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Reading Techniques for IELTS Reading Test

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Reading Techniques for IELTS Reading Test

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Skimming and scanning are the two main techniques that people use to read and answer IELTS reading tests. It's not a question of using one or the other but you will need both methods in doing the test. Let's have a look at the two techniques in turn.

Skimming Technique of IELTS Reading


Skimming is reading fast to get the "gist" or the general idea of the text. There are different techniques of doing skimming. You can run your eyes over the text getting the general meaning, not stopping at words that you don't understand as this will slow you down.

The important thing with skimming is speed. Another way to skim is to just read the first and last paragraphs of a text and summaries as well. You could also just read the title, subtitles and illustrations if there are any. I prefer for IELTS the first way - reading it all quickly to get the general meaning, but of course it depends on your reading speed. If you are a slow reader in English you really need to practise to improve.

You don't need IELTS specific texts for this. A good English newspaper is fine. Get one every day and read the articles as quickly as you can. Do this with as many articles as possible every day and your speed will quickly improve.

Scanning Technique of IELTS Reading


This is another very important technique for the IELTS Reading Tests. This is the technique that you use when you are reading a telephone book or a dictionary. You are not starting at the top and reading every line back and forth as you would read a novel.

You are moving your eyes around the text, back and across and up and down. You are searching for some specific information: a word or name. This is an important technique in IELTS reading as you are often searching for some specific information. You read the question and then you search for key words or ideas associated with the question.

This is a bit more difficult to practise than skimming. You get long texts (from newspapers, magazines or other sources) and get a friend to read it and then ask you to find key ideas or words as quickly as possible.

Again, if you do this frequently, your speed will quickly improve.

If you want to improve, there's no secret. Practice. Practice. Practice. You won't get better sitting and doing nothing. Even good English users need practice for the IELTS exam. It could make all the difference between your getting the band that you need, and getting half a band less than you need and having to wait 3 months to do the exam again.

Finally, there are no correct answers or methods. Here I've given you some ideas to guide you and hopefully to help you but the questions can be answered well in different ways. Good luck with the IELTS General Training Reading Test. I hope that this free tutorial has helped you.
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