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IELTS Reading: Top 10 Tips

September 4, 2016

 

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Hello. My name is Emma, and in today's video, we are going to talk about the reading module

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of the IELTS. I'm going to tell you some of my top IELTS reading tips. So let's get started.

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During the reading module of the IELTS, there will be three passages that you read, and

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for each passage, there are a bunch of questions you have to answer. The first tip I have for

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you is: don't spend too much time reading the passages. What happens to a lot of students

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is they read word-for-word everything. They see a word they don't know, they keep trying

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to understand the meaning. You don't have to understand everything to understand the

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passage. If you don't know a word, that's fine.

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The better thing to do than to slowly read is to use skills such as skimming which means

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you quickly read for the main idea or scanning, meaning you look for key words or you look

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for specific detail. A lot of students, what they do for the IELTS is they will actually

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read the questions first, and then they will read the passage. And that way, they... They

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know what they're looking for. You don't have to do this; it's one technique. Some students

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find this a lot easier, other students like to read the passage first and then answer

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the questions. I recommend trying both out. First do the reading, then the questions,

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then try to read the questions first and read the passage and see what you like better,

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what you're more comfortable doing.

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So the key thing here is: don't read slowly. It's a timed test, you have three parts you

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have to get through, 40 questions; it's very important that you read quickly. You can start

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practicing reading quickly also. There are a number of resources out there where you

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can actually start practicing. And time yourself when you practice, make sure you're not going

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over time.

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Number two, similar to number one, my tip is: don't spend too long on each question.

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Some of the questions are difficult-they're possible, you can do well on them-but some

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of them, you might be reading and you might think: "Oh, I don't know what the answer is,"

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and you might look at it, and think, and try, and try, and try. Well, the problem is if

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you spend too much time on a question, there are 40 questions and the one hour limit for

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the test, it goes by very quickly. So you can spend too much time on each question.

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So what I recommend is read a question, try to figure out the answer. If you don't know

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it, you can put a star beside it and come back after. Don't spend too long on any question.

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You can also take a guess, move on, and come back later.

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My third tip: spend less time on earlier questions. For the reading module, the... Like I said,

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there are three passages. The first passage is the easiest, then the second passage, and

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then the third question. If you spend all your time on the first passage, you're not

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going to have time to do the second and the third. And, like I said, the first one is

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easier. So a good idea is to spend less time on the first passage, maybe about 17 minutes,

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then the second passage maybe spend about 20 minutes, and the third passage maybe 23

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minutes. You don't have to follow this exactly, but the main idea is spend less time on part

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one, more time on part three because part three is harder.

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My fourth point is: make sure you have enough time to transfer your answers. They will have

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an answer sheet and you're supposed to write your answers on it. It's very important to

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leave yourself time to transfer your answers from your test paper to the answer sheet.

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A lot of students, they work through the booklet and then they realize there's no time to transfer

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their answers, so make sure you leave time for this.

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Okay, my fifth tip is a very, very common error students make: three words or less.

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In the reading section, also in the listening, in the instructions you will also... Or you

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will often see the words: "Write three words or less." They mean: write three words or

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less. A lot of students write too many words here. So, for example: if I'm talking... If

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I'm doing a reading on archeology and, you know, I have to write an answer and my answer

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is: "the tomb of the Pharaoh", for example. This is a Pharaoh, if you don't know, ancient

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Egypt. If the instructions tell me: "write three words or less", and my answer is: "the

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tomb of the Pharaoh", I've written way too many words. I've written one, two, three,

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four, five, so that's too many. So I would get this wrong on the IELTS, get a big "X".

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Even though my answer was right, because I didn't follow the instructions and I wrote

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too many words, I'm going to get it wrong. So what would be the correct answer in this

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case is: "the Pharaoh's tomb". This is three words. So in this example, that would be correct;

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we haven't gone over three words. Also, I could write for these questions maybe one

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word or maybe two words. I can write one, two, or three words - no more than that. Very

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common mistake.

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Number six is another common mistake students make, their spelling. A lot of students forget

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that the reading section also has a writing component and that is you have to write your

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answers. You also have to spell your answers correctly, and many students, unfortunately,

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make spelling mistakes. So it's very important to practice spelling before you do the IELTS.

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It will help you with the listening section, the writing section, and the reading section.

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I can't emphasize this enough. Smelling... Spelling... Not smelling. Spelling matters.

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Okay? One idea is you can get a book and any time you spell a word wrong, write it in your

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book and practice those words. Have a spelling book for yourself so you can see which words

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you often make mistakes with.

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Number seven, a lot of students also make this mistake with grammar. You have to use

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the correct grammar when you're answering a question. So, for example, sometimes maybe

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the answer is: "castles" with an "s", but a student might write the singular version

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in their answer, maybe they just write: "castle" but the correct form would be with an "s".

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So you always have to be aware of grammar. The best thing to do is after you write your

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answer, check it to see if the grammar makes sense. Were they looking for singular answer?

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Were they looking for a plural answer? Okay? So that's very important to keep an eye out for.

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Finally, my last... My last tip for today is: a lot of students don't read the instructions

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properly. This is a very, very big mistake to make. A lot of students, they've done lots

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and lots of IELTS tests and they think they know it, so they don't bother reading the

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instructions. Always read the instructions. Even if you've done a hundred IELTS tests,

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read the instructions just to make sure. For example, some common mistakes that happen

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is for multiple choice in the reading section, maybe the question will ask you to choose

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two answers and if you don't read the instructions properly, you might just pick one. Or maybe

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it asks you to pick three answers. So it's very important to read the instructions properly.

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Another common issue with instructions is people confuse: "Not Given", "Yes", "No" questions

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with: "Not Given", "True", or "False" questions. They're different. So by reading the instruction,

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hopefully you can see the differences. And then when you're supposed to write: "Yes",

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you don't write: "True", and when you're supposed to write: "No", you don't write: "False".

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So make sure you don't mix those questions up. Read the instructions.

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So, in order to practice the IELTS, I invite you to come visit our website at www.engvid.com.

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We have a quiz there on some of these tips you've just learned. And also, I would recommend

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visiting another site: www.goodluckielts.com for a lot more information on the test. I

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know you're going to do well on test day. So good luck. I'm rooting for you; I know

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you're going to do a good job. Until next time.

 

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