Objective: First Certificate (FCE)

Anywhere, anytime: a FCE companion

Reading Part: scanning vs skimming skills

with 35 comments

Basically, these are the differences between scanning and skimming a given text:


  • Scanning: The kind of technique we use when looking up a word in a dictionary or in the Yellow Pages. You know what you are looking for so you are searching for that keyword or idea (you expect to find); i.e. you’re focused on finding a particular answer. When I scan a text, I look for words that are bold faced, italics, or in a different font size, style, or color.

Play this game! This game will help you practise scanning for information as you try to discover who has committed a horrible murder in Sleazeville! (It is important that you print out the cluesheet before starting the game. You need Flash player)


  • Skimming: The kind of technique we use when reading a newspaper or magazine. We don’t know we are looking for yet but we want to know what the text is about, to see if it is of interest. What do I do to skim a text? It’s a personal decision, but what I usually do is to read the heading or subheading and check the illustrations and images, if any. Then I read the first and last lines of each paragraph.

Take this skimming quiz! Are you a good skim reader? Brush up your skim reading skills with this three level against-the-clock quiz.

Written by ElenaBen

November 16, 2007 at 8:32 pm

Posted in Paper 1: Reading

Tagged with ,

35 Responses

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  1. excellent to practice reading skills .


    November 21, 2008 at 4:10 am

  2. Thank you! But hey, is there a difference between ‘skim’ and ‘skim through’?


    June 16, 2011 at 9:45 am

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    November 25, 2012 at 6:58 pm

  4. i really lv dis answer on dis reading techniques.tanx alot an may god bles u

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    May 19, 2013 at 9:07 pm

  5. this has d proper content. i luv it

    Akande Emmanuel

    May 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm

  6. Your definition is exactly what I know about scanning and skimming reading

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