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Reading tips

How to prepare for the IELTS Reading test, tips and techniques to improve your skills and raise your score

Reading at a glance

Reading consists of 3 to 5 passages of text and 40 questions in total. The Academic Reading test has 3 longer passages, whereas the General Training Reading test can have 4 or 5 shorter passages. Your job is to read the passages and either answer questions, label diagrams, complete sentences or fill in gaps. For every type of task there are instructions and an example. Passages are taken from books, newspapers, magazines and the topics are very diverse, from scuba diving to space exploration. Passages progress in difficulty, with the first being the easiest and the last being the hardest.

Good news is that you don’t really have to read the whole passage, thanks to a technique I will refer to later. Not so good news is that there is no additional time to copy your answers to the Answer Sheet and you need to squeeze it in the 60 minutes that you have in total for the Reading test. Please, don’t forget to do it – I witnessed someone who did, and it was not a pretty sight. The poor guy was crying, he received a score 0 for the whole Reading test. Here too you may write in pencil only, no pens are allowed.

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