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Home / Ielts Reading / Skills For Ielts Reading

Skills for IELTS ReadingTest

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Skills for IELTS ReadingTest

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One of the main difficulties experienced by students doing the Reading Module is not having enough time to complete the test. It is, therefore, essential to read both efficiently and effectively.

There are a few main skills that you will need in order to do well in the IELTS Reading Module. It is useful to use the following procedure for each text that is given.


(about 2 minutes for each passage)

(a) Study the passage by noting:
  • titles
  • headings
  • illustrations
  • diagrams
  • any print in bold type or italics.

(b) Study key parts of the passage by skimming. Read the first paragraph which often focuses on the main idea. The first sentence of each paragraph usually expresses the key points of the paragraph. Generally, the concluding paragraph provides a summary of the given passage. You may wish to highlight these with a pen.

Interpreting the instructions and questions

(about 2 minutes)

Read each word in the instructions carefully and ensure that you understand exactly what is required and in what form. For example, the instructions may say, ‘Choose no more than three words from the passage for each answer'. In this situation, it would not be acceptable to write four or more words. Often students find the right answer but present it in the wrong form and, unfortunately, do not score any marks for that answer. Understanding what is required, therefore, is just as important as finding the right answer in the passage.

When you are looking at the questions, you need to recognise:
  • what type of question you have to answer (is it gap-filling, multiple choice, matching information, etc?)
  • whether or not the question requires a specific or general answer
  • what form the answer should take (is it a number, date, reason, etc?)

Scanning the text for specific answers

(about 1 minute per question)

Use your time wisely. Spend no longer than one minute on finding each answer. Only look in the given text, table, diagram or graph for the answer required. Locate key words in the question and find them, or synonyms for them, in the text. The sentences around these words are most likely to contain the answers you need.

If you are still unsure of the answer after you have spent approximately one minute on the question, make a sensible guess in the appropriate form. You may wish to mark the answers you are unsure of in some way so that, if you do have time at the end of the Reading Module, you can check these answers again.

Checking your answers

(about 3 minutes)

After you have completed your answers for each section, you need to check them. Check that you have followed the instructions exactly. If you have time, return to the answers you marked because you were unsure and see if the answers you have given are the best ones.

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