How to Score High Grades in the IELTS Reading Section

By MahJabeen Malik

Reading is generally considered the most difficult section of ILTES exam. It is thought that speaking, writing and listening sections are easier as compare to the reading section because reading requires a lot of time and great concentration.

Dear students, I am giving you some tips to improve your reading skill in ILTES programme.

IELTS reading test can be divided into three sections, which requires you to read three different types of texts. You require giving answers for multiple questions for each section within 60 minutes after reading the text. Here are the types of questions you can get in the reading test:

  • True/false/not given questions
  • Multiple-choice questions
  • Matching tasks
  • Gap filling tasks
  • Sentence completion tasks
  • Classification tasks
  • Short-answer questions
  • Chart, table or diagram completion tasks

5 Top Tips to Score Higher Grades on the IELTS Reading Section

1.Use Time to Your Advantage

Fill in the answer sheet as you go. In the exam room, you will be given two things: (1) a booklet with all the questions and (2) an answer sheet. The answer sheet is the most important document because all your answers must be written in it. If you only write your answers in the booklet, your answers won’t be taken into account and scored.

Avoid wasting a lot of time by writing the answers in the booklet first and then transferring them to the answer sheet.  Doing so, you will find out that you don’t have enough time, in the end, to transfer all of the answers onto the answer sheet.

Then you will waste your time to answers all questions but no time to write those does. However, you need to fill in the answer sheet as you go, not at the end. Keep the booklet in front of you so you can read the texts and questions at ease, and also keep the answer sheet somewhere useful so you can write all the answers down on the answer sheet as you proceed with the test.

Avoid wasting a lot of time on difficult questions; leave them for the end. If you waste plenty of time on questions that you find difficult, you will waste valuable exam time. You won’t be able to answer the entire easier question; however, you will lose points! If you don’t know the right answers to some questions, leave them and move on. This way, you can focus on all the questions you do know the answers to. You can return to the difficult questions at the end if you have the time.

Before reading the text, look at the tasks. While reading, you should do so with some questions in mind. Read the tasks and questions first, before you read, and think about the information you need to find to answer those questions while you’re reading.

Make a practice of reading tests. This is the best way to use your time before the exam! You’ll learn how to take the test before taking the real test. You’ll know where your strengths and weaknesses are. You’ll also know what to do for each task, and how to answer each type of question. This way you’ll know how to best divide your time and won’t stress too much about working against the clock.

  1. Read the Task vigilantly

Whenever you start doing a task, make sure you read the instructions and the examples vigilantly.

Most of the tasks seem to be similar, so you need to recognize at first sight after making some practice tests. Nonetheless, there are some specific points you need to your attention on them.

True/false/not given: If you select “true,” then the whole sentence must be true. There are a few tricky questions in which not all of the details are true. Some may be true while others are false. In these cases, the answer will be “false.”

Matching tasks:  Avoid crossing out the options you have already used. This may seem like a fast way of doing the task but it can lead to mistakes. Instead, reconsider all the options for each question. Using this you’ll have the opportunity to correct your own mistakes by seeing if each word option is a better fit for another question.

Gap filling tasks: Be careful and don’t go over the word limit for each gap.

  1. Get Better at Scanning

Scanning is the best reading method that helps you to find relative information quicker. When scanning, you don’t have read everything word for word. You just need to rotate your eyes across the text smoothly in a wavelike motion. You don’t have to waste time your time in reading unnecessary information. This is a great method for understanding the main ideas of a text and for finding the information you need to read in more detail.

For understanding a text, you need to understand what each paragraph says. Every paragraph has a main idea and that idea is uttered in the topic sentence.

Where to find the topic sentence?

Generally, the first sentence of a paragraph is the topic sentence, but it can also be at the end. The topic sentence expresses the main idea of the whole paragraph.

Topic sentences can be easily recognized because they sound like they’re announcing what’s coming next.

To make the best use of your time, look for it in the first sentence, then the second one and then the last one.

  1. Don’t Bother for New Vocabulary

Don’t fear if you come across unknown words.

Even native speakers don’t understand every single word in every text they read and that’s okay because all those words don’t matter most of the time.

Using a dictionary in the exam is not allowed but this shouldn’t be a problem at all. When you’re practising reading anything or taking IELTS practice test, do not use a dictionary. Make yourself complete all your reading practice first. Then, once you have completed the activity, you can return to the text and look something up afterwards.

You must train you to read faster and understand the overall ideas in the texts. The meaning of a paragraph can be easily understood without knowing the meaning of every single word.

In order to improve your vocabulary, you can work on that individually after the completion of IELTS reading practice test you’re working on. You should learn the meaning of difficult words to increase your vocabulary.

You will have to face some new questions using synonyms of words, so you should have good vocabulary to respond to those queer questions.

  1. Improve Your Reading Speed

You can improve your reading only by reading again and again; this is the only way to make your reading faster.

You require practising tests to work on reading texts and questions. While spending your extra time when you are relaxing and reading fun texts, like novels and comic books, try reading a bit faster every time. When you read any book note your time how much time you spend on reading. If you notice that you are spending a lot of time, try to read speedily next time.


You may already have your favourite reading sources, but it’s a good idea to read texts and articles that are more like the IELTS texts in terms of length and density.

Training to read for IELTS is going to do wonders for your reading skills whether you are still studying or already working.

Reading test for IELTS makes you better at reading faster.