IELTS Reading: Some Tips

Here are 10 tips about how to do the IELTS reading.

  1. Do not read the whole passage before looking at the questions. You don't have time to read the whole passage unless your English is almost 'native speaker' level.
  2. Go to the questions first and finding the key words.
  3. Look for those words, or words with the same meaning, in the passage.
  4. Do the questions one by one. Instead of skimming or scanning, read the passage carefully. The answers to most question sections will be in order in the passage, so you will gradually read the whole passage as you find the answers.
  5. Forget about the 'skimming' and 'scanning' techniques. In fact, many students get the wrong answers because they 'skim' too quickly and miss the words that they are looking for.
  6. When you have found some key words from the question, read that part of the text carefully in order to understand it and get the right answer.
  7. The people who create the IELTS reading tests do so by paraphrasing parts of the passage for each question. In other words, they choose a word or phrase in the passage that they want to test you on, and they write a question using words which have a similar meaning.
  8. Do easy questions first. If you get stuck on difficult questions, miss them. Do the easy questions, and then return to the tricky questions later.
  9. Many students get the wrong answer because they think too much! They worry about small differences in meaning. Don't think too hard about small differences in meanings.
  10. The General Training reading test is a bit different to the Academic test. However, the techniques you need to use to find the answers are the same.

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IELTS Writing Task2: How to Write the Introduction

You need a short and accurate answer to the question in your introduction. Many students waste time writing long introductions. The first paragraph should be short and simple; a long, complex introduction will not give you a high score. The main body paragraphs are more important.

A good IELTS Writing introduction needs only 2 things:

  1. A sentence that introduces the topic
  2. A sentence that gives a short, general answer to the question

"Will my introduction get a good score?"

Answer: your introduction alone will not get you a high score, even if it is perfect. The introduction is necessary, but the main body paragraphs decide your score.

It's a good idea to practice writing short, fast introductions. If you can write the introduction quickly, you will have more time to focus on the main paragraphs.

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IELTS Writing General Training Task2 Sample

Please pay attention to  1) the collocations in this sample. To get a band 7, you don't need to learn "big" or "difficult" words. You need to learn how to use words together. You need to use good collocations. 2) The paraphrase in the last two paragraphs. Don’t bring any new ideas in your conclusion, and what you have to do is paraphrase/re-state your ideas in previous paragraphs.

Some people believe the best way to protect the environment is to reduce the amount of air travel. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Whilst air travelling does contribute to vast amounts of carbon emissions which produce unhealthy environments, I believe there are other determinants that need to be controlled, that have greater detrimental effects on the environment, which is why I elect to disagree with the view the cutting air travel is the best way to tackle environmental problem.

It is widely acknowledged that air travelling has some impact on the environment; however, due to its critical role in transportation, it would appear unrealistic to halt its use and purpose for the conservation of the environment. The wider community is blessed with the benefits of air travel that brings with it opportunities to drive economic and social progress, connect people, countries and cultures, provide access to global markets, generate trade and tourism, forge links between developed and developing nations.

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IELTS Reading Practice

You should spend about 20 minutes on Question 14-26 which are based on Reading Passage below. You can also download this practice (pdf file)


Part A

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is conducted by dedicated scientists every day. In the movie Contact, Jodie Foster’s character, Ellie Arroway, searches the heavens with several large radio telescopes. When she receives a radio message from a distant star, there are profound implications for humanity. Modern SETI efforts began with a paper written by physicists Giuseppe Cocconi and Philip Morrison and published in the science press in 1959. Since then, SETI has been an extremely controversial scientific endeavor. Some scientists believe that it is a complete waste of time and money, while others believe that detection of a signal from ET would forever change our view of the universe.

The idea that life, especially life with intelligence, might exist in other parts of the universe is a very old one. Early ideas were based on an intuitive belief in the enormity of the universe and in what is now called the mediocrity principle, namely that there is nothing special about the Sun, the Earth, and the human race. Present ideas are also based on the mediocrity principle supported by the universality of the laws of physics and chemistry, and by the enormity of the universe. The chemical evolution, that is, the natural formation of complex organic compounds that led to the origin of life on Earth is quite common in the universe.

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IELTS Reading: True, False, Not Given

Read the following passage about the two major parties in Australia.

The Australian political scene is dominated by two major parties that have quite different political agendas. However, the policies of the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party have become much more difficult to tell apart in recent years. In fact, it would be true to say that both parties consist of conservative, moderate and radical elements, and therefore the general public is often perplexed about which party to vote for. Nonetheless, it is usual to find that an Australian will lean towards supporting one of these two parties and remain faithful to that pray for life.

The Labor Party was formed early in the twentieth century to safeguard the interests of the common working man and to give the trade unions political representation in Parliament. The Party has always had strong connections with the unions, and supports the concept of a welfare society in which people who are less fortunate than others are financially, and otherwise, assisted in their quest for a more equitable slice of the economic pie. The problem is that such socialist political agendas are extremely expensive to implement and maintain, especially in a country that, although comparatively wealthy, is vast and with a small working and hence taxpaying population base. Welfare societies tend towards bankruptcy unless government spending is kept in check.

The Liberal Party, on the other hand, argues that the best way to ensure a fair division of wealth in the country is to allow more freedom to create it. This, in turn, means more opportunities, jobs created etc., and therefore more wealth available to all. Just how the poor are to share in the distribution of this wealth (beyond being given, at least in theory, the opportunity to create it) is, however, less well understood. Practice, of course, may make nonsense of even the best theoretical intentions, and often the less political powerful are badly catered for under governments implementing "free-for-all" policies.

It is no wonder that given the two major choices offered them, Australian voters are increasingly turning their attention to the smaller political parties, which claim to offer a more balanced swag of policies, often based around one major current issue. Thus, for instance, at the last election there was the No Aircraft Noise Party, popular in city areas, and the Green Party, which is almost solely concerned with environmental issues.

Decide whether the following statements are

    TURE                        if the statement is true
    FALSE                       if the statement is false
    NOT GIVEN               if the information is not given in the passage

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