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IELTS Reading Course

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Lesson 2 of 10
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Introduction to the reading test

In this lesson, we look at what you need to know about the reading test.

Video: Introduction to the Reading Test

5 pro tips

Students with a high level of vocabulary do much better in the IELTS reading exam. Here are some ways to increase your vocabulary. 

  1. Keep a vocabulary book of new words. 
  2. Watch lots of English speaking television with subtitles.
  3. Read a lot of different articles in English. 
  4. When you complete IELTS practice questions or tests, keep a record of all of the new vocabulary you have learned. 

More ways to increase your vocabulary are outlined in our vocabulary course. 

You should have practiced all of the different question types before you go to the test. That way you will have a clear strategy and won’t waste time trying to work out what the question is asking you to do. You will find all of the different question types in this course. 

Many candidates complain that they find it difficult to complete the reading test in one hour. Before you do the test, you should have experience doing timed practice tests. You will find a link to practice tests at the end of this course. 

You do not need to understand every word to get a perfect score in IELTS reading. Don’t waste your time trying to understand everything. The candidates that do the best in the IELTS reading test are the ones that are good at quickly working out which part of the passage has the answer in and then reading that section carefully. 

Reading the questions before you read the passage will help you to work out what information you are looking for. The reading passages are often quite long but there are only certain sections of the passage that contain the answers. If you read the question first, you will be able to read the passage quickly to identify the area that you need to understand to complete the questions. 

Frequently asked questions about the reading test

Reading regularly in English is a good way to improve your speed. However, it’s not always essential to improve your reading speed. You may benefit from changing your strategy to reading tests. For example, in IELTS reading you do not need to understand the whole passage. Instead, you need to focus on finding information in a passage and reading that section carefully. This course will teach you different strategies for IELTS reading questions. 

We have found that students do best if they organise their time like this:

Passage 1: 15 minutes
Passage 2: 20 minutes
Passage 3: 25 minutes

Yes. This often makes your writing clearer for the examiner. 

You have to use a pencil for the reading and listening test. 

No, it depends on the question type. We will look at all of the question types in this course so that you know which questions come in order and which do not. 

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