Overcome Text Difficulties In IELTS Reading

Overcome Text Difficulties In IELTS Reading

Some of the most common challenges that students face with the IELTS reading module are; 

  • Time management ( unable to answer all questions in 60 minutes)
  • Vocabulary concerns (unable to guess the meaning of new words/phrases)
  • Difficulty in understanding the text (issues with interpreting and comprehending the passage)
  • Unable to recognise synonyms and paraphrases to locate answers
  • Unaware of how to implement reading strategies (prediction, skim, scan to find answers quickly?)
  • Conflict between reading speed and comprehension (eyes move fast over the text but lacks understanding. Needs to reread several times for better comprehension.

InSync, the best IELTS coaching centre in Chennai, will show you how to enhance your reading skills to become an independent an efficient reader in order to boost your reading scores in the fastest time span. Register here for a free reading demo class.

How do efficient readers tackle a text?

Efficiency means using the least effort to obtain maximum results under test conditions. Therefore, students need to use their time and energy to best effect. Efficient readers process a text using 2 main approaches.

Top-down approach

This involves drawing on a reader’s own intelligence (common sense) and past experience or knowledge on a topic by looking at the title/ heading/s- sub-headings and pictures. The predictions that a reader can make based on schemata acquired (previous knowledge that is stored in our minds) to understand and to see the overall purpose of a text in order to get a rough idea of the pattern of the writer’s argument.

Steps for the top-down approach

  1. First, an efficient reader views the text as a whole unit and relates this to their own knowledge and experience (triggers schemata). 
  2. Second, readers look at heading/s- sub-headings of the text and predict what they already know about the topic from their existing knowledge or from any previous experience. This prediction helps readers become familiar and engage with the passage and be able to understand the text better.
  3. Then, readers skim a text quickly without focusing on a word or sentence meaning. The main reason why efficient readers skim a passage is to get a rough idea about the writer’s overall purpose and to get a gist of the text.
  4. The above steps help readers interpret and understand difficult parts of the text later on.

Bottom–up approach

This approach primarily focuses on understanding meaning at various levels that are tested in the IELTS reading module. Initially, readers build up meaning from words, phrases and sentence structure. Then, they need to scrutinize the vocabulary and understand grammar to make sense of meaning of sentences, contexts, opinion and attitude of writers.

Steps for bottom-up approach

  • First, the reader develops a detailed understanding of what the question asks for.
  • The reader then reads parts of the relevant text in detail (calmly) and intensively to understand meaning.
  • Next, the reader interrogates the text effectively to recognise and understand deep meaning at sentence, contextual and pragmatic levels.

Sign-up for a free DEMO class with IELTS examiner and expert Shane Jordan.