Realistic ways to improve reading speed and comprehension outside of the IELTS exam


If you're preparing for the IELTS exam, improving your reading speed and comprehension is essential. The IELTS reading test is designed to assess your ability to understand and interpret a variety of written texts, and a high score is crucial for achieving your academic or professional goals. While it's important to practice with IELTS-style reading passages, there are also a number of realistic ways to improve your reading speed and comprehension outside of the exam.

1. Read more

One of the most effective ways to improve your reading speed and comprehension is to read more. The more you read, the more exposure you'll have to a wide range of written texts, and the better you'll become at understanding and interpreting them. Make a habit of reading a variety of materials, including news articles, books, and online blogs. As you read, pay attention to new vocabulary words and try to understand their meanings in context. The more you read, the faster and more accurately you'll be able to process written information.

2. Practice skimming and scanning

Skimming and scanning are effective strategies for quickly navigating written texts. Skimming involves quickly reading through a text to get a general understanding of its content, while scanning involves searching for specific information. By learning to skim and scan effectively, you can save time and focus your attention on the most important information in the text. You can practice skimming and scanning by reading short articles or passages and trying to identify the main ideas and specific details.

3. Use a timer

Using a timer can help you improve your reading speed by forcing you to read at a faster pace. Set a timer for a specific amount of time and try to read as much as you can within that time frame. As you get faster, you can increase the amount of time you have to read. You can also try timing yourself while reading different types of texts, such as news articles or academic papers, to see how your speed varies based on the material. By using a timer, you can track your progress and identify areas where you need to improve.

4. Take breaks

It's important to take breaks while reading to give your mind a chance to rest and process the information you've just taken in. Short breaks every 20-30 minutes can help you stay focused and improve your reading comprehension. During your breaks, you can stretch, take a walk, or do something else that helps you relax and refocus. By taking breaks, you'll be better able to absorb and retain the information you've read.

5. Use a dictionary

Using a dictionary can help you improve your reading comprehension by giving you the definitions of unfamiliar words. A good dictionary will not only give you the definition of a word, but also provide examples of how the word is used in sentences. This will help you understand the word's meaning and how it fits into the overall context of the text. As you read, make a note of any unfamiliar words and look them up in the dictionary. This will help you better understand the text and improve your reading comprehension.


Improving your reading speed and comprehension outside of the IELTS exam is essential for success on the exam and in your academic or professional pursuits. By reading more, practicing skimming and scanning, using a timer, taking breaks, and using a dictionary, you can improve your reading skills and increase your chances of success on the IELTS exam and beyond. With hard work and dedication, you can develop the reading skills you need to succeed and reach your goals.