Time: 60 minutes
The IELTS Reading component consists of 40 questions. A variety of question types are used in order to test a wide range of reading skills. These including reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument, recognising writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.
NOTE: It is essential that you transfer your answers to the answer sheet. Nothing that you write on the question paper will be marked. Remember, you are NOT given extra time to transfer your answers so make sure you write them on the answer sheet within the 60 minutes.
You must write your answers in pencil.
In general you will be expected to read between 2150 and 2750 words during the reading test.
IELTS Academic Reading Test
The Academic version includes three long texts (700-950 words each) which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. The texts are authentic and are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. These have been selected for a non-specialist audience but are appropriate for candidates entering university courses or seeking professional registration.
Sometimes there are diagrams or graphs as a part of the text.
In some cases there will be a simple glossary (explanation) if the text contains technical terms that are not commonly known.
IELTS General Training Reading Test
The General Training version requires candidates to read extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines. These materials are authentic (not just created for the exam) and you are likely to encounter these types of text on a daily basis in an English speaking environment.
There are three sections with different tasks.
Section 1: There are two or three short factual texts. Each one of these may contain up to 8 shorter texts related to that topic, for example an accommodation guide with 6 different alternatives of where to stay. The topics are about everyday life in an English-speaking country.
Section 2: There are two short texts which are factual but more related to the work environment. Some examples are company policies, information on the work noticeboard, details of a staff training course etc.
Section 3: This is a long text about a general topic of interest. The style is similar to the texts that appear in the Academic Reading Test.
Types of questions in the IELTS Reading Test
There are 40 questions in the IELTS reading test. The most common type of questions in this section are:
- Multiple choice – you need to choose an answer from a list of alternatives (A, B, C or D)
- Gap fill – fill the spaces in a passage or table
- Headings – Choose a heading for each paragraph from a list provided (sometimes up to 12 different options).
- Complete sentences – you must finish the sentence (it needs to be grammatically correct too)
- Short answers – give short answers (normally no more than three words) to open questions
Sometimes you will be asked to write NO MORE THAN THREE Words, which means a maximum of three words. if you write 4, then it is automatically wrong. BUT be careful! Sometimes it will say just one word, a letter or a number. It is important to read the instructions carefully.