Active Reading Strategies For IELTS

Active Reading Strategies For IELTS

Active Reading Strategies For IELTS
Sahil Dahal

The IELTS test is an exam that tests your ability to use the English language. It measures your skills in listening, reading, writing, and speaking. One of the IELTS test sections is the reading section, which assesses how well you can read and understand English texts.

To improve your reading skills and do well on the IELTS reading test, there are some strategies you can use. These are called active reading strategies. Active reading means actively engaging in the reading process, trying to understand the text and remembering important details. Some of the active reading strategies are given below.


Skimming is a helpful reading strategy that can help you quickly understand the main idea of a text. When you skim a text, you read the introduction, headings, subheadings, and conclusion to get an overview of the text. Skimming can help you understand the author's purpose for writing, the main topic of the text, and how it's organized. This reading strategy can be beneficial in the context of the IELTS reading test, where time is limited, and you need to quickly understand each text before answering questions. By skimming, you can save time and better understand the text, which can lead to more accurate answers on the test.


Scanning is a helpful reading strategy that can help you quickly find specific information in a text. When you scan a text, you don't read every word in detail, but instead, you run your eyes over the text to locate the relevant information. Scanning is beneficial when you need to find specific details, such as names, dates, or keywords, for answering test questions. To scan a text, you need to identify the particular information you're looking for and then run your eyes over the text to locate that information. In the context of the IELTS reading test, scanning can be beneficial, as it can save you time and help you find the information you need to answer the questions more accurately. By using this strategy, you can improve your reading skills and do better on the test.

Context clues

Context clues are like hints that can be found in a passage to help you understand the meaning of a word that you might not know. These clues include synonyms (words that mean the same thing), antonyms (words that mean the opposite), definitions, and examples. Using these clues, you can understand the word's meaning without searching for it in a dictionary. So, if you're reading a text and come across an unfamiliar word, pay attention to the context and try to find clues that will help you figure out what it means.


Predicting is a technique used to make an educated guess about what the passage might be about. This is accomplished by analyzing the title, subheadings, and accompanying images or diagrams. It is done before reading the passage to help you focus on the task and prepare yourself for what you are about to read. You can anticipate what you will encounter in the text by utilizing your prior knowledge and making educated assumptions about the content. Predicting helps you remain engaged in the reading process and makes it easier to understand and remember the material.

Taking notes

Taking notes is recording essential information and critical points found in a passage. This can be done by highlighting or underlining important details, making notes in the margins, or creating an outline of the main ideas. Note-taking is beneficial because it aids in the retention of information and prepares you for possible test questions. By writing down essential details and critical points, you create a visual representation of the material that can be easily referenced and reviewed later. It also helps you actively engage with the text and organize the information in a way that makes sense.


Summarizing involves rephrasing a passage's central idea and critical points in your own words. This is accomplished after reading the passage and is intended to assist with retaining the information and preparing for potential test questions. By summarizing, you condense the material into a more manageable form that can be more easily recalled. Additionally, it aids in comprehension and helps you identify the text's essential concepts. This skill is especially beneficial for academic purposes, where the ability to convey information concisely is highly valued.


Practising reading in English is a valuable way to increase your exposure to the language and develop your skills. Practising involves the act of regularly reading articles, books, and other materials in English to improve your reading skills. This includes developing your reading speed, comprehension, and vocabulary. Reading regularly makes you more comfortable with the language, and your understanding and vocabulary will improve over time. This skill is particularly important for individuals who use English in academic or professional settings, as it enhances their ability to understand and communicate effectively.

Focusing on topic sentences

Focusing on topic sentences is a reading strategy that involves paying close attention to the penalties at the beginning of each paragraph, known as topic sentences. These sentences provide a concise overview of the main idea of the paragraph. By focusing on topic sentences, you can quickly identify the purpose of each paragraph and improve your understanding of the passage. Understanding the main ideas of each paragraph helps you comprehend the text's overall message and see how the individual pieces fit together. This skill is handy for academic or professional reading, where identifying key points quickly is essential for success.

Paying attention to transition words

Paying attention to transition words is a reading strategy focusing on words or phrases that signal the relationship between different ideas in the passage. These words include "however," "therefore," "nevertheless," and many others. By recognizing these words, you can follow the flow of the argument and identify how the author is connecting different points. Understanding the relationship between ideas in a text helps you to comprehend the author's intended meaning and the logic behind their argument. Transition words also help to improve your writing skills by providing examples of effective ways to link different parts of your writing. This skill is particularly useful for academic or professional reading, where the ability to follow complex arguments is essential for success.

Practising time management

Practising time management is a test-taking strategy that involves allocating a specific amount of time for each passage and question set to ensure that you have enough time to answer all the questions on the test. This is accomplished by dividing your total test time by the number of passages and question sets and creating a schedule that allows you to work within those time constraints. By managing your time effectively, you can avoid running out of time or rushing through questions, which can lead to careless errors and a lower score. Time management is particularly important for standardized tests, with a set amount of time for each section and tests with many questions. This skill is also valuable in other areas of life, such as work and school, where managing your time efficiently can improve productivity and reduce stress.

Using the process of elimination

Using the process of elimination is a test-taking strategy that involves eliminating incorrect answer choices to narrow down the possibilities and increase the likelihood of choosing the correct answer. This is accomplished by removing options that need to be more relevant, illogical, or contradictory to the information provided in the passage. By eliminating the wrong answers, you can focus on the remaining choices and increase your chances of selecting the right one. This strategy is beneficial for multiple-choice questions and can be especially effective when you need clarification on the correct answer. 

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