To get a good Reading score you need to
- have a good knowledge of vocabulary
- understand key IELTS issues
- be able to recognised text structures
- know how to answer different types of questions
- find information quickly
- ignore unknown words
- guess words from context
- make intelligent guesses about the answers
Some students find IELTS Reading the most difficult part of the exam. Why?
There are 3 texts to read and 40 questions to answer in 60 minutes.
So that’s 20 minutes per text.
The language in the text is Academic: formal, technical, scientific and complex. But many people do not read this kind of text in everyday life.
The format of some of the questions are tricky and they require detailed understanding (skimming and scanning skills will help you find WHERE the answer is but not WHAT the answer is!).
You need a very good knowledge of vocabulary and an ability to follow complex language in a very tight time-limit and under pressure.
Improving your reading takes time and effort.
So that’s the bad news. And the good news?
Once you recognise the structure, you will know where to find the answers more quickly.
IELTS texts relate to similar subjects, so you can easily build up your vocabulary and knowledge to help you understand concepts more easily.
IELTS questions also follow a similar format. Again, once you know how the questions work (e.g. True, False, Not Given) you will identify the correct answer more confidently.
IELTS questions always go in the same order as the answers are found in the text (apart from matching headings/statements with paragraphs). This means that you don’t need to jump around the whole text to find the answer.
Reading is just like any other skill – the more you practise, the better you get and the easier it becomes.
What can I do to improve my reading?
As we discussed above, it’s so important to have a good background knowledge and vocabulary to help you with the typical topics that come up in the IELTS Academic Reading.
If you are aware of some of the concepts that you will read about, this will save you so much time in the exam.
You can also find a whole list of vocabulary resources related to each IELTS topic on my Resources page.
You can also find relevant Reading articles from the news on my Flipboard, which you can follow.
Finally, there are LOADS of practice examples with answers and explanations and Podcast links in my blog. Do one a day leading up to your exam.