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IELTS Reading: Tips to improve band score

Those who have already made attempts to IELTS and lack in the reading module will find this session quite helpful as today, we are going to talk about the Do's and Don'ts while taking IELTS Reading. IELTS reading module is quite tricky as there are just 60 minutes to solve 40 questions based on 3 passages. Especially, the aspirants of IELTS Academic have always been seen worried and perplexed as the passages in academic reading modules are quite lengthy and are a tough nut to crack. So, let's start:
•    Skim the passage. Yes, this is the major mistake students do; they don't know the importance of skimming. This technique actually helps in getting a general idea of the passage especially while solving the questions like matching the headings and matching the statements with the sections from which they are taken. Those who don't know what skimming is: reading the first two and last one sentences of each paragraph is called skimming, or to save time you may just read the first two sentences. Don't spend more than 2-3 minutes on each passage.  However, don't try to understand the text - just read it, and while skimming, underline the data and information you think could be important.
•    Scan the keywords and data. Scanning means the ability to find answer quickly, for that you need to understand the demand of the questions first. For example, if you question demands the discovery made by any scientist, you should quickly find the name of the scientist in the passage and then read a few sentences to get the name of what he has discovered. 
•    Grammar is important. Questions like summary completion, sentence completion and matching the sentence endings are mostly based on the grammatical rules, so be careful while answering them. 
For example:
…….. Garbage cans are not magical portals. Trash does not disappear when you toss it in a can. Yet, the average American throws away an estimated 1,600 pounds of waste each year. If there are no magic garbage fairies, where does all that trash go? There are four methods to managing waste: recycling, landfilling, composting, and incinerating. Each method has its strengths and weaknesses. Let's take a quick look at each. Recycling is the process of turning waste into new materials……….

Complete the sentence by using one to three words and /or a number

Sample 1. In America, approximately 1600 pounds trash ________ by an average household annually. 
Answer: is thrown away
It is apparent that in passage the information is given in an active sentence structure, however, in question the sentence formation is passive. Hence, such knowledge is mandatory, so be attentive to such grammatical shifts.

•    Read for a purpose. Understand the question and use Wh-family to find the purpose. 
Using the same text given above, here is an example.

Sample 2. How much trash is produced every year by an average American household?
On reading the question, the demand is clear, 'How much' means the quantity, hence the answer must include a number.

Sample 3. Which is a method of waste management?

'Which' means you are expected to write the name of the method. Since there are four so you may write any one of the names.

•    Manage the time. The first passage is always easy as the level of difficulty increases while we go on. So there is no need of spending all the 20 minutes on first passage, try to solve it in 15 minutes. The target for next passage should be 17 minutes and last passage should be solved in 20 minutes. Rest of the time should be used in transferring/re-checking the answers.

Just don't panic when you encounter a long technical passage. We would suggest you to not read too much and be a fast reader. Skim, Scan and Comprehend. Guess the meaning of the words instead of over-spending your time in thinking about the probable meaning. Use your instincts.