Improve IELTS score
This article will teach you some relevant tips on how to maximise your score in the IELTS Reading Test. Be sure to practice the 3-Steps to improve your reading comprehension and make your preparation time count on test-day!
How can I improve my IELTS reading test score?
A great way to get off to a strong start with your IELTS reading test study is to firstly do some IELTS reading practice tests to find out or ‘diagnose’ what kind of mistakes you are making, and from there where you need to improve.
You might need to focus on increasing your academic vocabulary, improving your grammar or simply your speed of reading and ability to take in the meaning quickly – so tightening up your reading comprehension skills is a great start!
Next, start to read widely from a variety of sources to build up your vocabulary on a range of academic topics and improve your overall reading skills.
IELTS reading tests contain authentic reading passages, so as well as reading IELTS reading tests, articles that can be found in good newspapers, such as:
• The New York Times (8 free articles per month)
Also, for more advanced reading material try:
• The Economist
• Financial Times (which can be accessed online also).
Thirdly and very importantly, it’s not only what you read but how you read! If you just let the information you read ‘go in one ear and out the other,’ and brush over unknown words like they don’t matter, you probably won’t be improving your reading skills much!
3-Steps for IELTS reading practise
In order to achieve a high score in the IELTS reading test, it’s really beneficial to practice your reading comprehension skills using these 3-steps:
Step 1: Skim the passage first
Have a quick look at the whole thing to find out what it’s about and then your mind will start predicting information: read the heading, then the topic or first sentence of each paragraph and quickly speed read through the whole thing.
This will help you with ‘global’ IELTS questions, such as assessing the attitude or the author of the passage or in choosing the best title or heading for the whole passage.
Step 2: Summarise each paragraph as you read
Get into the habit of looking up after each paragraph you have read and then summarise the main idea/points in the paragraph in your own words in just 1-2 sentences.
Not only will this really exercise your brain, it will greatly improve your reading speed and comprehension skills.
Step 3: Keep a record of new vocabulary
After reading an article, note down any new words you have discovered and their meaning on an Excel spread sheet or in a notebook.
Then read this sheet/list everyday whenever you can: before work, during your lunch break, after work, on the train, before bed (!) etc.
Do you need an IELTS Teacher?
Perhaps some of you were struggling with IELTS and got to the stage where you really didn’t know how to get through the exam when you received an email from a teacher or school, or perhaps one of your friends recommended someone and suddenly everything changed and you found the support you needed to get your IELTS band.
So, when it comes to IELTS especially, I think about writing and to an extent reading in particular, it may be sensible to seek the help of an expert. I was working with one of my students today. We have just started working together and she had completed only her third test with me and the results are good; she is already starting to score around Band 7 and if she continues to do this over the next few weeks then she should be able to reach her target. What is interesting about her study though, is that she told me after just 3 tests she was feeling far more confident about her reading. She has managed to reduce the time so that she is only a little over the test time and whereas she used to hate the reading and put off doing it she now finds that she can manage the questions far better and is beginning to enjoy her IELTS reading study and moreover, her scores are showing this! That is a huge breakthrough! After just three lessons.
Making use of your time on test-day
Finally, to achieve a high score in the IELTS reading test, use the full hour to check over your answers once more, even if you have already, or feel confident and that it was ‘easy’.
You may have missed an answer, or made a careless error or an accidental mistake when transferring your answers from the test to the IELTS reading test answer sheet; you might have misread the instructions so you have put 3 words instead of 2, etc.
Surprisingly, on test-day, it is always quite amazing to observe the number of IELTS test takers who finish early and decide it’s a good idea to have a little sleep or start drawing cartoons when they have finished and are waiting for the hour to be up!
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