IELTS is an internationally recognized test that aims at assessing the English language skills of non-native English speakers. It unfolds as the International English language testing system and is organized and managed by Cambridge Assessment for English and the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia.
The exam is taken by almost 3.5 million students each year which makes it the world’s leading test of English language proficiency. IELTS is not as difficult as you might assume. It evaluates your writing, listening, reading, and speaking abilities in less than 3 hours. Good preparation will ensure your selection.
In this article, we have covered all the relevant information and top tips for you to ace your exam like a pro!
Minimum age of 16 years is required for the exam. Anyone belonging from any background irrespective of nationality or ethnicity can appear for IELTS.
IELTS reading test – Overview
Reading is the second part of the test. It contains 40 questions that need to be answered in around 1 hour. You will be given 3 different sections, passage styles differ on what you choose between the IELTS academic and general reading test.
Questions are set at an increasing difficulty rate. 1 mark for the correct answer. Scores out of 40 are converted into the 9 band scale. IELTS uses a 9 level bandwidth scoring system. A person scoring 1 bandwidth indicates that he has almost no English skill whereas bandwidth 9 means that he possesses skills equal to the native speaker.
Each passage in academic training is taken from authentic academic sources like books, articles, thesis and newspapers. They are generally lengthy and might contain complicated vocabulary, data charts or diagrams.
As for the general training paper, each section could have 1 or 2 texts, 3 sections in total. The first section is based on the topic of the general English language and is generally easier than the rest of the sections. The second section has an interest related to formal work issues like payrolls, pay schemes, application and training procedures. The third section is the hardest one and can have an interest related to the general interest.
There is never negative marking, so you should never leave an answer.
Top tips before you take the IELTS reading test
- Give attention to the instructions: Take your time to go through the guidelines and instructions properly. There is essential information provided here and many students often leave this part resulting in losing simple marks.
- Attempt what you know first: Spending time on hard questions is literally wasting time. Our suggestion would be to attempt those questions first you are confident about so that you have enough time in the end for the harder ones. Don’t panic! It’s important to keep your mind cool. Acknowledging that you will most likely not get all of the answers right might help you regulate your anxiety- because the obvious thing is that some of the questions will be easy and others would be really challenging.
- Utilise your time wisely: Timing is essential and you need to utilise it efficiently and effectively. Manage your time by dividing equal time between all the 3 sections. And leave some minutes for the revision part. For eg. 15 minutes for completing each section will give you an extra 15 minutes, in the end, to contemplate the hard questions and revise what you’ve done.
- Practise, practise and practise: You might have heard that practice makes a man perfect, and that’s actually true. You just cannot sit for the IELTS test without practising for it. There are plenty of tests available online that help in increasing the skills and ability. You can take a sample reading test here which is taken from www.ielts.org/usa.
- Improve your reading: One of the most important elements of IELTS is reading. When practising IELTS reading it is important that you use only reliable sources for practice. This will ensure your good band score and help you get an idea about the format of the questions.
Reliable sources of reading practise are below :