Tips and tricks for improving IELTS reading scores

IELTS Reading : 5 tips to boost your scores

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Over the past few years, we have observed that many students preparing for exam fail to score in IELTS Reading Section. With our experience of training more than 3000 students all over the world, we have noted specific tricks that can boost your IELTS Reading scores by at least 1 band.

1. Get involved

You need to be genuinely interested in the subject matter. You may not care about a monkey learning to boil potatoes on its own but show some sympathy. You may not care about the position of African Americans in the nineteenth century but try to feel their pain.

If you are not interested in the topic of discussion, your brain feels burdened. As a reaction, your brain shuts itself off, filtering important information. On the contrary, if you are curious to know about the Winter Olympics games (for example), chances are your brain will pass more information to you. You will retain more information about being fatigued.

2. Why does the author write it?

The IELTS tastes you on your ability to use English in daily life. So, the exam puts the topics which you may come across in daily life. (I know you may not come across the dancing dolphins unless you work in zoos, but train schedules are quite important in day to day life.)

So, rather than complaining about the topic, find what does the author wish to communicate with you? Probably, he wants to give you reasons, why potatoes are in fact healthy for you or he, wants to explain the important aspects of the newly found galaxy. Based on experience, IELTS authors write these paragraphs to convey one or more of followings

  • Reasons for a phenomenon
  • Results of an action
  • Changes in attitude
  • Interesting pieces of information in history
  • Problems
  • Solutions to solve existing problem etc.

Additionally, it is observed that the author reveals his intention of writing at the beginning. So, if you can guess that author wants to convey main 5 characters, you can always hunt for those characteristics in the passage. Such a reading with purpose helps you to stay focused on the task.

3. Visualise the given information

Personally, what has helped me in scoring well in the IELTS Reading section is visualization of the events or details.

To illustrate, let’s imagine that you are reading about the latest changes in agriculture practices. So, while reading through the passage, look for the major changes and then try to visualise in mind. Let’s say one of the changes is the usage of organic fertilisers instead of the traditional ones. Try to picture a farmer in the field spraying organic manure. Such picturization helps to remember the details while solving a question concerning the point.

4. Discipline your mind

While reading, most of us cannot concentrate for too long and so the mind wanders or distracts very easily. Many of us even feel exhausted after reading for a passage. Such reading habits are inefficient as one needs to re-read the passage to gain the clarity of thought.

Let’s say you need 15 seconds to read a sentence and understand the meaning well. However, under pressure you read it once and miss the meaning completely. Now, you need to re-read the sentence and spend another 15 seconds on the same task to get the meaning well, still, you have put in 30 seconds instead of 15 seconds. Also, remember, the repetitive task becomes boring and can hamper your concentration.

You need to be strict with your mind so that it stays with your current piece of the passage. To improve your concentration, read a novel with a target of finishing it in a day or two. When you stretch your mind beyond what is expected in the test, chances are you can sustain the test.

5. Review your mistakes

Last but not the least trick to tackle the IELTS reading section is to keep a track of mistakes committed. Once you have tracked them, you may start recognising a pattern in the types of mistakes that you commit.

For example, if you have been committing errors in recognising True, False and Not Given questions, you may further notice that most of the sentences confuse you between False statements with Not Given or vice versa. Once you notice this issue you can work further on distinguishing the two statements.

I hope you benefit from these basic tips. Enroll in our classroom coaching in Pune.

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