Today I’d like to address a question that a lot of IELTS students ask. In my IELTS classes, when students are doing their reading sections of their IELTS practice tests, they ask what the best technique is when dealing with the reading questions and texts. The problem relates to whether students should read the texts or the questions first. This problem is applicable for both the IELTS academic and general training modules.
My answer always relates to practice. I feel that students should do as many IELTS practice tests as possible, so they can work out what works out best for them. There are advantages to both methods.
If you read the texts first, then you will have a good knowledge of the content of the texts and when you get to the questions, you can know where the answers are to be found immediately.
If you read the questions first, then you will be able to recognize where the answer are as you read. You can mark the place or answer the questions immediately.
So, which is the best method? As I said above, it depends on YOU. You need to try both methods and find which one works best for you. Now, I have done quite a number of IELTS practice tests myself, and so I know which works for me. It is the second method. I prefer that I know the questions before I read the texts. However, I often just look at one set of questions (there are often more than 1 set of questions for a single text). I can therefore answer the first set of questions (mostly) on my first read. Then I have the text knowledge to know where the answer will be for the second set (or sometimes third set), when I move on. I feel that in this way, I get the advantages of both techniques.
But, I stress that this is the method that works for me and I have had many students who have done it differently and their technique has worked better for them.
The moral is clear. Do some IELTS practice tests and find which method works best for YOU.
Another factor that affects you success with reading is your reading technique. We will look at that in my next blog!