IELTS Reading Module Information & Tips

The IELTS reading test is conducted right after listening test. There is no break in between the tests. The reading test is 1hr long and  no extra time is given to transfer the answers on the answer sheet. Total 40 questions are to be answered. Each question carry one score and there is no negative marking so it is best to answer all the questions. Three reading passages are given in reading test.

The reading test is different for ‘academic’ and ‘general training’ candidates in context of the passages given. The pattern is same for both the academic and general training.

In the academic test long passages are usually taken from a book, magazines, news paper or from any other authentic source. They are a little difficult with high vocabulary and at times a diagram is also given.

The general training test also has three passages with each passage a little difficult from the previous one.First passage is relevant to everyday english and has factual information. Second paragraph focuses on work issues such as training issues at work, resources at work, payment schemes etc. Third passage is the longest and hardest and is based on general interest.

Following types of questions are usually asked in IELTS reading test:

Match heading questions

Candidates have to choose one heading from the list of headings which matches the paragraphs. It is important to understand the main concept  in the paragraph in order to answer correctly.  Read the paragraph first rather than the headings. Usually headings given are more than the passages and not headings will be used. The answers are usually not in order.

True/false, Yes/no, Given/not given questions:

In these questions usually the writers opinion is given or some information and the candidate have to judge depending on what is asked in the question. It is important to identify specific information in the passage and understand the information. A candidate should also be able to differentiate between true/false, yes/no and given/not given. The answers usually come in order.

Matching paragraph information questions:

The question requires matching the information given in the question with information found in one of the paragraphs in passage. Scanning and identifying information is necessary to answer these questions.

Summary completion questions:

In these questions candidates are required to complete blanks by using words from the passages or from the words given in the box. Selection of appropriate words in important and identifying the word (noun, verb, adjective etc.) Locate information in the passage to get the right word.Summary must be grammatically correct.

Sentence completion questions:

Fill in the blanks using words from the passage.  Locating the information in the passage is important to get the right word.

MCQs:

Choose one correct option from the list of options. Scan the information given in the passage and find the exact statement in the passage.

List selection:

Choose correct option from list of words, information, names etc. The questions are related to the given long list of answers. Read through the list carefully and identify key words.

Choosing titles:

The candidate has to choose appropriate title from the given list of titles. Focus on the main theme, the opening and closing of paragraphs and the details provided.

Categorisation Questions:

In these questions information has to be categorised ( which category the information belongs to).It is important to find same information in the passage.

Matching sentence ending:

Candidates have to complete sentence by matching the start of the sentence with correct ending given in a list.Choose the best ending to match information in the passage.Read carefully through the sentence and the ending.The sentence should be grammatically correct. Usually more endings are given than needed and not all of them are used.

Table completion:

Complete the table using correct words from the passage. Careful reading is required because specific information is required. Read the headings carefully in the table. Identify the words and also the word limit to answer the questions in important to note. The answers are usually from a specific part of the passage.

Flow chart completion:

Specific words from the passage are required to complete the chart. Follow the direction of arrows and boxes to know the order of information. Read closely and scan the passages.

Diagram completion:

Labelling a diagram is required in this question. The required information is usually situated in one or two specific paragraphs. Use appropriate words to answer the questions.

Short answer questions:

Candidates are required to answer regarding details in the passage. It is important to note the word limit to answer. The answer should be grammatically correct.

Reading band:

The score is calculated out of 40. Each correct answers earn one point.  The final reading band is calculated depending on the points earned. The following tables show the bands earned depending on the score earned. General training and Academic test have different scoring criteria.

Academic Reading
Band score Raw score out of 40
5 15
6 23
7 30
8 35
General Training Reading 
Band score Raw score out of 40
4 15
5 23
6 30
7 34
8 38

Tidbits:

  • The test will be 1 hour long and no extra time will be given to transfer the answers on the answer sheet.
  • Use pencil to underline or make notes on the question paper.
  • Use pencil to write answers on the answer sheet.
  • Spellings are important. Even if the answer is right but the spellings are wrong it will be considered as wrong.
  • You can do test whichever way you want. It is not important to go by sequence.
  • ‘T’ for true, ‘F’ for false, ‘Y’ for yes, ‘N’ for no can be used rather than full words.
  • Time management is important.Move quickly to the next question if you are not sure about the answer.
  • Find answers from the passages rather than understanding the passages because understanding takes time.
  • Read and understand the questions.
  • Read through the passages to gain general sense, theme and idea of the passage. Identify the main idea and recognise the writers opinion and purpose.

IELTS sample reading test can be viewed here :

https://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/take-ielts/prepare/free-ielts-practice-tests/reading/academic

In order to gain expert level, practice as much as you can and time yourself while practicing because time management is the key particularly in the reading test.