IELTS reading tips and tricks to boost your score

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The IELTS Reading Test question paper consists of 40 questions which are to be answered within a time frame of 60 minutes. This test is designed to assess your command of the English language. You are evaluated on the basis of several numerical, analytical, and multiple-choice questions based on 3 passages. You are required to read the passages thoroughly and answer questions based on them.

IELTS Reading is considered to be the toughest amongst the 4 sections. Here, we present a few tips and tricks to nail the test.

1. Use time constructively: Proper time management in IELTS plays a crucial role in ensuring a successful band score. The Reading test requires the students to read 3 passages and answer questions based on them.  If you aim to nail the Reading test you should start practicing by preparing answers within a given time frame.

2. Language is all about words: A strong vocabulary and proper usage of words will bring you one step closer to a successful band score in your IELTS. Reading test is all about your knowledge of the English language. Strong command of the English language is a must-have when you are attempting IELTS.  Make sure you dedicate ample time reading journals, newspapers, magazines, and novels. This will holistically improve your vocabulary and prepare you to tackle all sorts of tough questions on test day.

One can acquire new words only by reading and writing. If you are aware of the words and their meaning, it will make it easier for you to communicate your thoughts and ideas and understand the motive of the question. Try writing down difficult words and looking for their meanings. This habit will definitely go a long way in enhancing your vocabulary and its correct usage. Knowledge about any language will never fail you.

3. Attempt the easy questions first: Time is of the essence in the Reading test. So, rather than wasting your time in trying to figure out answers which seem tough to you, try answering the easy questions first.  After you finish answering the easy questions, go back to answering the tough questions. It might demand a little more time than the easy ones.

4. Skimming and Scanning: Skimming refers to the idea of reading the passage rapidly in order to get a general overview of the topic. It is the process of quickly reading the text-only to note the important points. Scanning is trying to locate a particular fact in the passage by looking for keywords that relate to the question. It is helpful when you want to find specific information in a limited time. You have to read the question and identify the keywords, use the skimming method to find the paragraph that contains that information. Scan the keyword stop when you find it, read the sentence thoroughly and go back to the question and answer it using the information you located.

5. Another method: You can also ace the Reading test in time by carefully reading the questions first.  A lot of people use this method, not only to save some time but also to rule out the possibility of making any mistake. Read all the questions carefully first before reading the passages. This will make it easier for you to find the answers when going through the passage. Underline possible answers as you go.

6. Exam pattern: IELTS Reading test is different for both the Academic and General sections. Question ranges from

  •  Matching Headings– Examinees will be given a list of headings for a passage with several paragraphs. They are required to match each heading to the paragraphs.
  • True/False/ Not Given– Write true or false based on the details provided in the passage
  • Multiple Choice – You are required to simply choose the correct answer from a list of probable choices.
  • Test the examinee’s ability to pick the correct answer from the given choices
  • Sentence Completion– you are required to fill in the missing words with a grammatically appropriate word taken from the reading passage.
  • Matching Information– You are asked to match statements to paragraphs in the reading text

8. Copy your answer to the answer sheets: The IELTS Reading test consists of a set of 40 questions to be attempted in 60 minutes. Students are required to answer the questions and also copy them to the answer sheets within the strict time frame. They will not be given extra time to shift their answers. To reap maximum benefits, practice with an IELTS answer sheet and check the time it takes to transfer their answers. This will allow you to get hold of and familiarize yourself with the process. This will also boost your confidence on the day of the test. 

9. Organize:  If you are not sure about an answer to a question, leave it pending and proceed to the next. Mark it so that it reminds you that you have a question unanswered. Go back to it once you have finished writing your answers. This will ensure proper management of time.

10. Attempt every question: Do not leave any blanks. Try to answer every question even though you might not be sure of the answers. The Reading section carries no negative marking. So attempt each and every question. You might just get lucky.

11. Improve your Reading speed: To make the best of the 60 minutes in your IELTS Reading exam, you ought to increase your reading speed. Increase your reading glance to fit in three words at a glance, slowly and gradually increase it to five words at a glance.

 11. Get enrolled at a private coaching institution: The best way to achieve a successful band score is to get trained by a professional instructor. You can also enroll in a coaching institute that provides test prep for IELTS.  These institutions follow a structured plan for their students. They not only cover every nook and corner of the syllabus but teach them the nuances of achieving a higher band score.

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