The reading test is 60 minutes long and there are 40 questions. While you don’t need any specialist knowledge to understand the text, learning a wide range of vocabulary is the key to a high band score.
There are “keywords” in the questions that are similar to the words you need to find in the text. To find the answer you will have to look for synonyms of the keywords as well as the actual keywords. For example, if the text contains the word “global”, the question might use the word “international”.
Keyword tables are a good way to improve your vocabulary, and will also help you to see how IELTS reading questions are made. Use some online practice tests and follow this technique (http://www.ielts-exam.net/ielts_reading):
1. Choose one of the reading tests.
2. Print the reading passage and the questions.
3. Get the correct answers to the questions.
4. Now read the first question, underline the keywords, and search for the answer in the passage – you only need to find where it is in the passage.
5. Underline words in the passage that have the same meaning as the keywords in the question (also consider antonyms – words with the opposite meaning).
6. When you have completed each question, make a keyword table.
Making a keyword table every time you practice a reading test is a great way to improve your vocabulary and understand the reason for each answer.