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Skimming and Scanning in IELTS Reading

Introduction to Skimming and Scanning in IELTS Reading

Skimming is the process of quick-reading a paragraph. It helps the test taker to complete complicated passages quickly with more accuracy. A common problem most candidates face in the reading module is time management. Skimming and scanning technique is very crucial to clear your IELTS exam in the very first attempt.

There are 3 steps in the Skimming process. They are:

• Read the first 2 sentences in the paragraph. (Topic sentence)
• Read the last 2 sentences in the paragraph. (Summary)
• Highlight the headings and subheadings; write short notes in and around the paragraph.

Story

Source: IELTS 11 Academic, Test 3

Introduction to Scanning and Skimming in IELTS Reading

Scanning is the process of speedily running through the lines in a paragraph looking for keywords that van give away the answer. Most candidates do not understand this method and waste a lot of time trying to read every word in the paragraph. Always remember that your priority should be in scoring more marks to clear the exam rather than to understand the theme of the passage. IELTS tests a candidate’s English skills and not general knowledge skills.

There are 2 steps in the Scanning process. They are:

• Read the question carefully.

If you understand the question asked, you will be able to identify the exact location of the answer promptly. Only if the Skimming process is done correctly will you be able to arrive at the solution.

• Keyword identificationIdentification of related adjectives, verbs, nouns, and other parts of speech. In this process, such significant words will give away the answer considering it is marked correctly. (Underline/circle the keyword)

Scanning

Source: IELTS 11 Academic, Test 3

Nouns: This includes names of titles, sub-headings, statistics, fractions and proportions, years, dates, months, and so on.
Verbs: Action words, past tense, present tense, and future tense.
Adjectives – Describing words.
Prepositions – Words that show position as the name identifies.

Intensive Reading:

The candidate should follow this process if he/she is unable to understand the contents in the paragraph even after the Skimming and Scanning process. This might occur sometimes if the standard of the passage is very advanced having complicated vocabularies and technical concepts explained. Intensive reading involves going through every line in the paragraph to get to the answer. To master this skill-set, the candidate must inculcate good reading habits which will help him/her to read and grasp words faster. This might also happen if the English level of the test taker is at an intermediate level or below.

Ways to acquire this skill:
• Reading books (Try to finish 1 book a month and then increase it to 2)
• Brain games like puzzles and Chess
• Crossword and Scrabble
• Memory games
• Memorizing a small paragraph and writing it down.

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