Strategies for the reading section

A sizable vocabulary is absolutely essential for success in the reading comprehension module. While learning words your focus must be on those words that are more likely to be found in academic text books. The academic word list is a great place to start from. Ideally you should learn all words in that list.

What if you come across unfamiliar words in the passage?

Well, vocabulary is an important part of reading comprehension, but all vocabulary words are not necessary to understand the main idea of the passage. Therefore don’t waste your time trying to guess the meaning of unfamiliar words.

Words that are repeated are important ones and hence knowing their meaning is important. If you don’t understand the meaning of an important word, try to work out the meaning from the surrounding words and sentences. If none of these techniques work, move on. Remember that you can’t spend more than 20 minutes on a passage and during those 20 minutes you have to read 600 to 700 words and then answer 13 to 15 questions. That means you can’t waste time on a word, no matter how important it is.

Make notes

While reading the passage, make notes on the question booklet. Don’t worry about the examiners looking at these notes. They won’t. These notes might eliminate the need to read the same portions of the passage again and again. Make notes about the main idea or purpose of each paragraph next to it.

Read the title and subheadings

Don’t skip the title and the subheadings. They contain important information about the passage. The introductory paragraph is equally important. Once you have read the title and the introduction carefully, you should be able to predict what you are going to read about.

Read the questions and study the keywords in them. And then scan the text for these or synonymous expressions.

Don’t lose track of time

You won’t get extra time to transfer answers to the Answer Sheet. You can either write the answers directly on the Answer Sheet or transfer them later. If you intend to transfer them at the end of the Reading Module, make sure you leave at least 10 minutes for this.

Don’t spend more than 2o minutes on a passage. If a passage seems to be taking longer, move on to the next passage. Remember that you are more likely to get a high score if you complete all three sections on the test. Some questions in the Reading Module are easier than others. Try to answer these questions first.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.

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