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How To Manage the Time in the IELTS Reading Test?

By now you would know that The IELTS test is divided into four parts. 1. Listening 2. Reading 3. Writing 4. Speaking Of late, many candidates are facing a major problem in the reading part, which is the lack of time in the main IELTS reading test. Owing to this reason, they are unable to perform up to the mark, and this is resulting in a lower band score. In this article, we are going to share some key tips for managing the time in the IELTS reading test. 

Why are candidate experiencing this issue? 

There are several causes for the mismanagement of time. (A) Not knowing the details regarding the question types, the foremost reason for the poor performance in the IELTS reading test, both for the academic and the general training versions is that the candidates may not be familiar with what sort of questions would be asked. Eventually, they would descend into confusion and end up reading in a wrong way.

To avoid this, you should be familiar with the different types of questions in the IELTS reading test. 

  • Note completion / sentence completion
  •  Flow chart completion 
  •  Table completion 
  •  Diagram label completion 
  •  Summary completion 
  •  Matching the list of headings 
  •  Matching the nouns with the statements 
  •  Matching the endings of the statements 
  •  Matching the information to the paragraphs 
  •  Short answer questions 
  •  True/false/ not given 
  •  Yes/no/not given 
  •  Multiple choice questions – one option 
  •  Multiple choice questions – two options 
  •  Lack of proper practice

This might be a major reason why you may feel that the time is insufficient.  You should understand several tips at this point. 

A.) For some question types, the answers may not be in a sequence. For example, let us consider the matching questions. You should be aware that since you are supposed to match the right option to the questions, the options are never given in a sequence. Hence, being clear with such things can be a time saver in the main test. You will get exactly 60 minutes of time to complete the reading test. No extra time is given. So, it is better to demarcate the questions based on the time that is required to get the answers. This is a very useful tip for the academic test takers as the paragraphs would be much lengthier when compared with the general training test. 

1> Remember that you need to transfer the answers from the question paper on to the reading answer sheet within the time (one hour). So, practice with time. 

2> During your preparation, you can set an alarm clock so that you can be sure of the number of minutes you are taking to find the answers. If you read the instructions carefully, you will see that approximately twenty minutes of time is given to complete one reading passage. Ideally, you should be able to complete the whole passage within this span along with transferring the answers.

3> Spending too much of time on one question: You should ensure that all the questions are attempted using the proper strategy. But, sometimes, you may unknowingly spend more time on one question searching for its answer.  In this process, you may not realize that the time is running out. Ultimately, the questions which are in the last passage are generally neglected. Though you can take a guess, it is not a recommended practice.  

Avoid getting stuck at one question. Analyse the questions properly and set the time accordingly. Generally, the questions which time are quite taking in the IELTS reading test area. 

(a) Multiple choice questions

(b) Matching the list of headings

(c) Matching the information to the paragraph

(d) True/false/not given

(e) Yes/no/not given So, you need to know that you should complete the other question types first and later attempt these questions. 

1> Not transferring the answers:

It happens to many test takers in the main exam. They will not be able to manage the time towards the end of the test, because they spend most of the time in writing the answers in the question paper.  It is not a good idea. You should know that the test papers are prepared in such a way that the candidates can complete answering the paper and transfer the answers in the given time. 

However, many of the test takers do not transfer the answers after they complete the individual sections on the test.  They will postpone this task to the last minute, which is obviously a bad thing.  Avoid this last -minute tension. When you are practicing for the test, make sure that you manage your time including the time to write the answers in the answer sheet. 

What should be done to manage the time in the IELTS reading test? Follow these tips and you can see that the test can be attempted in a much better way. You should spend one minute or less than that on any given question. If you are exceeding this, it means that you will probably not get enough time to complete the full test. 

2> Follow the techniques properly. 

Basically, there are two very important reading strategies. 

(i) Skimming 

(ii) Scanning 

You should understand what these means.  

SKIMMING: This is a process of quick reading.  While skimming the text, you should read the paragraph quickly to get an overview of what the intention of the writer is, and what is the main idea that is conveyed through the passage.  You should highlight any significant details that you see. You can underline any headings and subheadings and make short notes.

 SCANNING: This is another quick reading technique.  But, the difference is that you underline the keywords such as nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc and try to match it to the question. 

Practice as much as you can to perform better in the main test.  Try to finish the test within 50 minutes so that you can feel relaxed and check for any possible error.


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