To get a good IELTS Reading score you need to
- have a good knowledge of vocabulary
- understand key IELTS issues
- be able to recognise 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
- manage your time well.
IELTS Academic Reading Test
What does the Academic Reading Test consist of?
3 texts of increasing difficulty.
40 questions to answer in 60 minutes.
So that’s 20 minutes per text.
- No extra time to transfer answers
How difficult is the IELTS Academic Reading Test?
- The language in the text is Academic: formal, technical, scientific and complex. The difficulty is that many people do not read this kind of text in everyday life, so they are not used to it.
- 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.
IELTS General Training Reading Test
What does the General Training Reading Test consist of?
5 texts and 40 questions to answer in 60 minutes.
- Part 3 = a factual article like The Iron Bridge
How difficult is the IELTS General Training Reading Test?
In many ways, the GT Reading is easier than the Academic Test. The texts are shorter and more familiar. However, this does not mean that they are easy, and you will still need to be familiar with a range of question types and reading strategies to get the best score.
How to improve your IELTS Reading Score
Improving your reading takes time and effort, and you need to ensure that you read as much as you possibly can in your free time in order to see improvements in your Reading score.
Having said that, here are some things that make the IELTS Reading texts a little easier:
IELTS texts follow a predictable structure (e.g. chronological – in order of time, or theoretical – based on research and evidence). 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 follow a similar format. Once you know how the questions work, 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.
It’s 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.
Good time-management is also essential. Find more advice on How to manage your time in the IELTS Reading Test.
Finally, there are LOADS of practice examples with answers and explanations and Podcast links in my 10-minute lessons. Do one a day leading up to your exam.