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Author: Bryan Dowie, IELTS teacher, Hong Kong

IELTS Reading: Exam skills are critical to success

When I have a new IELTS class, the first thing I want to assess is their exam skills. So I ask them to read and complete some IELTS Reading tasks. Almost always the questions go to one side, and the candidates focus on the text and read it word by word from beginning to end. I can always see some students panicking about words they don’t know. Meanwhile the minutes are ticking away and no answers are being noted down…

In the Reading test, time is precious. This post focuses on three key strategies that can help you save time, and improve your band score.

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IELTS Reading: Matching headings to paragraphs

The problem

The IELTS Reading test includes unusual and difficult task types that are not typically found in other reading exams. These include Yes/No/Not Given, sentence completion and matching headings to paragraphs. Are you familiar with these question types? If not, you need to get to grips with them well in advance of your IELTS test day. In this post we’ll have a look at matching headings to paragraphs.
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IELTS Writing: Make every word count

The challenge

Your band score in IELTS Writing will depend in part on the range of vocabulary you use. Specifically:

  • Band 6: an “adequate range of vocabulary”
  • Band 7: a “sufficient range of vocabulary”
  • Bands 8-9: a “wide range of vocabulary”

You only have 150 words in Part 1 and 250 words in Part 2 to do this, so it’s really important that you don’t waste words and make every word counts.
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IELTS Listening: Three things that can go wrong

Most people find the Listening test more stressful than the Reading test. That’s because when you are reading, you have the texts in front of you and you can refer to them more than once. When you are listening, if you miss an answer, it’s gone — and because you only hear the recording once, you can never get it back. So you need to work out some strategies in advance.
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IELTS Reading: Keyword synonyms

The problem

Many candidates think Reading is one of the hardest modules in the IELTS test — the timing is so tight, and understanding the questions correctly while you are under pressure is no easy task. And on top of this, the examiner is constantly trying to confuse you!

To perform well in the IELTS Reading test you need to develop strategies. The most important technique for matching the information in the question to the answer in the text is to think of keyword synonyms.
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