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!
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.
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.
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!
Written by Danielle K.