The IELTS exam is perhaps the most widely taken international English language test. Over 2.5 million people sit the test every year from around the world. IELTS is recognized by universities, companies, professional bodies such as the GMC and NMC, immigration authorities, and government institutions all around the world as a measure of English language ability.
The reading paper of the Academic IELTS test is a tough one. You have to read 3 academic texts taken from journals, reports and articles and answer 40 questions on them in 1 hour. The texts are long – up to 2,000 words each. This means you have to develop the ability to understand the main points quickly, as well as the ability to find the answers to the questions without reading every single word.
What you need to do…
- Develop your vocabulary, especially of key IELTS topics such as work, education, social trends, mass media, travel and tourism, and the environment.
- Improve your understanding of complex English, so you can quickly follow complicated ideas and arguments. You need to see how ideas are connected together – within sentences, between sentences, and between paragraphs.
- Practice answering IELTS style questions so you get used to them – work on practice test papers, get tips from your teacher, or use the Cambridge Official IELTS Books
As a part of this, it’s critical to READ!!
The best practice exercise to of all is to simply read. When you get used to reading articles from newspapers and magazines, you will have fewer problems with long articles in the test itself.
Practice reading quickly for understanding, then look for specific facts and figures of interest. Make notes as you go of new words and phrases.
As a starting point, I have compiled a list of 10 useful reading resources and websites which may help you practice your reading skills at home. They cover a very wide range of topics, so are very useful for the IELTS Test.
http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/business-magazine: free texts and exercises with a focus on business and work)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world: good for academic English and also good to keep up with current world issues
https://www.newscientist.com/: excellent site about technology, health, science and the environment
http://www.economist.com/: covering world politics, economics, science and technology, offering 3 articles a week for free if you sign up
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/: covering environmental issues, culture, nature and animals. Very illustrative with a lot of amazing pictures.
http://socialnewsdaily.com/: lots of short, easy to understand, contemporary articles drawn from the world of social media
http://www.the-scientist.com/: a site about science, health, ecology, biology and innovation
http://historynewsnetwork.org/: American site focusing on history, both US and worldwide, with lots of current affairs articles too
http://www.bbc.co.uk/: news, views and much more from the UK’s most famous media institution. All topics included – also a good site to practice listening
http://www.inspirational-short-stories.com/funny-short-stories.html: sometimes it`s good to expand your vocabulary by reading short stories – here are some funny ones, and there are plenty more on the website
I hope these websites help you improve your reading skills for the IELTS, but let me know if you have any resources to add to this list!