IELTS is one of the most popular English language proficiency tests out there. Starting in 1989, this exam was first conducted by the British Council and is now the gold standard for international admissions and visa approvals.
IELTS often seems difficult to conquer as it is quite different from the exams we are used to in our school and college life.
One of the sections that students often find hard to understand is IELTS Reading. However, with the help of these quick tips, you will be able to get a good band in this section.
If you are still new to IELTS, we recommend that you check out our blog on All About the IELTS exam first.
IELTS Reading Section & its Importance
IELTS Reading section includes 3 passage-based questions divided into 14 categories with a total number of 40 questions. You get 60 minutes to read the passages and answer all of these questions.
To ace the reading section, the candidate must use their ability to identify patterns in writing, judge the mood of the passage, analyse sentences, make deductions, and apply critical reasoning skills.
The IELTS Reading section is given to test a wide range of reading skills including reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical arguments and recognizing writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.
Common challenges faced by students in IELTS Reading
The section, though it may look easy to score, is in itself a test of your time management skills. The reading section is equally tough as well as important compared with the other sections such as Listening, Writing and Speaking in the IELTS exam.
Candidates have to solve multiple questions based on lengthy and hard comprehensions.
Lack of rich vocabulary and low command of English grammar and poor strategy always results in an incomplete attempt in the reading section.
Tips to Improve Reading Skills for IELTS Exam
To ace the IELTS reading section, apart from strategy, it is always important to improve reading skills for better time per question management. Here are some tips from the experts to improve reading skills for the IELTS exam:
Understand the types of questions in this section:
The reading section covers questions from different categories such as
- heading matching
- true or false
- paragraph matching
- summary completion
- sentence completion
- multiple choice question
- list selections
- choosing title
- classification question
- matching sentence ending
- table completion
- diagram completion
- short answer type question.
Make reading a daily habit not just a part of your studies
Consistent newspaper reading should be part of students’ daily routines. Students should start to read and learn 10-20 new word meanings without fail. Good vocabulary helps in faster reading and better understanding.
Don’t just read, create notes
Make it a habit to summarise whatever you have read, whether a book, a newspaper or an article. This will help you improve your skills to retain important information from text.
Practice scanning and skimming
Skimming and scanning through the passages just to get an idea of the topic discussed is a most skilful ability, especially during the IELTS Reading section. This helps in developing a sense of the information being put out, its basic structure and if possible, its mood. It saves a lot of time to answer questions.
Practice speaking to improve your reading
While this may sound a bit surprising, reading loudly in front of a mirror can also help you improve your reading skills. As a bonus, this activity also helps you in improving your skills for the IELTS speaking section.
Don’t try to memorise the entire paragraph
Understand the tone, mood, and crux of the paragraph. Sometimes, reading the question and going back to the section is quicker to find the answer. Use the method that suits you best.
Get a feel for the real thing
A maximum number of reading mock test practices before the real exam also helps in understanding question patterns and improve performance. It is always suggested by experts that students should create an exam environment for themselves, time themselves and evaluate their performance through mock scores.
The IELTS exam is one of the most accepted English language tests worldwide. Reading is one of the most important sections of this test. Based on the importance, toughness and weightage in the exam students should work for fast and flawless reading skills. It is advised to practice the tips shared religiously to ace in the reading section of the IELTS exam.
For more information about the exam, check out all of our blogs on IELTS.