TIP 1: Don’t spend too much time reading the passages. Use skills such as skimming, which means you quickly read for the main idea. You can start practicing reading quickly also. Make sure you time yourself when you practice reading, so you can make sure you’re not going over time.
TIP 2: Don’t spend too long on each question. Use scanning skills to look for key words or for specific details. You only have about 1 minute per question, so if it is taking too long to find an answer you have to just skip it and move on. If you do this yu can circle it and come back to the question later if you have time. You can also take a guess, move on, and come back later.
TIP 3: Spend less time on earlier questions. There are three passages. The first passage is the easiest, then the second passage, and then the third passage. Try to give yourself more time for the third passage.
TIP 4: Make sure you have enough time to transfer your answers before the end of the test. Unlike the listening test you are not given extra time to do this. You are provided with an answer sheet to write your answers on. It’s very important to leave yourself time to transfer your answers from your test paper to the answer sheet. An even better idea is that you DO NOT write your answers on the question appear and instead write them on the answer sheet directly. This saves time and also reduces that chance of making errors when you transfer them later.
TIP 5: Pull the staple out of your question paper. This will allow you to see the reading text and the questions at the same time. This is particularly important for the dreaded “true false not given” questions. Note the IELTS staff may not like you doing this, but there is no rule against it. Do it discreetly.
See my Reading Skills and Practice tests eBook