Skimming and Scanning Tips for IELTS

Skimming and Scanning Tips for IELTS that helps you attempting your tests. In the IELTS exam time is of the essence so that useful skills to develop, as part of your IELTS preparation, are skim reading and scanning. They are different but serve the same purpose, which is to save time.

Here are some Skimming and Scanning tips for IELTS to save you time.

skimming and scanning for ieltsPractice using them while preparing for the exam, which will help you to save time in the IELTS exam and achieve a higher band score:

Skim Reading

  1. Read the title first as this tells you the topic of the article.
  2. Read the first paragraph very quickly. This will give you more information and a better understanding of the article.
  3. Read and underline the first two lines of each paragraph. This will give you an overview of the content.
  4. Read the subheadings and subtitles, if there are any, as they give further information about the following paragraph.
  5. Read very quickly the last two lines of each paragraph and underline them. Here they you will usually find opinions and conclusions, which often occur as a question in the exam.
  6. Read the last paragraph quickly. Here you will find a summary and concluding remarks which give an overview of the text.
  7. Underline keywords. You can do this while following the previous steps.
  8. Also underline any numbers, dates and percentages.
  9. Underline places, countries, nationalities and words like the best, the most and the majority.
  10. Underline repetitions. These are important because they emphasis a point.

Now look at the questions. Now that you have an overview of the text you will be able to answer the questions more quickly. Some people prefer to read the questions first. Do what you feel is best for you.


After skimming for an overview scan for specific information.

  1. When you scan focus on the information you are looking for, which could be a date a number or a percentage. The work that you did previously, underlining keywords, should help you to find the answer.
  2. If you are asked to find an opinion look first in the conclusion as that is the likeliest place to find it.
  3. When you find the answer ensure it is correct by reading the words around it to justify your answer.

Practice with some IELTS reading texts and different types of questions and decide what works best for you. These skimming and scanning tips for IELTS will save you time during the exam, which will help you to achieve a higher band score.


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. Lisa

    These tips are useful. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. Mia

    Great tips. I found them very useful.

  3. Mary

    I love these tips for skimming and scanning. So helpful. Thanks for posting them.

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