IH London's Martin Oetegenn explains why it’s important to read through the text before looking at the questions when sitting the IELTS exam.
If you read the text before reviewing the questions, you might already know the answers to some of them, or at least roughly where the answer is in the text.
Look at all the questions in the section and do the ones you can answer quickest first. This will give you more time to work on the more challenging questions.Also, the more questions you answer, the more familiar you are with the text, so it should get easier.
Scanning the IELTS questions
Some questions require you to find a key word in the questions and scan for a synonym or parallel expression in the text.If you know the vocabulary, this should be quite quick. Examples of questions that require scanning are:
- Yes/No/Not Given
- True/False/Not Given
- Multiple Choice Questions
- Fill the Gap Questions
ELTS example question
This example question appears in Cambridge IELTS 6, test 3, the principle can equally be applied to all IELTS reading questions:
21 High achievers are well suited to team work - Yes/No/Not Given
A quick scan for the words high achievers shows the word first used in the paragraph Key Point One. Another scan in this paragraph for the words team work shows the word independence, which is the opposite of team work.
After reading this sentence carefully it becomes clear that high achievers are not well suited to team work, so the answer is no.
Manage your time
Try not to spend too long on any question. If you can’t find the answer quickly, it’s best to move on to another question. You can always come back to it if you have time left over.
Try leaving questions like matching heading/ideas to paragraphs till last. To answer these questions you need to have a more detailed understanding of the paragraph.
You should find them much quicker to answer if you have already read the text and answered lots of questions about it.
Why not give it a try next time you read? It might help you answer more questions in the time limit and could seriously increase your score.
More IELTS preparation guides
We have more tips and advice to help you get the IELTS score you need:
And if want to know more about the IELTS exam and what it can be used for you can read more here:
IELTS exams at IH London
International House London is one of the largest IELTS exam centres in the UK, holding tests 3 times a month throughout the year.
At our language school in Covent Garden we also offer IELTS preparation courses in the evening and during the day to help candidates achieve the results they need.