This is the last article of our four-part series on mastering the IELTS exam. If you missed any of the previous sections, you can access them at the links below:
Please note upfront, international healthcare professionals must pass the academic version of IELTS and not the generic version. The tests are different so make sure you take the right one.
IELTS Reading Overview
IELTS reading is the second part of the IELTS exam and lasts 60 minutes. There are 40 questions to answer in three-four passages. In total, there are 14 different types of IELTS reading questions:
- Matching heading
- True/false/not given, yes/no/not given
- Matching paragraph information
- Summary completion
- Sentence completion
- Multiple choice
- List selection
- Choose a title
- Matching sentence endings
- Table completion
- Flow chart completion
- Diagram completion
- Short answers
It is important to note that your answers must be submitted on the answers sheet – there is no time allotted for transferring answers, like in the listening section. Nothing you write on any scrap paper will be marked. The passages will get progressively harder as you move forward, but there are surefire methods to ensure your success on IELTS reading.
Tips and Tricks for IELTS Reading
First and foremost, you should try to understand the main idea of the passages, and there are ways to do this. Pay attention to headings and special formatting (capitalized letters, bolded, italicized or underlined, which denote importance). Then skim the passage and try to piece together the message. Reading quickly, or skimming, is necessary because you will not have time to read slow and carefully. Moreover, you must be aware of your time – remember, you have only 60 minutes. So allot no more than two-three minutes to skim these passages, and identify key words to make the passages easier to understand.
If you still do not understand the passage after skimming it – do not panic. You’re not expected to be an expert on the subject and every answer to every question is located within the passages you skim. Remember, the words you use in your answer are the words from the passage.
- Some questions will have word limits. You’d be surprised how many people forget to simply check the word limit.
- Some questions will ask you to complete a sentence (completion type questions), and request that you complete a sentence by writing NO MORE THAN ONE word.
Sample question: Ian goes to work in the ____________. If the answer is morning, just write morning. You should not write “in the morning” because that is 3 words.
- Always check your spelling and grammar, which you’ve been doing already if you’ve been studying for IELTS writing section.
Question types such as summary and sentence completion will demand proper grammar.
- Keywords – Learn to rely on keywords, which you’ll spot easily. The keywords of passages are often dates, times, names or locations. Underline them when skimming so you can quickly return to them if you need the information to answer a question.
- Practice vocabulary – Increasing your English vocabulary is a surefire way to ace IELTS. There are a lot of ways to memorize vocabulary, so you’ll need to stick to a method that works best for you. A common practice to learning vocabulary is keeping a list of the English words you don’t know and adding to it every time you encounter a new one. Then, at least once a day, study that list.
Important note about vocabulary – knowing when and which form of a word to use is as important as knowing what the word means. On your vocabulary list, include common phrases (common ways a word is used) for every word, and jot down a sentence using the word. For example: Phenomenon
In the early 1980s, US doctors began to notice a strange phenomenon.
- Remember to use singular and plural properly – another easy way to ensure a higher score!
- Leave no question blank – there is no consequence or penalty for wrong answers.
Free IELTS Reading Resources
The best way you can ensure IELTS reading success is by practicing. While this may sound obvious and boring, the reality is that there is no substitute for routine practice. And the best way to practice for IELTS reading is by taking practice IELTS reading tests.
The practice exams at TakeIELTS.BritishCouncil.org are outstanding resources to help you prepare for any section of the IELTS exam . Click here for the free IELTS reading test.
English Lessons with Emma is a remarkable Youtube channel that offers proven methods to pass IELTS. Click here for Emma’s “IELTS Reading: Top 10 Tips”
And of course, PassportUSA still has one of the better IELTS prep programs in existence. Ask your recruiter how your International Processing Associate can enroll you in one of the most fantastic online learning programs we offer. These programs include:
Road to IELTS: a comprehensive 100% online preparation course designed by British Council IELTS experts
- Covers Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking
- Practise with over 300 interactive activities
- 17 tutorial videos by British Council Experts
- Mock papers for Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing
- Instant feedback in exercises
Active Reading: Active Reading helps you improve your reading skills. You will read a variety of interesting texts and learn many new skills such as skimming, scanning, and reading for specific information under timed circumstances. Active Reading has six levels, from Elementary to Advanced, and caters to all needs. Learn to read quicker and more efficiently!
Tense Buster: The most popular program, helps learners develop their confidence in 33 key grammar areas from the simple present at Elementary level to phrasal verbs at Advanced. Although grammar is not tested as a subject on the IELTS test, candidates are expected to be able to demonstrate a strong knowledge and proficiency when speaking and writing. This requires a strong proficiency in grammar use.
**Scoring an overall score of 6.5 on the IELTS Academic exam is not easy, but with proper planning, you can mitigate the stress and feel confident.
Additionally, test takers seeking a US visa should feel fortunate as the overall score required in the UK is raised to 7.0.
*If you already passed NCLEX and signed our contract, we can assist you with IELTS. Please contact your most current assigned PassportUSA representative for more details.
If you are interested in joining us, simply click the link below to register.