IELTS Reading is often considered the most intriguing part of IELTS in terms of scoring. The simple looking comprehensions require you to keep an eye for detail and have a strong hold of the understanding of English. Many IELTS test takers often get concerned as to how to arrive at the right answer. Here is a list of the 10 very Common Mistakes in the IELTS Reading section, thus making the test taker lose quite a lot of marks. With an adequate amount of practice, they are very easily avoidable and it is important to be aware of them, so that we can put a conscious effort so as to not commit the mistakes, be it in technique or careless misses.
Common Mistakes In IELTS Reading
1. Do Not Try To Read Every Word
In order to avoid this mistake, it is very important to read the question first and then skim through for similar content, only to scan or read that part of the passage that pertains to the question. Why? Because IELTS Reading is a tight test with not much time for you to read everything.
So, while you are at it, read the heading first to understand what does the comprehension talk about. Then directly read and understand the question. Quickly run your eyes or skim through the passage to locate similar information with the help of content words. Once located, read that part of the passage thoroughly to arrive at the correct answer.
2. Do Not Read The Question Casually
It is very important to take time to read the question thoroughly, understand and analyze it. The question is the key to answer because most often you are required to match the information of the question statement with the passage, and thus you should understand the meaning of the question to the T. Quantitative words like ‘some’, ‘all’, ‘many’, are some major meaning
3. Giving Two Answers
Sometimes, in a zeal to score high, we often choose two probable answers instead of one, but since there are no half marks in IELTS, both the answers are considered wrong and you get a zero in that question.
So avoid giving two answers and finalize on one in situations of confusion. The method of elimination, i.e. the process of eliminating the least probable option first, helps in this regard. This is true for the IELTS Listening test too.
4. Don’t Assume Anything
This is true typically in case of True/False/Not Given and Yes/No/Not Given question types. We often tend to assume information as our brains can infer and go by that.
This often leads to assigning Not Given statements as False. Remember, for a statement to be false, it needs to be of the opposite information.
For example, if the passage reads “Ram killed Ravana.” and the question reads “Ram killed Ravana”, the answer is True. If the question says “Ram killed Ravana with a knife”, the answer becomes Not Given because the information about the knife is not mentioned in the passage. Additionally, for the answer to be False, the passage must give contrary information like “Ravana was killed by Sita”, “Ravana killed Ram”, etc.
5. Do Not Read The Entire Passage If You Can’t Find An Answer
Answers always appear in a sequence in the IELTS Reading test. This is to say that the answer for question no. 2 will always appear between answers of question no. 1 and 3.
So if you can not find an answer to a particular question, solve the next answer first. By this, you will know that the answer to the problematic question will be somewhere between the previous one and the following one.
6. Time Management
Quite against the popular belief of alloting 20 minutes for each of the three sections in the IELTS Reading test, allot 15 minutes for the first section, 20 minutes for the second section and 25 minutes for the third section.
Why? Because the level of difficulty increases as you move further in the test and thus, the first section should take the least amount of time and the final section should take the most.
7. Not Following The Instructions Properly. For Example,
An IELTS Reading or Listening instruction may look like this:
Write no more than two words and/or a number.
Most often, students appearing for the test overlook and fail to adhere to the instruction given on top of the questions. In this scenario, the answer “the Indian Government” goes wrong if written as “the Government of India”, because of the violation of word limit.
8. Spelling Is Important
Wrong spelling leads to loss of marks. For example, if the answer is ‘government’ and you have written it as ‘goverment’, it will be marked incorrect, resulting in the loss of a mark, so make sure you check your spelling while transferring the answers to the main answer sheet in case of a pen and paper based IELTS test or revise before you submit the answer in case of a computer-based IELTS test.
Make sure your answers are grammatically correct when answering Fill in the Blanks.
Meet me at the hospital at 7:30 PM.
Time of meeting: 7:30 PM
Note: Rules of CAPITALIZATION in English is another important thing to look at.
For example, if the answer “the Indian Government” is written as “the indian government”, it will be considered wrong.
10. T/F/NG Should Not Be Answered As Y/N/NG
A lot of people make this very common mistake of marking a True answer with Yes. The two question types are different and as such, your answer will be considered wrong.
True/False/Not Given requires you to match the information given in the question statement to that in the passage, whereas Yes/No/Not Given requires you to read between the lines and try to understand the intention of the author. Thus do not confuse between the two and read the instruction thoroughly.
Hope this article on the Common Mistakes in IELTS Reading is helpful.