How can I improve reading skills for IELTS?
Reading can be quite a tedious and a very long part, however there are certain ways how you can increase your overall IELTS score. My trainer at British Council made sure that I performed well at the IELTS reading section and took me under her wings. She shared a number of tips with me which helped me to score 8.0 in IELTS Reading and I would like to share with you. Here are some useful tips that can improve your bandscore in the IELTS Reading Section.
1. Make a plan and follow it:
While preparing you will surely get the idea how the exam will be structured; so it's better to plan your strategy.
One strategy that will help you is to read your questions first. This will give you some idea about the questions that you are going to work with in the exam. You must do this first; even before checking the passage. It's because there is not enough time to read the passages first and then come the questions.
You don't have to read the whole passage, just skim through it. If you feel it's related to the question, focus on that and you will definitely get the answer. This will save your time for sure. You can either understand the technique on your own. I for one learnt all these techniques at British Council and was taught to apply it aptly in each passage.
2. Managing your time:
There are 3 long passages in the IELTS Academic Reading section and the difficulty level increases with every passage. And this makes many students go crazy in the exam hall. You must make sure to manage your time well so that you can answer all the questions of all the three passages within 60 minutes.
What I did was to manage my time in 15:20:25 ratio. The first passage is easier than the others so try to complete it in 15 mins if possible so you can have extra 5 mins to recheck any missing answer. Furthermore, don't waste your time on the questions which you don't understand. Move on (it will need some practice) and come back for those later.
3. Understand the idea:
In the reading section, there are seldom chances in which you will find the exact keywords as in the question. This is because there will be great use of synonyms. Therefore, it is better to understand the question and then look for an answer rather than matching words. It also comes with practice, which means the more passages you practice the better understanding you have in mastering this technique. At British Council I was given the material and was part of a discussion group where there were a lot of sample papers that we could solve and later they were analyzed by the trainers.
4. Practice and practice:
The most exclusive way to score good in the IELTS Reading section is by practicing as much as you can. You can simply begin with analysing 1 or 2 passages to get some idea. Don't be afraid of the length of the passages and try to complete at least 2 passages daily without distraction. The Cambridge IELTS books provide more than enough materials to practice with the exact difficulty level as of the IELTS exam. Try to practice the sample papers the same way you would give the exam and it will become much easier for you.
Finally, I would like to stress on practicing more from different passages to improve your bandscore. Yes, it is difficult to score 7.5 or more for many candidates of IELTS exam, however, if you follow these above mentioned points you will definitely score higher in Reading.