• British Council

Understanding IELTS: Reading

Find out what you need to know about the IELTS Reading test and learn techniques and strategies to improve your test performance.

271,662 enrolled on this course

Understanding IELTS: Reading
  • Duration3 weeks
  • Weekly study3 hours
  • 100% onlineTry this course for free
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $59Find out more
This course is part of the Understanding IELTS program, which will enable you to prepare for your IELTS test. Practise with other learners. Perfect your English..

Prepare for success in your IELTS Reading test

The British Council’s four Understanding IELTS courses will give you a complete guide to everything you need to know as you prepare for the IELTS test.

This course focuses on the reading test. You’ll explore the format of the test and the kinds of text you need to read, and develop learning strategies to help you tackle the different task types, from multiple choice to true, false, and not given.

You’ll also look at general reading strategies that will help you cope with the kind of complex texts on unfamiliar topics that you’ll meet in your IELTS studies.


  • Week 1

    The skills you need for IELTS Reading

    • Introducing the IELTS Reading test

      Welcome to the course and an overview of the test format.

    • Getting it right

      What you have to do and how long you have to do it

    • Skimming

      How to read more effectively

    • Scanning

      Another vital reading technique

    • IELTS task types - Part 1

      Over the next few weeks we'll look at all of the different IELTS Reading test task types. Here are the first ones.

    • Review of the week

      A look back

  • Week 2

    A wider vocabulary

    • Widening your range

      Extensive reading is the key to improving your IELTS Reading performance. Here we look at suggestions of ways to improve your reading range.

    • Vocabulary

      Way to deal with unfamiliar vocabulary and to increase your lexical resource in preparation for the test

    • Paraphrasing

      Recognising the same thing said in different words.

    • IELTS task types - Part 2

      We continue our exploration of the different IELTS Reading task types

    • Review of the week

      More advice and a look back at the key advice from the week.

  • Week 3

    Getting ready for test day

    • Getting ready for your test

      An introduction to the week's content.

    • More Reading test tasks

      Welcome to Week 3! We continue our guide to the types of task you'll see in the Reading test.

    • Identifying the writer's view

      We complete our look at all the Reading test task types

    • Time management

      What problems can time pressure cause and what can you do to manage your time effectively?

    • Exam day

      Everything you need to know about the day of the test

    • Round up

      A look back at the course and your final preparation for the IELTS Reading test

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the IELTS Reading test format and learn about the different kinds of text you need to read
  • Develop learning strategies to help you tackle the different task types, from multiple choice to true, false, and not given
  • Apply techniques that will help you cope with the kind of complex texts on unfamiliar topics that you’ll meet in your IELTS studies
  • Develop confidence, learn how to improve your test performance and feel fully prepared on test day

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone preparing for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test. IELTS teachers will also find it useful.

This course is part of the program Understanding IELTS, you can sign up here

Who will you learn with?

I've been involved with English language teaching for over 20 years and now I split my time between online courses, teacher training and various work with UK universities.

I've taught English in Hungary, Romania, China and the UK. At the moment I teach in Shetland and I also write English language teaching materials.

Who developed the course?

British Council

The British Council is on the ground in six continents and over 100 countries connecting the best of UK culture with a global audience and providing high-quality English language courses.

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