Top Tips for IELTS

IELTS reading practice – multiple choice – tuition fees

This is the next in my series of IELTS reading practice questions. These are all multiple choice questions on a text relating to tuition fees. You can do the test here online or if you wish you can download the text and do it on paper.

General advice

Reading is a skill. My advice is not just to try and “find” the answers. That way you make mistakes. Rather try and improve your reading skills with these questions.

Know the question type

There are different types of IELTS reading question. It helps to understand how they work. If you are uncertain, try my multiple choice reading tutorial.

Skim the text first

The best advice is to read the full text first in order to understand its general meaning. If you do read and understand, then you are far more likely to make intelligent guesses if you need to. Want to learn how to do this, try this lesson on skimming.


Read the full question before you scan. Try and identify words in the question that may help you find the right part of the text to find the answer. Do NOT just think about “key words” – you might well find the wrong part of the text. Typically, the words you are looking for are not the same words but words with a similar meaning.

Close reading

When you have found the right part of the text refer back to the whole question. Look at all the words – even the little ones – think carefully about what the question means – the key word might be something as “small” as “some”.

The reading practice questions

Higher education in England has undergone many reforms in recent years and it is evident that it is subject to ever increasing pressure from the financial climate. Nowhere is this more true than in field of tuition fees. Not so long ago, home students could expect to receive 3 years of university education free of charge, regardless of their family income, and only be required to pay for their food and accommodation. Those days, however, are long gone and current proposals from central government are for an annual fee of up to £9,000 for tuition alone, with the result that UK nationals will pay almost as much as foreign students. While that amount is discretionary and universities have the right to charge lesser amounts, it is widely anticipated that many universities will follow the lead of Oxford and Cambridge and try and charge the maximum fee. To charge any less could be considered an indication that the education on offer was in some sense second-rate.

Another interesting development could be that universities begin to compete for students in much same way employers compete for the best graduates. The pressure here is that an increased level of fees might well lead to a corresponding decline in demand for university places and some institutions may struggle to fill their courses with applicants of the correct level. As a result, school leavers with the highest grades may find that universities are prepared to offer them cut-price deals on tuition fees as an incentive to attract them to their courses. This trend is only likely to increase when the government’s policy of offering extra funding to institutions that charge £7,500 or less comes into effect – thereby penalising universities that charge the maximum amount possible. The net effect of this will be to squeeze middle-ranking universities that charge high fees, removing some of their best-performing applicants who are likely to be targeted both by elite institutions offering scholarships, better quality education and by lower-ranking universities that may also offer cut-price deals.


Download version of the reading practice

the text and questions Multiple choice reading - tuition fees questions and text (10145)

the answers with detailed feedback multiple choice reading - tuition fees answers and explanations (6909)

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