Tips For IELTS Reading Time Management - IELTS University (Singapore)

Tips For IELTS Reading Time Management

The IELTS reading test lasts for a total of 1 hour and consists of three sections. The texts are usually academic in nature and consist of high-level vocabulary and ideas, which are usually tough for second language learners to grasp even under normal circumstances, let alone strict exam conditions. Many test-takers struggle to answer all of the reading module questions in time. In this article, we will take a look at some important ways to save time during the reading test.

How Should You Divide Your Time For The IELTS Reading Test

Many IELTS lecturers tell their students that they should divide the time for three sections of the reading test equally, meaning that they should have 20 minutes for each passage. However, I don’t really agree with this method. Firstly, I believe that you need to straightaway save up 10 minutes at the end of your test for rechecking your answers. That leaves you with a full 50 minutes to answer the questions related to the three passages.

Part 1

Most students are unaware, that although each passage is around the same length, approximately 800 words or so, they are not all of the same levels of difficulty.

The reading passages and questions for part 1 are usually much easier than those for part 2 and three. The question types present in part one of the exam usually ask you to locate specific information, with not that much critical thinking or inference needed.

Questions like fill in the blanks and multiple choice questions 

For these type of questions, it is important to be able to use keywords to scan for detail. Scanning involves searching for certain pieces of information without much further thought or understanding. This will be easier to do once you have predicted the type of answer you require and know what to keep a lookout for.

Part 2 And 3

The second and third parts of the IELTS Reading module contain more difficult questions and texts. These require more detailed reading, and, therefore, more time to answer. The sentences present in these tests are often longer and more complex. If you are careless, you may get thrown off by distractors and infer information incorrectly. In these two sections, you should spend about fifteen minutes reading each article and five minutes answering each set of questions.

Skimming to understand the main ideas for each paragraph is crucial for these types of questions. Skimming refers to the ability to go through a reading passage in order to get a general idea about it, without reading in detail. This helps one to quickly  understand the layout of the passage. To do this you need to be able to locate the topic sentences of each paragraph. locating the topic sentences within each paragraph. Topic sentences are those sentences which give us the main idea of the main paragraph. You can usually find them at the beginning of a paragraph (the first two sentences). To skim each paragraph effectively, I recommend that you obtain the main idea of a paragraph from the topic sentence. Briefly go through the rest of the paragraph and look for words or phrases that confirm your main idea.

To best prepare for the reading test, it would be best to enroll in a IELTS course with an experienced teacher. Make sure that the course you choose also has practice tests and questions that reflect the actual levels of the IELTS exam.