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

Today you’ll find out what to do for IELTS Reading band 9.

We had this question from a student:

I’m doing good in Listening, Writing and Speaking, but my Reading scores are not up to the mark. What can I do to improve my Reading scores?

First, you need to strengthen the overall comprehension, or the understanding of what you’re reading.

A huge part of this is vocabulary.

If you don’t have the vocabulary, you won’t recognize the parallel expressions that tell you where the answers are in the passage.

For general reading, Lindsay recommends Following Atticus, about a marathon hiker and his canine companion.

It’ll pull you in, as it’s an adventure, and, if you love animals, his dog is a big part of the story!

Jessica recommends The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King.

This is great because the writing is amazing, and it’s a collection of short stories. Thus, it’s easy to consume, as you can finish a whole story in one sitting. Most of the stories are not horror, either, but, rather, a variety of genres.

The main point is that you must develop a positive association with reading, so you find it enjoyable and motivating.

Next, you’ll need to learn the IELTS Reading strategies.

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A few years ago, we did an episode called How to Work Backwards to Get a 9  on IELTS Reading.

Jessica has used this strategy to help many students, so, today, she’ll add to this extremely useful activity.

For the most difficult question types, this really helps!

  1. Get an IELTS Reading passage.
  2. Write down the answers.
  3. Compare the question to the answer in the passage.
  4. Highlight the answer and the matching parallel expressions, in the passage and the question. (This gives you insight into how the questions and answers are written.)
  5. Every time you come across a key word that you don’t know, put it in your vocabulary notebook. (Reserve 3-4 pages only for these words, as IELTS will repeat certain words!)

Get these IELTS Reading passages from any Cambridge practice test book, or this free website.

You can also do this for difficult Listening questions, and even model answers for Speaking and Writing.

Ready to learn all the Reading strategies you need?

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