All You Need To Know About The IELTS Reading Test

What is IELTS?

The IELTS is designed to test your basic knowledge and application of the English Language. It will test your capability to speak, converse, address a foreign degree, or work a foreign job in English.

IELTS has two versions that you can sit for-

Academic IELTS: which is for students going abroad for their higher studies, i.e- educational purposes.

General Training: taken by people looking to immigrate or work abroad.   

What Is The IELTS Reading Test?

The IELTS Reading Test is a 60-minute exam, consisting of 40 questions. Examinees will be given three passages, with questions from all of them.

The passages, and therefore questions, are usually increasingly difficult with each passage. Excerpts for the passages are usually chosen from newspaper articles, journals, magazines, etc.

What is the difference between Academic Reading and General Training Reading in IELTS?

The General Training IELTS Reading section differs from the Academic one in the question pattern. In IELTS General Training, candidates have to address only one kind of question from each passage.

In Academic Reading, however, you may face different kinds of questions for the passages.

Academic IELTS contains academic passages, whereas General Training IELTS examinees have to read a combination of long and short texts, which are both informal and work-specific.

Although the Reading and Writing modules of IELTS are considered to be more difficult than the other modules, with proper strategies and practice it is easily passable.

What Are The Types of Questions in the IELTS Reading Module?

Types of questions in the IELTS Reading Test:

  1. Short Answer Questions
  2. Multiple Choice
  3. Summary Completion
  4. Matching sentence endings
  5. Sentence completion
  6. True, False, Not given
  7. Matching information to paragraphs

Why Is the IELTS Reading module important?

The IELTS Reading Test is more of an exam for vocabulary, as opposed to simply reading. More often than not, you will need a firm grasp of the vocabulary of the English language to be able to answer the questions of the Reading Test. This is because the Reading test rarely asks direct questions that have a yes, no, or one-word answer. The questions are either “paragraph-based” or “keyword-based”, in which case examinees need to know the synonyms of words or at least the meaning of the words to be able to identify and reach respective answers.

How Important is the Reading Module?

The Reading exam tests a number of skills of examinees- the ability to complete a given diagram, to find relationships and connections in any given passage, to be able to identify the overarching idea of the excerpt as well as the individual paragraphs and to be able to identify the authors’ purpose as well as opinion.

Do’s in Reading Test:

  • Skim:
    This means that you are expected to read the topic sentences of each paragraph to get an overview of what the specific paragraph is trying to say.
  • Make side notes:
    Upon reading the topic sentences, make a short side note beside each paragraph and jot down what the passage is about. This will help you later on, in the paragraph-based questions, where you can see the side note and understand which of the paragraphs the question is referring to and what the question wants to know. 
  • Underline the words you do not understand
    When you come across an unfamiliar word, do not panic. Instead, read the sentence containing the word, and try to understand the meaning of the word in the particular context. This will be enough. Usage and context of the word will prove to be more beneficial, as opposed to panicking and losing out on time for one strange word.

Don’ts in Reading Test:

  • Reading the entire excerpts:
    Do not do this, you will lose out on time. Read the topic sentences, annotate, and move on to the next. You have just one hour, and reading the entire passage will cost you the exam; not to mention that it is also unnecessary.
  • Misunderstanding instructions:
    Misreading instructions is the silliest way you could be losing marks. Take your time to read every part of the question carefully, and then move on to answering them. Avoid reading the passage, and immediately going on to answer the questions, instead of understanding what the question might be wanting from you.
  • Applying prior knowledge about topics in your answers:
    The test is designed to test your ability to extract information, as opposed to the “assumption” of answers. Refer only to the passage, and answer accordingly.

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