The academic reading section comprises three reading passages based on 40 different kinds of questions that need to be completed within 60 minutes. These questions are designed to check your reading skills in different parameters such as your understanding of the text, logic after the text, main theme or concept of the text, etc.
There are a plethora of techniques/ strategies/ hacks to handle each sort of question of the academic reading section. And many of them are covered in the IELTS preparation classes that are conducted online. Some of the powerful hacks that are covered in the IELTS preparation online which will surely enable you to secure good marks are:
The skim-read technique requires extensive practice as this requires a quick overlook of the passage and deducing the main concept of the topic. For doing that, just go through the first line of every paragraph in the paragraph and then go through the rest of the sentences quickly by giving it a generic glance to assess what each paragraph is all about. This practice will help you to know the overall concept of the whole passage and what is the theme of each paragraph. Skimming saves your lot of time as you are constantly under a time constraint during the IELTS test and since it is academic reading, the level of the language used in the passages is usually quite high and it is not possible to read every word and understand it’s meaning. Besides going through the text, it is suggested you should always go through the title/ heading and the first line of each paragraph and while doing so underline the important lines or words which possibly are the keywords.
The scanning technique comes into play when you are through with skimming of the passage and you fairly know the theme of the text, and you want to look for very specific information. Scanning is reading certain areas of the passage in detail to find out specific information or a word. It requires a roving eye to find the exact match and it will come with a lot of practice.
Enhancing your vocabulary works wonder when you are appearing for your reading exam especially the academic reading exam. The texts you get in the exam are not as easy as a layman’s text, rather they have a higher level of the English language. So a robust word power or vocabulary will help you understand the passage much easily. Because if you know the meaning of the words in the passage, you will quickly get a grasp of the entire passage and its meaning. Make sure to read a lot before appearing for your IELTS academic exam and write down all the difficult words, synonyms with their meanings. Review your list of words each day and keep adding the new ones to the list. You should read more academic texts each day and try to infer the meaning by connecting the words. It will not only improve your vocabulary but will help you in deducing the general idea behind the passage.
Question reading technique
Many candidates prefer to read the questions first and then read the text. It is like attempting the IELTS reading section backward which implies reading the question first, identifying the important words (keywords) and then finding those words in the passage to get to the answer quickly without going over the passage in detail. This technique is adopted because going over a very long passage having more than 600 to 700 words may be very time consuming and it a cumbersome task when you have a limited timeframe to attempt the section. This technique saves you a lot of time and is effective but still, it is not that foolproof as if you could not find a relevant keyword from the question, you may waste a lot of time in that question.
To get to a correct response, the best way is to identify the keywords and the keywords can be an important date, name, place, number, fact, etc. The keyword acts as a game-changer and holds a lot of significance when you have to find an answer to a question in the passage. The keyword enables you to do that very easily as it holds important information. But when you find the answer using a keyword, keep in mind one thing that the answer may not match the exact keyword rather it could be a similar-sounding word or a synonym. You have to be careful while dealing with the keywords, advisably underline the important words. Even the transition words are very important as sometimes they change the whole meaning of the text, so you have to look out for such words and underline them too so you can get to the correct answer.
Summarizing what you have read is a very effective technique in order to clearly understand the meaning of the passage. It requires good paraphrasing skills and writing in your own words will help you in getting the grip of the passage.
To apply the above hacks/ strategies/ techniques, you need to know the types of questions that appear in the academic reading exam. There are various kinds of questions that appear in the IELTS reading exam such as: Multiple-choice questions
- Match the headings
- Match the sentence ending
- Match the features
- Sentence completion
- Notes completion
- Summary completion
- Flowchart completion
- Table completion
- Diagram labeling
- Short-answers questions
- True, False or Not Given
- Match the informatio
The above stated are the different types of questions that appear in the reading exam and each type of question requires different handling and technique. Each of the techniques given above will be useful in every question and you will have to try using the techniques to see which one works best for you. All this will not be easy without practicing it. Another important thing to keep in mind is that make sure you read the instructions carefully and that clearly indicates what is expected in the answer i.e one-word answer, two-word answer or a three-word answer. If you skip that part, you may lose the score significantly because if you do not answer in the prescribed manner, the answer will be marked as incorrect.