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

Does the IELTS Reading exam seem frightening?

Don’t worry- with these three simple tips, you can achieve the score you need on the IELTS Reading exam!

I understand- the IELTS Reading exam can seem huge and scary, and it is- if you don’t know what to expect, and you don’t prepare properly.

On the IELTS Reading exam, you have 60 minutes to get through 3 passages and answer 40 questions.

Each passage will be approximately 650-1200 words, and the passages are drawn from a variety of sources, such as newspapers, magazines and academic journals.

Practice the Skills You Need on the Test

There are only 3 reading skills you need to find all the answers on the IELTS Reading exam: skimming, scanning and reading for detail.

Did you know that you already know how to do these three things, and you use these skills every day?

Skimming is looking at an article quickly to get the main idea.

Scanning is using your finger or pencil to find very specific information in an article, like a name or a number.

Reading for detail is reading one or two sentences very carefully, word for word. This is how you find the answer and make sure it is correct.

Click here to learn more about these skills and how to use them on the exam.

Know the Strategies

In order to get through these three passages in one hour, and find all the answers, you need IELTS strategies. There’s no way around it!

There’s simply no time to read every word of all three passages and find the answers, so, you need to learn very simple strategies and practice using them as often as you can.

In fact, a student in our course recently got a 9 on the IELTS Reading exam, due to using our strategies.

Basically, you first have to skim the passage to get the gist, or the overall idea of what the passage is about.

Then, you look at the first group of questions. Here, you must read the directions, and underline key words.

Next, you employ your scanning skills to find the key words in the passage, because the answers are always next to a key word from the question.

Finally, you read the one or two sentences around the key word carefully, and this is how you find the answer.

Of course, this simple strategy must be practiced in order to help you on test day. Plus, you must learn slight variations of this strategy for the most difficult question types: T/F/NG, Y/N/NG, and Matching Headings to Paragraphs.

Improve your Overall Reading Comprehension

Of course, as we always say on our podcast, in order to get the score you need on IELTS, you must do two things: know the test strategies, and have a high level of English.

Doing reading practice tests will not improve your reading comprehension. In order to actually become a better reader, you need to read!

Challenge yourself to read high level material, such as what you will find on the IELTS Reading exam. Some excellent resources are: The New York TimesThe Huffington Post, and, for something a little more funny and entertaining, The Onion.

If you follow this advice, nothing will stop you on test day!

Do you have any questions about the Reading exam?

Leave us a comment below!

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