Monday, 25 February 2013

IELTS Reading - Intensive and Extensive Reading

Increasing your IELTS reading score is no easy task. Creeping up half a band is a laborious process, one filled with frustration and tears. Do you painfully analyse each line of their practice test and, at the end of the day, feel deflated and demotivated?

If so read on.

"Teacher. It's too difficult. I can't."

Improving your reading speed and comprehension comes from reading large amounts of material you understand. Lower level IELTS students have all the best intentions in the world, but they approach the paper in the wrong way. Past papers are great, don't get me wrong, however, for most they need to be used alongside more comprehensible reading practice.

Reading can be divided into two areas:

1. Extensive reading
2. Intensive reading

Lets look at them in turn.

Extensive reading is reading for fun. Like a child sitting crossed legged on the bedroom floor, this is reading for pleasure - reading for reading's sake. This is something that you need to make time for. Extensive reading does not mean reading all three sections of the IELTS reading test before bed. No. It means finding a story book at the correct level, settling into a comfy chair, brewing a litre of coffee and reading for 30/40 minutes per day. Read for fun. Let the words wash over you. If the level of book is correct, you should be reading quickly and confidently. Perhaps, one word in every 5/6 lines will cause you to reach for the dictionary, no more. The idea is to digest huge quantities of comprehensible language as this improves your reading fluency, grammar, sentence structure etc. 

Readers are the perfect place to start. If you are unaware of readers then click the link below to get started.

Generally speaking, an intermediate level student (about IELTS band 5) is a reader level 4 or thereabouts. I advise my students to read 3/4 readers of the same level before moving up.

Intensive reading is reading that requires intense concentration and the unravelling of difficult sentences and technical vocabulary. IELTS reading is intensive.

The importance of extensive reading cannot be stressed enough. Simply doing IELTS reading papers is not enough for most. 

While studying, if you spend all your time ploughing through past papers (intensive), your score will increase. However, a solid study timetable containing extensive and intensive reading will give your English the extra lift it needs. 

Find a reader, make sure it is the correct level and read for 30/40 minutes per day as well as doing past papers.

Give it a try and see if it works for you.



  1. Good post about ielts it is very useful for students


  2. Thanks for sharing this nice post. IELTS reading section includes passages taken from different magazines, books,newspapers and follow the IELTS reading success tips and get higher bands in IELTS reading section.

    IELTS reading test tips