IELTS Reading Tips – IELTS Ep.2

IELTS Reading Tips

IELTS Reading Tips



In this week’s podcast Conor and Rob discuss the the IELTS reading test. The give you lots of IELTS reading tips, strategies and techniques. As well as this they look at the trickiest reading question, the dreaded True, False, Not Given.

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Skimming & Scanning

Skimming and scanning are skills you have to practice. It’s not a natural way, or a comfortable way to read a text. The IELTS is about very, very quickly processing information and finding answers. There’s no time to consider the text in any detail

Skimming is very quickly looking at a text to get a general idea of what it’s about

Scanning is very quickly looking through a text to find a specific piece of information


Other IELTS reading tips

Underline keys words in questions

Practice more generally by reading academic/scientific/current affairs magazines aimed at a general readership – e.g. New Scientist, National Geographic, The Economist, etc This is the style of reading you’ll get

Do lots of practice under exam conditions – one hour is very short. Time yourself, think about how long you will spend skimming, reading questions, scanning for answers. You have to be very strict with yourself.


Types of questions on the IELTS reading exam

  • True / False / Not Given – be very careful with the “not given” answer
  • Completing a table or a chart – look at the order information is presented in and work through logically
  • Summary completion – be very careful – if it’s words from the text it has to be exact words from the text
  • Matching Headings – there are always more headings than paragraphs. You need to quickly eliminate answers. This question involves a more general understanding of the text (it’s more about skimming than scanning) 
  • Multiple choice – these can take longer as you have 4 often similar statements. You need to quickly rule out options


IELTS Sample Paper

To finish off, Rob and I took a section from an IELTS sample paper and thought about how we would answer it. This is a sample exam from the IELTS website and there’s a link on the podcast website so you can follow along if you like. 

First look – glance at the heading, the opening & closing sections, and skim quickly through paragraphs

Look at the questions – what do we need to find (underline key words)? What format are answers in? Any predictions about answers?

Back to the text – read quickly again while scanning for answers

Make sure your answers are in the format required (A,B,C, one word, two words and/or a number, etc)


We have lots more IELTS resources and IELTS courses in Dublin for you

Here is some more information about the exam

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