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.


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