The IELTS Reading Test is tough, and the biggest problem is that we hardly ever read the type of texts that we have to read in IELTS.
The only way to get better at IELTS Reading is to read more of these text-types.
Here are the top 10 sources that I recommend.
1. Cambridge IELTS Test Books
These official Cambridge IELTS Practice Test Books should be your starting point.
IELTS tests are written in a very specific way, so I recommend that you spend the majority of your preparation time studying them.
The earlier books (before Book 9) are not as relevant as the later ones, so start with the most recent one (Book 16) and work backwards.
You can also use the free practice tests on the official IELTS sites (I’ve added the links that take you directly to the Reading Practice section)
2. New Scientist
I’ve googled a lot of IELTS Reading tests over the years, and very often they come from the New Scientist Magazine, for example this one from Cambridge Book 15 Test 3 Passage 3.
Bookmark the New Scientist Homepage here.
3. BBC News
4. Live Science
5. World History Encyclopedia
6. The Independent
This newspaper prides itself on being unbiased, and provides a variety of scientific, evidence-based articles which are perfect for IELTS.
I found these texts there:
- The Huarango (Book 15 Test 4 Passage 1)
- Climate change reveals ancient artefacts in Norway’s glaciers (Book 16 Test 3 Passage 2)
7. National Geographic
8. Other ‘science’ sites
9. The Economist
My personal favourite is Wonderopolis – it looks a bit ‘childish’ but the texts are excellent for IELTS prep, with lots of interactivity and a focus on vocabulary.
Newsela has news articles that you can choose according to your reading level by changing the number of words.
Reading only gets easier if you read the right type of texts frequently.
Recent research has shown that the impact of reading on a screen has been very damaging (there is even an IELTS Reading – Book 16 Passage 4 Test 2– about the changes in our reading habits and how the way we read these days means that we can no longer read complex texts).
What can you do about it?
- Print off texts and write on them. Sorry, I know it’s not great for the environment but engaging with the written word in a deliberate and focused way is the only way to fully understand a text.
- Set aside a specific time of the day when you just READ.
- Do this without distractions.
- Always have a pencil to underline and take notes.
- Organise your notebook – review it once a week.
I’ve joined forces with Keith from IELTS Speaking Success to create a Reading Course that will help you deal with difficult texts and difficult question types.
Make sure you’re on my email list to get the Early Bird discount.
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