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Essential IELTS Reading Tips – Part 2

Whether you are taking IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training, make sure to follow these basic tips to improve your reading score.


If you’re not good at reading, one of the problems may be your vocabulary. It’s hard to read a text quickly when you have to look up most of the words in a dictionary. And as we said in Essential Reading Tips Part 1 (link to previous post), a vital skill for IELTS Reading is time management. The better your vocabulary, the faster you’ll read.

What vocabulary do I learn?

You will get a variety of texts on the reading exams. Also, the topics for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training are different, and will use different types of vocabulary.

IELTS Academic is just that – more academic! Firstly, the topics will be more academic, relating to areas such as science, anthropology, history and psychology, etc. This means area-specific words will be used. And generally, the vocabulary used will be more academic (e.g. ‘obtain’ instead of ‘get’). To see an example test, click here.

IELTS General Training reading texts are about more practical topics. So, they will use less academic vocabulary and more every-day vocabulary found in texts such as advertisements, timetables, job descriptions, etc. To see an example test, click here.

But how do I learn new vocabulary?

To help you learn new vocabulary, there are many different methods. Try some of these hot tips: Vocabulary Tips and Learn English Vocabulary. If you prefer flashcards, check out these awesome sites: Anki or Quizlet.

Practice every day

Just like learning new vocabulary, you must do a little bit of practice every day. It doesn’t have to be three hours a day! Just 10-15 minutes during your break at work or school will make a difference, so long as it is every day! Your reading won’t improve if you do all your practice once a week (or month!). So set up a routine for yourself on the way to or from work, or at lunch, or whenever you can find the time. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a long period of time, so long as it’s every day.

Learn the Task Types

To do well, you must enter the test already knowing the kinds of questions on the test. Luckily, they are the same for both General Training and Academic. Check out a detailed description of the types of questions you may come across in the reading test here. Or better yet, come to an IELTS Reading class as part of an IELTS training course at English Key! In our classes you can learn, practice and get important tips about answering each of the task types.

Practise, practise, practise

The best way to improve your score is to practice with real practice tests. You can do this at English Key or online. The more you do, the better you get. So come to one of our practice-test classes and go over the answers with a teacher. You can even ask one of our lovely helpful staff to set up a time and place for you to do a practice test at English Key.

For more information on how to improve your reading, contact us at English Key and join one of our IELTS preparation courses today!

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