IELTS Reading Score 7+: Preparation Strategy

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IELTS reading preparation is very important to get an overall good IELTS score. Hence, it ultimately becomes important to have a good IELTS reading band score in order to make a better overall average.

How to prepare for the IELTS reading task?

Are you about to appear for your IELTS exam? Are you worried about how you will finish the IELTS reading test in the limited amount of time provided?

Then you have come to the right place. We are about to share some exclusive tips for the IELTS reading task to help you achieve a score of 7 or higher. But before we get into that, let us quickly take a look at the IELTS reading task pattern. This way, you will know where and how to implement the IELTS reading tips we share.

The IELTS reading test pattern:

  • The IELTS reading test is 60 minutes long.
  • You will be given 3 – 4 passages to read.
  • You must subsequently answer 40 questions based on the passages.
  • The types of questions that appear during the IELTS reading test are:
    • Multiple-choice questions
    • True and False questions
    • Match the following sentences, words, etc.
    • Complete the sentence or phrase
    • Write a summary of the provided passages.

Now that you understand the IELTS reading test pattern, let us move on to how you can prepare for the test.

Tips for IELTS reading preparation:

  1. Read as much as you can.
  2. For the Academic IELTS reading test, focus on academic journals, newspapers, professional magazines, hard-hitting journalistic articles, etc. Basically, anything with real substance. Try to comprehend what you read quickly and accurately.
  3. For the General IELTS reading test, read instruction manuals, magazines, advertising materials for hotels and services, and newspapers. General IELTS reading passages are usually selected from these sources.
  4. If you find words that seem unfamiliar, look them up on Google or in a dictionary. It will help you follow the jargon used in professional writing. This is particularly beneficial for those who are applying for the Academic IELTS reading test.
  5. Improve your speed of reading. During the IELTS reading task, you need to read 3 – 4 passages, ideally within 15 – 20 minutes. Practice speed-reading and grasping the full extent of the passage in one go.
  6. Practice the method of Skim-reading. Quickly scan and glance through the material and try to find critical points and keywords. With practice, you will find this process becomes much easier. Eventually, the words will pop out as you scan the passages.
  7. Make a habit of highlighting the important points and keywords so you can find them easily while answering the question set. This is especially helpful while answering multiple-choice and matching the following questions.
  8. Improve your knowledge of vocabulary by learning new words and their meanings. You need to write the answers to the summary questions with eloquence. Your vocabulary contributes to 25% of your total IELTS reading score. Make sure to express it well. You need not use long words, but use appropriate words as required.
  9. Learn the synonyms of commonly used words. Most of the true and false questions and sentence completions use paraphrasing. If you have a good knowledge of synonyms, you can find the answers faster, most probably around the keywords.
  10. Get accustomed to American, Australian, and English idioms so you can comprehend them faster while reading the passages.
  11. Learn the rules of grammar. Remember, you have to write summary answers. You must follow the rules of grammar when writing these answers. Much like your vocabulary, your correct grammar use contributes to another 25% of your overall IELTS reading score.
  12. Focus on your writing skills. Even though this is an IELTS reading task, the examiner will evaluate what you have written after reading the passages.
  13. Select academic and professional passages from reliable sources and make up a practice test at home. This way, you will get accustomed to quickly locating answers among the myriad of information.
  14. If you are about to take the computer-based test, practice reading on the computer screen or tablets. The glare from the screen can be scary if you aren’t accustomed to it. Read articles and news segments online or read a couple of good books on Kindle.
  15. Take as many practice tests as possible. Follow the directives provided in the questions precisely. Task achievement amounts to another 25% of your IELTS reading score.
  16. Time yourself during these mock exams and work on improving your timing. Ideally, it is good to finish the entire test within 55 – 57 minutes. That way, you can utilise the remaining time to verify your answers, check your grammar, and sentence syntax.

These IELTS reading tips will surely help you attain the proficiency you need to finish the actual IELTS reading exam in due time. Now let us discuss how you can implement these IELTS reading tips during the IELTS reading task.

IELTS Reading Test Pattern:

Keeping in mind the pattern of the IELTS reading test and follow the steps below to finish the exam with maximum efficiency:

  1. a) Start by reading the question set before you read the passages. Then you can immediately note the answers as soon as you find them in the passage.
  2. b) If you are taking the computer-based test, highlight the critical points and keywords as you read.
  3. c) If you are taking the paper-based test, underline the important points and keywords.
  4. d) In the paper-based test, you must write the answers in a separate answer sheet. Start writing your answers directly on it. Don’t waste time writing answers in the question set and then transferring them to the answer sheet.
  5. e) Last but not least, answer all the questions. There is no negative marking in IELTS. Therefore, even if you guess an answer, you get a 50% chance of getting the point for it.

These IELTS reading tips are designed to help you achieve a high score. Practice these techniques daily to improve your IELTS reading efficiency. Once you improve your timing and perfect the skim-reading technique, you are already half-way prepared for the exam. You must simultaneously work on improving your grammar and vocabulary as they mostly affect your overall score.

We wish you the very best for your IELTS exam.


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Experienced IELTS prep trainer and education management industry veteran. Specializes in public speaking, international education, market research, mentoring, and management.