thing at a time on a regular basis. This is called multitasking. Young people especially tend to have confidence in their ability to multitask efficiently, as they often manage to use a number of electronic devices simultaneously. However, research has shown that multitasking often results in more frequent errors, or longer time spent on the tasks. One reason for multitasking’s limitations is that while some tasks (like walking) are simple and can be performed automatically, others are particularly demanding of our attention and concentration, especially if we want to execute the task well or safely (like managing unexpectedly challenging road conditions while driving).

Read the text and answer the multiple-choice question by selecting the correct response. Only one response is correct.

What is the main message the writer wishes to communicate?

  • Reading
    up to 2 points

Top Strategies for Success in MCQ: Single Answer

This task tests two key ways of reading.

Possible task questions

What is the central idea of the text?What is the paragraph about?

According to the author, why did … ?
What evidence is given in the text for the writer’s conclusion?

What does the writer seek to achieve … ?

What is the relationship between …

What conclusion can be drawn from the text?
What does the writer imply about … ?

What is the writer’s attitude to … ?
Why does the writer use the word correlation in the third sentence?

What is the task testing?

Main idea or gist

Detailed information

Writer’s purpose (e.g. to persuade, explain, argue, compare, contrast, present solutions to problems)

Organisation and connections between ideas in the text


Writer’s style, tone, degree of certainty, attitude, etc.

  • Practice Tips
    Follow To Succeed

Practise by looking at short texts from serious books or online magazines. Find some texts (1–2 paragraphs) and do the following:
• Find out the writers’ main point and purpose (e.g. to inform, argue, warn, criticise, describe, persuade, explain, etc.).
• Practise locating topic sentences, which can help you to identify the main message. These are often, but not always the first sentence of a paragraph, and help to introduce the paragraph’s main idea.
• Identify cohesive devices. This can help you follow an idea throughout a text. For example, highlight a word like this or it and then the idea it refers to. Or find an idea that’s repeated and highlight the synonyms or phrases used to express it.

Do some online practice tests to get used to working with a time limit. Try to spend no more than 1–2 minutes on each of these tasks.

  • Language focus

👉 Develop your vocabulary by looking through texts and highlighting any words you don’t know. Practise guessing what they mean from the context. Then check your guesses in a dictionary.

👉   Create lists of words with their synonyms to expand your vocabulary. A thesaurus will help you to find new words with the same or similar meanings. When you learn a new word, record an example of how it’s used in context.

Arrow RL Icon- Process-steps- PTE School


Read the question carefully. It will tell you what to look for in the text (e.g. if it says, ‘What does the writer generally mean …’, you will know to read for main ideas).

Read the options. Identify key words and think about the differences between the options


Arrow RL Icon- Process-steps- PTE School

Read the text quickly to get the general idea. Then read it more carefully, according to the purpose you identified from the question.

Don’t worry if some words are unfamiliar. If you need to know their meaning, try to guess it from the context.

Arrow RL Icon- Process-steps- PTE School


Read the text again to check that the option you’ve chosen is correct.
Change it if necessary.


Choose an option that seems the most likely to be correct.
• Ignore any option that seems clearly wrong after reading the text.
• Try to decide why the other options are incorrect as well as why your chosen option is correct. If you can’t find any good evidence for an option, select a different one.
• If the question is asking about detailed information, find the part of the text that shows your chosen option is correct.
• If the question refers to more general ideas in the text, quickly re-read it to check that your chosen option is correct.
• You may see words and phrases in the text that are the same in an option. This doesn’t mean that this option is correct answer. Read the text carefully and make sure you are clear about the meaning and how it relates to the option.
• If you don’t know, guess. In this task, guessing is better than choosing no options. Check how much time you have and don’t spend too long on one reading task.

Remember, What To Do What Not To Do In MCQ : Multiple Answers

Practise Multiple-choice, choose single answer (Reading) 2 here, if you want to try Multiple-choice, choose multiple answers without a time limit. Think about the strategies mentioned above. Then follow the task instructions.

A recent research survey alludes to modifications in the social habits, mediated through smartphone use, of people in emerging economies. The findings reveal that smartphone users generally have more interaction with people of different religious backgrounds, political preferences, income levels and even racial or ethnic groups, compared to those with basic or no mobile phones. However, it remains unclear whether smartphone use directly leads to this increased propensity for social diversity. For instance, it’s possible that people with the disposable income to buy and maintain a smartphone often move in different social circles from those without and so would naturally gain exposure to more diverse groups in society.

Read the text and answer the multiple-choice question by selecting the correct response. Only one response is correct.

What can be inferred from this text about smartphone use in emerging economies?

1. Use the checklist below to decide what you did well and what you need to practise more. Set aside time to work on each area that you want to improve.

2. Check the answers in the Answer key. Were your answers correct? Try to think about how you could improve.

1. Incorrect: There is no mention of actual use of smartphones increasing.

2. Correct: the research gave clear results about the behaviour (smartphones and diversity of social circles) but the text states ‘it remains unclear whether smartphone use directly leads to this increase propensity for social diversity.’

3. Incorrect: the text does not say whether more diverse social circles are a benefit, and the last sentence suggests that smartphone use is unrelated to having diverse social circles as their owners have this anyway.

4. Incorrect: The possibility discussed in the last sentence contradicts this option.

Common Mistakes Problems Errors In MCQ: Single Answer

Read the instructions and the task question carefully. The instructions tell you what you need to do and the question indicates the information you are looking for in the text.

The reading section of the test has 13-18 tasks that you need to complete. When you are satisfied with your response for a task, click ‘Next’ to move on to the next one.

Quick Tips Strategies For Better Score!

The prompt for this item type may be a question or a sentence that you have to complete. Whatever type of prompt you get, read it carefully because it will tell you what information you need to find in the text.

If you focus on the key words in the prompt, you will find the answer more quickly and spend less time reading the text.

The response options may be words, phrases or sentences. Use your own knowledge to decide whether any of them are unlikely to be correct, or likely to be correct. You can do this before you read the text.

If you read the text but cannot answer the question, choose the option that you think is most likely to be correct. This strategy also applies to multiple-choice questions with more than one answer.

Your response to Multiple Choice, Single Answer is judged on your ability to analyze, interpret and evaluate a short reading text on an academic subject.

Your response is scored as either correct or incorrect. No credit is given for no response or an incorrect response. This question type affects the scoring of reading.

• This question type affects the scoring of only reading.
• Your listening, speaking and writing skills are not tested by this question type.
• For more information download the Score Guide.