The total time given to complete IELTS is 2 hours and 45 minutes. In such a short span of time you need to complete all 4 sections. How can it be possible? It is possible, by implying smart methods to complete it. Smart techniques help you in completing the test on time and with great accuracy. One of the smart tricks that will help you in not only speeding you up but also increasing your accuracy of correct answers, is to identify keywords. So here, we will let you know about, “what are the smart keywords in IELTS?” Pinpoint the words in reading passages, and also in questions. Look for words such as:-

  • Numbers or figures
  • Nouns and Verbs
  • Names
  • Dates and Years
  • Capitalized or italicized words
  • Locations

How to Identify Keywords in Reading?

A trick to complete the reading comprehension in IELTS in 60 minutes, is to skim the entire passage instead of reading the whole passage carefully. When you are going through the passage, you should underline the keywords. Words that you can identify as keywords are:- Name, Dates, Facts, Figures, and Location.

They also give you an understanding of what the passage is all about. This technique  will help you find the answers, easily without consuming much of your time.

For example:- if a question contains a name, it will be easy for you to locate the answer. If you don’t follow this method, you might end up losing your time in reading the passage again to find the answer.

 Also Read: Reading Passage in IELTS Test: Here’s How to Ace IELTS Reading Passage

How to Find Keywords in Reading Passages Questions?

Read the questions carefully and underline words that make the difference. You must be thinking about what possible keywords could be there in the questions right? But it is true, that questions do have keywords. You can use this technique especially in MCQs. These keywords when understood well, can help you go for the right option. Focus on the words “Not”, as many of the candidates are in a hurry and they miss “not” in questions that direct you towards the wrong answer. Make sure you carefully understand all the questions and simultaneously underline words like “Not”, “Recommendations”, “About” etc.

Questions that are in the form of ‘True or False’, identify keywords that match with the paragraph which gives you a more accurate answer.

Also Read: IELTS Reading Summary Completion Tips: Guide to Boost Your IELTS Reading Test Score

What are IELTS Reading Keywords Tables?

When you are in the process of finding the words that are of relevance in the test, you should make a table for your reference. While you are practicing for the IELTS test, you can make a more detailed table but when you are doing the test then you may not need to go into detail. In the Keyword table, you have to compare the words in the questions and words in the passage given. With such a comparison, you reach a step ahead in finding the right answer. For the Keyword table, refer to the following table

Keywords in Question Similar words in the Passage
Recommend Advice
Body Language Non- Verbal Behaviour
Focus on Deals only with

By bringing the habit of making this table in your practice test, you will slowly and gradually come to know what types of words can be identified as keywords.

Benefits to Find Keywords in IELTS

If you ask about the benefits of identifying keywords when you are doing IELTS, the answer will be there are many. The first is that it increases your speed of completing the whole test. Second, is that after identifying main words in questions and in the passage you don’t need to read the comprehension passage, again and again, one time will suffice. Third, with keywords, you can understand the meaning, really quickly in comparison to you when you don’t find main words. Fourth, Finding important words in the question, makes sure that you don’t misinterpret a question or you don’t leave an important aspect of the question, that is keyword method is kind of verifying what the question is asking.


Keywords play an important role in our life whether it is putting mains words on social media platforms or identifying keywords in the test to complete it. Using this technique in IELTS helps you a great deal. It directs your time towards putting in useful efforts. Identifying important words saves you from reading long passages again and again, which dissipates much of your time. And in IELTS Speed is everything, you need to complete 4 sections in just 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Not only in Passage, but you also need to identify main words in the questions as well. Words given in questions are many times used for confusing the candidate, if you miss out on the important words then you may find yourself in a losing state. So don’t forget to practice the keywords table to compare the main words in questions and  main words in passage.

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