How do i skim and scan in the IELTS Reading?

How do I skim and scan in the IELTS Reading?

skim and scan in the IELTS Reading
How do I skim and scan in the IELTS Reading?

How do I skim and scan in the IELTS Reading?


Since ‘time limit’ is one of the major drawbacks of the IELTS Reading module, it is crucial to complete it within the specified time. It requires you to answer 40 questions over three passages with a total of about 3000 words in just 60 minutes. So, Skimming & Scanning are important to achieve a high IELTS band score.  

While undergoing IELTS Test preparation, almost every aspirant would have come across these terms. But, there are many who are unaware of its appropriate usage.

Though Skimming and Scanning are the key skills to get success in IELTS Reading test, they are insignificant if you don’t know where, when and how to use them.

Skimming to save time
Skimming can save you hours of laborious reading. However, it is not always the most appropriate way to read. It is very useful as a preview to a more detailed reading or when reviewing a selection heavy in content. But when you skim, you may miss important points or overlook the finer shadings of meaning, for which rapid reading or perhaps even study reading may be necessary.

Use skimming to overview your textbook chapters or to review for a test. Use skimming to decide if you need to read something at all, for example during the preliminary research for a paper. Skimming can tell you enough about the general idea and tone of the material, as well as its gross similarity or difference from other sources, to know if you need to read it at all.

To skim, prepare yourself to move rapidly through the pages. You will not read every word; you will pay special attention to typographical cues-headings, boldface and italic type, indenting, bulleted, and numbered lists. You will be alert for keywords and phrases, the names of people and places, dates, nouns, and unfamiliar words. In general, follow these steps:

If you cannot complete all the steps above, compromise: read only the chapter overviews and summaries, for example, or the summaries and all the boldfaced keywords. When you skim, you take a calculated risk that you may miss something. For instance, the main ideas of paragraphs are not always found in the first or last sentences (although in many textbooks they are). Ideas you miss you may pick up in a chapter overview or summary.

Good skimmers do not skim everything at the same rate or give equal attention to everything. While skimming is always faster than your normal reading speed, you should slow down in the following situations:

– When you skim introductory and concluding paragraphs

– When you skim topic sentences

– When you find an unfamiliar word

– When the material is very complicated

Scanning for research and study
Scanning, too, uses keywords and organizational cues. But while the goal of skimming is a bird’s-eye view of the material, the goal of scanning is to locate and swoop down on particular facts.

Facts may be buried within long text passages that have relatively little else to do with your topic or claim. Skim this material first to decide if it is likely to contain the facts you need. Don’t forget to scan tables of contents, summaries, indexes, headings, and typographical cues. To make sense of lists and tables, skim them first to understand how they are organized: alphabetical, chronological, or most-to-least, for example. If after skimming you decide the material will be useful, go ahead and scan:

1. Know what you’re looking for. Decide on a few key words or phrases–search terms, if you will. You will be a flesh-and-blood search engine.

2. Look for only one keyword at a time. If you use multiple keywords, do multiple scans.

3. Let your eyes float rapidly down the page until you find the word or phrase you want.

4. When your eye catches one of your keywords, read the surrounding material carefully.


How do i skim and scan in the IELTS Reading?

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