IELTS Reading Test
Guidelines for Students

  • It's vital to always read the instructions carefully. This is very important however familiar you are with IELTS.
  • Always read the questions very carefully.
  • Make sure that you are familiar with using the answer sheet.
  • Practise scanning the text for keywords and paraphrases of key words.
  • Practise skimming to get the gist of the text. This will also help you to pinpoint in which section you can find a specific answer.
  • The test will not require you to carefully read every word of the text and understand every phrase. You will need to learn to read quickly for understanding, even where some words are new to you.
  • Learn to guess the meaning of new words from the context. You will certainly meet new words that you don't know in the test and you should not be alarmed by this. You should get plenty of practise in working out the meaning of a new word from the context.
  • Remember that accuracy in spelling is very important where you have to write an answer. You will be penalised for incorrect spelling.
  • You will need to be very familiar with using tables, diagrams and charts.
  • It's very useful to learn to underline key words and phrases as you read. However, it's also very important that this does not impede your reading speed so do not underline too many words and don't let this hamper your reading.
  • Practise rephrasing, paraphrasing and summarising information in the text. These are all subtly different skills that you will need to be familiar with.
  • Make sure that you are very familiar with the range of IELTS Academic Reading task types.
  • Be very time conscious and aware of approximately how much time you can spend on a particular question. You must not dwell on one question too long to the detriment of others.
  • Do not simply practise test after test in order to achieve better scores as this can be both tedious and, ultimately, self-defeating. It is very important that you also understand the importance of constantly seeking to improve your general language skills. This can be done outside class by listening to the radio, watching television (selectively!) as well as reading newspapers and journals.

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