IELTS Reading Secrets

In the IELTS Reading Secrets, we are going to talk about a few points that you have to focus on in the IELTS Reading test. Focusing on the following IELTS Reading Secrets will make the IELTS Reading test easier and will help you to get your desired score on the IELTS test.

The following are our IELTS Reading Secrets and tips for the IELTS Reading exam.


Your first task when you begin reading is to answer the question “What is the topic of the selection?” This can best be answered by quickly skimming the passage for the general idea, stopping to read only the first sentence of each paragraph. A paragraph’s first sentence is usually the main topic sentence, and it gives you a summary of the content of the paragraph.

Once you’ve skimmed the passage, stopping to read only the first sentences, you will have a general idea about what it is about, as well as what is the expected topic in each paragraph.

Paragraph Focus

Focus upon the first sentence of each paragraph, which is the most important. The main topic of the paragraph is usually there.

Once you’ve read the first sentence in the paragraph, you have a general idea about what each paragraph will be about. As you read the questions, try to determine which paragraph will have the answer. Paragraphs have a concise topic. The answer should either obviously be there or obviously not. It will save time if you can jump straight to the paragraph, so try to remember what you learned from the first sentences.

Eliminate Choices

Some choices can quickly be eliminated. “Andy Warhol lived there.” Is Andy Warhol even mentioned in the article? If not, quickly eliminate it.

When trying to answer a question such as “the passage indicates all of the following EXCEPT” quickly skim the paragraph searching for references to each choice. If the reference exists, scratch it off as a choice. Similar choices may be crossed off simultaneously if they are close enough.

In choices that ask you to choose “which answer choice does NOT describe?” or “all of the following answer choices are identifiable characteristics, EXCEPT which?” look for answers that are similarly worded. Since only one answer can be correct, if there are two answers that appear to mean the same thing, they must BOTH be incorrect, and can be eliminated.


  • A.) changing values and attitudes
  • B.) a large population of mobile or uprooted people

These answer choices are similar; they both describe a fluid culture. Because of their similarity, they can be linked together. Since the answer can have only one choice, they can also be eliminated together.

Contextual Clues

Look for contextual clues. An answer can be right but not correct. The contextual clues will help you find the answer that is most right and is correct. Understand the context in which a phrase is stated.

When asked for the implied meaning of a statement made in the passage, immediately go find the statement and read the context it was made in. Also, look for an answer choice that has a similar phrase to the statement in question. Example: In the passage, what is implied by the phrase “Churches have become more or less part of the furniture”?

Find an answer choice that is similar or describes the phrase “part of the furniture” as that is the key phrase in the question. “Part of the furniture” is a saying that means something is fixed, immovable, or set in their ways. Those are all similar ways of saying “part of the furniture.” As such, the correct answer choice will probably include a similar rewording of the expression. Example: Why was John described as “morally desperate”.

The answer will probably have some sort of definition of morals in it. “Morals” refers to a code of right and wrong behavior, so the correct answer choice will likely have words that mean something like that.


When asked about which statement is a fact or opinion, remember that answer choices that are facts will typically have no ambiguous words. For example, how long is a long time? What defines an ordinary person? These ambiguous words of “long” and “ordinary” should not be in a factual statement. However, if all of the choices have ambiguous words, go to the context of the passage. Often a factual statement may be set out as a research finding.

  • Example: “The scientist found that the eye reacts quickly to change in light.”

Opinions may be set out in the context of words like thought, believed, understood, or wished.

  • Example: “He thought the Yankees should win the World Series.”

Time Management

In technical passages, do not get lost on the technical terms. Skip them and move on. You want a general understanding of what is going on, not a mastery of the passage.

When you encounter material in the selection that seems difficult to understand, it often may not be necessary and can be skipped. Only spend time trying to understand it if it is going to be relevant for a question. Understand difficult phrases only as a last resort.

Identify each question by type. Usually, the wording of a question will tell you whether you can find the answer by referring directly to the passage or by using your reasoning powers. You alone know which question types you customarily handle with ease and which give you trouble and will require more time.