Mastering the IELTS Reading Test: How to Improve Your Score

girl reading book

IELTS is one of the most sought-after and acclaimed tests designed to assess your proficiency in the English language across different levels. Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking are the four sections covered by the test. The IELTS reading test involves passages that aim to gauge your analytical skills, reading comprehension, and ability to effectively use the language. If you are planning to appear for the IELTS, you will have to prepare equally well for all the sections to earn a high score in IELTS. Here we will particularly discuss what steps and tips you must follow to improve your score in the reading section.


man reading book


Understanding the IELTS Reading Test


The IELTS reading test is designed to test a variety of reading skills and consists of 40 questions. There are three sections/ passages, and you will have sixty minutes to attempt the test. Knowing the test format is critical, as it will help you prepare for a variety of questions. While you will get identical question types in General Training and Academic tests, the text topics will certainly be different. 

Consider familiarising yourself with different question types such as multiple choice, matching words, or more. Make sure to read about the IELTS band score calculation to ensure you are well-versed with the format and marking scheme. Spend no more than 20 minutes on each part of the reading section. You should even consider working on the easier passage first, followed by the difficult one, to score well in the IELTS reading section.

girl reading book

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How Do You Improve Your IELTS Test Score?


Here are the steps you must follow to improve your IELTS reading score. 

  • Turn Up the Volume on Your Reading Speed

One of the most effective ways to improve your IELTS reading band score is to increase the rate at which you read. Speed reading will not only allow you to quickly complete the test but will also save you a lot of time and allow you to revisit your answers. Use a timer to improve your reading comprehension and speed. You should even consider using a timer to encourage yourself to read faster. Always read with a purpose to ensure you understand each aspect of the test. Furthermore, you should set daily goals for yourself to improve your speed and turn up the volume.


  • Brush up on Your Grammar and Syntax

Reading is one of the secrets to improving your competency in a language and attaining excellent scores in the IELTS. However, you will not be able to understand and grasp the sentences well if you fail at syntax and grammar. It is one of the reasons why you should focus on improving your grammar and syntax rules to ensure you are able to get the clearer meaning of the sentences even if you are reading at a fast pace.


  • Practice Active Reading 

While practising to improve your IELTS reading band score, your motivation should not be limited to completing a variety of tests. Rather, you should focus on practising active reading and reading more passages with the aim of understanding and evaluating them for your needs. While you can re-read it multiple times, active reading is a fine practice that will allow you to understand what’s actually being mentioned. Critically engage yourself in the content and stay focused to save time while reading the passage.


reading book


  • Expand Your Reading Vocabulary

You cannot go well and master the language if you are not well-versed in a variety of words or have a good vocabulary. There are high chances that you will encounter words for the first time. You should sit down and take your time to improve your vocabulary. Do not just learn the meaning of the word; make sure you understand the clear usage and different meanings associated with the word. Make a diary or notebook and keep writing down the new words you learn every day.


listening through headphone


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  • Listen to English Podcasts and Materials

The best way to improve your vocabulary and overall English is to listen to English podcasts and materials. Listening to such sources will even enable you to stay more attentive and keep your creative juices active. Listen to TedX and podcasts that feature personalities from different arenas so that you get a chance to hear different types of accents. This will also allow you to understand the words that people from specific regions use more often. Consider joining the best IELTS coaching centre to gain more clarity on this and improve your overall band score in IELTS.


  • Strengthen Your Time Management Skills

Time Management is one of the most crucial skills that every student and working professional should possess. If you do not have effective time management skills, it is likely that you will not be able to complete your exam on time. Remember, you will only have sixty minutes to attempt the exam; there is no chance to get back to any of the answers. This is why you should be very careful and aim to manage your time efficiently. 


Try to attempt the easier questions first, then jump on the difficult ones. Don’t spend a lot of time on a particular question. Your aim should be to complete the maximum number of questions so that you can score well and improve your chances of clearing the IELTS.


  • Deal with Your Weak Points

Every individual may have different grasping and understanding abilities. While practising, you would get to know what your weak points are and where you lack. You may even enrol in the best online IELTS coaching to learn from the experts and work on your weaknesses. The experts will provide you with mock tests that may help improve your reading abilities.


  • Focus and Highlight Keywords

Reading is an important skill, but many people have a shorter memory and tend to forget what they read. It is one of the reasons why you should practise active reading and highlight the keywords that you think are important. It will help you remember those keywords, and you can certainly use them in your answers. Even during the practise sessions at the IELTS coaching centre, you should focus on and highlight keywords to improve your vocabulary and learn new keywords every day.


  • Master the Art of Skimming

Skimming is a strategic and selective reading format that focuses on extracting the main ideas of the text. Note that skimming requires a lower level of word recognition and is usually done to gather the relevant details. If you are attempting an exam, there are chances that you may not need every detail of the passage. 


You can consider practising the art of skimming to ensure you are well-versed in what’s important. You can always go back to learn more and discover more details. When you are scouting the IELTS coaching centre, make sure you go through their syllabus and training methods. How they teach you will make the entire difference and help improve your overall score in the IELTS.


  • Read the questions first.

Another tip that you may incorporate to improve your reading score is to read the questions first. Reading the questions will give you an idea of what answers you are looking for. This will even make it easier and allow you to detect the right information in the passages. If you are unable to understand anything, do not wait and spend too much time on it. Move ahead with the questions you are comfortable with and try to attempt the maximum number of questions.


  • Practise Focusing on Ideas, not words.

There can be multiple words that may sound similar but have a completely different meaning attached to them. In such cases, you may practise focusing on the ideas and not the words. Try reading the sentence and see if you can relate to its meaning. Reading the entire sentence may give you the crux of the situation, and you will be able to analyse what the passage is trying to convey.


  • Leave No Question Unanswered 

As mentioned above, you should try to attempt the maximum number of questions. There is no negative marking involved in the IELTS exam. Therefore, you may even consider attempting all the questions. Be mindful of your approach and try to avoid leaving any questions unanswered. Even during practise sessions, you should try to complete the tasks and read sections within the given time frame for a clearer understanding.


  • Learn About Common Question Types

The most important aspect of scoring well in IELTS is learning about the test format. As mentioned above, there will be three passages, and the questions will be in different formats to gauge your abilities and skills. While there will be some multiple-choice questions, some may be matching and fill-in-the-blanks. Whatever the case, you should be well prepared to deal with a variety of questions. You should specifically look for practise and mock tests for IELTS that follow a similar pattern, as it will allow you to be more comfortable with the format of the exam.


  • Plan Your Training for IELTS Reading 

Last but not least, you should have a plan for your training for IELTS reading. Make sure you divide your time conveniently so that you can cover all four sections and attempt them with ease. If you are planning to enrol in the best online IELTS coaching, make sure you dedicate some time to self-study. It will help you revise everything that has been taught and certainly help you excel in the exam.


These are some of the effective strategies that may help you achieve the desired results. Make sure to look for the minimum eligibility criteria for IELTS scores for different countries to get a clearer picture of how much you should prepare. Stay consistent and practise every day for effective results.

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