How to practise
Practice is obviously important for IELTS but it is important to practise intelligently. Here is a little advice:
My suggestion is that you do each reading at least 3 times:
1. test yourself
2. do an open book test where you look at the answers as you do the reading – to see where the answers come
3. retest yourself a week or so later.
The important stage here is stage 2 – that is where you are going to learn. You will little or nothing just by doing test after test. Aim for quality not quantity if you want to improve.
If you want to know what your band score is, you can try my online band score calculator.
Dominic Cole’s IELTS Blog practice
This will contain a series of reading practice exercises to train you in the individual question types by giving you interactive exercises with detailed feedback on how to get the correct answers.
Tuition fees – multiple choice reading practice
Concrete – multiple choice
Weather forecasts – text completion
Cats – matching paragraphs to headings
true false not given
Samrukia Nessovi: lesson with online or downloadable reading exercise
Birdwatching – true/false/not given questions
Official IELTS practice
An excellent place to start with 7 practice exercises showing you the different question types
Cambridge IELTS 4
A download of the reading from the Cambridge book
These are truly excellent materials. There are 8 practice readings which give you advice on IELTS reading skills and then 2 complete academic reading papers. My advice is to go through these practice readings first to learn the skills without worrying too much about the timing. Then do the tests as timed exercises.
practice 1 – The Beetle’s Life Cycle
practice 2 – Brain Reorganisation
practice 3 – Tourism in Cyprus
practice 4 – Hi-tech
practice 5 – To sleep, to sleep
practice 6 – Desktop Publishing
practice 7 – Reading Skills (this is also good for General Training part 3)
practice 8 – Recruitment Trends
IELTS reading tests
My suggestion is that these tests you should do timed, but only after you have practised.
Test 1.1 – Job satisfaction
Test 1.2 – The Education Gap
Test 2.1 – Birth of a Profession
Test 2.2 – Rethinking Europe
Test 2.3 – The MBA Muddle
British Council China – mock tests
As with the listening tests, the British Council says these are mock tests. Be very careful, they are not in exact exam format and in particular be careful with the timing. In the exam you have either 13 or 14 questions for each text, here you do not. They are good preparation, but maybe not great exam practice.
Aral Sea – 11 questions
Bird Body Language – 14 questions
Ergonomics – 10 questions
Ethnic Groups in Singapore – 10 questions
4 Early Important Films – 10 questions
Language Conservation and Revitalisation – 10 questions
The Right and Left Brain – 7 questions
Volcanoes – 10 questions
Culture Shock – 10 questions
Early Clocks – 10 questions
British Council China – reading practice
A series of truly excellent timed reading exercises. In each case, the texts much shorter than IELTS readings but they are excellent practice for your reading skills -especially scanning, the skill of finding information quickly in a text.
These tests are for general training candidates.
Masterclass (very highly recommended)
Masterclass is produced by Oxford University Press one of the very best publishers of English language textbooks. The quality here is excellent, as good as anything you will find on the internet.
One bonus is that these tests form a complete exam and that you can practise the full range of questions.
A second bonus is that you can download the tests. A strong suggestion is that you download these and do the exercise on pen and paper. Online tests are not the best way to prepare for the exam.
Holmesglen – an IELTS reading tutorial
This is superb. It is a complete 23 page tutorial on how to approach the dfifferent types of questions you may find in the reading test.