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Skimming and scanning are two very effective (yet different) strategies for speed-reading.

What is speed-reading? You may be used to read every word slowly and carefully to understand every sentence of the text. But on IELTS Reading test, you are limited in time and it’s impossible to read attentively all the information. But how to read more, in less time? One way is to use speed-reading – quickly read the text according to your purpose, getting only the information you need.


Skimming means quickly reading the text to get only its main idea. To skim effectively, you need to read only a part of the material.

You have already encountered skimming: when reading a long chapter of a book, or doing a research on a long article. In such case, you would probably read the first sentences of each paragraph, dropping down to the end of the paragraph.

How to skim?

1. Read the first paragraph attentively to get an idea of what will be discussed in the text.

2. Read the first (and sometimes the second) sentence of each paragraph – they give the main idea of the paragraph.

3. After you have read the first sentences, your eyes should drop down to the end of the paragraph, looking for important pieces of information, such as dates and names.

4. Read the last paragraph attentively as it may contain the summary.

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