IELTS Reading Tips

skim and scan

Question:  Do I need to skim and scan in IELTS reading? Answer: Yes you do. These are important reading skills which will help you to extract information quickly from a large body of text; this is exactly the skill that is being tested in IELTS reading.

It’s important to understand the difference between them and use each one to best effect. So here is an explanation and also not only how you can use these skills to help your IELTS reading but also how you can improve them to make your skimming and scanning faster and more effective.

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reading

To be honest there are no real secrets or ‘tricks’ to IELTS reading just good skill and common sense. However under the pressure of the exam (and in practice too) common sense seems to go out of the window and panic takes over. People look for short cuts or quick fixes to get it done fast and what happens is that the quick fix method becomes so overwhelming that the text and questions often fade into the background as students grab the first word they see or search endlessly inside a paragraph which cannot possibly contain the information. The answer is to step back and focus on the text and questions rather than the tricks.

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Over-Confident yet under prepared
This IELTS student was a doctor. Salim was from Syria. He had been living in the UK for some time and was very fluent in spoken English. He had spent some time at school in the UK so his English skills were quite polished.

When I first met Salim he was about to take the test for the second time. He was worried about his reading and just wanted a lesson to go over some techniques. He was very confident about the exam and was certain that only the reading would be a problem. This was unusual as mostly it is the writing that people want to have checked. I asked him about writing but he hadn’t brought any to the lesson and said that he was fine. He was looking for an overall band of 7. Working on just one part of the exam is not something I always like to do unless students are already getting high scores in other parts, I like to make sure that all parts of the exam are on track as none of them work in isolation and the reading and listening impact on the writing and speaking. By integrating the study, the outcome in all parts is more assured. I was a little concerned that he was concentrating so much on this one part when his previous scores were not very high. Continue reading

Reading and Writing Accelerator

I know how hard getting the score that you need in the IELTS can be.  Sometimes it can feel like trudging through the freezing snow somewhere and going uphill both ways, there and back!  Studying for it is hard, you wade through all of those practice tests and read essay after practice essay.  You spend so many sleepless nights going over and over and practicing until you feel completely wrung out.  Finally, the day of the test comes and you feel pretty confident, but then when you get your scores they are not as high as they should be!  How disappointing!  How could this have happened?  All that practice for nothing! Continue reading

Step by Step Programme IELTSThere is so much information out there about taking the IELTS test and developing your language skills.  An overwhelming amount of information.  It can take months or even years to go through it all and to figure out what works for you!  What if there was a way that you could get focused training to hone in on the language skills that you need?  What if there was a way for you to have materials, advice, and tips presented to you that have been proven to really work?  What if you could complete this training and be totally prepared to conquer the IELTS in a matter of weeks-not months or years? Continue reading

every-word-counts-in-ielts-readingWhen I start working with IELTS students on their IELTS reading I often find that they spend a lot of time on the passages and only read through the questions quickly before rushing off to find the answers. This strategy is the wrong way around.

Much of the content of the reading passages is irrelevant for the questions and so it is important that you find ONLY that information that will answer them. The way to do this is to spend more time analysing the questions – word for word – so that you know EXACTLY what the question is asking you for.

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ielts-reading-tipsStudents often ask me how to improve their reading and although there are several techniques that I teach and help students to perfect, the one thing that always makes a difference is the use of Keywords.

Key words help you to locate the place in the text where the answer lies AND to pick out EXACTLY which part of this group of sentences is the one that you need for the correct answer.

Finding the place in the text is the first part of your task and the Keywords that you need to do this are ‘Location’ Keywords. These will typically be numbers, dates, names from the texts, nouns which describe the topic, specific phrases that are about the topic – they will all contain content related to the theme of the text. By using these keywords you should be able to locate the place you need to answer the question.

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