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How to Obtain high band score in IELTS |IELTS tips: Part 2

Updated on August 6, 2014

I have already laid down the basic information regarding IELTS. Before I go to the tips section of my article I want all the prospective candidates to fully understand that there are NO easy way out to get great scores in IELTS. There is only one way and that is called "PRACTICE".Try to finish at least 20 sets of IELTS test before you even think of entering the exam hall. However, do not make the mistake of presuming that this does not apply to you simply because you think that you are really good in English. Although the IELTS test does test your prowess over the English Language, it also tests how well you react under the exam pressure. Also, everyone needs to agree, unanimously, that Practice can do you no harm!

The World Speaks IELTS.
The World Speaks IELTS. | Source


The IELTS Reading test is of two types: General Reading and Academic Reading. Both types of Reading tests take 60 minutes to complete. The Reading test is comprised of approximately 40 questions on three different passages. Each passage should be given 20 minutes to complete, however, I suggest that the first two passages be completed in 18 minutes, leaving enough time to complete the last section without feeling rushed. The one thing a candidate can live without at an exam hall is feel panic which is usually the result of time constraint.


Tip 1:

Unlike the O’ Levels English Language comprehension section, IELTS Reading is a bit different. In the former case I always suggest that students read the passage at least 3 times in order to answer well, however, in IELTS, the candidates are not given the luxury of reading the whole passage properly, let alone thrice.

I suggest that the candidate read the first 2 to 3 questions (FAST) and with a red pen underline the important word in the question. Then turn to the first passage and read the first paragraph, the first few answers are usually at the beginning of the passage. However, if not, then continue reading and you will be able to spot the answer quickly as you already have a good grasp of the question.

Tip 2

Read the questions first, and then look for the answer. Learn the art of skim reading. Only through a lot of practice can this be achieved. Learn to remember information that you have read while running over the words.

Tip 3

Always underline names of professional people (example: Professor, Dr, lawyer, etc). I ask candidates to underline these names because usually where there are expert opinions, there are questions asking candidates to match the initials of professional people with the opinion they have made or the work they have accomplished. By underlining the names the candidates can quickly and easily find the paragraphs containing the answers.

Cambridge IELTS Practice Book
Cambridge IELTS Practice Book

Tip 4

Do not get flustered seeing a picture in the place of a question. It is quite common to find a picture with missing labels or names. Calm down, find the paragraph in the passage containing the answer, read it carefully and you will be able to answer it.

Tip 5

The questions at the beginning of the test usually ask questions in a chronological pattern. However, as the test proceeds towards the ending, the questions might want answers that were mentioned at the beginning of the passage. So do not feel scared, try to remember where you read the answer to the question, trace it and answer.

Tip 6

Matching the headings with paragraphs seem to scare most of the students. I agree that this part of the test is a bit daunting for most candidates; however, it is not that difficult either. There may be similar paragraphs and hence might confuse a candidate as to which heading should go to which paragraph, however, if the paragraph and the provided titles given are read carefully, it is quite easy to answer them correctly. There is always a word in the paragraph which makes its title distinctively its own.

Tip 7

Another part of the Reading test that confuses candidates is the "True/False/Not Given" or "Yes/No/Not Given" section of the test. Though it is usually easy to find what is given and what is false, the ‘Not Given’ category can become a little perplexing. Often candidates get confused over very simple things like, for example: it is common knowledge that the earth revolves around the sun. So if there is a question that goes like: the earth revolves around the sun: is it True/False or Not Given. Although we all know that the earth does revolve around the sun, it is not conclusive for your IELTS Reading test. Unless this information is provided in the Reading passage, this particular information will fall under the NOT GIVEN category. this is where most students make the mistake of mistakenly writing True instead of Not Given giving their answers based on their common knowledge! Therefore, heed more attention!

Tip 8

Lastly, remember that unlike the Listening test, the candidate must answer the questions in the answer book. No transfer time is given.

Good Luck!


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