Tips and techniques to tackle the IELTS reading section

Most IELTS test takers find it difficult handle the IELTS reading section though contrary to the public perception it is one of the easiest sections of IELTS. So what is it that makes the reading in IELTS look tough for the test takers?  Are there useful tips and techniques to handle IELTS reading? Before deriving at the answers for these questions, let us try to understand the reading section IELTS.

The reading module in IELTS is divided into three sections and the entire reading section should be completed in 60 minutes. The academic reading consists of three academic passages with 40 questions. Prior subject knowledge is not needed to understand the passage. The general module reading is also divided into three sections. The first section is called Survival English in which the test takers will be asked to answer questions based on social situations that they will encounter in their day today life in an English speaking country. The second section of the general module will be training English or Industrial English. This section presents the candidates with a situation related to the workplace and its dynamics. The third section is similar to that of the academic reading; a passage of general interest.

The strategies are only explained generally in the document as the Brooklyn review IELTS classroom sessions will give a detailed perspective

Time Management

As there are three sections and 60 minutes to complete the entire module, test takers are tempted to divide the entire time into three equal slots of 20 minutes. However this strategy is not a very good one as the difficulty level of the test goes up as the test progresses. So a better time management strategy will be to spend 15 minutes on section one as it is the easiest of three sections and spend 20 and 25 minutes respectively on the subsequent sections. This strategy can be applied both in academic reading and general reading as well.

Reading strategy

Reading the passage fully s is not always necessary in general module as certain passages offer enough information to answer questions through partial reading. Sections one and two of the general reading can be done without reading the entire passage. Scanning and skimming can be used according to the situation and the organization of the passage.

Salient features of reading passages

Not every chunk of information in the passage is valid for understanding and answering reading comprehension questions. Information such as main idea, supporting ideas, referents, transitional words and phrases, tone and attitude indictors should be picked up selectively and carefully to understand the passages answer questions later on.


Unlike GRE or GMAT summarizing does miracles in IETS reading provided the test taker understands the nuances of it. The passage is summarized using mind-mapping techniques so that the reader can easily understand the information and locate the answers effortlessly. Mind mapping technique is used by top universities across the globe for reading comprehension.

 Keyword identification

Keyword -based understanding and answering are techniques used in modern internet based reading strategies.  These strategies can be easily leveraged for our advantage in IELTS reading as well.

Understanding the question types

Just as understanding of passages play an important role in IELTS reading comprehension the understanding the questions types and short cuts for identifying them in the exam go long way.   (The Brooklyn IELTS strategy sessions will explain this)

Process of Elimination (POE)

This is one of the most popular and most effective methods used to tackle reading comprehension almost in every competitive exam.

Where can you get all these?

The Brooklyn Review IELTS classroom training and strategy sessions will give you a detailed and clear cut picture of these strategies and techniques. Brooklyn Review offers IELTS classes at a decent price and unparalleled quality; be it the material or the instructions we don’t have any match in India at this point in time. We are located in Kukatpally Housing Board (KPHB) Hyderabad. Feel free to call us on 8466075666    or 040-42203550 or email us on