IELTS Tips: The 5 keys to success in Reading

1. Use Time to Your Advantage

·         Fill in the answer sheet as you go. 

·         Leave difficult questions for the end. 

·         Don’t start reading the text before looking at the tasks. 

·        Practice doing lots of reading tests. 

2. Read the Task Carefully

Whenever you start doing a task, make sure you read the instructions and the examples carefully.Most tasks look the same, so you’ll recognize them at first sight after doing some practice test. However, there are some details you need to pay special attention to. Here is what you should pay attention to in three of the most common task types:

·         True/false/not given: If you select “true,” then the whole sentence must be true. There are a few tricky questions in which not all of the details are true. Some may be true while others are false. In these cases, the answer will be “false.”

·         Matching tasks: Don’t cross out the options you’ve already used. This may seem like a fast way of doing the task but it can lead to mistakes. Instead, reconsider all the options for each question. This way you’ll have the opportunity to correct your own mistakes by seeing if each word option is a better fit for another question.

·         Gap filling tasks: Make sure you don’t go over the word limit for each gap.

 3. Get Better at Scanning

Scanning is a reading method that allows you to find information faster. When scanning, you no longer read everything word for word. You just move your eyes across the text smoothly in a wavelike motion. You don’t stop to read details and you don’t waste time with unnecessary information. This is a great method for understanding the main ideas of a text and for finding the information you’ll want to read in more detail.

When you really want to understand a text, you’ll want to understand what each paragraph says. Each paragraph has a main idea and that idea is expressed in the topic sentence. You don’t have time to read all the details and that’s okay because most of them aren’t needed to answer the questions correctly. What you really need to understand each paragraph is the information in the topic sentence.

4. Be Cool with Vocabulary

Don’t panic if you come across unknown words.

Even native speakers don’t understand every single word in every text they read and that’s okay because all those words don’t matter most of the time.

Remember that this isn’t a vocabulary test!

You aren’t allowed to use dictionaries in the exam but this shouldn’t be a problem at all. You’d be wasting a lot of time in the exam by looking up every word you don’t know. So, you should forget about using them while practicing reading at home as well. When you’re practicing reading anything or taking  IELTS practice test, do not use a dictionary. Make yourself complete all your reading practice first. Then, once you have completed the activity, you can return to the text and look something up afterward.

You should be training yourself to read faster and understand overall ideas in the texts. You can understand the meaning of a sentence or paragraph even if you don’t know every single word!

5. Improve Your Reading Speed

There’s only one way to do this and there’s no hiding from it: the more you read, the better and faster you get at reading.

You should be doing practice tests to work on reading texts and questions. Even in your spare time when you’re relaxing and reading fun texts, like novels and comic books, try reading a bit faster every time. You may even want to time yourself to check if you’re making progress with your reading speed.