IELTS Academic Reading In Detail


IELTS Academic Reading Test consists of three reading passages.These passages are taken from authentic sources like books, magazines, journals and newspapers. All the topics covered are of general interest. While attempting IELTS Academic Reading practice tests, you will come across different types of passages – narrative, descriptive or argumentative. Sometimes, the passages may also include diagrams, graphs or illustrations. If the passage contains technical terms, then a simple glossary is provided.

Duration Passages Version
60 minutes 3 Academic Download Answer Sheet

IELTS Reading test consists of 40 questions. Each question is worth 1 mark. A variety of question types is used in order to determine your reading skills. These question types include:

Question Type 1 – Multiple Choice

You will be given a part of the sentence and will be asked to complete it. Or a complete question will be provided 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 idea 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 recognise 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'.

Skills Assessed
  • Ability to identify the ideas and opinions of the writer

Question Type 4 – Matching Information

In this question type, you are supposed to match the information given in the question with the information found in one of the paragraphs in the passage. The passage contains lettered paragraphs (A, B, C, …). So, what you are required to do is 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 with lowercase Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, …) and a passage with lettered paragraphs (A, B, C, …) is given. You must match the heading to the correct paragraph. You need to write appropriate Roman numerals in the box on the answer sheet. The number of headings will always be more than the number of paragraphs.

Skills Assessed
  • Ability to recognise 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 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

First half of the sentence will be provided. You need to complete the sentence by choosing the best from a list of possible options. The number of options will be more than the number of sentences. The questions are in the same order as the information appear 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 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 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. It is not necessary that the answers 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 in the gap

Question Type 10 – Diagram Label Completion

A labelled diagram with respect to the description in the text will be given. You are supposed to complete those labels. The diagram may be some type of machine, parts of 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-Answer 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 answer 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 Academic Reading
  • Grab keywords to spot the right answer
  • Increase your range of Vocabulary
  • Make correct use of Grammar

You can attempt free IELTS reading tests or appear for IELTS reading mock tests so as to become aware about the type of questions asked and improve your skills.