1 - Read the questions
Quickly read the questions so you have an idea of what you are looking for. This means you are actively reading.
2 - Read the text
Skim read the text and underline parts that relate to the questions, fro your initial checking with the questions.
3 - What is the vocabulary telling you
Recognise the question's vocabulary to spot synonyms in the text. Consider a semantic field like cooking, with words such as fry, boil, roast. By connecting vocabulary, question, and synonyms in the text, you enhance understanding.
4 - Deduct from tricky vocabulary
It’s inevitable that you will come across some words you don’t know the meaning of. Even as a native speaker with a healthy vocabulary, I sometimes stumble across words I don’t know that are quite technical, according to the context. Ways to combat this is to:
A. Use the surrounding words in the sentence to decode meaning
B. Use what the previous sentence is telling you. How is the meaning being built?
C. Sometimes its the grammar's fault- identify the subject, verb, noun and any other grammatical word types you know. It may be that the grammar is tripping you up.
D. Don't expect to understand every word, it is ok. Focus on the words you do know, and leave the one's you are unsure about.
5 - Follow the order
In IELTS reading, the questions and answers will be in the same order, so once you have found the answers to specific questions, you specifically know where to search.
6 - Optimise the chances of scoring
By spending too long on a question, you risk losing the opportunity to answer other questions and therefore risk a lower score. If you are struggling with a question, move onto the next question. You can always come back if you have worked towards saving yourself a spare five minutes at the end.