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IELTS Reading tips

IELTS Reading tips

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Follow the tips below for all the advice you need in successfully passing your IELTS reading test.

- In Academic Reading, begin by going quickly through each passage to identify features such as the topic, the style, the likely source, the writer’s purpose and the intended reader.

- As you read, don’t try to understand the precise meaning of every word or phrase. You don’t have time, and those parts of the text might not be tested anyway.

- Reading tasks sometimes have an example answer. If this is the case, study it and decide why it is correct.

- Some tasks require you to use words from the text in the answer; in others you should use your own words. Check the instructions carefully.

- The instructions may also include a word limit, e.g. Use no more than three words. Keep to this by avoiding unnecessary words in your answer.

Make the most of your Reading test:

  • look out for the title, headings and any special features such as capital letters, underlining, italics, figures, graphs and tables
  • make sure that you understand the questions and follow instructions carefully
  • pay attention to timing; do not spend too long on one passage or question
  • do not try and read every word; remember, you are reading for a purpose
  • if you do not know the answer to a question, attempt it but do not waste time; move quickly onto the next one
  • do not panic if you do not know anything about the subject of the text; all the answers can be found in the text
  • the word(s) you use must be taken from the Reading text; you must not change the form of the word(s) in the text
  • do not worry if there is a word that you do not understand – you may not need to use it
  • check your spelling
  • be careful to use singular and plural correctly
  • focus precisely on what you are asked to do in ‘completion’ type questions
  • if the question asks you to complete the note ‘in the…’ and the correct answer is ‘evening’, just use ‘evening’ as your answer; note that ‘in the evening’ would be incorrect
  • pay attention to the word limit; for example, if you are asked to complete a sentence using no more than two words, if the correct answer is ‘silk shirt’, the answer ‘shirt made of silk’ would be incorrect
  • attempt all questions; there are no penalties for incorrect answers, so you have nothing to lose
  • check your answers

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