Secret Skills Needed for IELTS Reading

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Do you think IELTS reading section is just like your everyday reading.  If you think so, then you are probably wrong. 

Because, many IELTS candidate think like this and get a bad band score after the test.  Reading like everyday experience of reading newspaper, books and magazines would not do any help in the IELTS exam where you can pass the limited 1 hour by only reading and enjoying the passages. 

One might also get frightened by encountering unclear sentences or words in the passage and ink it as a failure to the exam but in reality you can score a very high band even without getting the full passage meaning. 

In order to do so, you need to focus on certain skills that are essential to the IELTS reading module.

If you are thinking about reading every sentence of the passage to get it`s main themes, then you will probably run out of time in the IETLS reading test.  

You need to have a quick glance at the sentences of each paragraph to get the overall idea and this technique is called speed reading. Generally reading the introductory paragraph and the conclusion will enable you to identify the overall meaning of the passage. 

Skills Needed for IELTS Reading

The first two lines of each paragraph and the last line contains the gist of each paragraphs. Your eyes should be constantly on move all over the paragraphs to answer each questions correctly.  

How you can achieve that much skill? The answer is practice. Read each passage of your official IELS practice test book as quick as possible and don’t spend more than 5 minutes on each, which would be more or same in the original IELTS test where you can spend 1 or 2 minutes for scanning on the longest passage.

You also need to understand the organization of the passage.  Well this skill requires you to have sufficient academic background of  reading a lots of journal articles, research papers and reports. 

You need to identify the introductory part of the passage, specifically which paragraphs presents introductory discussions, which sentences express concluder remarks etc. 

You can write a brief summarizing sentence beside each passage to find the answer to the question as quickly as possible. This technique will also be helpful in answering the heading match questions.

In order to identify the keywords like number or names in the passage, you need to have scanning skills. Scanning means you are not reading any sentences or passage in the paragraph, rather have a bird`s eye view in the whole passage to find the needle in the hay stack. 

You don’t need to have high speed reading skills to do that, jut move your eyes vertically on the passage and though you can locate the keyword in the passage. 

Some also suggest to read the sentences backward, but this process could be time consuming.

Most of the question in Reading module can be answered by applying skimming and scanning technique. While there are at least 8 questions for advanced level reader which are ambiguous and need a master in paraphrasing skill.  

Paraphrase means same meaning with different words or word sequence in a sentence, presenting one idea in another way but the meaning remains similar. IELTS examiners often push these questions to assess the competency level of the candidate. 

A good vocabulary stock will helpful on this regard but it is also noticeable that technical words will remain same in the passage and questions.

IELTS  reading test is also filled with unfamiliar words, which makes it difficult to understand the meaning of a sentence. Reading the sentences around that unknown word can reveal its meaning. 

Skilled IELTS test-takers have more than just a well-stocked vocabulary; they also have the skills to cope with an unknown word and guess intelligently at its most likely meaning.

In the end, it is not that difficult to get 7.0 Band in the IELTS reading module as only 30 out of 40 questions need to be corrected and it is quite easy with little practice. 

So, the secret is don`t put too much time on difficult 10 questions, rather concentrate on the easy ones first. Just skip any hard question and get to the next one quickly to get a wholesome band score.