An essential and often overlooked academic reading skills is to guess the meanings of the words in the passages. The IELTS Reading Test will access you on a wide range of reading skills. You should be able to read thoroughly or skim through passages to understand logical arguments and identify the author’s opinions. The Reading Test is different for the IELTS General Training and Academic Tests. What test you choose will depend on if you are taking the test for migration purposes or university entry. Although there are some significant differences between the tests, the common points are that both Reading tests last for 60 minutes and comprise of 40 questions.
In this case, it is very much possible that you won’t understand few of the words that are in the passages. You do not want to let these words stop you from understanding the rest of the passages, which is where being able to guess a meaning of the word is extremely important to achieve your target score. To help you achieve your target score in the IELTS test, here are some tips or strategies that could help you when dealing with unfamiliar words on the IELTS test
Improving your Reading Speed
To improve your reading speed, you need to practice reading and do it consistently. Start by dividing the sentence, do this by looking for the sentence’s subject or the verb. Finding the subject and verb will help you understand the meaning of the sentence.
Improving your Vocabulary
Improving your vocabulary is one of the most important steps for a student preparing for IELTS. Many people think answering reading questions is as simple as scanning the paragraphs for keywords and information. Well, unfortunately it’s not that simple. Reading questions are usually paraphrased, meaning, the words have been changed to use synonyms of words from the passage. This is done in order to make the test a bit difficult and harder to understand.
Using Context to Understand
The most usual ways to ever find a meaning of a word or a sentence is by understanding what the context means. The context is the surrounding information around the word that is difficult to understand. Based on the context and how the word is used in it, it is possible to guess the meaning. Take the word “acerbity”, for example. You might not understand this word on its own, but when put together in a sentence, you will have all the information that you need: “The acerbity of them lemon caused the little girl to spit out the bite she had just taken.” The girl’s reaction to the lemon, spitting it out, tells you that the taste was unpleasant. Knowing that lemons are sour or bitter, you can ascertain that it was the lemon’s extreme sour/ bitterness or acerbity that caused the little girl to spit it out.
Practice Makes you Perfect
Learning something new is hard, especially at the beginning when we are likely to struggle and make mistakes. The only way to learn something new is to practice. The more you practice reading and improve your vocabulary the more beneficial it is for you to grow and learn more. To practice you could start by reading newspapers, books, journals, magazines, etc.
These little tips and tricks should help you gain your desired score for the exam. And remember, practice makes you perfect.
All the best!