How to Manage Your Time in IELTS Reading?

Apr 03,2023

How to Manage Your Time in IELTS Reading

One of the most common questions asked by IELTS aspirants is “IELTS Reading passages are so long and complex, how can I complete  40 questions in just 60 minutes?”. Well, we all know that the IELTS Reading test is the most demanding module in the IELTS Exam, and test takers often fail to attempt all the questions in the given time. In this blog, we will discuss some of the time management skills that you can apply to ace the IELTS reading test.

Overview IELTS Reading test:

Before we start with the strategies, it is important that you learn the Reading test format. 

  • You will have 40 questions in three different passages.
  • You have  60 minutes to read and answer all the questions. 
  • The complexity level of questions in all the sections may vary. So, you need to manage your time accordingly.

Avoid: 9 Common Mistakes Occurred In IELTS Exam

Strategies For IELTS Reading Time Management:

1. Develop Effective Reading Skills:

Effective or efficient reading techniques allow you to read precisely and faster without reading the text over and over again. Effective readers tend to read the passage with full concentration so that they do not need to re-read the passage.

When they stop at a specific word, they do so to make sure they understand the meaning of the sentence in the right context. Sometimes they also read back in the text, so that they can locate the answer at the right place within the text.

Thus, an effective reader ensures that where in the text they need to focus, and re-read to find the answer.

2. Skim the Questions First:

The next important strategy to save your time in the Reading test is to start with the questions first. More than 75% of IELTS teachers believe that test takers must read the questions first.

The simple logic behind this is because the questions are divided according to the text it becomes easy to find the answers in a sequence from the text. Moreover, you’ll save time by avoiding reading the text before reading the questions. In simple words, when you read the text first and then read the questions, you’ll have to re-read the text for locating the answer, thus you will waste more time in re-reading the text.

3. Use the Information from the Questions and Text Wisely:

Keywords are the critical factors that help you find the answer quickly. Most questions have hidden clues such as numbers, years, names, states, cities, Italics, etc. These keywords let you locate the answer within the text really quickly.

As you skim through the text, identify these clues and underline the keywords that you think can be important in your search for the answer.

4. Read Titles and Subtitles:

Titles or subtitles give you a summary of what you can expect to read in the upcoming text. While you are finding the answer, read the title first and skip it if it does not include any essential information related to your question.

Thus, reading titles, subtitles and first lines of each paragraph can save you more time by giving a rough idea about the information contained in the passage.

5. Build Up Your Vocabulary:

IELTS General and IELTS Academic reading tests will have numerous unknown words that you will come across for the first time. 

Having sound knowledge of synonyms and antonyms can help you understand the meaning of the questions and the text faster. 

Hence, it is always a good idea to practice learning different and new words before you appear for the actual reading test.

6. Focus on Your Strengths:

We all have some strengths and weaknesses. While some have a good vocabulary, others are good at understanding the information. You must analyze your strengths and weaknesses. 

For example, some candidates need more time in the true or false task, while they are good with filling in the blanks question types. Thus, they require more practice in solving these types of questions. Hence, need to allocate more time to trues/false tasks than the fill-in-the-blanks. 

7. Practice Reading More and More:

More is always less, at least in the IELTS Reading Time Management!

 If you do not master reading skills, we advise you to practice as much as you can.

This does not mean that you practice without scoring good marks in your IELTS Test preparation. Practice is when you deliver outstanding results with minimum effort using brilliant strategies. 

 Many of the IELTS top scores swear by the fact that their regular practice and effective time-management strategies have helped them to get their targeted IELTS reading score in sufficient IELTS Reading Time.

What is the Best Approach to Improve Your IELTS Reading Score?

Use the following steps to improve your performance in the IELTS Reading test. 

  1. Read the question first.
  2. Skim through the passage. Read the entire passage quickly to get the overall idea of the passage.
  3. Search for the important section of the text. Identify which part/ paragraph is more likely to have the answer to your question.
  4. Read the paragraph carefully without missing any sentences. 
  5. Highlight the keywords as you read the passage. There is a high chance that your answer is located close to the keywords.
  6. Re-read the passage to understand the meaning of the sentence.
  7. Carefully use all the information to find the correct answer to the question.

Check: IELTS Exam Dates 2023: Preparation Tips, Registration Steps

Quick Tips to Improve Your IELTS Reading Score:

The following tips can make a significant difference to your IELTS reading score if you use them efficiently during your practice tests. 

  • Identify keywords
  • Practice different question types
  • Underline important  keywords in the text
  • Do not waste your time on a single question
  • Answer every question, even if it’s a guess
  • Build a strong vocabulary. Learning synonyms, and antonyms can help you in the test
  • Skim through the text


We’ve learned that all the sections in the IELTS reading test are not similar. Sections two and three have more complex texts to read and answer than the first section. Effective time management in the first section of the test can give you enough time to answer the section 2, and section 3 tasks.

Time management is an essential skill to learn in any test and the only way to master this skill is to practice well before the test. Whether you prepare by yourself or get an education from the IELTS Coaching Centre, this skill enhances your performance in the IELTS Exam.

Keep reading our blogs on IELTS Preparation to boost your IELTS reading score to a significant level. Keep reading, and keep learning!

Start Your IELTS Reading Test Preparation Today!

Written By

Kirati Shah

Kirati Shah is a certified IELTS/TOEFL/PTE Trainer with 10 years of experience. She is on a mission to provide good quality lessons about IELTS and PTE through blogs and videos that can help students get their desired score and achieve their dream to migrate/study abroad.


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