Monday, June 22, 2009


A lot of people have trouble with the IELTS reading test because for one they are not familiar with the topic. The topics are academic in nature like humanities, biology, psychology, etc. Second, there is a time limit and the three passages are quite long. You only have 60 minutes to read and answer the IELTS reading exam.

However, the reading test is not difficult if you know how to approach it. The first thing you should do is to read the questions. By reading them, you can skip the unimportant parts and you will know what details to look for. Next, identify the topic sentence which summarizes the main idea of the passage. Underline important details such as names, places and dates so you can easily find information again. Make sure that you read the instructions and examples. Since time is your greatest enemy here, budget your time to answer each passage not more than 20 minutes.

The IELTS reading test has various task types. Each task type has a different approach.

1. Matching Headings to Paragraphs

Sample task

Choose the heading which best sums up the primary cause of the problem described in paragraphs D, E, G, H and I of the text. Write the appropriate numbers (i – x) in the boxes on your answer sheet.

List of Headings
i Ignorance of the impending disaster
iiCaptain’s orders ignored
iiiCaptain’s over-confidence
ivRough sea conditions
vFaulty design
viIceberg locations not plotted
viiLow priority placed on safety
viiiNumber of lifeboats adequate
ixInadequate training
xIce warnings ignored

Answer Key
Paragraph Dvi
Paragraph Eiii
Paragraph Gvii
Paragraph Hi
Paragraph Iix

Step 1: Read the list of headings and underline the keywords.
Step 2: Take note which paragraphs are to be read. Identify the topic sentence of each paragraph. (This usually is found in the first three lines of the paragraph.)
Step 3: Skim through the rest of the paragraph to confirm the main idea.
Step 4: Choose the best heading which sums up the main idea of the paragraph.

To be continued...

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IELTS, reading



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My name is Miracel Juanta and I write ATeachersOdyssey to help students and teachers create better English. I have been in the teaching profession for more than 10 years. My field of expertise includes ESL,IELTS,TOEFL,Business English etc. If you have questions about English, feel free to email me at or add my twitter @msjuanta.