IELTS Reading Tips and Tricks 2023: How to Improve IELTS Reading Band Score

International English Language Testing System ( IELTS )

9 mins read47K Views
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Jul 12, 2024 18:14 IST

IELTS Reading consists of three or sometimes four IELTS comprehension passages of increasing difficulty, and there are a total of 40 questions to answer. The IELTS Reading section is designed to assess the reading skills of the candidates. It is designed in such a way that it tests whether a candidate understands the main idea, recognizes the author's opinion, and analyses the same. In this article, we will give you IELTS Reading tips that will ensure high scores and help in improvising reading skills and techniques such as scanning and skimming.

A variety of question types is used in order to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical arguments, and recognizing writers' opinions, attitudes and purpose.

Time Allotted: 60 minutes

Total Questions: 40

IELTS Academic Reading and IELTS General Reading are Same?

The Reading skills (to find specific information and identify opinions) required for IELTS Academic Reading and IELTS General Reading are the same. The styles of questions like sentence completion and multiple-choice are also the same. However, the text will be different. In the IELTS Academic Reading, there will be three long academic texts.

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IELTS Academic Reading:

There are three long texts that are taken from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. These texts are suited for students who wish to apply to universities in English-speaking countries.

IELTS General Training Reading:

The format of the three texts is as follows:

  • ‘Social survival’ is related to notices, advertisements, and timetables
  • ‘Workplace survival’ is related to job descriptions, contracts and staff development and training materials
  • ‘General reading’ is related to newspapers, magazines, and fictional and non-fictional book extracts

IELTS Reading Question Types

Question Types

Answer Strategies

Matching Information

Candidates are required to locate specific information within the sections.

Matching Headings

Candidates are required to recognise the main idea or theme of the text

Matching features

Here, a candidate has to recognize opinions and the connections between the facts within the text

Matching Sentences

Here, a candidate has to complete the sentence within a specified number of words.

Look for the best conclusion from the passage.

Multiple Choice Questions

Here, one MCQ can be a Reading Comprehension and one involves sentence completion with the best option to choose from

Identify the author’s views

Here, a candidate has to confirm whether a set of statements agree with the information within the passage. A candidate has to select between true/false/not given or yes/no/not given

Diagram-Label Completion

The description will be there in the text. A candidate has to label the given diagrams

Flow-chart Completion, Tables

Candidates must pay attention to the details provided. They also have to recognize the main ideas of the text

Short Answer Questions

Find information in the passage. Paraphrase vocabulary in questions and give an answer within the given word limit

IELTS Reading Band Scores

The tables given below provide details of IELTS Reading Band Scores and the number of questions a candidate needs to answer correctly:

Band Score

Academic (Questions Answered Correctly out of 40)

General Training (Questions Answered Correctly out of 40)
















IELTS Reading Tips

These IELTS Reading Tips and Tricks for Band 9 will help you in preparing better for the IELTS Reading section.

  • IELTS Reading Practice Test

IELTS Reading practice tests must be completed from official IELTS material and resources such as Official Cambridge Guide, IELTS Prep App by the British Council, etc. The reason why IELTS reading practice tests are important is that they help a candidate build a test-taking temperament, which ultimately leads to better time management on the test day.

  • Do not try to read each word in the IELTS Reading passages

Every time looking at a dictionary is not possible, so, you can look at the words and sentences around and try to get the meaning. It is not important to understand the meaning of every word, you can just have the gist of the sentence and go with it. No one is familiar with each and every word, especially tough words.

  • Go through the questions first

This can be very helpful when it comes to scoring a good band score in the IELTS reading section. With a time constraint of 60 minutes, you have to solve 40 questions and solve 3 passages. Here, time is of great importance and you do not have the bandwidth to read each and every line of the text. When you read the questions first, then you will have an idea of what to look for in the passage and this will ultimately save you time.

  • Skimming and scanning

One should be able to skim and scan passages to get a good score in the reading section of IELTS. Reading a passage and getting a general idea is skimming. You should be able to get the main idea of the passage and understand the key points. This will give you an edge to score more in the reading section.

  • Work on your vocabulary

Vocabulary is a significant factor in improving your scores in the IELTS reading section. Amongst all the sections of the IELTS, the Reading section demands the widest vocabulary. Learning a new word does not mean that you have learned it, learning the usage of the word will be key here. Read articles from different genres, this will help you in learning new words and enhances your knowledge.

  • Answer all the questions

At last, a very important point to remember is that IELTS does not have negative markings, so, attempt all the questions. Apart from the IELTS reading tips you also, need to go through the IELTS reading preparation tips and IELTS reading practice papers to get a fair idea about the actual questions you are going to face in the test. In addition, you can go through the IELTS reading practice books to develop a deeper understanding and improve your reading skills.

  • Divide your time wisely

As the section progresses, the questions get more difficult. You can allocate relatively lesser time to the initial sections and keep some extra time for the last section.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Pay attention to the grammar structure. You may see various types of grammar structures, but try to understand them all; they will be helpful for your writing. Most of us have limited vocabulary, but if you are weak at grammar, you will not know what the text refers to. Because of this, you may lose the main idea.
  • You must have known that skimming and scanning are two essential tools in reading. Both rely on an understanding of the main ideas. Therefore, if you cannot grasp the main ideas in a short time, you will lose time. This can be learned by reading various articles.
  • Another way to practice reading is speed-reading. However, reading as quickly as possible is NOT the key. If you read so fast that you have to read again, there are no benefits gained from this practice. The key here is picking out the main ideas, and the finer details. Besides understanding all the main points, you should try to remember as many details as you can.
  • Reading intensively is also important in the IELTS test, especially to understand tough questions. With some questions or particular sentences, you need to read and try to understand every single word. Especially with true/false/not given (or yes/no/not given) questions, a single word can change the whole meaning.
  • After finishing the reading practice test, you must check all the wrong answers, try to explain why you were wrong, and think of another way to answer those questions faster. You will gain the necessary experience by doing this before the real test.
  • In the IELTS exam, though you can mark and write on the question paper, you must enter your answers on the Reading Answer Sheet, and be aware that no extra time is given for transferring your answers from the test booklet to the Reading Answer Sheet.

Also Read:

IELTS Reading Material

IELTS Syllabus

IELTS Test Dates

IELTS Exam Result

IELTS Reading Tips and Tricks FAQs

Q. How many passages are there in IELTS Reading section?

A. IELTS Reading section comprises of 3-4 IELTS comprehension passages wherein the difficulty level increases with every subsequent passage. It is important for the candidates not to spend too much time on the initial passages. Try to get in the zone early on. However, this does not mean that they can rush through the questions. Strike a good balance between all the passages. This can only come through practice. In every article, we have stressed the importance of mock tests. Make sure that you appear for at least 5 full-length IELTS mock tests (if you have sufficient time) before the day of your exam.

Q. What are some reading tips for IELTS that can help me score more on the test?

A. The most important IELTS reading tip is to practice and appear for mock tests. There is nothing better than going through the official study material, appearing for mock tests, and evaluating your performance in each of those tests. It is through mock tests that you can identify your weak areas and prepare your own strategy for approaching different question types. Official study material, official solved papers, and mock tests lie at the core of every exam preparation. Some other reading tips include developing a habit of reading good magazines (such as the Economist), trying to find the core of the passage, and developing a habit of skimming through the relevant information.

Q. How many total questions are there that I need to answer?

A. IELTS Reading section consists of 40 questions in all. A total of 60 minutes have been allotted to complete the IELTS Reading section. As the test moves, the difficulty level of the passages increases. It is advised that the students do not waste their time in the initial passages, as they might need some extra time for tougher ones. As an extra IELTS reading tip, it is highly advised that the students stay focused and do not get swayed away by their thoughts. Many students tend to lose a track of their reading passage and then they have to start again. Do not commit this mistake of wasting time during the test.

Q. How many questions do I need to answer correctly to obtain a band score of 7 and above on the IELTS Academic Reading test?

A. On the IELTS Academic Reading: in order to obtain a band score of 7 you need to answer 30 questions correctly, in order to obtain a band score of 8 you need to answer 35 questions correctly, and in order to obtain a band score of 9 you need to answer 40 questions correctly. When you are appearing for the test, do not count the number of questions that you need to answer correctly. Your aim must be to answer all of them correctly. However, you must have a pre-planned strategy to deal with different question types. This strategy will be clear only when you appear for IELTS practice tests.

Q. What are the various types of questions that are asked on IELTS Reading test?

A. The following question types are asked on the IELTS reading exam: Matching information, Matching headings, Matching features, Matching sentences, Multiple-choice questions, Identifying the author’s view, Diagram-label completion, Flow-chart completion, and Short answer questions.
About the Author
Written by
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert

Rahul Singha is a seasoned editor with Shiksha Study Abroad, specializing in overseas education. With over 8 years of domain experience, he has made a significant impact in contributing to the study abroad industry ... Read Full Bio

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Sehajpreet kaur

3 years ago

Sir I am read in 6 th class . Can I give ielts test

Reply to Sehajpreet kaur


Piyush Kohli

3 years ago

Hi Sehajpreet, IELTS score is valid for two years, please complete your schooling first then you can go for it.


Mohd Danish

7 years ago

hii sir i m interesting in ielts please give the guidline and also give me paper for practice

Reply to Mohd Danish

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