Reading Module – Reading skills for IELTS


The reading test has 40 questions and it lasts 1 hour. This component is divided into 3 sections or passages and each one has up to 4 question types. It is very important that you know what type of question you may find in your IELTS test and which reading skill you need to apply.

Reading question types:
·         Multiple choice
·         Paragraph headings
·         Short answers
·         Sentence completion
·         Note/summary/diagram/flow chart/table completion
·         Matching lists/phrases
·         True/False/Not Given
·         Classification
·         Identification of writers views/claims
·         Yes, No, Not Given

Reading skills:
Among other skills, skimming and scanning are vital for your IELTS preparation.

Skimming: when you skim a text, you read it in a superficial manner and very quickly. This skill will help you to:

§  Identify the text structure: how the text is organized (main titles, paragraphs and/or sections)
§  Find out what the text is about, in other words, to get the general idea of the text.

How to skim a text:
Have a look at the following extract from the New Scientist magazine and try to find out what the text is about. Do not spend more than 20 seconds.


Unnatural selection: How humans are driving evolution
27 April 2011 by Michael Le Page
Issue 2810 of New Scientist magazine, page 32-33
The Zoque people of Mexico hold a ceremony every year during which they grind up a poisonous plant and pour the mixture into a river running through a cave (pictured below). Any of the river's molly fish that float to the surface are seen as a gift from the gods. The gods seem to be on the side of the fish, though - the fish in the poisoned parts of the river are becoming resistant to the plant's active ingredient, rotenone.
If fish can evolve in response to a small religious ceremony, just imagine the effects of all the other changes we are making to the planet. We are turning grassland and forests into fields and cities, while polluting the air and water. We are hunting species to the brink of extinction and beyond, as well as introducing new pests and diseases to just about every part of the world. And that's not to mention drastically altering the climate of the entire planet.

What did you do to get a quick overview of the text?

ü  read the title of the text
ü  read the  first and the last line of each paragraph
X   read every word
ü  look at the illustration that accompanies the text

For more information about skimming follow the link above.


Scanning:  when you scan a text, you look for particular information, in other words, you look for specific words, e.g. names, countries, specific phrases, etc.)

How to scan a text:
What did you do to find the words in the text?

ü  move your eyes very quickly across the text until you find the word
X read every word

For more information about skimming follow the link above

Note: If you are looking up a dish in an index recipe book, it is very helpful to follow the A-Z order. However, in IELTS you may not have this kind of ‘help’. So, I recommend practising with IELTS format texts so, you do not build a wrong idea of the Reading passages or the scanning technique. 


Looking for more practise? Follow these links (You can print them out)


Practise skimming text for information


Practise scanning text for information

Do you want to test your scanning skills?

Do you want to test your skimming skills?

Or maybe fancy a scanning game? Try it! It’s great! And it’s by BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/words/reading/techniques/scanning/game.shtml




1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing information it is very useful for study

    Popularity of IELTS

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