Reading Focus IELTS: How To Improve

reading focus ielts how to improve
Photo from

Want to improve your IELTS reading focus?

With so many IELTS Reading questions types, students often feel overwhelmed and lose reading focus. You can find out about the other IELTS Reading questions types here.

Also, find more examples and tips on our Facebook, Youtube and Instagram pages.

Over the years, countless IELTS test students have come to me and said the following:

‘Teacher, I’m have trouble with the IELTS Reading exam passages.

They’re just so boring and I lose reading focus easily.’

Is this something you have experienced before?

Have no fear though. You’re not alone.

Our lives are full of reading moments like these. Think of students at school or university. They fight uphill battles daily trying to stay awake while reading.

Whether it’s Romeo and Juliet in English Literature class or Taxonomy in Biology class, students often notice their mind drifting away from the task at hand.

Preparing for the IELTS reading test is no different.

In the working world, too, reading is something that most of the world’s most successful people have in common.

You only have to look to Jeff Bezos from Amazon or Warren Buffet from Berkshire Hathaway. These two highly influential and wealthy individuals claim to spend large parts of their days reading.

We can be sure they are not reading lightweight beach novel, sipping of cocktails and smiling effortlessly as the day passes them by.

They are reading dense, technical and lengthy prose. Writing that oozes detail they can apply and enhance their life.

Preparing for the IELTS reading test is no different.

IELTS Reading passages are also dense, technical and lengthy.

So, the question is… What can you do to enhance your IELTS Reading focus?

Top 5 tips for staying focused in the IELTS Reading Exam

Tip 1: Find a reading purpose

Students often fail IELTS reading because because they lack the correct technique and so lose focus.

How you can improve on IELTS Multiple Choice questions today!

Increase your IELTS Reading Speed

Students have to approach the IELTS Reading questions in a disciplined way. There’s no point reading a full passage of 900 words and then moving on to the questions.

You don’t have the time.

So, focus on your questions, underline key words and ask yourself the following question:

‘What do I need to know?’

Students should only move on to to scanning the IELTS Reading passage once they have an answer to this question in their head.

I advise my students to make a quick note of the answer beside the passage so they stay focused.

Don’t let your mind wander. Stay on track and find the answer to ‘What do I need to know?’

Many IELTS Reading students get caught up in the wider meaning of the passage and get lost, losing valuable time.

Don’t fall down this trap. Give yourself a chance. Focus on purpose.

Tip 2: Use a Visual Cue

Using your pen or finger while scanning or reading for detail keeps you focused. Using this technique will help you increase your reading speed.

Click here for more tips on how to increase your IELTS reading speed

Tip 3: Practice Read and Recall Technique

Many of my IELTS students read a section of a passage and I ask them to recall what they have just read.

Often they stare blankly back at me. This is because of a lack of reading focus.

To improve your reading retention rate practice reading paragraphs and either recalling them in written or oral format.

This quickly increases your memory and focus. Try it out and improve your IELTS Reading score.

Tip 4: Turn your Reading Practice into a Game – IELTS Reading Speed Diary

IELTS Reading practice doesn’t have to be boring!

Make it into a game and increase your reading speed and focus.

IELTS Reading passage are around 900 words, so what I advise my students to do is keep a reading speed diary.

Simply take a paper notebook and make a note of the day, date and how long it tool you to read a full IELTS Reading article. Make a note of this daily and watch how quickly your reading speed increases.

In time, this will give you an edge in the IELTS Reading Exam.

Tip 5: Find a Study Partner

If you find your mind drifting off during your IELTS Reading practice, then find someone to share the experience with.

You can read a full article and spend time discussing it. Ask each other before, during and after you read.

Let’s break this down a little further:

Questions to ask after reading the IELTS Reading passage title, headings and skimming the introduction and conclusion:

Prediction: What do you think the passage will be about?

Connecting: What do you know about the topic?

Questioning: What questions would you like to know about the topic?

Questions to ask while reading the IELTS Reading passage:

Prediction: How do you think the writing will support this main idea?

Inferring: Why do you think the author write this passage?

Connecting: Have you ever thought/heard about something like this?

Visualizing: What pictures have you had in your mind while reading the passage?

Questioning: What would you like to know about the topic right now?

Understanding: Is this making sense?

Questions to ask while reading the IELTS Reading passage:

Inferring: What’s the main take away from the passage?

Summarizing: Can you talk about the passage or paragraph in your own words?

Questioning:  What question would you like to ask the author of the passage?


If you apply my top 5 tips for staying focused in the IELTS Reading test, you will see your band score increase dramatically.

But please remember you need to incorporate these techniques into your preparation and give them time to take effect.

Improving your reading focus take time and effort, but with hard work and dedication you will come out of the IELTS Reading test smiling.

Recent Posts

Phuket’s only
Authorized GED
Testing Service Partner

+66 (0) 954 297 791

+66 (0) 93 732 7888