Pacing Tips for IELTS Reading

If you take several minutes to browse the IELTS reading section overview, you will know that you need to read at least three texts and complete 40 questions in just an hour. Therefore, allocating your time wisely is important for finishing the reading test. Today’s blog will provide several pacing tips for IELTS reading!

Before the test

Do extensive reading practice

Practice makes perfect. In addition to the practice tests, there are numerous newspapers, magazines, and websites offering great supplementary reading resources on various topics for your upcoming test. Spend some time on reading these materials in your spare time. Once you get used to reading long and difficult passages, your reading speed will definitely increase a lot.

Get familiar with different question types

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Check out our IELTS reading question types to find out the common question types. Doing practice tasks on these question types can help you understand the question requirement and learn how to use different strategies to get correct answers.

During the test

Skim the text

Skimming is to get a general idea of the text. You don’t need to read the whole text carefully this time; instead, you can spend two or three minutes to skim the title, the introduction paragraph, the topic sentences, and supporting details of each paragraph. Check out our techniques for IELTS skimming!

Read the questions and identify key words in a question

Then you can read the questions and circle the key words. Sometimes, the key words in a question are obvious such as a name, a place or a date. For instance, the key words in How much funds would you gain by now, if you had invested $1000 in the Amazon in 1997? should be Amazon and 1997. However, in some cases, it is not easy to identify the key words. Just ask yourself, what is the key information in the question?  Let’s take the following T/F question for example. New therapies can permanently change circadian rhythms without causing harm. The key information here is Therapies change circadian rhythms.

Locate detailed information  

Locating information will be easier with the help of key words. Some words, such as names and numbers, are quite easy to find in the text. For others, you can predict which paragraph may contain the required information because you have already skimmed the text. Also, do not forget that the information may be paraphrased in the text.

Put answers directly on the answer sheet

Unlike the listening section, you won’t have extra time to write down answers on the answer sheet. Therefore, once you get an answer, put it directly on the answer sheet.

Do not spend too much time on one question or one section

As I have mentioned many times, never spend too much time on a single question. If you get stuck on one question, just leave it to the last. If you still have no idea on that question in the last minute of the reading test, just guess an answer. Maybe it will be a lucky guess! Therefore, do not leave blanks on the answer sheet.


By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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4 Responses to Pacing Tips for IELTS Reading

  1. sahil bajaj August 16, 2017 at 11:39 pm #

    i hav given ielts exam on 7 jan 2017 and it is still on hold. what kind of security BC is doing. fed up from them, now what should i do?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 18, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

      Hi Sahil,

      I am sorry you are dealing with this. Unfortunately, there is nothing else to be done. You will have to wait until you get further communication from them. :/

  2. k.p.kumar January 3, 2019 at 5:21 am #

    I have received a mail something like this

    Re: Notification of Investigation Outcome

    Strict quality control procedures are in place to protect the integrity and security of the IELTS test. As a result of these procedures, your test result for the 10-Mar-18 came under scrutiny and has been investigated. The investigation has determined that you breached IELTS test rules and regulations and a decision has been made to withhold this result permanently.

    The IELTS test taker declaration which you signed states, amongst other things, that:

    · I understand that the IELTS Test Partners…reserve the right to withhold test results temporarily or permanently, if they consider those results to be unreliable for reasons of suspected malpractice or any other irregularity in the test process.

    · I understand that if I am suspected of engaging in any form of malpractice,or do anything that might damage the integrity and security of IELTS, I may not receive a test result, and my test fee will not be refunded.

    · I understand that if any other person attempts to take the IELTS test in my place, both I and such person will be liable to prosecution.

    · I understand that details of any malpractice (including evidence of suspected malpractice) that has been established, is suspected, or is being formally investigated, may be provided to Recognising Organisations, including visa processing authorities and appropriate regulatory authorities.

    · I understand that if I engage in any form of malpractice, or do anything that might damage the integrity and security of IELTS, I may be banned from taking the IELTS test in the future. I understand that if I am banned I will receive a notification stating the length of the ban. I understand that if I am subject to a ban and I register to take the test, I will not receive a result and I will not be entitled to a refund.

    The following actions will be taken:

    · Your result will not be released and a Test Report Form (TRF) will not be issued. Recognising Organisations will be able to view this outcome online

    · A report has been made to the IELTS Test Partners

    As a result of your behaviour you have also been banned from taking an IELTS test for a period of two years. The two-year period in which you will be prohibited from taking an IELTS test starts on 10-Mar-18 and ends on 09-Mar-20. If you attempt to take the test during this period, you will not receive a result and you will not be entitled to a refund.

    I have written this on march and i got the mail now. I also had some payment issue with this and I had to write the exam again. Will the new results affect me?
    I am really concerned

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 4, 2019 at 3:43 pm #

      Hi k.p,

      I took out your name from this message out of concerns for privacy. I’m afraid that you will need to ask your testing center directly about this. If you took another test in the time of the ban, even if you didn’t know of the ban at the time, you may not be able to get your results. I’m sorry to hear about this–good luck!

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