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IELTS Reading Test

Assessing your English reading skills

In IELTS Reading test, you will read a variety of contents. Then you will need to answer a set of questions based on the given text.

This exam aims to assess your abilities in reading English contents. It will examine your ability to read for the general sense of a text, find main ideas and details, understand inferences and implied meaning, understand the course of an argument, and recognize the opinion, attitude, or goal of a writer.

In IELTS Reading tests, the content may include different types of passages taken from a textbook, journal, magazine, or newspaper with the total length reaching 2.150-2.750 words. You do not need any special skills to understand IELTS Reading passages and answer every question. If you read carefully, you can find all the correct answers in the reading texts. If there is a specific technical term that is not widely known, there will be a simple glossary to help you understand it.

In general, you will have to read quickly, efficiently, and finish answering 40 questions within the given time. IELTS Reading test-takers have 60 minutes to do the test, both for Academic and General Training modules.

The experience of IELTS Reading test may vary depending on the choice of modules (Academic or General Training), as well as whether it is taken on computer or on paper, written with a pencil on an answer sheet.

There are some Reading test differences and similarities between IELTS Academic and General Training

Differences

  • Text content: In Academic module, there are 3 long passages with increasing difficulty from the first to the third. The topics are academic, and it can be excerpts from a journal, textbook, and much more.
    In General Training module, there are 4 shorter passages with increasing length and difficulty from the first to the fourth. The topics are about daily life or social survival (e.g. advertising contents or important notices), workplace (e.g. job contract or vacancy), and general topics taken from newspapers, magazines, travel brochures, etc.
  • How band score is given: Each correct answer is given 1 point. These points will be translated to IELTS Band Score. To score an equal IELTS band, a General Training Reading test taker needs more correct answers than an Academic Reading test taker. For example, to achieve IELTS band score of 6, you only need 23 to 26 points in Academic module’s Reading test. In General Training module’s Reading test, you will need between 30 and 31 points to achieve the same.

Similarity

  • Question types: Both modules consist of 40 questions, which may appear in the form of:
    • Multiple choice,
    • Identifying information,
    • Identifying writer’s views/claims,
    • Matching information,
    • Matching headings,
    • Matching features,
    • Matching sentence endings,
    • Sentence completion,
    • Summary, note, table, flow-chart completion,
    • Diagram label completion, and
    • Short answer questions.

There is a small difference between the Reading test on computer-based IELTS and paper-based IELTS:

Readingtestin paper-based IELTS

If you take paper-based IELTS, you must follow some rules that apply to all modules:

  • You should not open the question paper until you are told to do so,
  • You must write your name and candidate number on top of the page,
  • You must read each part of the paper and follow the instructions carefully,
  • You should answer all the questions on your answer sheet using a pencil,
  • You must complete all the questions within the specified time.
  • Unlike the Listening test, you are not given extra time, also known as transfer time, to transfer your answers from question paper to your answer sheet. Therefore, you must directly write your replies to the response sheet.

-Click here to download Paper-based IELTS Academic Reading sample questions
-Click here to download Paper-based IELTS General Training sample questions

Reading test in Computer-based IELTS
If you take Computer-Delivered IELTS test, you can simply enter your answers with the computer in front of you. Follow the instructions and make sure you write it correctly, without any misspelling or wrong capitalization.

To see how of IELTS Reading test is conducted on computer, watch the following video:

-Click here to download Computer-based IELTS Academic Reading sample questions
-Click here to download Computer-based IELTS General Training sample questions

Be careful when answering the questions. If you misspell, even if it’s only one letter mistake, your answer is considered incorrect. You should also understand the instructions carefully, so you can find the correct answers in the the reading passages.

Your Readingtest will follow your Listening exam, and afterwards you will do Writing test without any break. To follow the the series of Listening, Reading, And Writing IELTS Test, you must bring the same passport/national identification card as the one you use in the IELTS application form. The same document will also be used to test Speaking.

Want to know other IELTS tips? Learn more at IELTS Exam Tips page!

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