Tips and tricks for the IELTS Reading module
I have usually found students complaining about the IELTS Reading module despite having a sound grip on English. It is because this section is very complicated and requires one to put complete attention in order to understand it in detail.
The reading section in the IELTS test is all about tricks and strategies and not about reading and comprehending. Within only 60 minutes you have to tackle three passages and mark the answers to 40 questions and all of this means not reading each and every word of the passages. But the question is then how can you solve your paper???
Firstly, be aware of the types of questions you will encounter in your test and learn the specific techniques related to each one of them.
Types of questions in reading:
- Matching heading
- True, false and not given or yes, no and not given
- Matching information
- Multiple-choice questions
- Summary completion
- Sentence completion
- Table completion
- Flowchart completion
- Diagram completion
- Short questions and answers
- The above-mentioned first 4 types of questions are the trickiest of all, so while practicing try to solve these as much as you can.
- Answers to all of the question types, except for matching information and matching headings, are in order in the passage. This means if you found the answer to the first question the rest of the answers will be afterward in the passage.
Now, when you are familiar with the question types it’s time to develop some strategies to perform efficiently in your paper.
Before starting it is important to understand the difference between skimming and scanning
It is reading quickly to get an overview of the passage. This includes reading topic sentences, subheadings, and the first and last paragraphs of the passage.
It is reading quickly to find the specific details in the passage. When scanning, you need to highlight any proper nouns, numbers, symbols, dates, time, and other keywords present in the passage. The following is an example of scanning.
As now you can differentiate between skimming and scanning, I can surely say that you will never face issues with your reading test if you master these skills.
Moving further, follow the following strategies to attempt your paper on the exam day:
- Skim and scan the passage before reading questions.
- Read the first and the last paragraphs to get an idea of the content of the passage.
- Read the first question
- Understands what questions want
- Highlight keywords in questions and underline main words.
- Keywords help to locate statements in the passage and main words help to find the answer
- Read thoroughly before and after the keyword
- Be sure to look for the relevance of the passage with the question statements, because on many occasions the similar keywords are used twice or thrice in the passage but you need to read the information which you can relate to the question.
- If a passage has list of heading question, attempt that first because this question makes you read all paragraphs and this way attempting rest of the questions become easy.
If you think you are not good at attempting matching heading or matching information questions, leave them for the end and attempt the rest of the questions first. In other words, it’s not good to confuse yourself at the start because this way you will mess up your test.
HOW TO DEVELOP STRONG READING SKILLS?
To perform efficiently in your reading test, you should understand what you are reading. This means your vocabulary and comprehension should be strong. Follow the below-mentioned tips and help yourself to improve your reading:
- Read at least 30 minutes daily. There is no specification as to what you should read. Read anything that interests you. These can be novels, articles, magazines, blogs, or even posters and brochures.
- Underline main ideas, and highlight the difficult words.
- Search for the meaning of these words, write them in your vocabulary book, and use them to understand the text you were reading
- The work doesn’t end here, you should use these words everywhere means while speaking, writing, even when eating and sleeping.
- Practice by reading aloud, this will help you out with your pronunciation, vocabulary, listening skills, and speaking as well.
I have personally used these skills during my o levels and I recommend these to everyone out there.
Just give these tips a try and see the magic!!!
By. Ms. Zainab Zameer, IELTS Expert.