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IELTS Reading Tips

The IELTS tips on this page will help you get the best possible score in the IELTS Reading test.

As with other modules, the first bit of advice is to listen to the invigilator and read the instructions on the question paper carefully.

When you receive the your question paper DO NOT OPEN IT until instructed but, in the meantime, read the instructions and check that you have been given the correct paper i.e. Academic or General Training.

Unlike the listening module there is no time allocated to transferring your answers to the answer sheet after the test. It is easy to assume that, because the format of the answer sheet is similar to the listening test, you will be able to do this - don't be caught out.

Some candidates prefer to answer all the questions on the question paper and not transfer them until they have finished. Our advice would be to transfer your answers as you go, or, at the very least, at the end of each section. Time on the reading test is tight. If you don't manage your time well you could find that you don't have time to transfer all your answers. This is a really bad way to lose marks and we have seen it happen.

The IELTS Reading module gets more difficult as you progress, yet each answer has the same mark. A good strategy would be to work through the paper leaving questions that you can't easily answer but transferring those you can to the answer sheet. Once you have gone through the paper, work through your unanswered questions from the beginning of the paper onwards so that you do the easier questions first. If you can't find an answer, guess.

In any case, be sure to read all the questions for a section before you read the text. If you know what the questions are before reading the text, it will be much easier and quicker to answer them. Remember that sometimes questions are before the text, sometimes after and sometimes before and after.

When you transfer your answer to the answer sheet make sure you put your answer in the correct place. You also need to be careful about spelling and writing clearly. If your answer is spelt incorrectly or isn't clear to the examiner it will be marked wrong. There is very little excuse for bad spelling on the reading test as the correct spelling will almost certainly be found in the text.

At the end of the test be sure you stop writing and put your pencil down when told to do so.

Following these IELTS tips will help ensure you finish the IELTS Reading test with the highest possible number of correct answers.

For information on how to prepare for the IELTS test, check out our IELTS Reading Preparation and IELTS Resources pages.

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