IELTS Reading: Finding Keywords and Synonyms

Finding Keywords and Synonyms is Important for IELTS Reading

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The IELTS Reading test is a crucial component of the language proficiency exam, evaluating your comprehension of written English. To excel in this test, it's vital to master various reading strategies. Among these, the ability to find keywords and synonyms is paramount. 

Why are keywords and synonyms important for IELTS Reading? How do you find keywords and synonyms in IELTS Reading? 

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore keywords and synonyms, why they are important, and how to identify them, providing you with a secure understanding of these concepts. This guide is designed to equip you with practical strategies that you can immediately apply to your IELTS Reading test. 

What are Keywords in IELTS Reading?

Keywords are specific words or phrases within a passage that are directly related to the main idea or key information.

In IELTS Reading test, keywords are often crucial for understanding the context and locating answers to the asked questions. Hence, recognising and underlining keywords can significantly enhance your reading efficiency.

What are Synonyms in IELTS Reading?

Synonyms are words or phrases that have similar meanings to the keywords or phrases in a passage. Recognising synonyms is vital because the IELTS Reading test often uses them to test your ability to understand contextual meaning. To answer questions correctly, it is important to identify synonyms and understand how they relate to the keywords.

Why Keywords and Synonyms are Important in IELTS Reading?

In the context of the IELTS Reading section, both synonyms and keywords play pivotal roles. These two elements are pillars that uphold your ability to read. Keywords help you find specific information in the passage, like signposts showing you how to answer. They guide you to the right spot.

On the other hand, Synonyms are the words in the questions that can be replaced with similar words in the passage. You need to understand the connections and meanings between these words. Synonyms' words focus on how well you understand the context.

Now that you know about keywords, synonyms and their importance, let’s know how to find them in passages.

How to Find the Right Keywords in IELTS Reading?

Follow the IELTS Reading tips below to find the right keywords from passages.

Read the Questions First - Read the questions carefully before diving into the passage. This will give you an idea of what information you need to find and what keywords to look for.

Skim the Passage - Quickly skim through the passage to understand its content. Pay attention to headings, subheadings, and any bold or italicised text, as these often contain keywords.

Underline Keywords - As you read the passage, underline or highlight keywords and relevant phrases.

Use Context Clues - Sometimes, keywords are not explicit but can be inferred from the surrounding context. Pay attention to words that indicate relationships or provide explanations, as they may lead you to the keywords.

Common Keywords in IELTS Reading

IELTS Reading Keywords can vary depending on the passage's topic. However, certain types of words commonly appear in IELTS Reading passages, which are as follows -

Keywords in Questions Similar Keywords in the Passages



Focus on 

Deals only with 



Creative writing 

Writing good fiction 

Using Internet


How to Find Synonyms in IELTS Reading?

Below, we are providing some IELTS Reading Tips that will help you to find synonyms from passages.

Contextual Clues - Pay attention to words or phrases in the passage that provide hints about the meaning of a particular term. Synonyms often appear close to the keyword.

Comparative Analysis - If you encounter an unfamiliar word, compare it to the keyword's context and consider if it could be a synonym.

Understanding Word Forms - Synonyms may appear in different forms (noun, verb, adjective, and adverb). So, familiarise yourself with the various forms of common words.

Common Synonyms in IELTS Reading

Here are some examples of synonyms and their corresponding keywords –

Common Synonyms in IELTS Reading




Fantastic, Incredible, Fabulous, Extraordinary, Astonishing, 


Terrible, Dreadful, Abominable


Initiate, Inaugurate, Commence


Renowned, Well-known, Eminent, Illustrious


Vital, Necessary, Critical, Valuable, Indispensable, Essential, Notable, Famous

IELTS Reading Tips to Improve Band Score

Below, you can check the IELTS Reading Tips that will help you to prepare best for the exam and improve your score in the reading section.

Regular Practice - The more you practice IELTS Reading passages, the better you will identify keywords and synonyms. You can use the IELTS Reading Practice Test and sample material to improve your reading skills.

Build Your Vocabulary - Build your vocabulary by learning synonyms and antonyms of common words. Use flashcards or vocabulary apps to reinforce your word knowledge.

Awareness of Multiple Meanings - Be aware that some words may have multiple meanings. Consider the context to determine the intended meaning.

Improve Your Reading Comprehension - Besides keywords and synonyms, focus on improving your reading comprehension skills. Practice summarising paragraphs and identifying the main ideas.

Review and Analyse Your Performance - Review your answers and analyse any mistakes after completing practice tests. Identify why you missed certain questions and work on those areas.

Simulate Test Conditions - Practice reading passages under timed conditions to simulate the actual test experience.


Finding keywords and synonyms is a pivotal area of the IELTS Reading test. By practising the techniques mentioned in this guide and honing your vocabulary and reading comprehension abilities, you can significantly improve your IELTS Reading score and inch closer to your academic or immigration goals.

We hope you got a clear idea about finding keywords and synonyms, which is important for IELTS Reading. Now, try to find keywords and synonyms by solving IELTS Reading Practice test papers from the PI Website.

If you need further guidance, please contact Prepare IELTS (PI) expert counsellors. Our team of education experts is dedicated to providing you with the best advice in the IELTS exam.

You can get a one-on-one counselling session online via our platform. Contact us at or call us at +91 9773398388.


The key strategy for finding synonyms is to pay attention to contextual clues and compare unfamiliar words to the keyword's context. Familiarity with word forms and vocabulary is also essential.

No, you cannot use a thesaurus or external reference materials during the IELTS Reading test. You must rely solely on your reading and language skills.

Both synonyms and keywords are important in IELTS Reading. Keywords help you locate information, while synonyms test your ability to understand contextual meaning.

If you can't find a keyword or synonym, don't spend too much time searching. Move on to the next question and return to it later if time permits.


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