1) Should I read every word individually?
You do not have time to read every word and you do not need to read every word. You need to locate the key sentence which contains the answer and then read that carefully. Remember, you only have 90 seconds for each question.
For example, the question might say: ‘More than half of the adults in the USA are overweight.’ TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN. One of the key words is USA. This will help you locate the answer quickly. You can skim for that word and ignore other information that has to do with China or the U.K., and so on. Then to make sure you have found the right sentence, look for other key words. These might be synonyms or paraphrases. So instead of the word ‘overweight’, they might use the paraphrase ‘carrying around too much fat.’
2) What should I do if there is a word that is new to me?
Look at the position of the unknown word in the sentence. Is the unknown word a noun, verb, adjective, adverb? Now look for contextual clues (words that surround the unknown word that might help you to guess its meaning). Look at the sentence before and after the one that contains the unknown word.
Here’s an example:
‘Sandra didn’t understand everything the man said. He was speaking too quickly. But she got the gist. She understood that she had better leave because it was too dangerous there.’
Let’s say you don’t know the word ‘gist’. You can work out the general meaning by looking at the previous sentences (Sandra didn’t understand everything. The man was speaking too quickly) and compare it with the following sentence (She understood that she had better leave). You should then be able to work out that ‘gist’ means not understanding everything but still understanding the general idea or point someone is trying to make.
3) I wasted so much time on finding which part in the article the question is referring to, is there any way that I can improve it?
Ans- To find an answer quickly, you need to look at the question and underline the key words in the question (nouns and verbs).
Then skim and scan for these words, or words with a similar meaning, in the text. That is where your answer will be. Also, understand that the answers to most questions are in sequence.
For instance, if you found, the answer to question 1 at the beginning of Paragraph A, then the answer to question 2 should be down a couple of lines, say in the middle of Paragraph A, or perhaps at the end. Don’t going looking for it in Paragraph G, for example. Note well, that this general rule applies to most question types but not all, so be careful.
4) Many have recommended me to read a wide variety of articles before I do the test, however I am not sure what type of article I should read, e.g. news? magazine? books? Also, what I should do while reading these articles to maximise the benefits, e.g. writing down all the new words
Ans- Yes, read widely but remember to read about IELTS themes, like the environment, technology, education, cities, and so on. Read an article several times. You are reading for multiple purposes.
Firstly, you are reading to improve your reading comprehension. Secondly, you are reading to learn new vocabulary, which should be recorded and reviewed frequently. Finally, you are reading for new information and ideas which you can use in your essays. The best place to start would English language newspapers. Then, when you become more confident, try magazines like Time and Newsweek.
Author: Apeiro Training Services
Raghavendra is the owner of Apeiro Training Services, a quality training provider in Perth. Being a migrant himself, he has understood the requirement of overseas migrants and is providing tailored training courses to achieve their goals. He has catered to hundreds of individuals with career progression, visa requirement and language courses.