Last year I took a paper-based exam and got an eight, and in this blog, I want to share my tips and strategies on how to get a high score in IELTS Reading.
We are also preparing blogs on writing and speaking sections and these will be coming soon.
Okay, let's get started!
What's the exam format?
1. Well, you get 40 questions and 60 minutes to complete them in The IELTS academic.
2. You get three long passages in the IELTS academic and in general, five shorter passages.
3. You need to answer 30 questions correctly in order to get a band seven. In general training, topics are a bit simpler. But you'll be expected to answer 34 questions in order to get a 7. You may be short of time in IELTS reading basically (as) you have a lot to read. Then looking for (at) questions takes a lot of time, so time management is crucial. Usually, the first passage is the easiest and the last one is the most difficult. You can spend;
- 20 minutes on each section, but you should finish the first one in about 15 minutes
- 20 minutes for the second
- 25 minutes for the third
But ideally, you need to go through the questions even more quickly. When you find a question and you don't know the answer, then don't spend too much time on this question. Just mark it to review and move on. Once you finish all the questions and if you have time then you go back to unanswered questions and try to answer it.
You get yourself the best chance to get the highest mark if you attempt to answer all the questions in a paper-based. You'll be marking your answers on the question sheets first but remember that you're not going to get extra time to transfer your answers and you must finish everything in 60 minutes.
What is the usual practice?
Try to answer a certain section, like a type of question which you are comfortable with and then transfer answers. Then answer the next type of questions and don't leave it until the end. But if you run out of time before you complete remember that there are no extra times. There are times wherein one of the exams which happened last year, a girl was transferring her answers and she ran out of time. She continued (doing that - transferring her answers). The invigilator came up and crossed out another five-seven answer at the end. She just lost like seven scores like that just because she didn't do it before. So, don't leave it until the last moment.In a computer-based exam, you choose your answers on the screen. You don't need to transfer them anywhere. I would say you can save a bit of time, while comparing between paper-based and computer-based exams. I think that it was easier and more convenient to do the reading questions on the computer. Usually, you will be given a large screen and you can see almost all the text without scrolling down. Questions were on the same screen on the other side. I You can choose answers directly. You (didn't need- don’t have) to transfer answers anywhere. You can see the time left and it will be easier and more convenient.
What's the best strategy for IELTS reading?
It depends. Some people prefer to read the whole passage first then answer the questions and some don’t. Usually, those people who read fast and memorize information well, can try this approach. It doesn't quite work for some people because by the time (I-they) start answering questions (I've- they) might already have forgotten what they have read. You need to look for the sentence in order to locate the answer. You may waste a lot of time. So, it is suggested that to read the first question and then start quickly skim the text. You do not need to pay attention to any detail and do not panic when you come across any unknown words. Also, somewhere here and there you may slow down. You may be forced to read carefully to answer. This strategy allowed me to finish my reading section much more quickly. (do all the questions follow the passage order or most do > what you are trying to explain here) that's why it was possible to read the question to find an answer and read the second question and find an answer and so on.
I would say that reading the questions first and then the passage will eventually help you to do it faster than to read the whole passage and then to look into the questions – IELTS 2019 Batch, Chennai
It is much quicker than to read the whole text and then look for all the answers but of course, some question types are not in order (For example matching paragraphs or matching headings)
We did some research into which question types come in order and which don't. We have a separate blog which we will be posting soon. It is important to pay attention to keywords and once you read the question, try to understand what they mean, what are all the important keywords in this question section and highlight them or underline them. Then look for those keywords for their synonyms in the passage. You will never find the exact same keywords in the question and in the sentence. You will find an answer where it will be paraphrased. When you find a sentence, you feel like the answer is somewhere there, but you can't understand everything. Just try to simply guess how different parts of the sentence are related to each other and what they're talking about in general. Because most likely the sentence you can't understand is irrelevant and (your options don't handle it at all > explain clearly) It's just there to confuse you and all you have to do is to ignore irrelevant information and choose the bits of information.In a computer-based exam there is a function to highlight words or phrases in yellow. You press the right button on your mouse to highlight it.
“Let me repeat it again do not waste too much time on any single question”
Also, the tricky questions would definitely be ‘true, false or maybe’ and ‘yes, no or maybe’ type of questions. But the good part is that they all come in order. For example, if you find the answer in the first passage for ‘true, no or maybe’, then the following answers are in the following passages. To learn more, you can always get in touch with us and we would be happy to assist you to clear your IELTS. Shine Bright!