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Tips and tricks for IELTS reading

Here we have some IELTS reading tips specially for those who are struggling to score a band 7 and more.

1. Time management

Reading test is all about managing your time. In the test you will have 3 long passages and 40 questions to do in just 60 minutes. So it would be better not to spend enough time on just one passage.

As stated in IELTS, in the reading test, the sections are in order of increasing difficulty. So it is suggested that you should spend 15 minutes on the first passage, 20 minutes on the second and 25 minutes on the third passage.

But this is not the case every time. Because there are so many passages which you are familiar with. So what you can do is to first read the headings of every passage and choose whichever the passage you want to attempt first.

Suppose you are a student of science and in the test, the third passage is acid rain or biogas, then this passage will be easy for you to understand because you are familiar with that subject’s vocabulary and terminology. In this way you can answer that passage in very less time and then spend the rest time on remaining passages.

2. Read and understand the question first then move to the passage

The most important tip is to read and understand the questions first then start reading the passage. So it would be better to spend maximum 3 minutes on reading and understanding the questions of a passage because in this way you can get the keywords in the question and locate your answer in the passage with those keywords easily. 

3. Don’t spend too much time on one question

So many of the students keep spending time on one question until they find the answer but this is really very wrong because you will not have enough time to attempt all questions so what you can do in to set the time limit for each question the better way is to spend 60 to 90 seconds on each question and not more than that. If the question is taking more than 90 seconds and you can’t find the answer even after trying hard then it would be better to mark the question and move on to the next question. You can come back to the marked question at last if you have time.

4. Don’t make spelling mistakes

Correct spellings are must in the reading test. Remember every spelling counts. One wrong spelling can cost you one score which can lead you from 7 bands to 6.5 bands.

One of our students made a mistake of writing wrong spellings of one answer in the reading test so he got 29 scores i.e. 6.5 bands. If he would have written correct spellings then he could get 30 scores i.e. 7 bands. So you can see how spellings matter. Now the best technique to make sure that your spellings are correct is to recheck the spelling and cross check from the passage. No matter if you are really good at English but sometimes mistakes can be made by chance. By rechecking and cross checking you can be in a safe zone. 

5. Don’t make grammar mistakes

Grammatical range and accuracy matter in every IELTS module. Many students, sometimes, make mistakes of using singulars instead of plurals and vice versa. Let’s understand with the help of an example. 

For prime time missions to other planets and beyond, numerous ______ need to be done. 

Now suppose you have found the answer in the passage i.e. ‘test’, but instead of writing ‘tests’ you wrote ‘test’ by mistake. Due to this, you can lose one score. So while writing the answer read the sentence and understand its sense. After writing the answer, recheck the sentence to make sure if the grammar makes any sense or not. 

6. Read the instructions carefully

Reading instructions of every question is really very important. If you will not answer as directed in the instructions, you can lose the scores. Sometimes the instruction is, ‘use no more than three words’. But the students write the same answer as written in the passage. For example, the answer is, ‘explanation of the book’. But this answer exceeds the word limit. So you can write it as ‘the book’s explanation’. Sometimes the instruction is to write yes, no or not given but some students write true, false or not given at that place. Now even yes and true both means the same but you will lose the score. So you must read the instructions carefully and write your answer accordingly. 

7. Skimming and scanning

The important techniques suggested to every IELTS student for the reading test is skimming and scanning. Skimming means to read the passage quickly so that you can understand the general idea or meaning of the passage. And scanning means to find out keywords related to the question so that you can easily locate your answer. 

These techniques are really very helpful. But skimming is useful for those who are very good at English and can understand the meaning of passage by merely reading quickly for once.

Genuinely speaking, the technique of skimming the passage doesn’t work for the students who are weak in English and who can’t understand the passage by quickly reading. The best technique for them is, to understand the question very clearly, underline the keywords in questions and start finding the answers of questions one by one.


1. Improve your vocabulary

Vocabulary plays a vital role in every module so you must improve your vocabulary so that you can understand the meaning of passage. To improve your vocabulary, you can read various blogs, stories, newspapers, magazines or browse any website to read information. You can choose whatever you like to read and learn many words from that. 

2. Develop reading habit

If you don’t have the habit of reading then you will definitely face problems in the reading test. So you must develop the reading habit in yourself. You can choose anything you like to read. But you must read that everyday. At first, you will feel bored, but after a few days you will find interest in that.

And if you are looking for any information, stop finding the information on YouTube. Instead, you should find it on Google and read the blog related to that information this will improve your reading and understanding. 

Hope it really helps. 

If you have any query regarding any IELTS module, please ask in the comment section.

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