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How to save time in the IELTS Reading test

Three time-saving tips for the IELTS Reading test

When I ask candidates about the IELTS Reading test, a common answer I get is that there isn’t enough time to read all of the texts and answer all of the questions.

So, for those of you taking an IELTS test soon, here are three tips for saving time in the IELTS Reading test (Academic or General Training).

How to save time in the IELTS Reading testHave a plan before you start your test

If you know exactly how you’re going to approach the IELTS Reading test before you start, you won’t waste any time in the test thinking about what to do first, second, third, etc.

If you haven’t got a plan, here are some questions to help you make one and save time in the test:

  • Which text/section are you going to start with?
  • How are you going to manage your time in the IELTS Reading test? How much time are you going to spend on each text/section?
  • For each text, are you going to read the questions or the text first?
  • When are you going to transfer your answers from the question paper to the answer sheet?
How to save time in the IELTS Reading testRemember which types of IELTS Reading question are in text order

If you know which IELTS Reading questions are in the same order as the information in the text, it can save you time looking for the answers. If you know, for example, that the answer to question 12 comes after the answer to question 11 in the text, you won’t waste time looking for the answer in the wrong part of the text

IELTS Reading multiple choice questions
IELTS Reading multiple choice questions are in text order

The following types of IELTS Reading question are always in order, i.e. the questions are in the same order as the information in the text.

  • Multiple choice questions
  • Matching sentence endings
  • Sentence completion
  • Short-answer questions

The following types of IELTS Reading questions are usually in the same order as the information in the text.

You can find out more about the different types of IELTS Reading question here.

How to save time in the IELTS Reading testNumber each answer in the text when you find it

You may need to go back to an answer and read it for a second (or third) time, and this can use up valuable time in your IELTS Reading test if you can’t find the answer again quickly.

If you put the question number next to each answer in the text the first time you find it, you’ll save time if you need to find the answer again.

How to save time in the IELTS Reading test - Tip 3: Put the question number next to each answer in the text the first time you find it and you'll save time if you need to find the answer again.

If you have any other tips for saving time in the IELTS Reading test, please leave a comment below.

Pete

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8 comments on “How to save time in the IELTS Reading test

  1. Today I got my bands and they were:

    Listening: 6.5
    Reading: 6.0
    Writing: 6.0
    Speaking: 6.0
    Overall: 6.0

    I am so grateful for you Mr. Pete. I could not reach 6.0 in Reading (UNDERLINE) and Writing (REHEARSE/REWORD) without your advice.

    The last Reading passage was about crocodiles and dinosaurs where many scientific words exist. It was impossible for me to link questions and answers without Mr. Pete’s tip.

    I am totally honest with my feedback and not aiming to make a commercial advertisement.

  2. Yesterday I made the IELTS test. For the Reading test guys please pay great attention to Mr. Pete’s advice. I saved valuable time just by using his tip about underlining the keywords. It did work and while underlining I was so happy and thinking of how generous is Mr. Pete to intensify this hint.

    It is not only about marks. It made me feel relaxed while doing the Reading test, especially the last annoying passage. BTW I think even the writer of the passage can never answer the last few questions…

    Again thank you and I wish the best for you.

    1. It’s great that you used the tip, Chadi, and that it helped you in your test.

      Your experience shows that having a technique to save time in the IELTS Reading test can help you feel calmer and in more control.

      Pete

  3. I was so struggling to find my answer again. My IELTS test in on the coming Saturday and I will use your numbering tip. Thank you very much.

    I also watch your YouTube video about how to score a band 7 in Speaking. It was so useful for me, at lease it absorbed a lot of stress from me.

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