When I give students a practice IELTS Reading test, either Academic or General, I follow a certain procedure in class so that students get maximum benefit from doing the practice test. I also advise students to follow this procedure at home.
Before we start, we have to think about why we do practice IELTS tests. One reason is to get an idea of what the test is like and of the different task types etc. The other is the same as any other activity you do in the English language; to improve your English. Before I talk about my guidelines, I cannot stress the importance of doing as many practice exercises as possible in order to improve your English.
Over the years, I have taught from many different IELTS books and I always recommend that my students purchase Adams & Austen IELTS books. These books contain so many useful practice exercises for IELTS, which help you improve your English, and also IELTS practice tests.
OK, so on to my guidelines for doing practice tests.
The IELTS Reading Test
- First of all, you have to find a test to do; either from this site or from Adams & Austen.
- Next, get yourself in ‘IELTS examination’ mode. You may be at home, but we have to make this as authentic as possible; turn the TV off, turn the phone off, make sure you won’t be disturbed by your flatmate or your kids, have a couple of pens ready. As well as the practice test, I suggest you also have an IELTS Reading Test answer sheet.
- Now sit down and do the reading test exactly as instructed, making sure your note your start and finish time. The test is 60 minutes long, don’t forget to write your answers directly on the answer sheet as unlike the listening test, you are not given extra transfer time at the end.
Now, grab a cup of tea or coffee and your dictionary; this is where the hard work begins!
- Mark your answers against the answer key.
- If you got an answer incorrect, look at the text again and see why it is incorrect and why the answer in the answer key is the correct one.
- Read section 1 again, this time you may use your dictionary. Look up any vocabulary you don’t understand and write it in your notebook. Note how the new vocabulary is used in context. Look for other word forms (noun, adjective, verb etc) of the word in your dictionary.
- Repeat this last point for sections 2 and 3. Take short breaks between the different sections.
My students have always found this method very useful both for practising IELTS and improving their English.
Here’s to the best IELTS score possible!