Seven Tips for the IELTS Reading Exam

Many, students believe that the reading section is the most difficult part of the IELTS exam, even more difficult than the listening, speaking and writing sections!

You do have to work very fast and reading does require a lot of concentration, so that you need to stay focused to find the correct answers to the questions.

However, there are several things that you can do to improve your IELTS Reading Band score.

Doing practice papers is a good way to prepare but, if you don’t get feedback about your mistakes and how to correct them then you won’t improve!

All your time spent and hard work could be wasted.

So what’s the solution?  Check out these Seven Tips for the IELTS Reading Exam for the answer:

1.Develop Your Vocabulary

Tips for theIELTS Reading ExamThe single most important aspect of preparing for the IELTS exam is to develop a good vocabulary, including synonyms.  Do this by reading magazines about topics that are likely to occur in the test.  There are ten topics that occur regularly.  Keep a notebook handy so that you can note down any words that are new to you.

When you have a good vocabulary and understand synonyms then you will find it easier to spot paraphrases, which is an important skill for the  IELTS Reading test.

  1. Develop Your Speed Reading Skills

Practise skimming and scanning to save time in the exam.  You don’t need to understand the whole passage.

Also develop the skills required for each type of reading question. There are about twelve different types of questions and you need to find a strategy for each one.

  1. Obtain some Practice Tests from Official Sources

Choose tests from official sources such as Cambridge English or IDP.  That way you will ensure that the test format is correct. When you complete the practice tests try to imitate exam conditions.

Work within the stated time so that you obtain an accurate assessment of your current Band Score.  This will practise time management and help you to discover whether you are ready for the test.

  1. Mark Your Answers

Mark your answers on the answer sheet in the same way that an examiner would grade the test, so that you get a realistic result.

  1. Analyse Your Results

Identify the mistakes that you made and reflect on the reasons why you made them.  For example, you may have lost marks because of poor grammar or you might have found certain question topics difficult because you were unfamiliar with the vocabulary.  Make a note of those weak areas so that you can work on them.

  1. Do the Test a Second Time

Once you’ve marked your paper go through it a second time but this time a lot slower.  Make a note of every word that you didn’t understand and try to guess their meaning from the context.  You will need to do this in the exam so it’s good practice.  Use a dictionary and make a note of any synonyms.

  1. Work on Your Weak Areas

The more that you understand the type of mistakes that you making, then it will be easier for you to correct them and improve your Band Score.

The most effective way of improving is to understand these Tips for the IELTS Reading Exam and to get coaching and feedback from a qualified tutor.  Check out our website,  for more information.

Paul Andreas

Paul Andreas is a Certified Speaking Coach and qualified TEFL Teacher Online English Lessons delivered by Skype for IELTS exam preparation and conversational English. Get a free trial lesson.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Maria

    I am currently preparing for my IELTS exam. I came across your blog post while looking for tips; This is a valuable article; I wish you could tell us more about the topics that are more likely to occur in the test. I would appreciate it if you do. Thank you!

  2. Tim M.

    I was practicing for the reading section at home glade I came across your website. I want to get an overall; band of 8. I read the whole article and, I appreciate your help. Thank you for These precious tips. I will apply them, and I am sure that my score will be high.

  3. Aliya

    Let me begin by saying thank you; Your website helped me immensely when I was preparing for my IELTS test. I didn’t get a high band, I guess because my English is not fluent, but I will not retake the test until I improve my vocabulary and grammar. I read your article on how to improve IELTS vocabulary; I will follow the tips.

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