A Complete Guide to IELTS Reading

The IELTS Academic Test and IELTS General Training Test both have slightly different IELTS Reading Tests. The IELTS GT Reading test has more information, neutral passages whereas the Academic test has content that is picked up from scientific journals- the content is technical in nature. Here’s a complete guide to IELTS reading

IELTS Academic is for those who:

1) Who wish to pursue undergraduate or graduate studies at a university in a foreign English-speaking nation.

2) Who wish to join an association for professionals in a foreign English-speaking nation.

IELTS Reading Test Format

The IELTS Reading Test is for 60 minutes. Each of the 40 questions is worth one mark. Your range of reading abilities will be tested through a variety of questions. The reading consists of three lengthy text passages with a combined word count of no more than 2750. The text quotes are genuine and were gathered from various periodicals, magazines, books, and newspapers. There is a chance that the text sections will include non-verbal components like graphs, tables, and other visuals. A glossary is given in case the text uses any technical jargon. Before beginning to answer the questions that are based on the readings, you must first read the texts. Specifically, you need to understand:

1) The text passage’s primary concepts.

2) The text sections’ logical justifications.

3) The author’s viewpoint and intent are subtly revealed in text portions.

There is no more time; you must input each response on the provided answer sheet within the allotted period. The following question types could be included in the list:

  • Fill in the blanks in a table or a paragraph.
  • Connect headings to charts, diagrams, and textual content.
  • Fill in the blanks in a sentence.
  • Short answers or a single word
  • Answers to multiple-choice questions
  • Answer a brief question.
  • questions with several options.
  • Finding a piece of information
  • completion of diagrams, flowcharts, and labels

How to improve your reading for the ‘IELTS Reading Test’

As previously indicated, the test’s text excerpts are drawn from a variety of English newspapers, novels, periodicals, and journals. As a result, you should be comfortable reading this material. In order to start preparing for the IELTS Reading test, you should start reading reputable English newspapers, magazines, books, etc. if you are not familiar with this type of material. The National Geographic magazine, The Economist magazine, and The Geographical Journal are three examples of reliable reading materials. In addition, you should read and apply downloaded study materials that mimic the questions and answers from the IELTS reading test. Regular reading of this material will help you better understand the contextual idea.

A thorough understanding of the texts will enable you to respond to the test’s questions more quickly, effectively, and accurately. There are four different categories of texts that the question paper writers choose from:

1) Analytical Texts: These explain the reasons why any incident occurred.

2) Descriptive Texts: Outlining a circumstance or describing how something occurred

3) Discursive texts: These contain a variety of viewpoints, and you must draw a conclusion by defending your position.

4) Narrative texts: These texts describe a sequence of events in the order in which they occurred.


Sample reading test questions can be downloaded on the Internet. Start studying them by following the guidelines. Practice continuously while being mindful of the time. In the third segment of the exam, it has been seen that applicants frequently run out of time. Therefore, it is crucial to rigorously adhere to the time limit during practise. You should enrol in a well reputed IELTS coaching center after a month or two of preparation if you want to achieve your aim of getting a high band score of at least 7+. The areas you should concentrate on when getting ready are:

Skimming and scanning:

You need to improve your skimming skills. In this context, skimming refers to quickly reading or scanning, skipping and dismissing less significant tough words. The goal is to understand the key contextual concept so that you can respond to the simple questions.

You need to improve your ability to scan a text. You should read the text carefully while scanning for the answers, paying close attention to dates, figures, words that start with capital letters, etc.

Increase your reading speed while skimming or scanning because time efficiency is crucial. You would have more time to answer the questions if you read more quickly.

Understanding how a paragraph is put together:

This is crucial. Understanding a paragraph’s structure will assist you understand the main point of the passage. The text’s major point may be stated at either the start or the end.

Learn to be calm:

If you encounter any unfamiliar or challenging words during the test, don’t freak out. If you don’t need them to understand the text, skip them. Practice attempting to infer a word’s meaning from its usage in the text and in sentences. Practice a lot, having in mind that you can run upon unfamiliar, challenging words. Take use of the coaching centre you are attending or your tutor. Almost a need for receiving a high band score is having a teacher or studying in a coaching facility.

Time management:

Develop this skill and pay close attention to the passing of time. As was already indicated, many students run out of time throughout the IELTS reading tests. Why does this occur? because they are not bothered by the practise time. Start practising closely keeping track of time from the beginning, and work on finishing each section’s questions in under 20 minutes. The third segment would suffer greatly if time was wasted. Naturally, you would have less time for the third segment if you spent more than 40 minutes on the first two sections. Naturally, you would have less time for the third segment if you spent more than 40 minutes on the first two sections. However, there isn’t any extra time, and the third segment takes longer than 20 minutes to finish. Many students struggle to complete the IELTS reading test due to poor time management skills. Therefore, you should strengthen this area.

How to ace the IELTS Reading exam:

  • Watch out for the title, headings, capitalised words, underlined words, italicised words, figures, graphs, and tables.
  • Make sure you understand the questions before you respond, and carefully follow any directions.
  • Don’t take too long to comprehend a chapter or a question because time is a major consideration.
  • Try not to read every single word. As mentioned before, read with a purpose when initially skimming and then scanning. Don’t get alarmed if you come across an unfamiliar word; you might not even need it.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, go on to the next one without wasting any time.
  • Use only the text’s existing words. It is crucial that you do not alter the spelling of any words in the text.
  • Pay close attention to your spelling.
  • Exercise extra caution while using the singular and plural forms of a word.
  • Complete the tasks specified in “Completion type questions” precisely.
  • If you are asked to fill in a blank, such as “in the _____,” and the correct response is “morning,” write morning rather than in the morning.
  • Do try your best to answer every question; there is no negative marking , so you have nothing to lose.
  • Remember to check your responses at the conclusion and make any necessary corrections.
  • If you want to be able to go back and make corrections, write your answers down in pencil.
  • Make an effort to finish the first two sections in under 20 minutes each. Since the third section is the most difficult, it will undoubtedly take longer than 20 minutes. Try to break up the 60 minutes into three chunks of 15 minutes, 18 minutes, and 27 minutes.
  • It is crucial that you enter your responses on the answer sheet. Writing on the exam papers won’t be taken into account.
  • Mark a question with (??) if you can’t locate the answer to it so you can find it later and try to provide one.
  • If you are asked to respond in “three words,” you must exactly respond in “three words,” neither more nor less.

If you want specific insights, watch this content on TFNG and Matching Headings.

    Alternatively, you can also check out this blog about True, false and not given in the IELTS Reading test.

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