Best IELTS Reading Strategies

How I get Band 8.5 | Best IELTS Reading Strategies
– Advertisement –

IELTS Reading Question Types

Short Answer Questions

Multiple Choice 

Summary Completion

Matching Sentence Endings 

Sentence Completion 

True, False, Not Given 

Matching Headings Tips and Strategy

Labelling a Diagram 

Matching Information to Paragraphs

1. Short answer questions.

Common Problems

Synonyms and paraphrasing are the biggest problems. Students who are unaware of these tend to look for keywords in the text that directly match those in the questions. This wastes lots of time and good time management is essential in the reading test.

Synonyms are different words that have the same meaning. For example, ‘humans’ is a synonym of ‘people’ and ‘attractive’ is a synonym of ‘beautiful’. This method simply replaces words with the same meaning in order to produce a new sentence.

For example:

– Advertisement –

1.My car needs petrol.

My vehicle requires fuel.

2.Violent crime is on the rise among teenagers.

Violent offences are rising among young people.

Word limit can also cause people to throw away easy marks. If you write over the stated word limit you will get the answer wrong.

You don’t have to read every word of the text. These questions test your ability to skim and scan for specific information. You also won’t have time to read every word.

Students often see a word they don’t understand in the question or text and either panic or spend too much time thinking about the meaning.

Some students try to write full sentences. Your answers don’t have to be grammatically correct so stay under the word limit.


The answers appear in the same order as the text.

Look at and understand the questions first before you start reading the text. What is the question actually asking?

You will probably be given a word limit, for example ‘NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER.’ Make sure you don’t go over this limit.

As stated above, the answers do not need to be grammatically correct, just short answers.

Don’t give your opinion, just the answer in the text.

Keywords in the question will normally be nouns or noun phrases.

When you find your keywords always think synonyms and paraphrases.


Read the instructions carefully and note the word limit.

Read and understand the questions. Think about the information you will need to find.

Underline any keywords in the questions.

Think about synonyms or paraphrases for these keywords.

Find part of the text question 1 relates to.

Read question again.

Read the section containing the answer carefully and identify answer.

Continue with next question and repeat until finished.

For practice

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the text for each answer. 

Write your answers in boxes 9-12 on your answer sheet.

9 Christians and Muslims were visiting al-Qaryatain to appreciate what saint

10 What local population regards Mar Elian as a Sufi leader?

11 Who found the tumbledown ruins of the original complex?

12 What did the community have to explain why Sunni Muslims and Christians lived together in harmony?