IELTS is an English language exam students take to prove their language proficiency to study or work in an English-speaking country.

The IELTS exam test students’ language proficiency through 4 different modules;

  • Reading,
  • Listening,
  • Writing,
  • Speaking. 

In this blog, I will discuss IELTS reading and describe some best tips on how to do reading in IELTS.

Reading is said to be a very difficult module in IELTS because this is the module in which most students fail to get the desired band score. 

This can happen because they do not know the best way to do reading in IELTS and do not follow a proper strategy. 

Don’t worry here, you will get a proper strategy that will help you get an 8+ band score in the IELTS exam.

But before, you must understand the PTE reading format. 

Let’s get started!

IELTS Reading Section Format

There are two types of IELTS exams: 

  • General Training 
  • Academic IELTS

The IELTS GT and academic readings are different, but the tips below will help you improve both types of reading scores.

Let’s have a look at the PTE reading test format.

IELTS reading Number of QuestionsDurationType Of Questions
Academic and GT4060 minutesChosen from the following 
Multiple choice questions 
Identifying the information 
Matching headings
Matching information
Sentence completion
Summary completion
Note completion 
Table formation
Flow-chat completion 
Diagram-type questions 
Short answer type questions

Tips For How To Do Reading In IELTS

Here I will mention some tips regarding how to do reading in IELTS. If you follow these tips, then you will definitely be able to score good marks in the reading section of the IELTS exam.

How To Do Reading In IELTS
  1. Prepare All Types Of Questions
  2. Manage Your Time
  3. Do Skimming And Scanning
  4. Hone The Reading Skills
  5. Develop vocabulary
  6. Understand And Identify Keywords
  7. Improve Grammatical Understanding
  8. Practice Mock Test
  9. Have A Target Score In Mind
  10. Review Your Answers

Prepare All Types Of Questions

Several types of questions are asked in the reading section of the IELTS. You should prepare individually for all the different questions to ensure you get full marks. 

14 different types of questions are asked, and thus you need to build a strategy to attend to every type of question. By practicing and analyzing the reading section of the mock IELTS exams, you will understand which types of questions are easy for you and which types of questions may potentially reduce your marks.  

Even if some questions remain hard after multiple attempts, you should be sure not to waste much time on those questions in the test. This evaluation of different types of questions will surely clear some points regarding how to do reading in IELTS.

Manage Your Time

There is a time boundation for IELTS reading. You will only get 60 minutes to complete the IELTS reading, so you must manage your time effectively.

Note: You won’t have extra time to transfer your answers to an answer sheet.

There are 3 passages in IELTS academic reading and 4 in the IELTS GT reading, so you must be given proper time for each section to complete the reading. 

Students should not spend more than 20 minutes on one passage of IELTS academic and 15 on one IELTS GT passage. 

Do Skimming And Scanning

One type of question asked in the reading section of the IELTS is the passage-type question. You have to read the passage and get a general idea of it. To read the passage well, you have to develop skimming and scanning skills. 

It is recommended to read the passages before answering the questions. You should be able to skim and scan the passage thoroughly in the exam. You do not need to understand the whole paragraph in detail, as it would be time-consuming. 

Read the paragraph once and then have a look at the questions, ad then read the passage again, this time scanning for answers to the questions. The whole process of skimming and scanning should not take more than 3 minutes.

Hone The Reading Skills

You need to hone your reading skills before the exam. For this, you can read the newspaper any informative magazine, or a piece of writing from the internet. 

Try to test yourself by setting a timer when you read, and also focus on that you read and understand the passage as fast as possible. You can try the same technique of skimming and scanning that is needed for the exam.

Develop vocabulary

Most students learn the meanings of different words and think that their vocabulary has gotten stronger but to have a good grip on the vocabulary you also have to understand which word is used where. 

This misconception of just learning the meanings gets the students low scores. You can understand the real usage of these words by reading several paragraphs written by foreign authors so that you get to know real words. 

Collocations that can be used with a word are also important to know to score well. You can develop your vocabulary by reading and understanding mock reading paragraphs. 

Understand And Identify Keywords

Another tip that will clear your question of How to do reading in IELTS is understanding and identifying keywords. Every passage has certain keywords which are important to identify and understand. 

These keywords are crucial as all the answers are hidden in these keywords. You will have to develop the skill of locating the right keyword for your answer. You can learn to do this by practicing reading tests in which you can compare your answer with the correct ones. 

Once you find the right answers, try to identify the keyword which would have helped get the answer. Keywords can be very easily identifiable like dates, names, etc. 

Improve Grammatical Understanding

Another obvious tip is to know grammar rules for PTE reading. Many questions require you to complete the sentences or fill in the blanks. The sentences thus formed by filling in the right answers need to be grammatically correct, and in most cases, if you manage to frame the grammatically correct sentence, it is the right answer. 

The key to improving grammar remains the same as reading some practice sentences to understand the correct use of grammar. 

Practice Mock Test

The most important tip is to practice mock tests. A mock exam or test is free online and available on the official IELTS websites. You can improve your preparation by giving mock tests in several ways. It will help you to test all the above tips that I mentioned, and it will also improve your reading speed and vocabulary usage understanding. 

Have A Target Score In Mind

The IELTS is a competitive exam, but you should know what score you need to get admission to your preferred course or university. 

If you do not require a high score of 7+ and if it is getting hard for you to score higher, then don’t over-promise yourself; focus on the score you need and prepare accordingly.  

Review Your Answers

The last tip for how to do reading in IELTS is by reviewing your answers and knowing your weaknesses. If you are practicing a lot of papers but not reviewing the answers, then those practice papers are near to no use. 

After taking each practice test, you have to compare all the answers with the correct ones and evaluate what went wrong in the answer and what you were thinking at the time of answering, and what you should have thought to get the answer right. 

If you are spending 2 – 3 hours completing a practice test, then take at least an hour out to review your test and evaluate your weaknesses and mistakes, and then work on them.  

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The IELTS reading section can be hard for non-native speakers, and it may lower your score, but if your practice correctly and efficiently and follow the given tips, then you will easily get a good score, and you will not need to worry about how to do reading in IELTS. 

As hard as it may seem, the reading section is also one of the most scoring sections of the IELTS exam, and thus by practicing mock papers, evaluating your answers, and working on your mistakes, you can easily get a good score. 

I hope this blog has boosted your preparation for the reading section of the IELTS by clearing all the doubts related to how to do reading in IELTS.

Keep visiting CourseMentor™ for more interesting and informative content like this.

Read our other blog to learn PTE Reading Tips.


What are some strategies for managing time during the IELTS Reading test?

The most useful and efficient strategy to manage your time during IELTS reading is skimming and scanning the content instead of reading it completely.

How can I improve my vocabulary for the IELTS Reading test?

The only way to improve your vocabulary knowledge for the IELTS reading section is to write down any new word you found in your reading test and search for its meaning after completing the passage.

How can I get 8 in IELTS reading?

Yes, it is possible to get a band score of 8 in IELTS reading. To get an 8 band score in IELTS reading you must answer a minimum of 89% of questions correctly. To do that you are required to follow the tips mentioned in this blog.

Can I retake IELTS reading only?

Yes, you can retake any of the modules in the IELTS exam but to do that you are required to complete the IELTS test on a computer. IELTS one skill retake is not available for students who take pen-paper-based IELTS exam.