Top Tips to Succeed in the IELTS Reading Test

The reading part in IELTS is considered to be the second most difficult module of the IELTS exam is Reading, mainly because there are thousands of people around the world who never read anything in English on a daily basis. These people want their future to be bright but without having to work hard for it. While I have always been a hardworking person when it comes to English language skills, I recommend others to at least watch some videos every day and read some articles from books, magazines, newspapers, journals and online sources.

But, being used to some of the simple tips can make you perform better in the IELTS exam. I have worked with people who have achieved a 5.0 or 5.5 and helped them obtain a 7.5 or a higher score in the past. Moreover, I know the techniques that students in Nepal and India should be used to always achieve a high score.

Suggestions for all candidates to improve their scores in the IELTS Reading test.

  1. Do not cherry-pick: Do not focus on small details (like unimportant keywords) and waste your time; do not read statements in brackets, inside inverted commas and in between two commas before reading and analyzing the question.
  2. Do not worry about difficult words: They might not be needed to answer the questions.
  3. Do not focus on only 50% of the statement; rather, focus on the main subject, the main verb, and the object(s): you need to be able to match all these to find the correct answer. Just use the skills you already have from your lower secondary schooling years.
  4. If you do not find the subject in True/Yes, False/No, Not Given, don’t waste your time: the statement is NOT GIVEN. Similarly, a sentence has a subject and a predicate, so if both of them are not in the passage, the statement in the question is NOT GIVEN.
  5. Use a pencil; write your answers in capital letters and do not touch any of the lines on the boxes; similarly, write the answer exactly as it is in the passage (e.g., if the passage says ‘stepsisters’, write ‘STEPSISTERS’, not ‘STEPSISTER’ or ‘STEP SISTER’).
  6. Don’t forget that your goal is to achieve a band 7.0 in the exam: That’s 30 correct answers out of 40, so don’t waste your time on the difficult questions and lose the opportunity to solve the easy ones; this way, you’ll have more than 15 minutes to find the answers to the 10-15 difficult questions. If you only have 2-4 minutes to solve them, just guess: You may have more than 5 correct answers doing this. By the way, do you know about my DONKEY-GUESSING Technique?
  7. Read the 1st and the 2nd sentences to confirm the heading of the paragraph; however, if there is/are no supporting details and/or examples to verify this heading, keep reading the paragraph until you can find and confirm the central idea of that paragraph. Do you know about “pivots”?
  8. While scanning, locate all parts of the question (the subject and the predicate) to find the answer; if you cannot confirm ALL PARTS, keep reading the rest of the passage (read Tip no. 3 again!)
  9. Do not use symbols; this is the Academic Reading Test of the IELTS exam, so don’t be informal.
  10. The IELTS Reading Test can be called an ENGLISH VOCABULARY TEST in its entirety; so learn as many words and collocation as possible before the exam. If you can identify the paraphrased version of any statement, nothing can stop you from getting a band 7.0 or higher.

Of course, I haven’t included my secret strategies here, guys! For that, you’ll need to join one of my sessions at Trainer James Institute in New Baneshwor in Nepal or online if you are not from the Kathmandu valley which lies in the central region of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.

Do you know how the questions are paraphrased in the Listening and Reading tests? If you don’t, then you won’t be able to crack the tests every time you sit in on a mock test or practice session. As a full-time IELTS instructor, I advise you to complete 50 Listening Tests (all from the Cambridge series) and 40 Reading Tests (again from Cambridge) and identify the patterns and solve the questions at least one more time.

And, hey! remember the quote...

Practice makes progress; there’s never going to be a ‘perfect’”.