IELTS – Skim Reading: How Do I Do It?

In order to read quickly for the main ideas in a text (skim reading), we need to focus on the main ideas, and avoid the detail – but how?

  1. Read the title and the questions – don’t worry about understanding every word, try to get an overall idea.
  2. Focus on the content words (nouns, main verbs, adjectives, and adverbs).  Learn not to look at “grammar words”, e.g. a, an, the, in, on, is, are etc.
  3. Focus more on the subject, verb and object (adjectives and adverbs are less important).
  4. Train your eyes to notice the linking words (however, in addition, as a result).
  5. Look for paragraph patterns, e.g. reasons, causes, effects, examples
  6. Pull your finger vertically through the text forcing your eyes not to read every detail.
  7. Ignore any words that you don’t know.


All in all, skimming takes practice.  Don’t give up!


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