IELTS Reading Dos and Donts

Students planning to pursue their higher education abroad or people looking to migrate to the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada are required to take the IELTS. It’s a mandatory requirement by the governments of these countries for immigration applicants to write the IELTS and submit their scores along with their applications.

Often times non-native English speakers are nervous when signing up for the IELTS as they assume that it is very difficult to get a good score in the assessment. Though the IELTS does use some advanced vocabulary in its reading section, it is nothing that you need to be nervous of.

The reading section of the IELTS includes 40 multiple choice questions based on 3 reading essays. These texts are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. In these questions, you have to identify statements that are false or true, match information and headings.

If you are planning to take the IELTS then take a look at our dos and don’ts on how to attempt the reading section:


- Keep track of time: You should not spend more than 60-90 seconds on each question. Remember, you only get 60 minutes to finish the section. The reading test is the most strategic part of the IELTS. And keep a check on your watch to make sure you do not run out of time.

- Read instructions carefully: IELTS candidates often lose easy marks because they fail to read the instructions properly. This is common in the reading and listening tests because they give very specific instructions. If you don’t follow these instructions exactly, you will end up getting the question wrong.

- Strike off wrong answers: When answering the MCQ’s follow the process of elimination and cross out the answers that you know are wrong. This will make it easier for you to answer the MCQ’s correctly and quickly.

- Practice: You should take up reading journals, magazines and general knowledge books before taking the IELTS. This will help you practice for the writing section. But remember to read analytically, trying to figure out the point that the author is trying to make and practice writing summaries of what you read.


- Read the whole passage: You will not have enough time to read the entire passage. Instead you need to skim through it by reading the headings, sub-headings and watch out for the key words and phrases.

- Paraphrase the content: The examiners are looking for answers that match exactly what was asked in the question. So, make sure you write word-for-word what is written in the text.

- Leave any blanks: This one may seem a very obvious IELTS Reading Tips but you would be surprised how many people leave blanks. Even if you don’t know the answer, make sure you attempt every question. You might get lucky and end up getting the correct answer.

- Skimp rechecking your answers: Make sure you go through your answers at least once. You may find some spelling or grammar mistakes. So, make sure you recheck your answers and avoid losing marks over avoidable mistakes.