How to prepare for IELTS Reading

How to prepare for IELTS Reading

  • By Mel 

The question I hear most often from my students is ‘How can I answer 40 questions in 60 minutes?’ While this may seem challenging at first, it is not impossible to achieve, especially if you know exactly what you should and shouldn’t be doing.  You will have to read three passages of approximately 2150 to 2750 words, familiarise yourself with the task instructions, underline and paraphrase keywords, write and transfer your answers and all of this in 60 minutes. Probably half of your success in the reading part owes to your time management abilities.

How to manage your time better?

There are several things that you need to learn and will help you answer all questions in time. Many students are not aware of the fact that different task types require different reading skills. For example, if you have a short answer question or a sentence completion task, you will only have to scan the text for the key information required in the question. This is usually factual information, that is, people’s names, places, dates, figures and etc. Therefore, if you read the text in detail you will be wasting valuable time.

Skimming, on the other hand, is a reading technique which allows you to get the gist or the general idea of the text and, very importantly, to find out how the passage is organised. Why is this important? Well, imagine it was a descriptive text which is organised in a chronological order and you had a question which refers to ancient times, where would you look for your answer? Correct, at the beginning of the text. Logically, that kind of text would start by describing the past, moving on to medieval times, for example, and finishing off with modern times. Paying attention to the organisation of the text will help you to locate information a lot quicker and, ultimately, to save time.

Reading for detail is another reading technique which is used for True/False/Not Given tasks. Statements can be quite tricky and will require greater attention to detail. However, it would be impossible for you to read the entire text carefully in the time given. What you need to do instead is to go to that part of the text, which you think contains the answer, and then only read carefully that part. How would you know which section of the passage is relevant? You will be able to tell after skimming as you will have created a visual mental image of the text and its structure so that you know exactly where to look for your keywords.

So how can we at IELTS Medical help?

Once you feel comfortable with all reading techniques and you know when they are appropriate, you will practice under time pressure and a teacher will observe you to identify any weaknesses and give you feedback on how to improve. You will also be given self-study materials which you can use to practice at home and reinforce the techniques you have learnt in class. And if you have been stuck at band 6.0 for a while, we guarantee that we will help you to increase your score.

Boost your reading with the IELTS Medical team – call 0203 637 6722.

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