Find all the basic information you need to know about the IELTS Reading test.
On this page you’ll discover:
Timing: 60 minutes
Number of questions: 40
There are two versions of the Reading test – Academic and General. The difference between them is in the length and type of texts. Each has three sections.
Usually, the first section will be the easiest and the last one the hardest.
Here is an outline of types of text for each test.
Want to watch & listen? Click on this video.
IELTS Academic – required by universities and professional registration bodies.
You should take the Academic test if you want to apply for a place at a university or other higher education institution in an English country or in a non-native English-speaking country where courses are taught in the English language.
IELTS Academic is also generally preferred by professional bodies in English-speaking countries and required for registration. This is particularly the case in fields such as:
IELTS General – for people wanting to work in or emigrate to the UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada or New Zealand. It is widely accepted for:
In the IELTS Reading test, you'll be asked a variety of different types of questions in order to test a wide range of reading skills.
Each text will have 3-4 different types of question from this list.
Each correct answer is awarded 1 mark.
Your score out of 40 (your ‘raw score’) is converted to the corresponding IELTS band scale level using a conversion table.
You can find out more and see the tables via this link: IELTS Band Scores
Answer with the number of words stated in the instructions, e.g. ‘NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS’ or ‘NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER’.
Just follow the instructions and you won’t have a problem.
The Reading test is designed to assess your ability to:
As you can see from the list above, there are at least 12 different types of questions in the IELTS Reading test. They have different titles depending on which source you look at but I think the ones I’ve used best describe what each involves.
* The important thing to know is that they require different strategies to answer them. *
If you try to use the same skills and techniques to answer each type of question, you will easily make mistakes and lose marks and will probably run out of time to complete the test.
Time is your greatest enemy in the IELTS Reading test. Using the strategies I suggest will enable you to be highly time efficient so that you make the most of the 60 minutes you’re given to complete the test.
You’ll find the strategies on the individual pages for each of the question types as listed below.
Each page includes:
You’ll learn when to skim read, when to scan and when to read in detail.
There are also lots of little tricks you can use to quickly locate answers and eliminate those that are incorrect.
Click the links below to discover the strategies now.
To understand more about the reading skills you need to master, visit this page: IELTS Reading Skills
In the IELTS Reading test, you will not be given extra time at the end to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.
In the Listening test, you are given 10 minutes to transfer your answers from the test paper to the answer sheet so it’s easy to get confused.
Don’t get caught out. Complete the answer sheet as you go along.
As I’ve already mentioned, you must fill in the answers exactly as instructed or you will lose the mark.
Other important points:
IELTS Reading Skills – Master the skills of skimming, scanning & detailed reading. Understand the importance of topic sentences & how to use context for meaning & unfamiliar words.
Top 7 IELTS Reading Tips – Each tip will take you a step closer to the high score you want. They are the key to top marks in your test.
9 More Tips For IELTS Reading – Learn valuable practice techniques & discover a secret that may gain you extra marks.
IELTS Reading Practice – Discover the top 5 things you must do to prepare for your reading test.