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How to manage your time in the IELTS Reading section

Published on February 18, 2020

The IELTS Reading Test will assess you on a wide range of reading skills. You should be able to read thoroughly or skim through passages to understand logical arguments and identify the author's opinions.

The Reading Test is different for the IELTS General Training and Academic tests. What test you choose will depend on if you are completing the IELTS test for migration purposes or university entry. Although there are some significant differences between the tests, the common points are that both Reading tests last for 60 minutes and comprise of 40 questions.

General Training Reading

The IELTS General Training Reading passages are extracts from materials that you can find on a day-to-day basis in an English-speaking country. The questions in this section will test your ability to understand content present in everyday materials such as:

  • Newspapers
  • Advertisements
  • Handbooks
  • Notices.

To become more familiar with what to expect, make use of our free practice tests to understand the Reading section better.

Academic Reading

The IELTS Academic Test is used for university admissions and professional registrations around the world. The questions in this section will test your ability to understand content present in academic materials such as:

  • Books
  • Journals
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers

Question types (Academic and General Training)

You can expect a variety of question types in the General and Academic Reading Tests such as:

  • Multiple choice
  • Identifying information
  • Identifying a writer's views/claims
  • Matching information
  • Matching headings
  • Matching features
  • Matching sentence endings
  • Sentence completion
  • Summary, note, table, flow-chart completion
  • Diagram label completion
  • Short-answer questions

To ensure you can accurately answer the above-given question types in the 60 minutes, you will need to manage your time. Take a look at some expert advice on how you can manage your time during the IELTS Reading Test.

Tips to manage time

Skim through the passage

You can quickly skim through the entire passage to understand the gist. Do not spend time reading every sentence in detail as this can be time consuming and unnecessary. Look for main points that describe the passage - it helps in finding answers.

Pay attention to the introduction and conclusion

The author's point of view is expressed in the introduction and conclusion passages. You can answer most questions correctly when you read these two sections of the reading passage. Skim through the body of the passage after you thoroughly go through the introduction and conclusion.

Identify keywords

A keyword will help you identify the concept associated with the passage. Identify these keywords and if possible, underline them when you skim through the passage. This can help you answer most questions that follow the passage.

Read all questions before you begin answering

Before you begin answering, have a quick look at all the questions first. Since you have already skimmed through the passage and identified keywords, you will not have to spend more time on each question. It is also important to read each question carefully before you answer them.

Check your answers

Checking your answers can help you improve your IELTS Reading score. Make sure that you answer all the questions and allocate at least 20 minutes for checking. You can use the practice materials available on our website and time yourself to perfection.

The IELTS Reading Section can be intimidating for test takers who are aiming for a higher Band Score. However, diligent preparation and time management tips can make the difference between an average score and a great one.

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