IELTS Reading Preparation

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We have free tutorials, tips and advice to help you prepare for your IELTS reading test.

This part of the IELTS exam tests your reading ability to get the general message, the main ideas, to grasp detail, find relevant facts, recognise and understand arguments, opinions and purposes.

The format of the reading test:

  • Both academic and general reading tests last 60 minutes. Each has 40 questions. The 60 minutes includes the time you have to fill in the answer sheet.
  • The academic reading test has three texts taken from magazines, newspapers, journals, books. These texts can be descriptive or factual or more discursive and analytical. Topics are of general academic type interest but not too specialised and they can include diagrams, graphs and drawings.
  • The general reading test is divided into 3 parts. In parts 1 and 2, the texts are short and test your ability to engage successfully with written communication in your daily life, for example, timetables and advertisements in part 1 and the working environment such as job descriptions, staff notices and training information in part 2. The text in part 3 is similar to the texts in the academic test.

Different kinds of questions in the IELTS reading test

We can classify the questions into four main groups; 

  • Multiple choice questions: you have to choose the correct answer to a question, usually through lettered choices (A, B, C, D).
  • True/false/not given: does the statement correspond to what is in the text? Yes or no is sometimes used instead of true or false. If there is no evidence, if it’s not mentioned, the answer is not given
  • Matching: you may be asked to match headings (one sentence summaries) to the lettered paragraphs to check your understanding of the aims of each or what the main ideas are. 
  • Completion: there are several completion type questions. All of them require you to fill in gaps with a precise number of words, anything from one word only to perhaps no more than three. 

How are the IELTS scores calculated for the reading test?

  • There are 40 questions, 1 mark per question.
  • The total out of 40 is then converted into a score out of the IELTS band of 0 to the maximum 9.

Practice tests

Take a look at some free reading practice tests to help you prepare for your IELTS exam: