Completing an exercise without reading instructions first.

Instructions tell you what exactly you have to do to complete a reading exercise. Therefore, it is very important to read and understand instructions before starting to complete an IELTS reading task.

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Reading every single word in the four IELTS reading passages.

There is no time to read the whole texts in the IELTS Reading test. You need to know what information you are looking for, where to find that information in the text, and just read the sentences that give you the answer.

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Reading the text before working with the questions.

If you read the text before reading the questions you are simply wasting some valuable time. You should:
1. Read the question (Step 1)
2. Find out what information you need to answer the question (Step 2)
3. Skim and Scan the text to find the information you need (Step 3)
4. Read 2 sentences in the text and give the answer (Step 4)

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Not knowing where to find the answer in the text.

There is not enough time to read the whole text to find where the answer of a particular question. Instead of reading a whole passage, you need to use reading techniques that help you identify the paragraph where the answer is. Once you create an idea of where the answer can be, you skim and scan the paragraph to find the key words.

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Reading more text than needed to answer a question.

Test takers should not read more than TWO SENTENCES in the text to answer a particular question. If you read more than two sentences you will be exposed to many news ideas and it will be very difficult to find the right answer.

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Getting distracted by new words.

There will always be a number of words in the IELTS reading passages that are seldom used in everyday life. Hence, most likely, you will always find new words in the reading texts. New words are not important though because, in the IELTS reading test, you should read for meaning rather than words.

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Doing only one type of reading (i.e. reading for understanding).

Research shows that test takers who perform well in the IELTS Reading Test use a variety of reading techniques, such as close reading (reading for understanding); skimming (getting a general idea), scanning (locating specific information); reflective reading (recognizing textual patterns); and so on.

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