Skimming and Scanning

  • Skimming is reading quickly to find the general overview of the passage
  • Scanning is reading quickly to find specific details within the passage.

What are some skimming techniques?

Always think about the title, headings, and topic sentences of reading passages, as they are the main ideas. Always read the major parts such as the titles and headings carefully when you are skimming a reading passage. The main idea of entire readings, sections, or paragraphs of reading passages should become clear when doing this.

Reading either the first sentence, or the first and last sentence of a paragraph is another great skimming technique. The first and/or last sentence of a paragraph will provide enough information about the general overview of a paragraph for the most part. Heading match and title match questions are easier to answer when using this technique.

What are some scanning techniques?

Key words are most important when scanning. When scanning a text, vocabulary such are proper nouns, dates, numbers, and times is what you are looking for. Specific details can also be found when using scanning techniques.

When scanning a reading passage, it is most important that you know the key words in the question so that you can find the key words in the reading passage.

When looking for specific details, there are different ways to scan a reading passage. Here are some examples:

You can follow your finger or a pen/pencil in order to create better scanning techniques. Circling or underlining the key words within the reading passage is another good option to consider.

Highlight all of the key words in the paragraph:


Reference: IELTS Essential