IELTS preparation | Maximising your IELTS Reading Test Score!

This article will teach you some relevant tips on how to maximise your score in the IELTS Reading Test. Be sure to practice the 3-Steps to improve your reading comprehension and make your preparation time count on test-day! 

IELTS reading test
Get ready to: “knock your opponent of the table”(aka the IELTS exam!) using the following test preparation strategies for IELTS reading.

How can I improve my IELTS reading test score?

A great way to get off to a strong start with your IELTS reading test study is to firstly do some IELTS reading practice tests to find out or ‘diagnose’ what kind of mistakes you are making, and from there where you need to improve.

You might need to focus on increasing your academic vocabulary, improving your grammar or simply your speed of reading and ability to take in the meaning quickly – so tightening up your reading comprehension skills is a great start!

Next, start to read widely from a variety of sources to build up your vocabulary on a range of academic topics and improve your overall reading skills.

IELTS reading tests contain authentic reading passages, so as well as reading IELTS reading tests, articles that can be found in good newspapers, such as:

Also, for more advanced reading material try:

Thirdly and very importantly, it’s not only what you read but how you read! If you just let the information you read ‘go in one ear and out the other,’ and brush over unknown words like they don’t matter, you probably won’t be improving your reading skills much!

If you want suggestions on generalized IELTS study tips (IELTS general and academic), follow the link to the blog here!

3-Steps for IELTS reading practise

In order to achieve a high score in the IELTS reading test, it’s really beneficial to practice your reading comprehension skills using these 3-steps:

Step 1: Skim the passage first

Have a quick look at the whole thing to find out what it’s about and then your mind will start predicting information: read the heading, then the topic or first sentence of each paragraph and quickly speed read through the whole thing.

This will help you with ‘global’ IELTS questions, such as assessing the attitude or the author of the passage or in choosing the best title or heading for the whole passage.

Step 2: Summarise each paragraph as you read

Get into the habit of looking up after each paragraph you have read and then summarise the main idea/points in the paragraph in your own words in just 1-2 sentences.

Not only will this really exercise your brain, it will greatly improve your reading speed and comprehension skills.

Step 3: Keep a record of new vocabulary

After reading an article, note down any new words you have discovered and their meaning on an Excel spread sheet or in a notebook.

Then read this sheet/list everyday whenever you can: before work, during your lunch break, after work, on the train, before bed (!) etc.

IELTS reading test
Even spending a few minutes at the train station reading a news article online, would count as practice towards your IELTS reading exam. 

To note, it’s said that it takes 6 revisits or reviews of a new word or expression in order to remember it properly.

This is at the point where it becomes part of your personal lexicon ( … a new word for you? I will be kind and tell you the meaning this time to help you start your own IELTS reading test vocabulary list!)

A lexicon is the vocabulary of a person, a language or branch of knowledge; it is a countable noun so we can use ’a’ in front of it or put it in plural form by adding ‘s.’ For example: ‘People in the IT industry need to learn a lexicon of computer terms.’

Like I have just done, it is always a good idea to put new words into a sample sentence, so that you ‘engage’ with the word and bring it to life, thus making it easier to retain in your memory.

Overall, widening your academic vocabulary in this way will certainly be helpful for both the IELTS reading test and writing test components.

Even though it might seem like a bit of a ‘hassle’ (something that’s a bit annoying to do and seems like hard work) at the time, you will thank yourself later, and also your overall confidence in your English skills will grow 10-fold!

Making use of your time on test-day

Finally, to achieve a high score in the IELTS reading test, use the full hour to check over your answers once more, even if you have already, or feel confident and that it was ‘easy’.

You may have missed an answer, or made a careless error or an accidental mistake when transferring your answers from the test to the IELTS reading test answer sheet; you might have misread the instructions so you have put 3 words instead of 2, etc.

ielts reading test
Remember: “Practice makes perfect”, so read regularly and stay up-to-date with news items. 

Surprisingly, on test-day it is always quite amazing to observe the number of IELTS test takers who finish early and decide it’s a good idea to have a little sleep or start drawing cartoons when they have finished and are waiting for the hour to be up!

I wonder if they all achieved their target IELTS reading test scores?!

Learn about the format of the IELTS reading test on this informative IELTS Reading Tips article!

Watch the E2 IELTS video below to practice in a real life IELTS Reading mock test!

Do you have any tips for tackling the IELTS reading section? Be sure to let us know what your top strategies are in the comments! 

Follow our social media for more IELTS resources and updates!

 

 

Written by Danielle K. 

IELTS General Tips: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing!

Let’s say you’ve passed your IELTS exam with flying colours after 3 attempts! Imagine if you could’ve passed on your first attempt … (perhaps you hadn’t seen anything on IELTS general tips before!) 

IELTS general tips
Put your study hat on and try to anticipate what your expectations are! 

Looking back is easy, but having the foresight to realize your success in the future is more difficult. Hopefully this article from E2Language will equip you with tips and knowledge for success! 

Alright! I know you want to see ALL the best IELTS general tips in one spot … So here they are!

There’s not a lot of free quality IELTS study material on the internet. So, it’s important to have a study strategy and learn some crucial tips that will guide you in the right direction.

The TOP 3 IELTS general tips you can’t miss! 

#1 Know the format

You’ll see this repeated throughout this article and that’s because it’s NO JOKE. Having a familiarity with the types of questions you’ll get on test day will save you the time of figuring out “what is being asked of you” for each task.

#2 Timed Practice 

Whether preparing for writing or speaking, reading or listening, practice with a TIMER! The time restrictions within the exam is often what trips up test takers! Adding this pressure will make you comfortable with responding to questions in a timely manner. 

#3 Strengthen your language skills

Grammar, spelling and vocabulary MATTER! Make sure you use the correct articles, and be careful you don’t record a noun as singular if it was supposed to be plural! These seemingly “little” mistakes can cost you your desired score!

IELTS General Tips for Listening

IELTS general tips
Be prepared to listen carefully to the audio recordings.
TIP #1

Read the questions before the audio starts. This will help you pick out the right information! I used this same tip in my French Language Fluency exam and it made all the difference!

TIP #2

It’s important to write down your answers in the booklet you’re given! TRUST ME! Under that kind of pressure you’ll need the notes! Be sure to transfer them onto the answer sheet correctly.

TIP #3

WRITE IN ALL CAPS. Handwriting is important! Because if the examiner marking your test can’t read your answer, it will be marked as incorrect! Don’t lose points on a question you know the answer for.

TIP #4

If you think you’ve missed an answer … stay focused! You may miss the next if you spend your time freaking out. Move on and try to answer the next question.

TIP #5

Follow directions! If they specify “write no more than one word”, don’t write more than one! It’ll be marked as incorrect! So pay attention to word count specifications!

For more suggestions check out this blog post on IELTS Listening Tips: How to Boost Your Score! 

IELTS General Tips for Reading

PTE speaking preparation

TIP #1

If you don’t already, read plenty of English books and articles in your spare time! Practice summarizing, identifying key information, and main ideas within texts.

TIP #2

Know the format! Don’t underestimate the difficulty of this section simply because you’re an avid reader and you feel like the Reading section is the last thing you need to spend time preparing for.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: IELTS success is largely centered around whether or not the test taker knows the format of the test.

TIP #3

Not only should you know the test’s format but practice answering those same type of questions! Having a strategy for each task is as important as knowing what they are.

For more on IELTS reading tips, check out the E2Language article here

IELTS General Tips for Writing

TIP #1

Have an essay structure! This is a tip I use regardless of whether I’m writing in my second language or first! Having a clear structure and flow is CRITICAL. The best way to write is by following a structure!

TIP #2

Practice! Just like summarizing articles try writing about a passage you’ve read! Use a variety of essay question types and recreate your own scenario.

Here are the 5 types of IELTS essay types:

Writing is hard for everyone and it most definitely does NOT come easily. So be patient with yourself. Practice, read it over and try to learn from the mistakes you make.

TIP #3

Don’t forget Task 1! It’s easy to get scared and focus only on practicing for Write Essay. But remember that there are other tasks in IELTS General Writing!

Use videos like this one to prepare for Task 1:

IELTS General Tips for Speaking

Tip #1

Find a TV series in English you like. Or maybe, movies are more your thing. The most important thing is you watch regularly. This is a great way to improve your pronunciation.

Tip #2

Read out loud. Grab a book or pull up an article and find a place you can comfortably read out loud. Listen to yourself.  I promise it’s worth every minute of practice! Sometimes you feel silly but I’m telling you: the better you get the more confident you’ll feel!

Tip #3

Recording yourself as you speak is another great way to evaluate where you’re at. Try answering simple questions about your hobbies, your family, where you grew up, and your favourite movies.

NOTE: Make sure your answers aren’t too short. But don’t make your responses too long it’s easy to get off topic, and it’s more important to directly answer the question.

Now, rewatch the recording. Do you have a “nervous tick”? Maybe you use a certain word or phrase too often when you’re thinking.

Others have a certain sound that they repeat which can make understanding them difficult. Sometimes it’s a “Mmmmh..” or “Urrrrmms”. These ticks are all giveaways that you’re struggling to find the right words.

REMEMBER: Confidence goes a long way. Try to cut back on any habits that make you look hesitant.

PTE Summarize Spoken Text
This guy could be listening carefully to his recordings (…or maybe he’s sleeping)
Tip #4

If you slip up, try not to let that distract you. Keep going! It’s easy to pause or stutter when, in your mind, you’ve realized you’ve made a mistake on the way you pronounced a word.

But focus on what you’re saying. Don’t try to apologize too much. If you can finish your answer and show confidence in your speaking the examiner is less likely to focus on tiny mistakes.

Tip #5

Make eye contact! This is a great way to show your confidence. Try not to end up staring down too often or spend your time looking at the table. I know it can be scary, but you’ve got this!

Tip #6

Another great way to make yourself seem very confident and comfortable speaking the English language is to use common phrases, and slangs.

You may even want to try turning “It is” to “it’s” or “He is” to “He’s”. These little changes will make your speech sound smoother and more natural.

Follow our social media for more IELTS resources and updates!

Written by: Olivia   

How to Develop Your IELTS Vocabulary

The development of comprehensive IELTS vocabulary is crucial to your IELTS score.

Vocabulary is one of the building blocks of language and a necessary requirement for success in the IELTS. Being ready for the IELTS requires a lot of preparation, including understanding the test, knowing the strategies, and practicing. In addition to all of that, you need vocabulary. It is essential for the reading section, the listening section, for writing a good essay and for being able to speak impressively in the speaking test. To do well, you need to know words. It is believed that it takes 15-20 exposures to a new word for it to become part of your vocabulary. So here are my top 10 methods for integrating new words into your English library.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Read, read, read!

The more you read, the more words you’ll be exposed to. This is essential for IELTS preparation, and for increasing your English fluency. Reading doesn’t have to be boring. Read about things that interest you: Food, gardening, fashion, celebrity news, economics, science, politics, etc. As you read, you will discover new words in context. You can infer the meaning of new words from the context of the sentence. If not, then look the word up in an English to English dictionary.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Use an English to English dictionary and thesaurus.

You can use hard copies or online versions such as dictionary.com and thesaurus.com.  When you come across a new word, look it up in the dictionary. An online dictionary will give you the definition and will let you hear the pronunciation. It’s important not to just use a translation tool. A translation may be helpful for you to understand the meaning of the word in your native language, but it will not help you integrate the word into your English mental library. You need to be able to think of the word in English, and not rely on a translation. Otherwise you will be thinking of the word in your own language and will have difficulty recovering it in English when you need it. Then use the thesaurus to find synonyms. You don’t have to memorise every synonym (there may be too many). Choose a couple of interesting ones and add them to your vocabulary journal.

IELTS Vocabulary

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Use a vocabulary journal.

This can be a little notebook that you keep with you where you record new words that you hear or read. Steps 4-7 will explain useful ways to use a vocabulary journal.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Organise your journal thematically.

Group words together that relate to a similar topic to make it easier to remember and relate them. These categories could be food, hobbies, nature, society, etc.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: List the different forms of the word.

For example its noun, verb, adjective and adverb form, as well as its past participle. Let’s take the word “manage”. It is a verb. The noun form is “management”, the adjective is “manageable” and the adverb is “manageably”. The past participle is “managed. Now you know five new words instead of one! This will impress your IELTS examiner and increase your mental word bank. A dictionary will usually give you the different word forms abbreviated as (n) for noun (v) for verb, (adj) for adjective and (adv) for adverb.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Collocate!

List words that the word collocates with. For example, manage effectively; manage competently; efficient management; competent management, etc.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Write, write, write!

Writing helps to ingrain new words into your memory. When we hear and see a new word, it becomes part of our passive Our passive vocabulary includes words that we can understand but not use. We want to make new words part of our active vocabulary. This means we can both understand and use new words. To do this, we need to use them! One way is to write sentences using the new word in two or more of its word forms. Even better, integrate reading with writing by writing a short summary of an article you have read using 2 or 3 new words from the article in their various forms. Remember to check your spelling! At the end of each week, go back to your list. Pick 10 words from that week and write a short story, even if it’s just 100 words. It can be a personal reflection, a review of something you read that week, or a practice IELTS essay.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Listen!

Hearing words in context will help you hear how words are used and also familiarise you with their pronunciation. Watch music videos or short movie clips on YouTube with English subtitles. When you hear a word that you don’t know, or have difficulty pronouncing, play it again and sound it out. Also, Ted ESL and Ted Ed are great sources for interesting and inspiring talks on a variety of topics. You can watch videos and read the transcripts to see the spelling of new words that you hear in the talks. This will help you understand the pronunciation of words, how they are used in context, and how they are spelt.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Learn a word a day.

Check the English Learner’s Dictionary word of the day for a new word each day with the definition, pronunciation, word form and example sentences. Add them to your journal list and use them in your journal writing and IELTS writing practice.

IELTS Vocabulary Tip: Speak!

Incorporate the new words into your everyday conversation. Talk to your friends about a movie you saw or an article you read, or a hobby you did, using new words you learned that week. The best way to remember words is to use them! This will grow your vocabulary and make the word part of your mental word bank. This will increase your speaking fluency which will help you in the IELTS speaking test, and in your everyday English development.

Learn about Jay’s experiences in his IELTS Speaking Exam, on How to get an IELTS 9.

Check out our Free Webinars on YouTube, including our recent IELTS reading webinar:

Do you have any questions about IELTS vocabulary or IELTS preparation? Ask us on our Free Forum!

Follow our social media for more IELTS resources and updates!

 

 

Written by Jamal Abilmona.

Jamal Abilmona is an expert IELTS teacher, curriculum designer and language buff. She has taught English for general and academic purposes in classrooms around the world and currently writes e-learning material for E2Language.com.

IELTS Reading Tips: How to Improve your Score

I once talked to a near-native English speaker who approached me about IELTS reading tips because she failed the reading section. She had a 7.5 band score or higher in the other sections, and frankly we were both shocked with her reading score at first! However, when I asked her how she had prepared for IELTS reading, she just looked at me blankly. It turned out that she hadn’t prepared for this section at all! Why? She is an avid reader and she figured that this alone would be enough to get her through the IELTS reading section with flying colours.

The thing about the IELTS reading test is this: it’s more than just a test of your reading ability. It’s about using a combination of skills to problem-solve and answer a question. Just because you enjoy reading for pleasure, it doesn’t mean you’re all set to ace the test. It’s incredibly important to practice and perfect the reading skills you’ll be tested on, and I’d like to give you a couple of tips to help you get started.

IELTS Reading Tips
Unfortunately, a love of reading doesn’t always translate into a high IELTS reading score.

IELTS Reading Tips: Know the Format!

This one should go without saying, but I’ve met quite a few test-takers who didn’t research the IELTS reading format before they took the test for the first time. Again, they were just relying on their love of reading to translate into the reading skills needed for this section. The thing is though- you only have one hour to read three texts and answer 40 questions. That is a tall order for anyone! You need to spend every minute of this time tackling the content of the questions, not wasting time on working out what the questions are asking in the first place!

It’s quite simple to find the breakdown of the IELTS reading section online, so I won’t go into too much detail here. If you need an explanation of any of the different tasks in particular, I recommend you visit our IELTS reading lessons on YouTube.

Here is a list of the different tasks you will see on the reading section:

  1. Matching Questions
    • Matching Information
    • Matching Headings
    • Matching Features
    • Matching Sentence Endings
  2. Multiple Choice/ Identify Information Tasks
    • A/B/C/D
    • True/False/Not given
    • Yes/No/Not Given
  3. Completion Tasks
    • Sentence Completion Task
    • Summary, Notes, Table, Flow-chart Completion Tasks
    • Diagram Completion Task
  4. Short Answer Task

If any of these tasks are unfamiliar to you (and you haven’t practiced each one extensively!), you are not yet ready to take IELTS. If you want to get a sense of the difficulty of these question types, you can find practice questions for IELTS reading in the E2Language free trial course.

IELTS Reading Tips: Find the “Needle in the Haystack”

In the IELTS reading section, you will be presented with a complete overload of information. It’s your job to sift through this information to find only the most important points. But what are the most important points, and how the heck do you find them? It’s simple:

The most important points in a passage are the ones that relate directly to the questions being asked of you.

Therefore, you can learn everything you need to look for by reading the questions and answer options before you read the text. Just from doing this, you’ll have a sense of what the passage is about.

For example:

A question might read: “What was the primary reason for the fall of the Roman empire?”

Let’s look at the information we now have, thanks to this question:

  1. The text will talk about the fall of the Roman empire
  2. The text will probably identify several reasons contributing to the fall of the Roman empire
  3. It’s our job to find the most important reason for the fall of the Roman empire for this question

See how this information can help us focus our energy on what’s important in the passage already?

The answer options can be helpful too:

The answer options might read:

  1. Economic troubles
  2. Over expansion
  3. The invasion of the Barbarian tribes
  4. The rise of the Eastern Empire
  5. All of the above

By reading the answer options, you already know what to look for when you read the passage. You can then use the process of elimination to find the answer. Make sure you don’t just choose the first answer option you find in the text! Remember, the question is asking for the primary (or most important) reason for the fall of the Roman empire. That means you should be looking for clues in the text that suggest importance. 

For example:

  1. “The biggest contributor to the fall of the Roman empire was likely the rise of the Eastern empire….”
  2. “The Eastern empire appears to be the greatest reason behind the fall of the Roman empire..”
  3. “Although economic troubles and general over expansion contributed to the failing of the Roman empire, the rise of the Eastern empire was the causal factor…”

Note: very rarely will the answer options use the same key words as the passage. This is why it’s incredibly important to work on your vocabulary as much as possible. The more synonyms you know, the better! Get comfortable using a thesaurus when you read and write- it will make a big difference to your vocabulary skill.

IELTS Reading Tips: Make Your Own Practice Test

Although it’s definitely important to try practice questions from reliable sources (like E2Language!) on the internet, there is a lot of junk out there too. Why waste your time? Here is something you should try that will boost your reading skill AND your understanding of how each reading question works:

Step 1:

Go to sciencedaily.com or BBC news and pick an article that interests you.

Step 2:

Read the article carefully, making notes about what you consider the most important points to be.

Step 3:

Write a question about the article you just read using the different IELTS reading question formats.

For example, if the article was about the effect of food advertising on obesity in America, your question could look like this:

Junk food advertisements are found to impact Americans’ health more than healthy eating campaigns.

  1. True
  2. False
  3. Not Given

Or this:

Food advertising has proven to have a profound effect on the …………

Or this:

The advertisement of unhealthy foods in America has led to:

a) Higher obesity in the general public

b) No marked change in obesity since 1990

c) An increase in a sedentary lifestyle, which has been linked to obesity

d) An increase in junk food purchases

e) Both c and d

When you create your own questions with the information you think is most important about the passage, you’re not only practicing your reading-deduction skills, but also the format of the test. You’ll be surprised how effective this trick is. And why is it effective? Because it makes you do the work that the IELTS creators do. And like any work- the task gets easier with practice.

Any questions?

If you have any further questions about IELTS reading (or IELTS academic in general), be sure to visit our free forum! We’re always available to answer your questions.

Make sure you also check out our IELTS practice test webinar for more useful IELTS reading tips.

Do you know any IELTS reading tips If so, we’d love to hear them!

 

Written by: Kaia Myers-Stewart

 

IELTS Reading Advice: Strategies and Tips to Help You Succeed

How does one prepare for the IELTS Reading section?

Picture this, a cold winter’s night, you’re sitting by the fire with a hot cup of cocoa in one hand and a great book in the other. Reading in this romantic setting is enjoyable and enriching. Now picture this, a cold exam room, you are sweating from nerves and fear, the text you are trying to read doesn’t make sense and the words seem jumbled. Reading in this stressful setting is unbearable and unsatisfying. Never fear, this doesn’t have to happen to you. There is a way to find a happy medium between the above two examples. All you need to do is prepare yourself and take on some good advice.

Here is some advice.

IELTS Reading Strategy 1

Don’t over romanticise, in other words be realistic. The chances of you understanding every word you read is just as unrealistic as you running into your dream partner, them dropping to the floor and declaring their undying love for you. IELTS texts are full of wonderfully specialised vocabulary. Don’t be afraid to skip a difficult word, as long as you get the overall meaning that’s what counts. You can practice trying to guess the meaning of unknown words by looking at the overall context of the text and sentence as well as word form- e.g. is it a verb or a noun?

Tip: Build up a vocabulary list

Buy a little book from the $2 shop and name it ‘The vocabulary book’. Keep it with you every time you read. Write down words you don’t understand and look the meaning up later.

IELTS Reading Strategy 2

This one may come as a surprise… but I suggest you READ! Yes, read in your free time, choose a variety of different reading materials, such as the National Geographic, the New Scientist, the Economist, news online, short stories, etc… And don’t forget to invite your new friend ‘The vocabulary book’!

IELTS Reading Strategy 3

This one is important. CATEGORISE. Learning to recognise the type of text you are reading will allow you to answer the question more quickly.

There are four types of IELTS texts:

Analytic texts, which discuss the reasons why something happened, make recommendations or explain a concept.

Descriptive texts, which describe a situation, explain how something is done or categorise something.

Discursive texts, in which different opinions are expressed about an issue.

And narrative texts, which explain a chronological sequence of events.

IELTS Reading Strategy 4

Become a skim champion. Skimming is basically reading quickly, jumping over unimportant or unknown words in order to get a quick overall understanding of what the text is about. You can do this when trying to understand the general idea of a paragraph or to find the answer to a question.

IELTS Reading Strategy 5

Scan. Scanning is useful when you are looking for something specific. You can scan to find the location of answers in the texts by looking out for words, numbers, dates and words beginning with capital letters such as place names.

IELTS Reading
Become a skimming and scanning champion!

IELTS Reading Strategy 6

Focus exactly on what you are asked to do in ‘completion’ type questions.

If the question asks you to complete the note ‘in the…’ and the correct answer is ‘evening’, just use ‘evening’ as your answer; note that ‘in the evening’ would be incorrect

IELTS Reading Strategy 7

Read the IELTS Reading instructions carefully. Don’t try to save time by skipping this part. The instructions give you critical information about how many words the answer should be, what exactly you need to do and so on.

IELTS Reading Strategy 8

Learn to identify parallel phrases. These are different ways of expressing the same thing, such as, “I like to read” and “reading is enjoyable”. Many questions, e.g. YES NO NOT GIVEN questions and gap fills, test your ability to match up a similar phrase in the task with its equivalent in the text.

IELTS Reading Strategy 9

Manage your time. Each text should take you roughly 20 minutes. Try not to spend too much time on one question. If time is running out, do the gap-fills before answering the easy to guess questions such as YES NO NOT GIVEN

Use your time wisely!
Use your time wisely!

IELTS Reading Strategy 10

Last but not least, check your answers. Once finished, if you have time, go over your answers because sometimes you may have missed something.

When learning to read in another language, studies have shown that we abandon most of the micro skills we use for reading such as skimming and scanning, and instead we focus on each and every word. In doing so we become frustrated and therefore the pleasure of reading diminishes.

So my advice is to employ micro skills and take on the above advice. That way when it’s time for you to sit down and take your IELTs test, instead of sweating, you will be smiling.

 

Written by Michelle Anderson