Pass the IELTS Exam - Reading paper

IELTS Exam - Reading paper

This is one of the most difficult papers in the IELTS test to handle.

Why is it so difficult? Because on the surface it looks so easy! In reality, the structure of the questions is such that only an advanced reader can get high marks in this part of the IELTS exam. Of course, that is the whole idea of the IELTS test in order to differentiate between the level bands.

The IELTS exam reading section consists of three reading passages from a variety of sources such as newspapers books and magazines. Although the content is not specialised, the articles are fairly high level. Even though they may be scientific, they are of general interest and you do not need any prior knowledge of the subject to be able to answer the questions. One will probably contain a chart or diagram, and at least one will contain a complex argument

One of the main obstacles is the fact that the articles are quite long (about 900 words each). There is only 1 hour for the whole test, so its impossible to read the articles and understand every unknown word.

As with the rest of the IELTS test, you must have a good understanding of the types of questions you have to answer. There are ten types of questions including multiple choice, sentence completion, short answer questions, completing sentences, classifying, yes/no/not given, labeling paragraphs with headings, matching, identifying the location of information, and labelling a diagram or completing a summary.

You should also learn which reading skills you should use to answer each type of question. For instance, if the question requires you to label paragraphs then using skimming to get a general idea of each paragraph is the appropriate skill. For the sentence completion tye questions you need to use scanning to get a deeper understanding of the text.

Like the rest of the papers, the IELTS reading texts get more difficult as your progress through the test. Time is limited so if you cannot answer a question, do not waste time trying to find the answer but just leave it and go on to the next question. You can always come back to it and even guess if needed (there is no penalty for wrong answers).

When answering questions be careful about spelling and grammatical mistakes as these will reduce your marks. Be extra careful with plurals as well. And if the question says "write no more than 3 words" then do not write 4!

The IELTS reading test booklet is designed rather like the listening test but in contrast there is no separate answer sheet. You must write all your answers in the test booklet and there is no extra time at the end to transfer your answers. Be sure to write your answers legibly and if you need to change your answers, indicate clearly which is your "final" answer.