The reading paper of the Academic IELTS test is a tough one. We don’t intend to discourage you, but it is no news that IELTS is a tough nut to crack.
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.
If you intend on attending an IELTS coaching in Mumbai or think that self-study is your way of learning, make sure that the material you have is really useful.
You don’t want to waste time reading stuff that has never been or will never be asked in the paper.
Here is a list of official and some good and useful journalistic resources for IELTS study that you must refer in order to fare well in the reading section.
Official British Council Reading Material
The British Council website is a good start to practice for IELTS reading. It gives you the option of choosing the difficulty level of your reading passage and then gives you reading material to choose from accordingly.
A major part of preparing for IELTS reading is working on your vocabulary, learning how to paraphrase, identifying where synonyms have been used – basically building up your vocabulary.
British Council provides enough reading material for you to work on your vocabulary. The reading material spans across all beats and makes for interesting,useful and informative paragraphs that are mostly of the type that’s likely to be asked in the exam.
Official Cambridge Reading Material
Deemed to be the ultimate study guide for IELTS, the Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS has enough material to polish your language and prepare for the reading section. The Reading Skills Guide includes:
- Overview of the IELTS Reading paper and assessment criteria
- Practice for each of the skills that are important for success in the Reading paper (Academic and General Training)
- Test tips and study tips to help you achieve your best score
- Common mistakes and how to avoid them
- THREE official Cambridge IELTS Reading practice tests with answers
A great way to expand your vocabulary for the IELTS is to read well-written articles that are similar to the IELTS in content and tone.
These can be found in an IELTS preparation guide or actual journals. Probably the most famous and trusted news source across the world, BBC provides the latest news on all corners of the world.
There are various topics on BBC News and BBC Learning English category for English learners to improve all 4 English skills – Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking.
On one side where it is an amazing source of keeping up with the latest news, it also adds to your treasure of new words and their synonyms, and understanding both simple and complex sentences.
It’s no news that what you encounter in your reading section is highly unpredictable. There could be a paragraph explaining time dilation or the french revolution.
Hence, it is better to be aware of everything going on around the world, be it sports, entertainment or politics.
CNN thus makes a good source of information for you to keep up with the latest and breaking news on almost all parts of the world about every field such as entertainment, education, politics, science, travel, health, etc.
Reading different newspapers will give you not only different viewpoints on analyzing a situation, but also different ways in which the same information can be framed.
The Washington Post is a good and trusted source for breaking news and analysis on politics, business, world national news, entertainment and other topics that .
A common source for IELTS reading, The Economist offers an authoritative insight and opinion on international news, business, finance, politics and the connections between them.
A very strong reason why you should prefer reading The Economist is that many articles that actually appear in the IELTS tests are in fact extracted from this magazine.
What’s more? It also has a debate page for IELTS learners to give their own views – a good practice for all sections including the essay.
New Scientist is an international science magazine from UK with plenty of short articles about science, all of which are relatively easy for students to comprehend.
A weekly science and technology news magazine, considered by some to be the world’s best, with diverse subject matter, New Scientist makes for a good and informative read, and proves to be very useful especially when it comes to preparing for the IELTS.
National Geographic is one of the most favored sources for authentic IELTS reading materials about the environment. With thousands of articles about geography, history, environment, animals, travel, culture, and adventure, it is, without a shadow of doubt, an immensely helpful read for topics which are common for both IELTS Academic and General Training reading.
It is essential that you thoroughly research the type of questions and paragraphs you will encounter in the IELTS.
Preparing without prior knowledge on ‘what’ and ‘why’ is a big mistake that many students often make. Students start preparing from various resources and it’s already too late when they realize that it was all in vain. The resources mentioned above will definitely not land you in a soup on the day of the exam.
However, if you’re referring to any other reading material, make sure that it is actually helpful from the IELTS point of view. If the preparation is well planned and researched, half the battle is won!