Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Today you’ll learn how to flexible with IELTS passage paragraphs to improve your IELTS Reading scores.

We’ll answer 3 questions about reading issues in this episode.

What is the strategy to skim when we have reading passages consisting of 5+ sections of 3 to 4 small and big paragraphs. Is it still OK to read the first 2 to 3 lines?

Not every passage looks exactly the same. Thus, you have to use your common sense and be flexible with the reading strategies.

If it’s a short paragraph, of 4-5 lines, you can just read the first line.

If it’s a long paragraph, then read the first 3 lines.

For an average size paragraph, read the first 2 lines.

Do you know what a ‘normal’ size paragraph is in an IELTS Reading passage? Do more test practice, so you learn what to expect from your IELTS Exam.

Remember, the goal of skimming before you look at the questions is to get the main idea of the passage, not to find answers.

In the same situation, to decide for matching headings, would we still consider the beginnings and endings of the paragraphs or all 3?

Sometimes, in Matching Headings to Paragraphs, you have to decide on a heading for a section including more than one paragraph.


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The usual strategy, when there is only one paragraph, is to match a heading to the beginning and/or end of the paragraph.

If there is more than one paragraph, there usually shorter paragraphs. So, just read the first line of the first paragraph, and try to get the answer. If the answer is not there, look at the end of the last paragraph in the section.

This is because, the main idea of the section will be in those places.

Where can I find difficult reading material to practice with?

It’s difficult to find valid IELTS practice for free. The Cambridge books 1-4 may be more affordable because they’re older, but all the books are perfect test practice.

In our course, we do have 2 full practice tests which are geared toward the more challenging versions of the exam you may see on test day.

What reading questions do you have?

Share your IELTS queeries in the comments section below!

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