Friday, April 21, 2017

Tips for IELTS Academic Reading Test

In 2016, the Global Illiteracy Statistics conducted a research, and data showed there were approximately 775 million people in the world who could not read. The figures were alarming as they posed a risk to literacy and economy. For example, the UK lost £81 billion earnings and increased welfare spending due to illiteracy.

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Furthermore, a report from Mail Online revealed that when people struggle to read a simple medicine label, it could lead to depression, social exclusion and unemployment, which contribute to poverty and inequality. Hence, people who could not read were deprived of the freedom to discern and explore on their own.

Clearly, reading is an important aspect of life. This holds true especially for students enrolled in an IELTS review center in Cebu.  Reading is a significant component of the IELTS exam which has two versions: Academic and General Training.

The IELTS Academic

The IELTS Academic is applicable to individuals who want to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies in English-speaking countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK, among others. Additionally, this exam is for people who are seeking professional registration abroad.

Joining an IELTS review center is one of the best options to hone one’s language skills, especially reading comprehension. After the training, students are equipped with the English language proficiency they need to survive the life abroad and the confidence to take the IELTS exam.

Tips for Acing the IELTS Academic Reading Test

Before the exam:

1.    Include reading in your daily routine. The passages for the IELTS Academic reading test are taken from journals, magazines, books and newspapers. Choose a variety of reading materials like the National Geographic, The Economist, etc. You can even search for essays, news and short stories online to enhance your comprehension and speed. You can start by spending an hour or two every day. Studies show that reading stimulates mental alertness, improves retention and expands vocabulary.

2.    Practice. In Gough and Tunmer’s research about the role of decoding, reading skill is a product of decoding and comprehension. Thus, reading every day can exercise your brain and train it to read within a limited period. Aside from the practice tests given in the IELTS review center in Cebu, you can also look for mock exams online. This way, you will be familiar with the types of questions and have an idea of how exams are presented during the actual day. 

3.    Develop speed reading skills. The reading section has three essays with 2,150–2,750 words. Developing speed reading skills is an advantage for the IELTS exam. The average reading time of individuals is 200–400 wpm. If you enhance your reading skills, you will have a chance to analyze the questions carefully and review your answers.

During the exam:

4.    Manage your time wisely. Note that only 60 minutes is allotted for the reading section. You will be asked to answer 40 questions based on three passages. Make sure that you allocate ample time for reading and answering. Spend only 20 minutes for each part, so you will have enough time to read, answer and go back to the items that confuse you.

5.    Focus on the text. Some people tend to concentrate more on the questions that they fail to understand the gist of the essays. Read the text first, make sure that you understand the key concepts and then answer the questions without apprehension.

6.    Employ reading techniques. Categorize, skim and scan. These are the most common reading techniques students use not only in the IELTS, but in most exams as well.

    •    Categorize. There are four specific types of texts used in the IELTS exam. Recognizing each type of text can give you an idea of its structure and understand the passage quickly.
    a.    Analytic – Makes recommendations or explanations of concepts, events or ideas
    b.    Descriptive – Describes an idea, a method or a process
    c.    Discursive – Expresses different views on issues
    d.    Narrative – Explains the chronological sequence of events (This means that it has a beginning, middle and end. It can pertain to real-life events, stories or news reports.)

    •    Skim. Learn to read quickly by skipping unnecessary words like prepositions. You can also ignore the difficult words to save time and understand the general idea first.

    •    Scan. This is helpful in finding answers to questions. The key is to locate dates, numbers and words beginning with capital letters such as proper nouns (e.g., places, countries, persons, etc.).

7.    Strictly follow instructions. Read the instructions carefully before answering the questions. Failure to do so can result in deductions, thus affecting your band score.

8.    Stay calm. Feeling stressed and pressured during the exam is inevitable. However, nothing good will result from negative thoughts. When you encounter difficult words, move to the next question and then return to it when you still have time. Another tip is to understand its meaning based on how it is used in the sentence or to look for context clues. Keep in mind that you have come this far—you have prepared for the exam and you are going to ace it.

The IELTS Academic reading test is a significant factor in obtaining your desired band score. With the right strategy and competence, along with discipline and perseverance, you will surely ace the IELTS exam.



References:
  • Seth. "STATS | Illiteracy Statistics and Demographics." Statistic Brain. September 03, 2016. Accessed February 14, 2017. http://www.statisticbrain.com/number-of-american-adults-who-cant-read/.
  • Gough, P. B., and W. E. Tunmer. "Decoding, Reading, and Reading Disability." Remedial and Special Education 7, no. 1 (1986): 6-10. Accessed February 14, 2017. doi:10.1177/074193258600700104. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/074193258600700104
  • Watson, Leon. "Illiterate Britain: One in five adults struggling to read and write and some can't even use a chequebook." Mail Online. March 29, 2012. Accessed February 14, 2017. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2122007/Illiterate-Britain-One-adults-struggling-read-write-t-use-chequebook.html.
  • "Poverty." Mrshearingeconomics. Accessed February 14, 2017. http://mrshearingeconomics.weebly.com/poverty.html.
  • "Which version of IELTS is right for you?" British Council. Accessed February 14, 2017. http://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/choose-ielts/ielts-academic-or-ielts-general-training.
  •  “IELTS - IELTS Academic or General Test.” IELTS™. Accessed February 14, 2017. https://www.ielts.org/about-the-test/two-types-of-ielts-test.
  • "IELTS READING: All you need to know about the test and improving your score." IELTS Buddy. Accessed February 14, 2017. http://www.ieltsbuddy.com/ielts-reading.html.
  • "IELTS Reading Tips." IELTS buddy. Accessed February 14, 2017. http://www.ieltsbuddy.com/ielts-reading-tips.html.
  • "10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day." Lifehack. Accessed February 14, 2017. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-benefits-reading-why-you-should-read-everyday.html.
  • "What's Going On Inside The Mind Of A Speed Reader?" Medical Daily. January 07, 2015. Accessed February 14, 2017. http://www.medicaldaily.com/science-speed-reading-benefits-and-consequences-reading-1000-pages-10-hours-316828.

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