Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

You know that you should be reading the newspaper during your IELTS preparation, but how?

If you’re just reading articles a couple times a week, even one a day, there are specific things you could do to exploit each article in order to learn more and practice skills directly related to IELTS.

Go through these steps 2-3 times a week.

  • Choose the article

You should be reading an article from a different section each time.

For instance, the Washington Post has the following sections: Politics, Opinions, Sports, Local, National, World, Business, Tech, Lifestyle and Entertainment.

You can see that these correspond to IELTS topics!

In order to expand your base of knowledge, so you have ideas for any question you face on the Speaking and Writing tests, you should expose yourself to as much variety of information in English as possible.

  • Practice skimming

Read the beginning of every paragraph– the first line for shorter paragraphs, the first 2 lines of longer paragraphs.

Don’t underline key words. Just follow under the whole line with your pen/pencil to help you focus.

Then, write down what you remember. Try to write the main idea of the article.

  • Practice scanning

Scan the article for names and numbers. Circle every name and number that you see.

Alternatively, you could also scan for parallel expressions for the topic. For instance, if the article is about ‘business‘, you can circle all the words associated with this word, such as ‘money‘, ‘company‘, ‘trade‘ or ‘export‘.

Don’t let yourself read the article– scanning is not reading! If you can’t stop yourself from actually reading every word, try scanning from right to left instead of left to right.

Next, read each sentence containing a name or number carefully, and think about why this name/number is there.


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  • Practice reading comprehension

Read the whole article. Don’t get hung up on unfamiliar words– just focus on what you understand.

When you finish, talk out loud to yourself. Summarize the article, discuss what you found interesting, and also give your opinion on the information. Great practice for Speaking Part 3!

  • Learn vocabulary

Choose 4 words that are unknown to you. Make sure they are words you find interesting, and you think you can use on your IELTS Speaking or Writing Exams!

Add these to your vocabulary notebook.

Practice using them in Speaking and Writing answers.

  • Learn grammar

Choose 2 sentences that use impressive structures. Copy them in your notebook. Start a collection of impressively constructed sentences.

Try to mimic these structures in your own sentences.

Have you tried these activities?

Share your experience, and what you learned, in the comments section below!

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