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How to Boost Your Score in IELTS Reading?

How to Boost Your Score in IELTS Reading?

How to Boost Your Score in IELTS Reading?

By Admin / Sep 09, 2019


“Strategies, strategies and more strategies!”
“But those don’t help me at all!”

We have all been in this situation where we are all fed up of the words of advice that everyone has to offer. And we really don’t move an inch from where we were last time – we're still at the same band level each time. Then there are some who learn the strategies, absorb them, put them into practice at the right time and ace the test. You’ve got to be that guy!

Here are some tips to increase your IELTS Reading Score. Remember that you need to learn them and then put them into practice to get the score that you need.

  1. Skimming and Scanning: A lot of students think that they need to understand every single line in the passage in order to answer the question. Believe me, you don’t! You have to get the gist of what is being stated in the passage. The passage will always be with you to answer the questions. What happens is a lot of students feel that they need to understand everything and then they feel that they are short on time to solve the Reading test. You need to skim the passage. Skimming is to read the passage just to get a general idea of what is stated in the passage. Just get a sense of what the topic is and how the information in the passage is organized. At the most, you should not skim the passage for more than 5 minutes. The rest of the time you should spend in scanning for answers. Scanning lets you find the information in the passage quickly. It is the skill that you need to work on the most. Because, hey, what you’re getting scores for – understanding the passage or answering questions?

  2. Know the Test: IELTS checks your comprehension of the passages by asking you 14 different question types. Here’s a list of all the question types. You need to know what’s on the reading test before you take the test, right? There are the age-old Multiple-choice questions and then there are these range of question types to check the whole range of reading skills – True, False, Not Given; Matching Headings; Summary, etc. Answers to some of these questions come in order as presented in the passage, while some of them don’t. You need to know all this before you take the test.


  1. Speed Reading: IELTS gives you a general advice on top of each passage: “You should spend about 20 minutes on this Reading Passage and answer related questions.” You should know how to manage time on the Reading test. You get passages with 700 to 1000 words to read and you have to answer 13-14 questions based on each passage. You simply can’t do this if you spend too much time reading the passage. Remember to pace through the reading passages. Just get a general idea of what the passage is about. You could improve your ability by reading passages and articles online and write down some of the key words and the main idea, before summarising what you read.

  2. Follow the Directions: Some students get the answers wrong just because they don’t follow the directions. You must strictly follow the directions. If you don’t follow directions, you are committing the cardinal sin of ‘not reading on a reading test’. If you are asked to complete a sentence using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS, and the correct answer is ‘leather coat’, the answer ‘coat made of leather’ would be incorrect.

  3. Building Your Vocabulary: A lot of students struggle to find answers not because they don’t understand what they are reading but because they don’t know the words. IELTS though doesn’t present you with very challenging vocabulary you do need to know the words that IELTS tests you for. This is important not for the test in general, but unless you know the words you wouldn’t be able to identify key words, find synonyms, understand the sense of the question and comprehend the reading passage completely. Here's a list of the most important words that you need to know for the IELTS. Just study the list to get a feel for the kinds of words you’re most likely to see in IELTS Reading passages. When you learn vocabulary you should also pay attention to collocations (e.g. which verbs match with which nouns). And you don’t have to do this by learning words in isolation. Remember words in phrases.

  4. Grammar: IELTS tests so many skills on the reading test. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t test your grammar. It tests your grammar by asking you to write the correct words that fill the blank. Sometimes in Summary Completion and Sentence Completion questions, you have to fill the blank with the correct form of the word. For this, you need to know your grammar! You have to ensure that when you fill a blank in such questions, the sentence should be grammatically correct.


  1. Practice, Practice, and More Practice: Nothing beats a good reading practice if you have to ace the Reading test. But remember you have to get the right practice tests that provide you with authentic practice. TCY has a number of IELTS Practice Tests and IELTS Mock Tests to help you prepare for IELTS. And what’s best all these tests are on the Computer-delivered format which is the IELTS official online format. Whenever you attempt a test, be sure to check the Question-wise analysis to know which answers and right and which are wrong. You must try to understand the reason behind the right answer and the wrong answer. Develop your reading skills and your vocabulary with these reading tests if you want to be prepared for the IELTS Reading test.

  2. Knowing Your Strengths and Weaknesses: Good test takers know the questions that they usually get right and the ones they usually get wrong. Instead of focusing on the questions that they usually get right, they work on the questions they get wrong. They try to learn the strategies to attempt them and then apply them to get the answers right the next time. You should do the same way. Try to know why you are getting a question wrong. If you get a question wrong because you couldn’t find the answer in the passage, then you must work on your scanning skills. If you get a question wrong because you didn’t understand the passage or the question, then you must read more and try to work on your English language skills. This way if you focus on your skills and sub-skills, you will gradually improve your performance on the Reading test.

  3. Be Your True Self: You simply can’t get a good score if you can’t understand basic English. Read a few articles online, if you can understand them completely - by understanding them completely, I mean, you can retell it in your own words - then you can work on learning strategies to get the band score that you need.

  4. Simulate the Real Test Conditions: Practice reading as if you are attempting the final test each time. You should give yourself 1 hour to complete the test. Try to stick by it. If you can’t complete the test in 1 hour, work on managing time in the reading section. TCY presents you with nice simulated tests for a good practice.


So, these are some simple tips to boost your Reading score. Try them out and see your scores rise!

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Last updated on : Apr 24, 2024