The reading section of IELTS has been haunting candidates for a very long time. Some sail through this with less difficulty while others see it the most struggling 60 minutes of their lives.
Doesn’t matter how good you are, at the back of your mind you know that the IELTS reading section is going to be a tough ride for sure.
Here, in this article, we’ll talk about some of the proven IELTS reading tips and tricks that will certainly make your life easy for the journey towards band 9.
1. Skim it through
Skimming Scanning is one of the best strategies to get the overall context of the story and the relevant information faster. And you know what, when you are taking the IELTS reading test, it is absolutely not required. Yes, you read that right.
Reading the passage word to word will not serve you in your reading test, but that doesn’t mean you can skip everything and end up knowing nothing and losing your precious few seconds or minutes. Skimming and scanning require practice, maybe a lot. But that will certainly reward you for sure.
A research study published in 2018 shows that skimming and scanning strategy is a way to go when it comes to improving comprehension and reading rates. The study clearly shows a significantly better performance in reading comprehension in the scanning group compared to the traditional reading group of people.
So, it is certainly an effective way to minimize the consumption of time when it comes to reading and tops the list of proven IELTS reading tips and tricks for band 9.
Quick Tip: Usually, the first and the last sentence of the paragraph is where you can be a little cautious because this is the part of the paragraph that expresses the main idea.
2. Get Smart with Keywords
This is one of the best proven IELTS reading tips that has helped candidates ace their tests.
Whenever you’re reading or scanning through your passage, you’ll always come across the important keywords and phrases. Mark them out.
Every time you read a passage, you’ll come across the words and phrases for which you’ll be damn sure they will be there in the questions.
You’ll find yourself marking out every single sentence in the passage in the beginning as everything will seem important, but after a good amount of practice, it will seem like a piece of cake. This particular piece of research shows how merging skimming and scanning with data collection and keyword observation can boost your performance in reading comprehension.
So, get smart with keywords and mark them. It creates an edge over your reading comprehension because now you don’t have to go through the whole chunk of content again but only have to scan the ones that you’ve already marked.
Quick Tip: Mark out keywords or phrases related to any action, decision, surprise factor, disaster, incident, etc. Most of your questions will revolve around these.
3. Get Quick with Your Losing Attempt
This may sound like a no big deal but many times we lose several precious minutes to getting stuck on a particular question, a word, or a phrase.
From years of traditional reading, whenever we come across a particular alien word or an idiom in the passage, we try to make a sense out of it and read the whole thing again and again.
This is a disastrous thing to do when you are not reading your regular newspaper but taking the reading test of IELTS. As easy as this advice may sound, it is really hard to practice, because you know you’ve seen that word somewhere and you try to fight it back and explore every corner of your brain without giving up.
This may sound like a piece of relationship advice, but you’ll have to let your ego rest, get over it, and move on. Like literally. Move on to the next questions and save yourself some time to hit that one later when you’re done with everything.
Quick Tip: Whenever you come across something unfamiliar that you can’t recall or can’t find in the passage in a couple of seconds, it’s time to move on to the next one.
4. Time Management
Time management is a skill that we all should attain for life, but when it comes to the IELTS reading test, it is crucial.
So, keep yourself aware of the time you’re taking while reading, but at the same time don’t overdo it. Better time management takes care of two very important things that are often neglected during a test or exam: test-anxiety and self-efficacy. The level of stress keeps ascending with every movement of the minute-hand.
A 2014 study showed a significant reduction in stress, anxiety, and noticeable improvements in self-efficacy in students after they received time-management training.
So, practice time management and try to notice your behavior while preparing and practicing reading tests and find out the areas where you can reduce time. As mentioned earlier, practicing skimming and marking out keywords is a good idea to save time.
At the same time answering easy questions beforehand will also save you time and will give you the confidence you need to tackle the difficult questions later.
Quick Tip: Go through the questions first: Skimming through the questions before reading the passage make you aware of certain elements of the story. This helps you mark out the words or phrases around which your question revolves and prevent you from going again and again to the passage for every question.
5. Practice reading
Finally, everything brings us to the brutal truth that leads to every aspect of our life. Practice getting better. Practice all the points we’ve mentioned above as frequently as you can. The best thing you can do to prepare for any exam is to get familiar with the types of questions you’ve been asked.
As the old saying goes “Know your enemy better.”
And you can only know your enemy better by quarreling with them again and again. So, spend enough time doing mock tests and practice them frequently.
Quick Tip: The more you practice, the better it gets.
Some students perform significantly better with guided practice and how about a one-on-one sessions with experts. To support the students ace their writing exam, we offer writing tasks review with experts comments. Also, we provide counselling to clarify all one needs to know about IELTS. We can be reached for personalized help for anything related to IELTS or more.