How to improve reading in IELTS – Most Effective Tips

What is IELTS?

IELTS stands for ‘International English Language Testing System’ which tests a person’s ability to understand, speak, listen and follow the English language. This test is mainly given by people who want to migrate to countries where the main language used in English for example USA, UK, Canada, Australia, etc.

A few questions which need to be addressed regarding the IELTS reading papers before moving on to tips on how to improve reading in IELTS;

The difference between the Academic and the General Training paper

The main difference between the two papers is the text style in which the paper is written. The text for the academic paper is taken off of various university magazines, newspapers, question papers, books, etc.

On the other hand in the general training paper, the candidates are given a paper based on the general needs of a person, for example, social or work-related. It is taken off of various documents, flyers, notices, newspapers, etc. 

Many students find reading difficult and want to know how to improve reading in IELTS. Some of the skills tested of the students in the reading test. Here you go and read the skills mentioned below.

The skills tested 

A few skills that are tested in this reading IELTS paper are,

  • Targeting key points and arguments
  • understanding what the writer wants to say
  • identifying particular information in a given paragraph
  • finding relevant answers based on the given question 

Along with these some other skills will also be tested…

The different types of questions given in the paper

The questions included in this test are there to evaluate a candidate’s overall understanding of the English language. Familiarizing oneself with the types helps one come up with a better strategy and thereby score a better grade with ease. The types are as follows:   

  • short answer questions
  • multiple choice questions
  • sentence completion
  • summary, table, flow chart completion
  • true and false type questions
  • labeling diagrams
  • matching information

Tips on how to improve reading in IELTS

Here you will know about how to improve reading in IELTS by the following tips-

The candidate should practice their skills because they want to be good at it and not because they want to pass an exam.

Candidates usually focus on studying only for the IELTS test and forget that this exam is made to help them understand and be fluent in the English language. Instead of constantly solving papers and reading uninteresting articles, one should focus on simply reading something that they enjoy. There are so many blogs, articles, and other things which would draw one’s attention whilst also improving their reading skills and vocabulary.

The candidate should read the instructions very carefully.

There have been so many good and deserving candidates that have done badly because of not being able to follow instructions properly. It is extremely important to follow the instructions carefully especially in the reading and listening parts.

The instructions might say ‘write two words and the answer is ‘chair and desk’ one must write it as ‘chair, desk’ which is two words. On the other hand ‘chair and desk’ is three words and would be marked as wrong.

Never panic while writing the test.

One of the most important tips on how to improve reading in IELTS is that one should not panic during the exam. Some IELTS questions will be easy while others will be extremely hard. One should never panic on seeing the hard questions. The candidate’s main focus should be to attempt as many questions correctly as possible. One will not be able to understand every single word and question and that is totally fine, it is advisable to skip them. Keeping one’s emotions under control plays a major role in passing the test with flying colors.

One should not expect to understand every single word given in the question paper.

As it has been said earlier certain questions in the IELTS paper are extremely hard. It is not necessary to attempt every single question and get it right. Keeping this tip in mind will help the candidate keep their emotion and stress under control throughout the paper and calmly write the paper.

Consider it to be a vocabulary test.

This reading test is somewhat of a vocabulary test too. It uses synonyms, antonyms, and various other grammatical keys to evaluate one’s vocabulary. As mentioned earlier it is better to go through a variety of different articles, blogs, magazines, books, etc. which helps one go over a large number of different words thus increasing their vocabulary.

Trying to understand new words just with the help of their context and the sentences surrounding them is a great way to memorize and increase one’s vocabulary.

The candidate should have a grasp on the timing and pay good attention to it.

Managing the timing is just as important as studying for the test. If the candidate is capable of acing the exam but is not able to finish the entire paper in the allotted time then it is a major loss. The candidate should practice giving various papers with the same pattern in the allotted time. This will help them assess their strengths and weaknesses and work on them respectively. Time management is one of the most important tips on how to improve reading in IELTS.

One should not be tempted to use information they already know on the given topic.

The candidate should keep in mind that this is a reading test. They should abstain from using any prior information they know regarding the given topic and only focus on the questions asked and follow them strictly.


If the candidate studies well, follows these tips on how to improve reading in IELTS, and is determined to crack the exam then there is nothing stopping them. Just focus on one’s goals and keep moving forward, everything will turn out how it is supposed to. If you want to clear the IELTS exam at one time then read this blog How to Crack the IELTS Exam in First GO.

2 thoughts on “How to improve reading in IELTS – Most Effective Tips”

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