- Look at the title carefully and quickly predict topic vocabulary and the structure of the text, i.e. if it deals with problems and solutions.
- Spend 2-5 minutes skimming the text before you look at the questions. Learners with high band scores skim quickly and can remember a great deal of information which helps them locate answers quickly later on. This is useful for matching headings.
- Don’t read the questions first. If you read the questions before skimming the text, they will be difficult to understand, and you will have to read them again after. As you have about 1 minute per question, this is a waste of time. This is especially important for multiple choice because the questions are long.
- Choose keywords in questions that will be easy to locate quickly – words with capital letters, numbers and technical vocabulary which has few synonyms. Scan for the keywords to locate your answer. This is especially important for True/False/Not Given and Yes/No/Not Given.
- Practise reading without a dictionary – if you rely on translation and checking meanings in a dictionary when you practice, you will struggle in the exam. Band 7 or Band 8 students can accurately guess the meaning of unknown words.
- Write your answers directly onto the answer sheet. There is no transfer time at the end of the test. Don’t waste time writing the answers on the test paper and copying them onto the answer sheet. Remember, you only have about 1 minute per question!
- In tasks where you fill gaps, such as sentence or summary completion, use your grammar knowledge to predict the type of information missing, i.e. noun, adjective. Use suffixes (i.e. -tion, -ment, -ness for nouns) to help you if the answer is a new word.