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12 Things You must know about IELTS Reading



IELTS Reading

The IELTS Reading test is a test of your English language understanding in a timed environment. It checks you on your vocabulary knowledge, the pace of your reading, understanding of the text. There are a few things you must know about your reading test.


12 Things You must know about IELTS Reading

Types of Reading tests

The IELTS reading test pattern is different for both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General. The General reading module contains three sections where the first sections contain one or two/many short texts, the second section carries two texts and section 3 has one long text. On the other hand, the IELTS academic reading test consists of three long passages.


The time allowed for the test

You are given a total of 60 minutes to complete the reading test where you have to go through all the passages/texts and answer all the 40 questions.


Instructions are very important

At the beginning of the reading test, there are some instructions given and it is very important for you to read those instructions as there are many specific things which you need to know about the exam. If you skip or do not follow the instructions, you may lose a good score. The instructions are about the kind of answers you need to provide eg. the answers may have to be written in just ONE WORD or TWO WORDS or NOT MORE THAN THREE WORDS or answer in NUMBER ONLY. If you do not adhere to such instructions, your answers may go wrong.


Keyword Identification helps

There are some words in the text around which lie the answer to a question and those words are called the keywords. You need to identify such words and usually, the linking or transition words are such important words that can enable you to find the answers. 


Source of the passage

The passages in the reading exam are taken from many different sources such as journals, newspaper articles, books, magazines, advertisements, company handbooks, notices, etc. For you to have IELTS ready vocabulary refer to such reading materials that can be procured from online portals.


Vocabulary skills required

It is good to have a vast vocabulary as that will help you score good bands in the IELTS exam but the kind of vocabulary that is needed in the reading test is to be able to paraphrase the text from the passage and the synonyms of the words from the text/ passage.


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Variety of questions

There are various types of questions in each section of the IELTS reading module and each one is dealt with differently. It is always best to know each type of question as that will help you to deal with them easily during your exam. The types of questions that are included in the reading exam are: Match the headings, Match the sentence endings, Multiple choice questions, Label the diagram, Note completion, Summary completion, Flowchart completion, Sentence completion, True/ False/ Not Given, Short answer type questions, Identifying the information, Match the features, etc.


Each word is not important

If you have a good understanding of English language, it will help you in your IELTS exam especially in the reading section but sometimes there are some passages that you do not understand word by word, there is no need to panic in that situation, it is not imperative to comprehend every word of the passage. Since there will be a time constraint, so it will not be possible for you to know the meaning of every word so just let it be and just go through the entire passage to know the outline of the passage or the main theme of the topic. There may be certain words or sentences that will convey the meaning of the passage in totality, try to identify such sentences and words.


Timing is everything

Even if you are above average in your reading skills, you will still score well when you answer all the 40 questions correctly without any spelling mistake within the allowed time i.e 60 minutes. Failure to do so will not get you good scores. So, timing is crucial in the IELTS reading test section where you have to go through lengthy passages and try to understand their meaning and then find the answers. So read a lot before the exam so that it sets your reading pace to above average and it will improve with practice.


Level of difficulty increases with each passage

Just like any other exam, IELTS reading exam is also set in a way that when you start with the first section it is fairly easy, and as you proceed to the next sections the difficulty level of the passages increase. Again, there no need to feel anxious, it just set up to test your understanding of the concept of the passage and not to test your retention or how much you understand each word. The same rule is applicable to this situation, just go through each paragraph and concentrate on the first sentence of each paragraph, by and large, the first sentence gives the crux of the content in the rest of the paragraph. Mark the identifiers or the words which are the main highlight in a paragraph, that way it will be easy for you to find the answers.


Move on when stuck on a question

It is very natural that you tend to get nervous when you are unable to find an answer to a question and since you get anxious, you get a temporary mental block in your mind due to that you lose the track. When you find yourself stuck in a similar situation, always try to go on to the next question and do not waste your time on the one you are stuck on, as you can cater to that at the end. This will save your time and also, due to one question you may lose a lot of time and hence, will lose marks too.


You can score well with the most probable answer

When you are not sure of the answer to a question, try to do guesswork and write down the most probable answer as if you are lucky it may be correct and you may get points. So make sure to answer all the questions.



Read more on Education related stories in The Weekly Trends magazine.

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