IELTS Academic & General Reading Test Format

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IELTS General Training Reading Test comprises of three sections. The texts in these sections are taken from notices, advertisements, leaflets, newspapers, instruction manuals, books, or magazines. You will find in IELTS General Reading practice tests that the difficulty level of the text increases with each section.
3
Sections
Duration
60 minutes
Topics
General or Common
Section 1:
It may consist of two or more short texts. These texts usually contain factual information. For example, an advertisement for a restaurant or sports center facilities.
Section 2:
It may consist of two texts of more complex language than Section 1. These texts are based on 'workplace survival'. For example, pay schemes, work conditions, or contracts.
Section 3:
It consists of a long text and is usually the most complex of all three sections. This text revolves around topics related to general subjects and interests. For example, passages are taken from documents, magazines, fictional or non-fictional books.
IELTS Academic Reading Test consists of three reading sections. While attempting IELTS Academic Reading practice tests, you will come across different types of passages – narrative, descriptive or argumentative. If the passage contains technical terms, then a simple glossary is provided.
3
Sections
Duration
60 minutes
Topics
Descriptive or Factual
Section 1, Section 2, Section 3

It consists of long texts and are designed for candidates who wish to enrol in universities or professional courses. All the texts are taken from journals, magazines, or newspapers. The topics have a specific style that is written in narrative, descriptive, or argumentative manners to test a candidate’s skills. Passages may also include diagrams or graphs.

Common Factors
IELTS General Reading and IELTS Academic Reading test comprises of 40 questions.
Each question is worth 1 mark. There are various question types used in the test to assess your reading skills.

Types of Questions asked in the IELTS Reading Test include:

Question Type 1 – Multiple Choice

You will be given a part of the sentence and will be asked to complete it. You may also be given a question for which you are supposed to select the best suitable answer from the given options. You are required to choose either:

  • One answer from four alternatives (A, B, C or D)
  • Two answers from five alternatives (A, B, C, D or E)
  • Three answers from seven alternatives (A, B, C, D, E, F or G)

The questions asked are in the same order as the information provided in the passage.

Skills Assessed
Ability to understand particular points or overall ideas of the passage

Question Type 2 – Identifying Information [True/False/Not Given]

In this question type, you will be given a set of statements. The question will be: 'Do the following statements agree with the information in the text?'. Then, you need to write your answer as 'True', 'False' or 'Not Given'.

Be clear about the difference between 'False' and 'Not Given'.
  • 'False' – Passage states the opposite of the statement.
  • 'Not Given' – The information in the statement is not mentioned in the passage.
Skills Assessed
Ability to recognize the information conveyed in the passage

Question Type 3 – Identifying Writer's Claims/Views

You will be given a number of statements. The question will be: 'Do the following statements agree with the views/claims of the writer?'. You are required to answer in 'Yes', 'No' or 'Not Given'.

Be clear about the difference between 'No' and 'Not Given'.
  • 'No' – Passage does not agree with the statement.
  • 'Not Given' – The information in the statement is not mentioned in the passage.
Skills Assessed
Ability to identify the ideas and opinions of the writer

Question Type 4 – Matching Information

In this question type, there are various paragraphs labeled with different letters (A, B, C, …). You are supposed to match the information given in the question with the information found in one of the paragraphs. The task requirement is to write the letter of the correct paragraph on the answer sheet.

Skills Assessed
Ability to scan a text to find specific information

Question Type 5 – Matching Headings

A list of headings marked with (i, ii, iii, …) and a passage with lettered paragraphs (A, B, C, …) are given. You must match the heading to the correct paragraph and write the appropriate number on the answer sheet. To make the task tricky, there will be more headings than the number of paragraphs.

Skills Assessed
Ability to recognize the main idea or theme of a particular paragraph

Question Type 6 – Matching Features

In this question type, you need to match a set of statements or a piece of information to the list of options given. The options are a group of features from the passage. For example, you need to match different events to historical periods. It might be possible that some options will not be used while some may be used more than once.

Skills Assessed
Ability to determine relationships and connections between facts

Question Type 7 – Match Sentence Endings

The first half of the sentence will be provided. You need to complete the sentence by choosing the best answer from a list of possible options. The number of options will be more than the number of sentences. The questions are will be in the same order as the information that appears in the text.

Skills Assessed
Ability to understand the main idea within the sentence

Question Type 8 – Sentence Completion

In this question type, you are asked to complete the sentence with a specific number of words. The instructions give you a clear idea about the number of words you need to write. It may be 'one word', 'two/three words', 'no more than three words/a number', and so on. Read the instructions carefully before noting down your answers. If you write more than the required words, you will lose marks.

Skills Assessed
Ability to locate specific information from the passage

Question Type 9 – Summary, Note, Table, Flowchart Completion

In this question type, you need to fill in the gap in the summary, note, table, or flowchart in context to the passage. You either have to select your answer from a list of options or choose words from the passage. The answers don’t need to appear in the same order as given in the passage.

Skills Assessed
Ability to identify the main idea of the passage and the type of words that fits into the gap

Question Type 10 – Diagram Label Completion

This question type shows a labelled diagram with a description in the text that will be given. You are supposed to complete those labels. The diagram may be some type of machine, parts of a building, or other objects that can be easily represented pictorially.

Skills Assessed
Ability to relate the information in the text to the labels in the diagram

Question Type 11 – Short Answers Questions

In this question type, you need to answer questions regarding the details mentioned in the passage. The details mainly relate to some factual information. You must write your answers on the sheet in words/numbers as per the given instructions.

Skills Assessed
Ability to understand and locate the information given in the passage
General Tips
  • Pay attention to the number of words you can use in your answer
  • Skimming and Scanning is a must-have skill to score well in IELTS General and Academic Training Reading
  • Grab keywords to spot the right answer
  • Increase your range of Vocabulary
  • Make correct use of Grammar & Spelling while noting down the answers on the answer sheet
IELTS General and Academic Reading practice test can provide you an interface about the type of questions asked in the actual IELTS Test. Practice rigorously and acquire success!