Many students face difficulty in the reading part of IELTS. The reason for this varies from person to person. Some students do not have the stamina to read continuously, while others cannot comprehend the passage correctly. Reading skills do not develop overnight. It is a habit that has to be nurtured from a young age. However, you do not have to worry if you lack reading habits. Certain strategies will help you immensely on the test day. You not only have to just work hard but also have to work smart.
The question arises: How to improve reading skills in IELTS?
Here is how you can:
Read questions first
When you read the questions, you have a clear idea of what is expected from you in the passage. Try to remember the keywords and the theme of the question. In this way, you can pinpoint the area where your answer might be found in the passage. Another benefit of this is that you will be mentally prepared for the passage, leading to more focus.
Skim through the passage
You have to remember that you only have an hour and 3 passages to read with 40 questions altogether. After you have read the questions, skimming will help you get directly to the keywords where answers might lie. One thing to remember is that not the whole passage would be relevant to answer the questions. Therefore, it makes sense to leave unnecessary parts during skimming and focus on things that matter. Mark the parts of the passage which you think are relevant, then again read them with focus to answer questions.
Manage the time effectively
You will have to divide your 60 minutes equally among the three passages. This means 20 minutes for each passage. If you are not able to complete your whole passage in 20 minutes, then move on to the next one. You can come back to it later if you finish your other passage in less than 20 minutes.
Another mistake that students usually make is that they just tick the answers on the question booklet. This wastes time because then you have to copy down the same thing on the answer sheet. I will suggest you directly mark the answers on the answer sheet. It will be a pity if you leave the answer sheet blank even if you knew the answer. In addition, if you are stuck on a question, leave it and move to the next one. This way you will save time for other questions.
Build up vocabulary
This point cannot be stressed more. Vocabulary becomes critical in deciding whether you will perform exceptionally or you will perform average. Due to difficult vocabulary, you will not be able to understand a sentence or two in the passage. This will hamper your ability to answer the related questions.
You should be able to know the meaning of a word in a certain context. The meaning and effect of a word change in different situations and contexts. However, you can guess the meaning of a word by analyzing the whole sentence, but it is not preferred. One should have due experience and skills to carry out such tasks.
Know the question types
There are different types of questions ranging from MCQs to true/false, and others. You should have a plan to tackle each type. For example, in MCQs, cancel out the most obvious wrong answer. In this way, you can get a step closer to the right answer.
In true/false questions read the whole sentence before making a judgment. Most of the time, students tick the answer after reading half a sentence. There are questions designed to confuse the student and get them to tick the wrong answer quickly.
If you pay attention closely, you will find a pattern in the same type of questions. You can exploit those to save your time. To know the pattern, you will have to go through the available resources for IELTS preparation.
Never leave a question blank
There is no negative marking on a wrong answer. You can use this to your advantage. Although, it is not advisable to make a guess when you have the time to answer effectively. However, desperate times require desperate measures. If you are left with some questions and do not have enough time, then take an educated guess and mark the answer. An educated guess is better than a random guess because it has more probability of being correct. There is no opportunity cost in guessing. As the saying goes ‘ you miss 100 percent of the shots you do not take’.
In the end, everything comes down to practice. Practice will make you better and will help you in the test. First of all, take a diagnostic test and assess your weaknesses. Next, focus on that weakness and try to overcome it by challenging yourself with the same type of question daily. Don’t just practice, but keep time in mind. If you are not able to finish your test on time then do not worry. You will be able to with the right hard work and practice.
Grammar is also a big part of the test. If you make silly grammar mistakes that means you are losing marks unnecessarily. These are the mistakes that can be easily avoided. IELTS preparation can be done by self-study. There are both free and paid resources available over the internet. However, it can be difficult for some people.
Join the Center of success now to ensure you do well on test day. We will devise a practice regime that will equip you with all the necessary skills.