IELTS Reading Tips and Strategies

There are many similarities between the general and the academic version of the IELTS reading section. However there are some things that differ between the two versions of the IELTS reading.

For example, the topics in the reading passages will be different, as the general module will include broader topics while the academic version focuses on academic topics.

The general module covers social, ethical, practical and work related topics whereas the academic texts cover mostly advanced areas relating to graduate and undergraduate studies.

Test-takers usually experience the general reading content text to be easier to understand than the academic module.

Both the general and academic reading sections must be completed within 60-minutes. Both modules include 3 passages and 40 questions total. Check out this article to learn more about the IELTS reading test. Take practice tests to find your level and what you can improve before taking the IELTS test.

Focus on improving your ability to locate details and relevant information, summarizing passages, distinguishing facts from opinion, and identifying major and minor points of an article.

Remember that the test questions become harder as the test progresses. You should give yourself more time for the second and third section as they have questions that are slightly more challenging.

It’s important that you don't get stuck on a question, as that will waste too much valuable time. Skip the question and return to it afterwards if you have any time left. If you are running out of time don't forget to guess and leave an answer.

It’s important to be able to focus for the duration of the reading section (60 minutes) as it’s easy to lose concentration and make simple mistakes. You can improve your focus by taking practice tests that has a time limit. Familiarize yourself with the types of questions that might appear in the Reading test.

Another IELTS tip is to read the questions before reading the text. By doing this you will find initial answers as you read the text and will save you valuable time. Always read the text carefully the first time and use your scanning method afterwards when looking for an answer to a specific question.


Improving your IELTS reading skills is a long-term tactic; if you have a short time to prepare these tips will give you an edge when taking the test.