If you want to improve your IELTS reading band score, you need to work on your general reading skills. These skills are 100% important in the IELTS reading paper. One of the most practical and effective ways to improve your score is to work on these skills separately. It can be a mistake just to do practice test after practice test.
Advice on understanding the 3specific reading skills: scanning, skimming and close reading
- the 3 skills of reading: the place to start to understand the basic skills you need to improve your band score
Skimming/reading for general meaning
Skimming is the ability to read a text quickly for general meaning. This is an IELTS reading skill that often gets ignored. Don’t make that mistake. There are certain question types where you must skim the text first if you want to get the answers efficiently.
- Do I need to read the whole text first in IELTS? – the quick answer is yes you should. Read this lesson for an explanation why.
- IELTS reading – skimming skills - some advice on how to skim read with a useful online exercise from the University of Victoria
- A technique to improve your skimming skills: a tutorial with practice reading showing you a practical way to read a text quickly for meaning
- 3 ways to learn to read more quickly: how to read more quickly so that your skimming skills improve.
- How to read more quickly with Cueprompter - a video tutorial about how to use Cueprompter to train yourself to read more quickly
This is another vital IELTS reading skill. You may think of this as looking for “key words” in the question. In fact, it is more complex than that and if you want to improve your IELTS reading band score you need to learn how to scan and what to scan for. This is what these lessons teach you.
- IELTS reading – scanning skills 1 - how to make sure you scan as quickly as possible in the exam: don’t start at the beginning and don’t read from right to left
- More about scanning: a tutorial with a practice reading exercise to explain how to scan more effectively
Close reading for detail
The third main IELTS reading skill is learning to read closely for meaning. This is sometimes the hardest of all the reading skills as to do it well you need high level vocabulary.
- How to deal with harder words in IELTS reading: suggestions for different reading strategies to cope with unfamiliar vocabulary in IELTS reading passages.
Understanding the question types
One of the best pieces of advice for IELTS reading preparation is to become familiar with all the different question types. These tutorials help you with advice on how to approach the different question types, each containing a free practice test exercise:
- multiple choice – a tutorial
- true False Not Given – a tutorial
- matching headings and paragraphs – a tutorial
- text completion – a tutorial
- summary – a tutorial
- matching features – a tutorial
- matching information and paragraphs – a tutorial
Band score calculator
Calculate your approximate band score in reading for general and academic modules
Advice on how to prepare for the IELTS reading paper and how to improve your reading skills:
- 10 top reading tips - what to do and what not to in the exam and in preparing for the test
- IELTS reading – time management - advice on how to manage your time in the test and how much time you should on one question
- Exam preparation – timing - advice on how to prepare for the exam and how to use your time
- Answering the question - a short example of how to read the question
- IELTS reading – how to use key words - advice on what to do and what not to do when looking for key words in IELTs reading
General Training Reading
- General Training Reading – ESL Bits – a resource site for general training reading
General reading resources
One of the best ways to improve your IELTS reading is to read as much as you can. It also helps though to focus your reading. This lesson advises you on how to do this by reading newspapers.