5 Tips for Improving Reading Speed on the IELTS Exam


The reading section of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam can be challenging for many test-takers, especially when it comes to speed. With only 60 minutes to complete 40 questions across 3-4 reading passages, it's essential to be able to read efficiently and effectively. Here are 5 tips to help you improve your reading speed on the IELTS exam:

1. Skim and scan

One of the most effective ways to improve reading speed is to learn how to skim and scan for key information. Skimming involves quickly reading through a passage to get the general idea, while scanning involves looking for specific information or keywords. This can help you save time by allowing you to focus on the most important information rather than reading every single word. Practice skimming and scanning by trying to find specific information in a passage as quickly as possible. You can also try timing yourself to see how quickly you can find the information.

2. Practice with a timer

Timing yourself while you read can help you increase your speed and become more aware of how quickly you're reading. Start by setting a timer for 5 minutes and try to read as much as you can in that time. As you get faster, increase the time to 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, and so on. You can also try setting a goal for how many pages or how much of a passage you want to read in a certain amount of time. Practicing with a timer can help you improve your reading speed and also help you manage your time effectively on the IELTS exam.

3. Preview the passage and questions before reading

Before you start reading, take a few minutes to preview the passage and the questions. This can help you get a sense of what the passage is about and what information you need to pay attention to. You can also try underlining or highlighting key words or phrases in the questions as you read to help you focus on the important information. Previewing the passage and questions before you start reading can also help you anticipate the types of questions you'll be asked, which can save you time on the exam.

4. Improve your vocabulary

Having a strong vocabulary can help you read more quickly because you'll be able to understand the words in the passage without having to spend time looking up definitions. To improve your vocabulary, try reading a variety of materials, such as news articles, books, and magazines, and look up any words you don't know. You can also try using flashcards to quiz yourself on new words. The more familiar you are with a wide range of vocabulary, the faster you'll be able to read and understand the passages on the IELTS exam.

5. Take breaks and practice relaxation techniques

Reading for a long period of time can be mentally exhausting, which can slow down your reading speed. To avoid this, take breaks every 20-30 minutes to give your eyes and brain a rest. You can also try practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or stretching, to help you stay focused and avoid fatigue. Taking breaks and practicing relaxation techniques can help you maintain a steady reading speed and improve your overall performance on the IELTS.


Improving your reading speed on the IELTS exam takes practice and dedication. By following the tips outlined above, you can increase your reading speed and improve your overall performance on the reading test. Remember to keep an open mind and be willing to try new techniques. With time and practice, you'll be able to read more efficiently and effectively on the IELTS exam and beyond.