- IELTS reading section and tricks to crack it
In the previous post we discussed about Listening Section in IELTS. We hope you have gone through that post and had a great time implementing all the tips and tricks that were presented in the post that would help you achieve an amazing score.
Now coming towards our next topic of discussion which is the READING SECTION, and as you can guess from its name, it is all about Reading!
This section is of 2 hours and 45 minutes and contains three passages and 40 questions. To be able to understand the types of question you need to keep it in mind that the reading test for IELTS Academic and IELTS General candidates are different, speaking and listening are similar for both the tests.
The IELTS Academic test is for people applying for higher education or professional registration in an English speaking environment and the IELTS General Training test is for those who are going to English speaking countries for secondary education, work experience or training programs. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. We can discuss this topic separately in another post but for now let’s focus on the types of questions in Reading section for both test in general.
There are only 5 different types of questions in the Reading test. Out of that Only 1 type of question requires you to have full understanding of the passage. All the other 4 types of questions require you to locate information. For these 4 types you can pretty much answer all questions by understanding as less as 20% of the passage only. For each question, you will first flip over the passage to find the answer and find out whether you need to understand the passage at all.
We are not asking you to read each question in detail to understand it’s meaning. Just go through the questions to understand what type of questions they are.
Also, once you go through the questions even before looking at the passage, you will develop a general idea of what the passage might be talking about. With that idea at the back of your mind, when you read through the passage, it will just make much more sense than it would have otherwise.
So first tip would be, Read the questions first!
In reading passages, a common mistake that most people make is that they try to go through the entire passage quickly to get an idea of what’s written in this passage. That’s a terrific waste of time! There is a simple trick which you can follow: Heading + First Sentence = Full Passage. Read the heading first, and then the first sentence of each paragraph. If the first sentence is very short, for example, less than one line of your sheet, then you will read first two sentences. Also, instead of reading them fast, you will read them slowly and absorb them. This will take just 10-15 seconds per paragraph, but you will get a very good idea of what this entire passage it talking about.
Remember from the first tip – you do not need to understand meaning of full passage for 4 out of 5 types of questions. Reading the first sentence only will save you up to 80% of time that you would otherwise waste in reading full passages.
After some practice, you will discover that you will end up reading only 40-60% of the total passages when answering the questions. So why should you waste time trying to understand the full passages?!
Each question has keywords to tell you exactly where to look for the answer. So even before you look for the answer, just look for the keyword that be our third trick. For example, if the question is, “A trunk shot shows a group of people facing camera” – True, False, or Not Given?
You will first identify that the keywords are trunk shot. How do you know that? Because all the other words, such as group, people, camera, are just common words that will appear several times in the passage. You will quickly go back up to the passage and find the words trunk shot, and underline them. Because of our 2nd tip, 8 out of 10 times, you will know exactly which paragraph the keyword might be in.
Once you have the keywords underlined, read the question again to understand what the question is asking. Some of the useful keywords to note are names, dates, numbers, and places. These are easy to locate.
Then read one sentence before the keyword, the sentence in which the keyword is, and one sentence after the keyword. More than 90% of the time, you will find the answer within 3 lines of the keyword. Usually, in the same line as the keyword. With these 3 tips at your hand you will be able to increase your Reading Test score by 1 Band at least. We are sure that if you have gone through the point mentioned above carefully you will understand the magnitude of how helpful this points can be.