How to complete the IELTS Reading test
in 60 minutes

It’s hard to complete the Reading test in the 60 minutes allowed in the IELTS exam but it is achievable. 

Here are my top 6 recommendations to be better prepared for the test and to improve your time management during your exam.

You can find lessons to help you with all aspects of the Reading test on the Reading Lessons Menu Page


Top 6 Recommendations

1. Know the question types

Familiarise yourself with the different types of questions you might get in your test. There are twelve of them, so it will take a bit of work, but this will save you a lot of time in the exam.

It will also reduce your stress level as whatever question types you get, you will recognise them and not be taken by surprise.


2. Learn the strategies

Learn the strategy (step-by-step system) I teach for answering each type of question. The best way to learn them is through practice. You will only remember them if you use them many times over on practice questions.

Click these links to go to a lesson on each question type. They include lots of examples to help you learn.

1)  Matching Headings                  7)  Summary Completion

2)  Multiple Choice                        8)  Matching Sentence Endings

3)  Short Answer                           9)  Sentence Completion

4)  Name Matching                       10)  Matching Paragraph Information

5)  True/False/Not Given              11) Table Completion

6)  Yes/No/Not Given                    12) Diagram Labelling


3. Learn and practice the key skills 

There are three key reading skills that you need to master to do well in the Reading test. These are:


  • Skimming
  • Scanning
  • Detailed reading

Learn how to do them and practice them regularly. Study this lesson: Key Reading Skills


4. Identify your areas of weakness.

What skill or type of question do you find the most difficult? Identify these areas of weakness and put in extra practice on them.


5. Improve your vocabulary

Synonyms and paraphrasing are used a lot in the reading test. So, in a sense, it is as much a test of your vocabulary as it is of your reading skills.

You should be working on your vocabulary as part of your daily exam preparation as learning vocabulary is an ongoing process.

I've created some useful lessons on what vocabulary to learn for IELTS and how to learn it. Check them out in the vocabulary section: Vocabulary Lessons  


6. Time management

Avoid spending too much time on one question.

Aim to spend 20 minutes on each of the three passages you’ll be given. Time yourself while practicing.

It’s very easy to spend too long on the first or second passage and run out of time to complete the final one. You can always go back to a passage if you have spare time at the end.

My step-by-step strategies show you which order to answer the questions in for many of the question types so that you find the easiest answers first. This will help you to gain the easy marks quickly and leave you more time to find the more difficult answers.

Don’t leave a blank space if you really can’t find the correct answer. Guess the answer. This at least gives you some chance of getting it right.


As well as helping you to complete your Reading test in 60 minutes, following these six recommendations will also greatly improve your score.


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More Reading Test Pages

IELTS Reading Test – Understand the format, question types & marking system & know what skills are assessed. Also learn success strategies, key reading skills & discover top tips.

IELTS Reading Skills – Master the skills of skimming, scanning & detailed reading. Understand the importance of topic sentences & how to use context for meaning & unfamiliar words.

Top 7 IELTS Reading Tips – Each tip will take you a step closer to the high score you want. They are the key to top marks in your test.

9 More Tips For IELTS Reading – Learn valuable practice techniques & discover a secret that may gain you extra marks.

IELTS Reading Practice – Discover the top 5 things you must do to prepare for your reading test.

How to complete the IELTS Reading test in 60 minutes – Top 6 Recommendations.

IELTS Academic Reading  – Why you should take IELTS Academic Reading, test format, text types & sample tests.

IELTS General Reading  – Why you should take IELTS General Reading, test format, text types & sample tests.

Reading Practice Samples – Short activities to improve your reading skills & help you learn topic vocabulary.



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