How To Do The IELTS Reading Test?

Both the IELTS reading test General and Academic are 1 hour long, contain about 2750 words, and  have exactly 40 questions with one mark available for each correct answer.

What's In The IELTS Academic Reading Module?

IELTS AcademicThe Academic Reading module uses texts from journals, books, magazines, newspapers and online resources, that are written for a non-specialist audience.

All the topics covered are of general interest to students at undergraduate or postgraduate level. The texts are likely to be written in different styles, such as, descriptive, narrative, or argumentative/discursive.

One of the texts will contain a detailed logical argument. Texts may also include illustrations, diagrams or graphs.

If any text includes technical vocabulary, then test takers will be provided with a simple definition.

What's In The IELTS General Reading Module?

The General IELTS Reading module contains three sections of increasing difficulty.

IELTS General TrainingSection 1 contains either several short texts, or 2 or 3 slightly longer texts on everyday topics, the kind of texts people living in an English speaking country would need to be able to read for daily life.

Section 2 has 2 texts based around work topics, such as contracts, job descriptions and advertisments.

Section 3 has one long text which is more descriptive in nature, often describing how to do something.


IELTS Reading Test: Question Types

Although the text types are different between Academic and General modules are different the actual question types are the same and they are what you need to get familiar with.

You will get 2-3 different types of these questions per section of the paper. Here are the different types:

1. Multiple choice (How To Do Multiple Choice Questions)

2. Identifying information (True/False/Not given)

3. Identifying writer’s views/claims (Yes/No/Not given)

4. Matching information

5. Matching headings

6. Matching features

7. Matching sentence endings

8. Sentence completion

9. Summary/note/table/flow chart completion

10. Diagram label completion

11. Short-answer questions (How To Do Short Answer Questions)


How To Do The IELTS Reading Questions

The basic strategy I recommend for the IELTS Reading module is as follows:

1. Skim the text to find out what it is about, generally . You may wish to label what different paragraphs refer to e.g. 'The Changing Environment'

2. Read the questions intensively circling key words and possibly writing synonyms for those words (remember the text is unlikely to use the same words so this should help you identify the relevant section later).

Don't rush this part, make sure you understand the question.

3. Now, use your skimming and scanning skills to locate the answer to the first question. Use the notes and synonyms you have already written down to help you do this.

4. Next, read intensively the section you have picked out to answer the question. If it is not the correct section then skim and scan again until you find the correct part.

5. Underline the part that you think gives you the correct answer so that you can check it later if you need to, and then write the answer in to the question.

6. Repeat this procedure for all remaining questions. I prefer to transfer my answers on to the answer sheet as I go along so I don't have to rush it at the end.

How To Use Text Cohesion and Linking Words Effectively

This aspect of articles refers to the way sentences are joined together. The type of linking words used indicates the type of answer the information that follows the linking word could be used for. For example:

Purposes of Linking Words

♦ Indicating time periods - afterwards, before, previously.

♦ Giving reasons - because, due to the fact that.

♦ Talking about a result/consequence - so, as a consequence.

♦ Giving examples - for example, such as.

♦ Making contrasts - but, however, even though.

♦ To list - firstly, secondly, thirdly.

♦ Introduces paraphrasing - in other words, to put it another way.

♦ Adds something - and, furthermore, whats-more.

Being able to identify the different types of linking words quickly and efficiently can help you, especially when reading intensively for detailed information.

A good practice for this would be to take any article, text or past paper and go through highlighting all the linking words AND deciding what their purpose is from the list above. This is particularly useful for questions such as working out what a writer’s opinion is.

So, that is how to do the IELTS Reading module, there are separate articles for each question type coming soon. In the meantime why not comment, like or share to help others.