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Getting Band 9 at IELTS Reading

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6th Oct 2019

Many of the test takers find it difficult to believe that it’s possible to get perfect 9 at the reading test for non-native English speakers. Vocabulary is definitely a key, and of course you are going to face some unknown words in the reading test but don’t worry you still can get the perfect score.

The main goal of IELTS Reading is to test your ability to understand what you have read. So even if you don’t know some words, it’s OK, as you can guess their meaning and still get band 9!

Ridiculously, most of the test-takers lose marks not because of lack of knowledge, but because of making very simple mistakes! That’s why in this guide we’ve gathered Reading tips that will really help you to get a high score in IELTS.

But before we get into the tips, lets first understand the IELTS reading test format.


Test Format – Reading (60 minutes)

The IELTS reading test comes next to the IELTS listening test. This section tests your ability to read quickly and efficiently. It is designed to assess a wide range of reading skills, including the ability to read for the general understanding of the passage, read for the main theme of the passage, read for detail, understand the implied meaning, recognize a writer’s opinions and purpose and follow the development of an argument.

Academic Reading


Three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. These are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers.  They have been selected for a non-specialist audience but are appropriate for people entering university courses or seeking professional registration.


60 minutes including the transfer time

Number of Questions

40 Questions

Task Types

There will be a wide range of tasks including fill gaps, match heading, complete sentences, give short answers to open questions and answer multiple choice questions

General Training Reading


Extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines. These are materials you are likely to encounter on a daily basis in an English-speaking environment.


60 minutes including the transfer time

Task Types

Fill gaps in a passage of written text or in a table, match headings to written text to diagrams or charts, complete sentences, give short answers to open questions, answer multiple choice questions


Each correct answer receives one mark with no penalty for wrong answer

Tips to get Band 9 at IELTS Reading

Skim for the right answer

Skimming refers to looking only for the main ideas. If you are not a fast reader don’t read the entire passage. All you need to do is to find where the right answer is. This will save you valuable time.

Time Management

You will get 60 minutes to answer 40 questions. The difficulty level rises with each passage. There will be 3 passages. Focus on spending less time on passage 1 and 2 and try to spend at least 30 minutes on passage 3.

Correct Spelling

Make sure your spellings are correct before writing your answer on the answer script. You will get zero points for the answer if it's spelled incorrectly.

Chronological Answers

Usually the questions follow the order of the text in most cases. So, the answer to question 5 will come after the answer to question 4 and so on. This trick is particularly important when solving True/False/Not Given answers.

Identify Key Words

When reading a passage identify the key words that will help you understand the main theme of the sentence or paragraph.

Pay Attention to Details

Look thoroughly through the text. Any special features such as capital letters, underlining, italics, figures, graphs and tables are likely to matter.

No Negative Markings

Remember there are no negative markings for wrong answers. So, don’t any box blank. Even if you are unsure about your answer choice, take a guess. There is a good chance that your gut feeling is right.

Identify what is Best for You

The most important thing is, there is no ultimate advice which technique fits you the best. You should find by yourself how to look for right answers and what to do first: read questions or text. A lot of successful candidates prefer to read the text first, and only then answer the questions. But some say it's better to do the other way. Practice doing IELTS Reading samples to determine which technique fits you more.

Visit our website IELTS.LIVE for more on how to get good score in the IELTS as we have practice materials for each of the four modules. For IELTS Academic please click https://www.ielts.live/exam-library/Academic and for IELTS General Training click on https://www.ielts.live/exam-library/General%20Training


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