Top IELTS Reading Tips from Experts: Strategies to Improve Your Score

May 19,2023

Top IELTS Reading Tips from Experts: Strategies to Improve Your Score

The IELTS Reading test can be a daunting challenge for many students. With a time limit of 60 minutes and a range of complex texts to read, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure how to approach the exam. However, with the right strategies and guidance, you can improve your score and increase your chances of achieving the band score you need. In this article, we have gathered the 10 best IELTS Reading Tips and Tricks from IELTS experts to help you prepare for the test and maximize your performance on exam day. 

Whether you’re a first-time test taker or retaking the exam, these expert tips will provide valuable insights and strategies to help you succeed on the IELTS Reading test.

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10 Useful IELTS Reading Tips and Tricks from IELTS Experts:

Do you find it challenging to enhance your IELTS reading test band score? Stress no more. Because here are 10 valuable IELTS Reading tips and tricks recommended by experts to help you ace your Reading test.

1). Build your vocabulary

Expanding your vocabulary is one of the most effective ways to improve your IELTS Reading score. Experts recommend that you start building your vocabulary early on by reading a variety of English texts, including newspapers, magazines, and academic journals. You can also use flashcards to memorize new words and phrases and practice using them in your writing and speaking.

2). Use the “Three-Read” method

The “Three-Read” method is a unique approach experts recommend for tackling the IELTS Reading test. The first read involves quickly skimming through the text to get a general idea of its content. The second read is more focused, where you underline or highlight important information and key phrases. In the third read, you answer the questions using the information you’ve underlined or highlighted. This method can help you save time and avoid missing important information.

3). Time yourself

The IELTS Reading test is time-bound, and you only have 60 minutes to answer 40 questions. To avoid running out of time, experts advise practicing timing yourself during the test preparation. Set a timer for 60 minutes and try to complete the test within the given time. It will help you get used to the pressure and manage your time more effectively during the exam.

Moreover, IELTS trainers do not recommend spending a fixed time on each question in the IELTS Exam, as some questions are more challenging and require more time. Instead, practicing timing and identifying which questions take longer or shorter is better. It makes test-takers feel confident in spending more time on difficult questions and avoid panicking during the exam.

4). Pay attention to the instructions:

Pay close attention to the instructions when you are gearing up for the IELTS Reading test! This section of the exam is highly specific, with unique guidelines for each question type. For example, you might be asked to respond in one word or two words and/or a number. If you fail to follow these instructions precisely, your answer will be considered incorrect, and it will eventually impact your band score. Therefore, paying close attention to the instructions is vital to maximize your chances of obtaining a good score.

5). It is okay if you don’t know “every “word:

A common practice among many candidates is to consult a dictionary for every unfamiliar word encountered in the IELTS exam. While this approach seems logical since an extensive vocabulary is crucial for a high score, getting overly preoccupied with unknown terms is counterproductive. Instead, two alternatives are available for test-takers struggling with an unfamiliar word: examine the surrounding context for hints or skip it and move on. Knowing the definition of every word is unnecessary, and even native speakers and IELTS instructors may not recognize all words in the reading test.

 Spending excessive time deciphering irrelevant words causes panic and detracts from focusing on the relevant information. Hence, prioritize the words linked to the question and disregard the unclear ones.

Must Read: Tips for IELTS Reading – All Question Types

6). Don’t leave it “blank”:

Here’s a tip that may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s so important that it bears repeating: don’t leave any blanks! Instead, take a chance and attempt every question, even if you’re not entirely sure of the answer. Who knows? You might get lucky and score some points! And if you don’t, you won’t lose any points for leaving a blank. So, don’t be afraid to take risks and attempt every single question! Don’t let the fear of getting an answer wrong hold you back -give yourself the best chance at acing the IELTS exam!

7). Do not predict the answer based on your knowledge:

Test-takers should remember that their understanding of the topic should not influence their answers. Don’t make assumptions or rely on outside knowledge – focus solely on the information presented in the text. Doing so gives you the best chance at success, regardless of the topic at hand. Remember it IELTS is a Language proficiency test and not a knowledge test.

8). Watch out for distractors:

Don’t assume that the most obvious answer is correct – take the time to analyze the question and ensure that your answer accurately reflects what is being asked. For example, you might see a word in the text that appears in one of the questions and assume it’s the correct answer. To avoid falling into a trap, paying close attention to the questions and carefully reading your answers before submitting them is crucial. However, this is not always the case. By doing so, you’ll increase your chances of success on the IELTS Reading test.

9). Read and understand the question first:

To gain a better understanding of what to expect while reading passages in the IELTS Reading section, start by reviewing the questions beforehand. Doing so can assist you in identifying the important points to look for while reading.

After reading the passage once, go back to the questions and analyze them again. It will enable you to identify which portions of the passage require closer examination for potential answers.

10). Practice reading complex passages:

You must practice reading complex passages regularly to improve your comprehension skills. When practicing, it’s crucial to understand the main ideas, supporting details, and the author’s tone. It’s also important to concentrate on the passage’s structure, including transition words, topic sentences, and concluding sentences. These elements will help you understand the flow of the text and identify key information more easily.

Furthermore, practicing with different types of texts, such as academic articles, news articles, and literary pieces, can help you familiarize yourself with various writing styles and genres. It will make it easier for you to adjust to the style of the passage on the actual test.

Summary of IELTS Reading Tips and Tricks:

  1. Build your vocabulary.
  2. Use the “Three-Read” method
  3. Time yourself
  4. Pay attention to the instructions
  5. It is okay if you don’t know “every “word
  6. Don’t leave it “blank.”
  7. Do not predict the answer based on your knowledge
  8. Watch out for distractors
  9. Read and understand the question first:
  10. Practice reading complex passages

Wrapping up:

Mastering the IELTS Reading section can be challenging, but following these expert-approved IELTS reading tips and tricks can significantly boost your chances of success. Familiarizing yourself with the different IELTS Reading question types and developing effective reading strategies can help you improve your speed, accuracy, and overall performance on test day. 

Transform your IELTS Reading challenges into a thing of the past with Coaching Square’s expert guidance. Enhance your band score and crack the IELTS Reading section effortlessly by contacting us today.

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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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