IELTS Reading: Top 6 tips to get a high band score
When it comes to the IELTS Reading section, both Academic and General tests assess the same reading skills including prediction, finding relevant facts and recognizing opinion. Both papers also use the same question types, such as multiple-choice, sentence completion, and so on.
The type of text given on the test is the only difference. On the Academic paper, there are three lengthy academic texts that are similar to the kind of reading you may come across at university. Academic journals, books, newspapers and magazines constitute the sources of the readings.
On the other hand, the General paper consists of a combination of long and short texts of a far more general nature. Some of the texts may also be associated with work or social contexts. Flyers, notices, timetables, newspapers, documents, manuals and instructions are the main sources of the readings.
Firstly, there are a total of 40 questions in the IELTS Reading section. Secondly, you have one hour to complete all questions. Thirdly, candidates writing the paper-based IELTS test will NOT have extra time to transfer their answers to the answer sheet.
Candidates may have knowledge but are still prone to making careless mistakes. As a result, they lose marks on the test.
Here are 6 tips that you can use to watch out for silly errors and ace your test:
- Read the instructions very carefully. Many good IELTS candidates fail to read the instructions properly. Consequently, they lose marks. The instructions are extremely specific. Moreover, failing to follow these instructions clearly will result in an error. For instance, the instructions might say ‘write two words and/or a number’. This could indicate the following:
One word and a number
Two words and a number
Firstly, a number written as a word is regarded as a number, For example, “fifty two” is considered as 52. “Fifty two planes” is one word and a number.
Secondly, if the answer asks for two words only and the answer is pink and blue, write “pink, blue”, not “pink and blue”. “Pink, blue” counts as two words. However, “pink and blue” counts as three and is incorrect.
Finally, “one word only” means just one word. Be extra careful with articles like “a” and “an”. For instance, the text might say “a flood”, but if it asks for one word, ensure to write “flood”. “A flood” is two words and will be marked wrong.
- There are two things you can do in case you don’t understand a certain word in the reading test. Look at the words and sentences around that word for hints or move on and forget about it. Don’t feel the need to understand the meaning of every word. Even native speakers and IELTS trainers would not be able to understand every word in the reading test. More importantly, focus on the words connected with the question.
- Make sure that you manage your time well. Keep in mind that you have only 60 minutes to read three texts and answer 40 questions. Moreover, you won’t get extra time to fill in your answer sheet.
- You are taking an IELTS test so always remember to check your spellings before finishing the test. You will not get any points for the answer if you’ve misspelled it.
- Read the text at regular speed. Refrain from scanning the text as you may miss out on the answers and waste time. Instead of skimming the text multiple times to find the answer, read it at a normal pace.
- Lastly, ensure that you attempt every question whether you know the answer or not! Many candidates leave blanks and lose marks. You may get lucky. Moreover, there is no penalty for wrong answers so you have nothing to lose.
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