Bite sized IELTS tips and tricks 1 - the reading test

Do's and Dont's

  • Don't spend too much time reading the whole text
  • Do read the title and any subheadings
  • Do notice how the text is organised (without spending much time)

The IELTS Academic reading test


The reading module presents you with three texts to answer questions on in the space of an hour.

Within the hour you also have to transfer your answers onto the answer sheet. Note there is not extra time to do this like there is in the listening exam. You could get every single answer right and score zero if you do not transfer the answers!

The three texts get more difficult and each one has 13 or 14 questions to answer, up to a total of 40 questions for the whole exam.

Students often think that the questions will always follow the order of the text. Unfortunately, , in at least one of the texts, , this will not be true, so be warned!

In an hour? You must be kidding!

What to do first

I have seen students read every word of a text and use different colour highlighters to identify key words and all before trying to answer a single question.

Leave your highlighter at home. It's wonderful for practice when you are not under time pressure, it's really not your friend when you are doing the exam. Use one pencil, the pencil you will write your answers with. Look very quickly at the title and any subheadings and then immediately go to the first questions.

At the first questions, look what kind of questions they are, quickly underline the keywords in the question and scan for the equivalent keyword in the text to find the answer. Keep moving forward.Give yourself 15 minutes for the first text, 20 minutes for the second and 25 for the third. This takes about of the difficulty level of each text. Keep moving forward, when you hit the time limit go on to the next text whether you have finished or not.


Focus on keywords in the questions and keep moving forward!

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1 comment

sara 2 years ago

Thanks for the heads up! IELTS is very challenging and it should not be taken for granted. It needs time as well as constant review and practice.

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