Reading Tips & Tricks

The IELTS Reading paper is probably different from other reading exams you've taken before. It certainly requires some special skills and strategies in order to do well. It is important to learn about the question types and the strategies for each one as you might encounter in your real exam. This includes several types of questions:

1. Multiple choice with one answer

2. Multiple choice with more than one answer

3. Identifying Information (True/False/Not Given)

4. Table Completion

5. Matching Headings

6. Summary Completion

7. Flow-chart Completion

8. Sentence Completion

9. Matching Sentence Endings


How can you time yourself?

The standard approach is to carefully read a passage from beginning to end, and then answer comprehension questions about the passage. Unfortunately, if you take this approach on the IELTS exam, it will be very difficult for you. And the reason is that the time is too limited to carefully read a passage and then enter all the questions on the IELTS exam. 


You only have 60 minutes and you have several passages to read. And time is simply too limited for most people to finish all the questions in a short one hour period. Besides, IELTS questions are difficult to answer using the standard approach. They ask you many detailed questions or other types of main idea questions that are tough to answer if you only read the passage one time. Therefore, you need a different way of approaching the passages and the questions. 

Enriching your vocabulary

It is important to read broadly because you may encounter vocabulary and language from different kinds of domains, from different types of sources. Some of your passages on the test may be more academically oriented, therefore, it will help you to do a little reading in history and some other topics that you might encounter in school. Other topics may be more like current events or journalistic in some way. Consequently, it will help you to read magazines and newspapers as you prepare.

Following the task directions 

A key to help you avoid missing easy points on the reading paper is to make sure you're developing a habit of following the task directions carefully. Many reading question types involve short answers where they give you a kind of word limit. You need to follow those word and number limits very closely and make sure you're paying attention to them because if you exceed the limit provided, you're going to get the question incorrect.


You will miss the point if you misspell words taken from the text. Therefore, little details like spelling help you to avoid incorrect answers. Being careful about that as you transfer answers from the text to your answer sheet, is an important thing to keep in mind. 

Guessing on the reading paper

There is no penalty for guessing on the reading paper. The only penalty, if you guess incorrectly you're gonna get that question wrong. However, if you're running out of time or if you're wasting too much time on a particular question, you might as well guess and move on so you can hopefully find the answers to questions that come after that one that you're struggling with. If you're wasting time, or if you're running out of time, in particular, go ahead and guess.

The other tips and tricks for doing IELTS Reading Tests are being updated.