Further to advice on practising the actual skills needed for IELTS success we can first look at Academic Reading.
There are several sections to the Academic Reading paper which include Multiple Choice, Matching Headings,Matching Features and Identifying Information.
For many of these tasks IELTS asks you to be able to skim (get an idea of the text by reading quickly) and scan (find specific information.) It is advisable to practice these skills. In addition to the actual reading practice tests you could hone your reading skills by reading local and national news /short novels in English/magazines that interest you etc. The more you read, the more your speed will improve as will your ability to assimilate information in English and build up your vocabulary.
For some of the tasks, ie. Summary, Note, Table and Flow Chart Completion the skill you will need is to be able to find specific information and ‘key words’. This is the general idea of summary and you can practice by taking any short piece of writing and trying to make it around a third of the original. Look for and highlight the key words in the piece and write the summary using this information and discarding any extra information, like dates, statistics etc unless they are absolutley key to the answer.
For the actual IELTS test paper you will often be required to fill in information using a limited amount of words, ie in a table. Again, by practising your summary skills you will get quicker at pinpointing the right information and putting it in fewer words.
You will also be asked to do a Diagram/Label Completion task. Again, skimming and scanning skills, location of the correct area in the text and being able to identify key words will be of use.
Remember – read, read, read…
Watch out for tips on the Speaking paper next time