IELTS Reading Tips – Skimming and scanning

Welcome to another lesson on The Online English Club, I am your teacher Mr. Lee. In this lesson I will answer a question asked by one of my students and give you some IELTS reading tips. “I understand most of a reading test but I can’t find answers to the questions. How can I read a text and find the answers to the questions?”

If you have a similar problem to this student then you should be happy. This is a good problem to have and by following a few IELTS reading tips you can solve this problem. If you read and understand most of what you read, you are doing really well. Congratulations.

In the IELTS reading test you not only have to understand the text but you have to show you understand by answering specific questions and finding specific details. Some questions and question types are easier than others. All of the questions in the IELTS test require similar skills.

One skill that all IELTS candidates should be good at is skimming and scanning. These skills are usually thought of as one skill but they are a little different. Skimming means looking over a text to identify key words, important points and repeated information. This would include titles, subtitles, first and last paragraphs.

Scanning refers to looking for specific information such as names, numbers, places or dates. If you know that the answer to a question is a number you don’t need to read the whole text, just scan the text and look for all the numbers, which number refers to the answer of your question.

In addition to skimming and scanning for information, students should also know where to look for answers to questions. Most IELTS reading test texts contain about 800 words but you don’t have to read the whole text to find the answer to each question.

The answers appear in the text in the same order of the questions. So, if you find the answer to questions number 1, 2 and 3 then the answer to number 4 will be after number three. This means that you should not go back to the beginning of the text after you have answered a question. Just continue from where you found the previous answer.

It is quite possible that you will complete an IELTS reading test without reading the entire text from start to finish. In fact, many students make the mistake of reading the entire text before they read the questions. Don’t do this, it will only waste time. Your goal is to answer specific questions quickly.

You should read the questions carefully to get an idea of the topic and vocabulary in the text and make a note of keywords including synonyms. Then, starting from question 1: read the question, find the answer and write it down. Continue with question 2. Make sure you always write an answer, you can always go back and change it at the end of the test if you have time.

I hope these IELTS reading tips have helped you with a specific problem for the IELTS reading test. For more tips and videos from The Online English Club visit the website or our YouTube Channel. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay updated with new video lessons, the subscribe button is above this video. Goodbye.