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IELTS Reading 2023: Valuable Tips to Improve Vocabulary and Score

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Planning to move to your favorite country this year?

Then take your IELTS early so that you can focus more on the applications in the later stage.

While you prepare for IELTS, giving some extra attention to IELTS reading practice so that you finish the test in the limited amount of time provided.

In this blog, we will 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.

IELTS Reading Pattern

The IELTS reading test is 60 minutes long. During this time, you will be given 3 – 4 passages to read. The 1st passage is usually the easiest but the level of difficulty increases with each passage. You will be provided with an answer sheet along with a set of 40 questions. You should choose the correct answer and enter it on the answer sheet separately with corresponding question numbers.

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IELTS Reading 2023: Valuable Tips to Improve Vocabulary and Score

The IELTS reading test requires a lot of practice. The test may be simple but the completion and precision of answering the questions can be daunting. It is always best to get an IELTS mentor to help you through the process.

IELTS Reading Tips For the Exam Day by IELTS Mentors

The IELTS reading test can be challenging due to its specified time period and the myriad of questions that follow the passages. You must follow the instructions for the task carefully and answer the subsequent questions. Here are a few tips from expert IELTS mentors to help you achieve a high score in your IELTS reading test:

Improve Your IELTS Reading Vocabulary

This is the first and most important step. Quite often, the IELTS candidates are unable to comprehend the passage. This is the most crucial step to accurately answer the questions.

Sometimes, you might require to read the passage multiple times only to understand the essence of the passage. This can be a time-consuming process, which is not desirable.

You would be required to work on your reading skills with expert techniques so that you can quickly glance through the passages and understand it, as you move forward. This process would be an efficient one if you work on your vocabulary.

IELTS Reading 2023: Valuable Tips to Improve Vocabulary and Score

Steps to Improve IELTS Reading Vocabulary

  • Start by learning at least 3 new words per day. Learn their synonyms too in order to improve your accuracy. Move on to learning at least 10 words per day. Read professionally written material to improve your vocabulary. 
  • Learn root words that are predominantly used with prefixes and suffixes to make new words. For instance, let us take a look at the root word “judge.” You can add suffixes to form “judgment,” ”judged,” ”judgeship”. You can also use its synonyms with the base word infused into it to make “adjudicate.”
  • Don’t be intimidated if an article has difficult words. This is the best way to improve your vocabulary for the IELTS reading test. Just pick up an online or offline dictionary and start learning what the words mean.
  • Don’t read simple articles and blogs which do not help you improve your proficiency in the English language. Read challenging material that inspires you to learn more. If you do not understand something then look it up online or in a dictionary.
  • The IELTS reading test requires you to put in the effort. Reading simple words and sentences don’t challenge you enough to expand your vocabulary.
  • Don’t let big, scary words such as connoisseur, amalgamation, poignant, etc. scare you. Whether you are reading blogs, or articles, or educational material, it is good to learn new things every day.
  • Practice implementing the new words that you have learned in sentences when you speak or write. This will help you remember the words and their correct uses.
  • Simply memorizing the words will not be effective when you are reading or listening to them. It takes time to comprehend the meaning and that could cost you valuable time during the test.

Do the Right IELTS Reading Practice

In order to read the passages quickly while still retaining the main points, you can follow these tips and techniques during your IELTS reading test:

  1. Skim and Read the Passages This is more like glancing through the main points. Look for important details that are popping out in the passage. Don’t focus on the nitty-gritty at this stage. Just perform a cursory reading to understand what the paragraph is trying to convey.
  2. Underline or Highlight the Keywords This will help you locate important points in the IELTS reading passage. Locate the keywords of the passage and read around them carefully. These keywords usually mark important points.
  3. Look for any Synonyms or Paraphrasing Often the questions will use synonyms to describe a scenario that is already mentioned in the passage. Look for these key phrases or synonymous words to find the answers quickly and accurately.
  4. Pay Attention to Punctuations Commas, semicolons, and colons usually direct to important points. A semicolon is used to indicate a relationship between two statements. The succeeding statement after the semicolon provides more information about the preceding statement. A colon is used to indicate an explanation or emphasis on relevant information. A comma is used to list different important points, factors, and notable hints.

Identify the Question Types

Identifying the type of question will help you find the appropriate answer in the provided text. The IELTS reading examination mostly consists of the following types of questions:

  1. Multiple-choice questions
  2. Summary writing
  3. True and False questions
  4. Match the following
  5. Sentence completion

Device a pattern to deal with the questions while reading the passages. Remember to follow the sequence of the questionnaire though.

Answer Questions Simultaneously with Right Speed

Some of the best IELTS reading practices are:

  • Don’t wait to read the passages, then read the questions and find the answers. Remember, the more time you spend on reading and re-reading, the less time you have to answer the questionnaire.
  • The summary questions in particular are usually longer and hence require more time. Additionally, you need some time to check the corresponding answers for each question since you have to enter them on a separate sheet.
  • The best way to tackle these tasks is to read the questions first. That way, you can look for the answers as you read the passage. You can also mark them or highlight them.
  • It is good to first answer the long summary questions. This serves the purpose of understanding the material thoroughly for subsequent questions.
  • You can leave spaces for the one-line answers on your answer sheet with the corresponding question numbers while you focus on the summary questions. That way you do not miss the sequence of the questionnaire.
  • For instance, let’s say you identified the 4th, 9th, 22nd, and 40th questions as summary writing. The 8th, 12th, 20th, and 39th questions are for sentence completion. The rest are multiple-choice, true and false, and match the following.
  • Now, if you choose to answer the MCTs, true and false, and match the following first, then you won’t know how much space the longer questions will need.

IELTS Reading Practice Tips by IELTS Mentors

You might think that it is a good idea to read the entire passage because you might miss something important. Or maybe your obsessive-compulsive disorder forbids you from breaking the pattern. Believe me, we understand how that feels.

But the IELTS reading examination is timed to 60 minutes only. This is a good time to train your mind with more efficient reading techniques so you can finish the questionnaire on time. Remember to follow the speed-reading practices to finish the test quickly. Ideally, you should be finished with the reading of the passages within 15 – 17 minutes.

Practice with High-quality Material

The IELTS reading test will introduce high-quality material. There will be a significant amount of synonyms, idioms, jargons, etc. You must familiarize yourself to read and understand the material quickly and with ease.

The best way to do this is to read professional and educational journals, English newspapers, articles and blogs, and books by notable writers (not Elizabethan writers though as the language won’t help in the IELTS reading test).

Time yourself when you read these high-quality IELTS reading materials. You must be able to read at least 150 words in a minute or more. You must also practice understanding while you read so you don’t end up re-reading the same thing over and over again.

Start small by reading a 500-word article in 5 minutes. Highlight the important points and look up whatever you don’t understand. Practice this technique daily by increasing the length of the article and decreasing the time you take to fully understand it. Once you are quick on the reading, take practice tests, and read the passages within 15 minutes.

Take Multiple Practice Tests

The best way to ace the IELTS reading test is through lots and lots of practice. Find online practice tests or buy the IELTS books that help you practice previous questionnaires. Always time your practice tests for the best results.

You can also take the practice tests with a trainer who will help you fine-tune your reading skills and read efficiently. Expert IELTS mentors at Leap Scholar are dedicated to providing you with as many practice tests as possible. They help you practice reading and understanding the passages quickly and provide guidance during your practice tests for higher proficiency.

Underline Important Sections

This is an effective technique when you have to answer straight-forward questions. Aside from keywords, synonyms, and paraphrases, you must also note the important points. This way, you will spend less time looking for the answers and more time answering the questions.

Don’t Waste Time in Transferring Answers

Always write your answers directly on the answer sheet. Candidates often waste time noting down the answers on the question sheet and then spend a long time transferring them to the answer sheet. They are really just writing the answers twice and wasting precious time. Remember the IELTS reading test only allows 60 minutes and not a second more.

Writing the answers in the questionnaire will not help you score any points as the questionnaire will not be evaluated. Practice the simultaneous Q&A technique. Read the questions first and start answering them in sequence as soon as you locate the answers in the passage. Directly feed them into the Answer Sheet that is provided separately.

Answer all the questions

The IELTS exam does not have any negative marking system for incorrect answers. Therefore, make it a point to answer all the 40 questions in the IELTS reading test.

That way there is a great chance that even your guesses might be right. Keep the answers relevant to the passage though, as irrelevant guesses won’t help you score.

Final Word

Use these tips by IELTS mentors that we have provided and draft your own technique with the best practices. You don’t have to completely rely on pro tips. Often the best way to do something is to look at your own strengths and use them to your advantage.

Implement them and work around the rest of the IELTS reading techniques to develop your own style. You can opt for expert help from top IELTS training programs that are available online and offline.

The Leap Scholar IELTS program is designed to help candidates prepare for the test with the following facilities at their disposal:

– A designated personal mentor and counsellor
– IELTS study materials and study guides
– Supervised and unsupervised practice tests
– Tips and tricks from expert advisors

Leap Scholar provides exceptional service to help the candidates hone their skills in the English language. The advisors are updated on the recent requirements for the IELTS test. They will provide specific guidance to help you achieve a high IELTS band score.

The IELTS mentors and counsellors at Leap Scholar will guide you through each section of the IELTS reading test. They will assist in improving your vocabulary and provide speed-reading tips to help you finish the test in due time.

You can discuss your weaknesses with the advisors who will tailor a specific learning plan for you. Leap Scholar has the highest success rate in helping students crack the IELTS examination. You can register to IELTS Courses by LeapScholar. You will get access to mock tests, speaking and writing evaluations and comprehensive study materials. Also, get a chance to view class recordings and a course completion certificate. Book your demo session today.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How to calculate the band score in the IELTS reading test? title

    The band score for the IELTS reading test is based on the number of correct answers out of 40. Each question that you answer correctly, awards you one point. The number of correct answers is subsequently converted into the band score based on the overall reading test results of all test-takers on that particular day. 

  • How to save time in the IELTS reading test?

    Follow the steps below to save time during your IELTS test so you can answer all the questions- Read the questions before you read the passages, Practice skim-reading and speed-reading techniques, highlight keywords and important points as you go along.

    For the computer-based test, you can use the on-screen highlighter. For the paper-based test, underline the important points and keywords.

  • Are the IELTS reading test patterns the same for General and Academic tests?

    The overall pattern of the IELTS reading test is the same for both Academic and General Tests. However, the quality and type of text provided for each exam type are different. Since the Academic IELTS test-takers are preparing for further education, the texts provided for them are also of an Academic nature.

  • How many correct answers should you get to achieve a Band score of 7 or higher?

    The IELTS band scores are contingent on the performance of all the candidates who took the test on that particular day. A nominal 30/40 is usually good to attain a score of 7 or higher.

    However, if the test was surprisingly easy, as evidenced by the score of other candidates, then you might need to get more than 30 correct answers. Similarly. If the test was more difficult for a majority of candidates, then you will need less than 30 correct answers for a band score of 7. 

  • What are the types of questions in the IELTS Reading Test?

    The IELTS reading tests pose the following types of questions- Multiple-choice questions, true and false, match the following (Information, sentences, and headings), short answers.

  • Where are the IELTS passages taken from?

    These texts are selected from newspapers, academic journals, books, academic magazines, and academic articles. The texts provided for the General IELTS test are more mainstream. They are selected from newspapers, instruction manuals, documents, flyers, advertisements, and other general sources.

  • How to score well in IELTS Reading?

    You should strive to get as many correct answers as you can, regardless of the benchmark. This is because it is difficult to anticipate exactly how difficult or easy the test is for other candidates. The variable is unstable, so don’t put your hopes on 30 correct answers. Answer all the questions as accurately as possible.

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Manisha Angre

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

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