Welcome to the Marvel IELTS expert tutorial! If you are looking to improve your academic reading IELTS score, you have come to the right place. I am your expert, Bhrat Brij. I've been teaching English for over five years. And during this time, I've worked on a variety of English ability tests, particularly the IELTS exam.

I've worked with students and teachers from all around the world, and I am glad that I've helped thousands of students get their desired band score by guiding them in their IELTS Preparation. Additionally, I've also been able to help teachers teach for the test.

What is IELTS Academic Reading Test?

“It is one of four sections or modules in the IELTS exam that represent the four communicative skills that the exam tests.”

Here, we're going to be talking about the IELTS Academic reading paper. First, we'll talk a little bit about things that you might already know about the IELTS test. Then, we'll discuss what problems you may encounter, what you can do about them, and finally, what skills and strategies you'll need to increase your overall band score.

Most of the students I meet who wish to take the IELTS test are already anxious about their academic reading IELTS score before even completing their preparations. Nevertheless, you do not have to worry since here we will try our best to put your concerns to rest.

Come join us, and let us work together towards your designated IELTS band score, and to help you learn about IELTS academic reading paper.

Academic Reading IELTS Basics

You probably know that there are four different parts to the test: The IELTS listening test, the IELTS speaking test, the IELTS writing test, and lastly, the IELTS reading test, about which we are talking here. Now we're going to discuss the academic reading paper in detail.

What is a good IELTS academic score?

It is available both on paper and computer. Actually it depends upon the mode of examination that you have selected while booking your academic IELTS test. If you choose computer delivered academic exam, then your reading section will also be on a computer. And if you have opted for paper-based exam, then your reading module would be on a paper, where you have to write your answers on a paper.

Is IELTS reading test paper based?

It is available both on paper and computer. Actually it depends upon the mode of examination that you have selected while booking your academic IELTS test. If you choose computer delivered academic exam, then your reading section will also be on a computer. And if you have opted for paper-based exam, then your reading module would be on a paper, where you have to write your answers on a paper.
How much is duration of IELTS reading test?
If you've already attempted the IELTS test, you probably know what I am talking about. We know that the reading test takes one hour, and in that one hour, you need to transfer all your answers to an answer sheet that you will have been given by your IELTS examiner. There are three texts for the reading task and 40 questions in total, which determine your IELTS reading score.

Irrespective of whether you are attempting Academic or General IELTS, the duration of the reading paper is one hour. It takes one hour to attempt the reading test. And when attempting the test, the test taker must remember to transfer the correct answers onto the answer sheet. If you fail to write your answers down on the sheet, you cannot even achieve the minimum score.
Length of texts/passages
There are three texts in total. You'll have between 2,200-2,700 words to read in those three texts. The texts (or passages) get progressively more challenging, which means text 1 is easier than text 3. There are 40 questions with very different types of tasks and assessment criteria.

What is the difference between academic and general IELTS reading?

In academic IELTS, texts are taken directly from academic journals and textbooks to measure comprehension skills. Whereas, the language in General Training IELTS reading is similar to what you could see in advertisements, guides, or employee manuals.

The major difference between these two versions of the test boils down to how they are scored. IELTS examinersbelieves that getting 30 out of 40 on a general training reading test is as difficult as getting 23 out of 40 on an academic reading test. As a result, 30/40 general training and 23/40 academic are both considered band 6.

My experience is that General Training IELTS is less challenging than Academic IELTS. Nearly every IELTS student I've spoken to feels the same way.

How can I prepare for ielts academic reading?

You can prepare for the IELTS exam by learning special tricks, and honing your skills on practice papers.Marvel IELTS classes teach these skills, techniques, and strategies to students during IELTS reading training. Below you'll find some reading test tips that can help you improve your overall reading score.

Skills You need

  • You need to learn and practice how to skim, scan, and read closely for detail.
  • In addition, you'll need to work on your lexical resource and grammatical range.
A point to note is that these skills also help you get comfortable with the language in general. You are more likely to score better on the other academic sections, such as the speaking and writing tests, if you are more comfortable with the language.

“How much we practice these skills is often the difference between a test taker's raw score and their best reading band score."

Skill #1 to Ace IELTS Reading
First of all, let's find out what Skimming is and why you need to skim. Skimming is the skill used to get a general idea of a text, and it helps you get a hold of the main points.
Secondly, Scanning a text helps us get an idea of the location of any reference that may be mentioned in the consequent questions. It helps us to quickly determine where we need to go and find the information for that close reading that we need to do later while answering questions.
We also need to do an intensive reading or close reading, where you need to understand the little details.

Is IELTS academic reading difficult?

Let's come onto what potential problems we may face when trying to attempt the reading as well as the writing test. It's up to you how well you handle these problems in order to determine whether this is a difficult or easy test for you.
So, exactly what sort of problems can one have with reading?
A common problem many of my students face with reading is that they find it really hard.
We're going to discuss a list of common problems that we have, which I have listed after observing many students, and we're going to look at related tips I've come up with, that have helped those students significantly increase their particular band score.
Problem #1: TIMING:
Not being able to beat the timing is the first & most common issue faced by students.

Solution: I suggest giving about one minute per question. That leaves us a little bit of time to come back and check any questions we might have missed and provides us with enough time to transfer our answers onto the answer sheet. You will probably thank yourself for this at the test centre. So keep an eye on the clock.

Although it sounds unusual to say this about a reading test, it is true. Unfortunately, many students waste a lot of time trying to understand the meaning of every word in the passage.

Solution: It may feel like that you need to understand the complete passage in its entirety. However, it's not necessary to read everything that's in those texts to complete the tasks. That's why the essential skills of skimming and scanning come into this. You have to only find things that you need.

Although this is a reading exam where you're given three texts to read. There is an inordinate amount of undue stress on students to manage their time, so they miss reading instructions assuming they are pretty straightforward. This results in students losing valuable marks.

Solution: Please, please, and I cannot emphasize this enough: Read those instructions carefully! If the question tells you to write two words, you must write two words. If the question asks you to write no more than three words, and you write 4, you would be wrong! Read the instructions carefully.

The problem is definitely more prominent for non-native English speakers.

How can I improve my academic reading vocabulary?

Academic vocabulary can be challenging for anyone, especially for those who have not encountered it before. Key vocabulary, therefore, presents quite a challenge. That's an area in which you need to practice religiously before the IELTS test.
Solution: You probably already know that reading is an excellent habit to have. But did you know that casual reading can improve your vocabulary as well? There are many ways that reading can boost your vocabulary, and it's all about context. More you read, the more you learn about the world and things you'll be able to talk about. Learning and being able to use words that are above your level of proficiency is a good way to increase your vocabulary.
I've known students who thought they'd done very well on an IELTS reading test and have gotten a disastrous academic reading IELTS score. What do you think they did wrong? Some students either forgot to transfer their answers onto the answer sheet or put their answers in the wrong place in the answer sheet. It's a tragedy to have done all the hard work and getting all the answers right, just to put them in the wrong place.
Solution: The right key can get you through the heaviest doors, but only if you remember to use it on the right lock. You must keep track of the time and begin transferring the answers when you have approximately five minutes left.

If you were to answer a passage on something you possess extensive knowledge about, and there was something in that passage that you didn't think was completely accurate. Many students have the tendency to apply their knowledge and then lose valuable IELTS reading scores as a result.
Solution: You must use the information that is in that text and NOT APPLY YOUR OWN KNOWLEDGE. IELTS reading test is not about what you know; it's a test about how well you read.

How can I score 8 in ielts academic reading?

With an appropriate strategy to deal with different types of questions, you can score 8 in IELTS Academic Reading.
To better understand those strategies, let's first look at the types of questions you might encounter. There are always some tasks that you find confusing and then some that you prefer over others. You need to know how to get the most out of your target score.
True, false, not given, and matching headings are very popular among our students. There's another question about Roman Numerals which can get really interesting. One of them is multiple choice too.

Multiple-choice questions

How can I read multiple choices in ielts?

In the multiple-choice questions, you are given at least four options: A, B, C, and D, of which you choose one to be correct. Sometimes you are asked to select two options out of five, and sometimes you will be asked for the best three options out of seven choices.
text1 text1
Tip: A lot of the multiple-choice questions are in the same order as the text. So what you'll need to do is look for those keywords in the question and the options—finding or locating the area of the text and finding out which one is the most suitable.

Match Headings
Up next, we have matching heading tasks. There's a variety of different matching tasks where you could be asked to match information. It's usually specific information. Which could be factual information, or you could be asked to match headings to paragraphs. I like this one the best.
The paragraphs and headings are labeled. This is the Roman numerals task that we talked about earlier. You need to give a suitable heading or a title almost to each paragraph.
Problem: For some, matching headings is the hardest part. As it sometimes contains more than one similar type of headings related to the paragraph. That is very true; in a quick hurried look, it feels that there are no exact matches.

How do you answer matching features in ielts reading?

We've said that we need to read the topic sentences or the paragraphs, then to read closely because you know perfectly well that some of those sentences and headings can look very similar. So read them closely and look at those keywords, look at the micro keywords.

In matching the headings, we should read the first and the last sentences. Often, as we said earlier, the topic sentences come at the beginning of the paragraph. We don't have time at this stage to read the whole paragraph, so go for the first and last sentences; sometimes, just the first is enough.

Tip: A good trick for matching headings is to identify the keywords and read the topic sentences. Remember, the topic sentences should give us a summary of the full text.

So, read the sentence - the sentence heading - the paragraph headings first, then go to the text and read the first line of each paragraph. And hopefully, you will be able to match some of those straightaways. The ones you are unsure of, come on and carefully read those sections.

Some students wonder: "What about the difficult words?" As the big, fancy words confuse them. But you don't need to understand many of those words to complete the task, though.

The way I suggest you do this one is to skim through the text first of all, and get a general idea. Then, go through the first sentence of each paragraph, and these often explain what the rest of the paragraph will be about, so that's why we call these topic sentences.

Match Sentence Endings

There's also a matching task where you match features and sentence endings. However, many students find it difficult because they do not know how to attempt these kinds of questions.

The correct approach for Sentence Headings:

One of the critical things in the matching tasks is looking for referencing words. So very often, we might have a pronoun that replaces the subject in a sentence.

Example: Many students are working on their IELTS band score this morning. They are all working hard. We'd see that 'they' refers to 'the students'.

How do you solve True False not?

You'll also have identifying tasks, where you'll need to identify whether certain information is true, false, or not given. It's an unusual question but can significantly help increase your reading band score. All we need to discuss is the writer's views and claims. The options are about the writer's statements and claims. The answers are yes, no, or not given. If it is about factual information, it's true, false, or not given.

How can you tell the difference between false and not given?

True/Yes: To have your answer be true/yes, you must find something in the text that confirms the information given in the question. In other words, the information in the statement must match 100 percent with the information in the passage.

False/No: Similarly, for a statement to be false/no, there must be something in the passage text to contradict the information provided in the statement.

Not Given: Finally, if you can't find either one or the other, it's not given because not given literally means that any information contained in the statement isn't there in the passage.

Tip: If you spend longer than a minute trying to find the answers to true, false, not given, or yes, no, not given, go for not given. If you can't find it, it might not be there.

Can I write NG instead of not given in ielts?

It is fine to write NG in place of not given in IELTS. In fact, it is recommended that you write like this on paper-based reading tests since it will save you time. Just make sure that your handwriting is legible, and Ng does not looks like No. It is also acceptable to write your answers in the following manner and you won't lose any points for doing so.

Not GivenNG

Summary/Note Completion

You'll also have tasks where you need to complete the given information. For example, summary completion, note completion, sentence completion, and occasionally, we need to transfer data from the text into a table.

How can I solve ielts summary completion?

Look for keywords for this again, skim and scan your text, close read, locate the answer area and follow the instructions very carefully.

First, find where the information is in the text. Closely read it, then take a look at the words before and after the spaces. Check the instructions very carefully, and copy the words accurately.

Remember: You do need to use the correct grammar and spelling for all of these answers. That will increase your chances of a better overall band score.

The correct approach for Summary Completion:

It seems that many of you found the summary question to be the most challenging. For the summary question, spend a few minutes locating the text area you need to look at. There is no need to summarize the whole text.

Short Answers

There is yet another task type. Short answers, and it does what it says. It will require you to give an answer that is short and precise, preferably two or three words. But again, look at the instructions very carefully. Small mistakes, such as those you may unwittingly commit will significantly affect your approximate band scores.

Let me ask one last question before answering some common questions. Other than practicing several papers, what else can you do? The answer to this question is simple. Read, read, read!

How to improve reading?

How to improve ielts academic reading skills?

  • Master the Art of Skimming and Scanning
  • To practice reading, Skimming and Scanning, which were mentioned earlier, come in quite important here as well—skimming to get the general idea of the text and scanning to find specific chunks of information. Both of these require practice to get good at.
    Looking down the text and finding names is usually easy. If my name is within the text, How would you spot it easily? It would have a capital letter. It would have a B or V there. If you were doing the matching task and have words with capital letters, you know to match features to people or places.
    Tip: You could scan your text and look for those capital letters, underline them, highlight them, and make sure you know where they are in the text.
    Remember, you scan a text to find out whether there are interesting words, and you skim to discover
  • Be Selective
  • You need to work out which skills that you need to practice. And then, practice them as much as you can! Our students benefit from the wide variety of vocabulary exercises that Marvel IELTS offers.
  • Synonyms are your friends
  • Work a lot on synonyms - matching language. You see, many of these tasks are very important to look for language that matches. It is important to understand that the reading text and the questions will not be written the same way. However, very often, we are looking for similar meanings.
  • Speed Reading
  • Practice reading for speed and not just for your understanding. There are different little exercises that you can try sometimes. For example, you can choose a text and read it as quickly as you can. Don't worry about understanding - it will help. Take my word for it.
    text1 Things to do when near exam

    For exam preparation, what is it that we need to take care of? The key things we need to be doing are:

    • Developing Vocabulary
    • Polishing Skills of Skimming and Scanning
    • Close reading
    • Reading the instructions very carefully
    • Predicting what text will be about
The ability to predict the text is something many students do not pay attention to, so it is crucial to discuss more about it.

Predicting the Text Yes, that's absolutely important as there's a lot of guesswork involved even in reading. In all sorts of reading, even in your own language, you predict what a specific text will be about before you continue to read it. This helps you ease up to any initially complex language. Being good at these things also guarantees a better score in your writing and listening sections.
A piece of unusual but effective advice:
One tricky alternative to reading a lot is to use audiobooks. For some of you, it's definitely a lovely idea to use them. Audiobooks are undoubtedly a great way to improve your listening skills, your proficiency with the English language, and your vocabulary. You do not have to pick a specific audiobook; any work in English will do.

Lastly, and with great emphasis, I would like to request you to follow these tips religiously:
  • Read the questions carefully
  • Transfer your answers even more carefully
  • I hope you got some tips today to take away with you to improve your overall IELTS band score.

  • With enough practice and effort, everything is possible! Acing the IELTS exam is no different. You just have to find out what works for you to achieve your best possible band score. Learning is only about finding the best fit for you!
    If you'd like my help with anything specific, please drop a comment in, and I will come back and have a look at all of those later. Keep preparing hard, and good luck to those waiting for their IELTS result and those of you who will sit the exam soon.