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IELTS Reading: why isn't my score improving?

A student emailed me the other day, asking me to explain why his reading score was stuck at 5.5.

I had never met the student, so I could only offer general advice. Here's what I wrote in my response to his email:

The first step towards making an improvement is to understand what you're doing wrong. So, you need to analyse what's happening when you do reading tests. Here are some questions that you could ask yourself:

  • Do you finish all 40 questions?
  • Do you find one type of question very difficult?
  • Are you reading too slowly, or maybe too quickly?
  • Are you following all of the advice that I gave in this lesson?
  • Are you doing realistic practice tests using the Cambridge books?
  • What scores do you get when you do practice tests?
  • What problems do you notice when you do practice tests?

Try to work out what is going wrong, and then I'll be able to give you better advice.

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