Blog Students Exam Tips Top 5 Ways to Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills

Top 5 Ways to Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills


Are you going to take your IELTS exam really soon or considering taking it for work, school, and other things? If it is a yes to either one of these questions, it is important that you take note that each part of the English proficiency exam plays a big part in your scores.

Reading, in particular, is a key part of every IELTS tests since it shows how well you understood the text’s meaning and knowledge about the vocabulary and grammar concepts used. Unfortunately, this is also the part where many examinees often fail because they could not focus properly on the text during the one-hour portion. During this part of the test, 3 to 4 passages of increasing difficulty are provided and they have to answer 40 questions related to it. As a result, they could not get the meaning of the text easily and disable them from picking the right answer.

To help you relax and get your groove on for this part of your IELTS test, here are some ways to help you improve your reading skills:

Boost your reading speed

Every part of the IELTS exam has a given time limit and even if you are not finished with this part, you cannot go back to it again. For the reading part of the test, you are only given one hour to complete it.

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Before you take your exam, try practicing your reading speed on mock IELTS exams or advance English passages and time yourself with them. If you want someone to check it for you, ask a tutor or a friend to help you. Get used to the nuances of these passages, from the keywords to the patterns on how they are written, and see how fast you spotted them. You can also try your skills in reading other subjects to diversify your reading literature and practice reading passages in various difficulties.

Examine and analyze the assigned passage

When you get your test, it is important that you take your time in examining the passage before you analyze it more closely. With just a quick read, you can easily determine the general message of the passage.

Take at least 2 to 3 minutes to read the passage first and look for the keywords that would help you understand the passage better. Do not immediately take in the passage deeply since you can do that once you identify the keywords and patterns of the passage. Underline the keywords so you can study the passage again easily more closely and answer swiftly. If you cannot find the keywords, consider the facts and names indicated in the passage. Check your answers with the answer sheet to see if you managed to answer correctly.

Develop your vocabulary

When you take the IELTS exam, your English proficiency would be put to the test. It will contain words that you may not be familiar with since some words are not used regularly in ordinary statements and text.

Considering this fact, you need to develop your vocabulary bank and learn new words that may likely appear in the exam. Take some time to learn new words from your dictionary every day and take into heart their meanings and their uses. Some vocabulary words can be quite tricky to guess if you are unaware of their use and description. Many IELTS examinees tend to panic whenever they read new words in the reading exam and it had cost them several points.

Make a serious effort

Just like any other exam, IELTS must be taken seriously because your scores will tell schools, employers and others who may ask you for your results how well your English really is like. If your scores are low, you may be asked to retake it again or put you into your second choice.

When you are going to take your IELTS, make sure that you take it seriously. Learn where your weak areas are and try sorting them out. You can ask a tutor who specializes in IELTS tuition or joins an IELTS review class to help you out. You can also ask others who already took the exam and ask what tips they can share with you before you take the exam. Practice as much as you can and do your best when your exams arrive.

Develop your grammatical skills

IELTS tends to take people off guard and cause them to cause a lot of errors, especially in their grammar. Several grammar rules are updated regularly depending on the changes in its use in today’s context. Grammar rules also differ depending on the English language you are focusing on.

Make sure that you take time to update yourself with grammatical terms, concepts, and uses while you review for the exam. You can check them online or through updated IELTS reviewers since they will show how it is applied and used. During the exam, you can also check the correctness of your answer by analyzing the answer and see if it sounds correct. Questions also have clues in them so you could double check your answer.

Final thoughts

The reading portion of the IELTS exam may sound tricky at first, but just like other exams, there is a trick into acing them. For this part of the exam, make sure you prepare by familiarizing yourself with new words and concepts and practicing its usage before you take the exam. If you do not prepare in advance, you are sacrificing your chance of getting good opportunities that your IELTS results can support.

Of course, when you do prepare for the test, do not panic immediately because it will only affect your focus and performance. The same can also be said during the test because panicking would only cause you to make mistakes. Take a deep breath, say your positive mantra and recall all you have learned with the help of any of the tips we cited above. When your focus is on the test, you will surely be able to ace it without problems.

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We wish you luck with your exams!

Wish to know how else you can improve your English? Here are some articles to help you:

How To Structure An English Literature Essay For Singapore A-Levels
Tips To Ace Your English Oral Exam!


Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.