Reading the text in the IELTS Reading Test

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Continuing our series of tips and advice for the IELTS exam, IH London's Martin Oetegenn looks at techniques to improve your score in the IELTS reading test

If you’re not getting the score you need in the IELTS reading test yet, try following these simple tips on how to read the text to improve your results

It’s essential to read the text, but in the time available it is not always possible to read, and understand, every single word and sentence.

Below are some practical tips on how to read the text and use your time effectively.

Reading the text and managing your time

Below I use an example taken from the Cambridge IELTS 6 book, test three on page 68: Motivating Employees under Adverse Conditions – these tips can apply to any reading test.

  • Think about the title “Motivating Employees under Adverse Conditions” and what you expect to read about.  (30 seconds)

Focus on the words you know. For example, if you know the words “Motivating” and “Employees”, you might think about what makes people happy at work e.g. good salary, holidays, a nice boss.

  • After thinking about the title, read through the text and see if any of your ideas are mentioned.  Notice what surprises you, what you didn’t know before & what you expected to read.(About 5 minutes)

For example, I expected to read about salary and pay rises, but was interested to learn about how this is connected to setting and achieving goals.

Try not to use your pen or finger to guide your eye along the lines of the text as this slows you down. Don’t underline words either; you can do this when you look at the questions later. 

Your aim now is to try to understand the main ideas of the text so if you don’t understand something, just ignore it.

  • Now look at the questions and decide which ones you will answer first, choosing the ones you do quickest first. See my blog post “IELTS reading questions” for more tips about this.

You should find it easier to locate the answers in the texts as you have read it all the way through and engaged with the topic. (about 14 minutes)

If want to know more about the IELTS exam and what it can be used for you can read more here:

All about IELTS exam

IELTS at International House London

Largest IELTS test centre in the UK with tests taking place three Saturdays each month throughout the year.

Our language school also offers IELTS preparation courses to help candidates reach the IELTS band they need. 

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