CELPIP & IELTS READING PREP:
Start honing your skimming and scanning ability!
CELPIP & IELTS READING PREP: To succeed and achieve a score of 10 on CELPIP and 8 on IELTS, one needs to possess a multitude of skills. However, there is one skill that requires considerable time to master—skimming and scanning any text, particularly for the reading section. The ability to skim and scan is of utmost importance, as it not only aids in locating the correct answer but also ensures efficiency in time management. This blog will guide you through the necessary steps to enhance your skimming and scanning abilities.
Difference Between Skimming and Scanning
Let me explain the different steps you can take to hone your skimming and scanning ability. First, it’s important to understand that scanning and skimming are two distinct processes. When you skim, you read rapidly to grasp the overall meaning of the text. For example, when reading a paragraph, you read it quickly to get a general idea of its content. Skimming doesn’t involve pinpointing specific information or recalling particular terminologies or keywords. However, you develop a good sense of what the paragraph is about, even though you may not be able to identify or recall the topic sentence. Having a specific memory of the topic sentence is a different matter altogether. Skimming is about reading as fast as possible to gain a basic understanding.
On the other hand, scanning involves actively searching for specific information within the text or passage you are skimming. While skimming, you also engage in scanning to locate the information you are seeking. This entails training your mind to recognize specific words or terms that you have been looking for.
Currently, a high level of awareness is necessary, particularly concerning the vocabulary aspect, since paraphrasing synonyms and similar elements are also involved. This process essentially trains your mind to halt when detecting those keywords, allowing you to verify if it contains the desired information. Instead of attempting to comprehend the entire content again, you solely focus on seeking specific information through scanning. Skimming and scanning each has their own distinct methods of training.
Let us look at the steps:-
1. Building a Reading Habit
Starting with basic reading is something that you must begin with. Unfortunately, some of you may not like it because reading is not for everyone. However, to grasp a good understanding of how scheming and scanning truly work, regular reading is necessary. You don’t have to read difficult books, especially not the ones you encounter in university. Avoid those books and instead choose any books that you feel confident with and are familiar with. Just establish the habit of reading on a regular basis. It’s not about reading for five hours a day, but rather about creating a routine. Gradually, you can increase the difficulty level or length of the books over time. The key is to develop the habit of reading, ensuring that you can consistently follow the story and understand the different chapters without getting lost in unfamiliar words or confused in translation. This is the initial step: start reading a book regularly. You can begin with an easy one, even if it includes pictures like children’s books. The most important thing is to make it a habit, and that’s your first step.
2. Increase Reading Speed
Once you have established the habit of reading regularly, the second step involves automatically training your mind to become significantly more focused while reading. This means you develop the ability to effectively follow the content without getting lost.
In the second step you need to level up by;
Increasing the pace of your reading
I highly recommend that you take a reading passage or a book and time yourself. First, read at your comfortable pace and note how long it takes you to finish. Then, gradually decrease the time with each attempt to improve your reading speed. As you become more comfortable and develop the habit, increase your reading speed while maintaining focus and the ability to recall important details of the story or main topic of the passage or book.
Constantly improve vocabulary
In addition to timing your reading each time, you should also try to identify vocabularies that are unfamiliar to you. I have mentioned this in previous videos, and it comes up frequently and will continue to do so, as vocabulary is essentially limitless. You will almost always encounter words that may not sound familiar or that you have seen before but continuously forget their meanings. When that happens, revisit the word, understand its meaning, and try to use it in sentences. While reading a book, there will be an abundance of such words, especially as you increase the difficulty level. That’s perfectly fine. The more vocabulary you know, the better your chances of quickly mastering your scanning ability. Remember, skimming is simply reading speed and the ability to consistently comprehend what you are reading.
CELPIP & IELTS READING PREP:
3. Practice Reading Comprehension Question
Now, at this point, you have built a habit and are slowly or rapidly increasing your reading speed. You can start implementing this with questions to test yourself if you are recalling the correct information. You don’t need to test yourself in terms of keywords but rather have questions that will test whether you understand the book in its entirety. On the internet, you can find numerous reading comprehension exercises that you can definitely use. In these exercises, you simply need to grasp the gist of the paragraph. You don’t need to jump into scanning yet, as that requires a different skill set, but you should start practising with questions. You don’t need to tackle IELTS or CELPIP questions just yet; instead, find some regular generic English reading comprehension exercises that test your reading ability.
4. IELTS & CELPIP Question Time
Now, after completing the fourth step, the scanning ability kicks in and your reading speed increases. Make it a habit to practice this. Additionally, practice the questions and test yourself on keywords. Why didn’t we test the keyword part in the previous step? You know you’re practising questions well when you aim to be consistently correct. It’s crucial to understand the reading passage first and be certain of it because if you still make mistakes while reading and then encounter a question, it may reveal an incorrect understanding. There might be a misinterpretation of certain words or inaccurate comprehension of passages and phrases, so you need to continuously work on that aspect of the step. Once you’ve confirmed that everything is okay and you fully understand it, you can begin owning your scanning ability. Scanning is a dual task for your brain because you want to train your brain to trigger when you come across specific information. As mentioned in the second step, you must continuously improve your vocabulary as scanning ability is fundamentally connected to it.
If you lack sufficient vocabulary, scanning will be very challenging as you need to know a variety of synonyms and paraphrasing techniques. Otherwise, it will be difficult to locate the information you’re looking for in any type of question. Now, practice with more specific questions and even start practising with IELTS and CELPIP questions.
Find free sample question
You need not attempt a mock test. Simply find a free sample question of a reading passage in a reading section and see if you can answer all the questions correctly. I assure you, once you develop the habit of reading, you will experience a noticeable difference in your abilities. Your reading speed will continuously improve as your skimming and scanning skills enhance. The timeframe for this improvement varies from person to person, depending on their level of commitment to this practice. Some individuals, particularly those with a passion for reading, have achieved this within a month or even less. It’s not surprising that the reading habit quickly becomes ingrained in them, enabling them to efficiently skim and scan reading passages.
I have witnessed numerous instances where individuals who love books, despite their limited English-speaking ability, have excelled in the reading section. Many of them have scored seven or higher, thanks to their regular reading habits, unwavering focus while reading, and knack for identifying keywords. Although they may struggle with constructing complex sentences or using advanced vocabulary, they possess a solid understanding of word meanings. In the reading section, the focus is not on evaluating your sentence-making or explanation skills but rather on your ability to locate the correct information.
These strategies apply to both the IELTS and CELPIP exams. I highly recommend them to anyone aiming to perform well in the reading section, as skimming and scanning are the most effective approaches.
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