The Reading Section of the IELTS test will be discussed in this blog. Like IELTS Writing, IELTS Reading also has different tests for Academic and General Training. During this test, the test taker or students must answer 40 questions for a total of 3 reading passages. IELTS reading is designed to test a test taker’s ability to:
- Read for gist
- Read for main ideas
- Read for detail, skim for answers
- Understand the logical argument
- Recognize the writer’s opinions, attitudes, and purpose
Test Duration: 60 minutes
The test taker has a total of 60 minutes to read 3 passages. Within the same framework of time, the test taker or students must answer 40 questions asked in the test. No extra time is given to transfer the answers to the answer sheet-like in IELTS Listening, you must answer within the given 60 minutes in the answer sheet, reading all the passages, along with correct spelling and grammar.
Both Academic and General Training test-takers need to read 3 reading passages and answer 40 questions.
IELTS Reading Academic Format:
IELTS Academic Reading has 3 long texts which range from descriptive and factual to discursive and analytical contexts. The texts for academic reading usually are extracted from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. The texts are selected for the readers who aren’t specialists but are entering university courses or seeing professional registration. The texts have a touch of academic specialization.
The texts deal with issues that are interesting, recognizably appropriate, and accessible to test takers or students of this format. Passages may be written in many different styles; narrative, descriptive, or discursive/argumentative. At least one of the given texts will contain a detailed logical argument. A simple glossary is provided if there is the use of technical terms, at times the text may contain non-verbal like diagrams, graphs, or illustrations.
IELTS Reading General Training Format:
IELTS General Training Reading has 3 text which focuses on situations faced in everyday life, work issues, or topics of general interests. The texts are taken from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, guidelines, and handbooks.
The first text is short and tests your social survival skills. The text here may be notices, advertisements, or timetables. The text is mainly about getting and providing general factual information and it contains texts relevant to basic linguistic survival with the language.
The second text test your workplace survival skills and the text could be about job descriptions contracts, staff development, training manuals, and so on.
The third text is relatively longer than the other two and contains a complex text on a topic of general interest. It could be extracted from newspapers, magazines, and books, and the text is rather descriptive and instructive than argumentative.
In the IELTS reading test, the test taker or students is required to answer a series of questions for each test. The number of questions for each passage may vary, but they need to answer 40 questions overall. There are a variety of questions the test taker must answer and will be given several question types to deal with. To be prepared for IELTS Reading, the test taker must know how to deal with every question type.
Although the test format is different for IELTS Academic and General Reading, the question types the test takers have to tackle are the same.
Question types in IELTS:
Based on the text, multiple-choice questions will be asked to the test takers. The questions are in the same order as the information in the test, which means the text related to the first question will be located before the answer to the second question.
The number of answers to identify in the multiple-choice will be provided in the instructions. The number of choices provided for the question will determine the number of correct answers. From 4 choices (A, B, C, D), the test takers must choose the best answer, from 4 choices (A, B, C, D, E), the test taker must choose the two best answers. And from 7 choices (A, B, C, D, E, F, G), the test taker must choose the three best answers.
The questions asked may involve questions like completing a sentence or could involve choosing the best answer for the question.
While answering this question, the test takers/ students are required to write the letter which contains the correct answer on the answer sheet. Similar to what the test takers do for Multiple choice in IELTS Listening.
The question asked for Identifying Information will be in the form of True, False, or Not Given. Based on the text, the test takers will be given statements and asked, “Do the following statements agree with the information in the test?”. To which the test taker must answer with True, False or Not Given.
The questions are in the same order as the information in the test, which means the text related to the first question will be located before the answer of the second answer.
Here, in this question “False” and “Not Given” makes a lot of test-takers confused so it is necessary to understand the difference between these two terms. If the statement in the passage is the opposite of the statement in the question, the answer to the statement will be “False” and if the given statement is not confirmed or contradicted in the passage, the answer to the given statement will be “Not Given”.
The answers for this question type are limited to the passage only. Knowledge beyond the text will not play a part in deciding the answers for this question type.
Identifying Writer’s Views/Claims
Here the test takers/ students will be given statements and asked, “Do the following statements agree with the views/ claims of the writer?”. To which the test taker must answer with Yes, No, or Not Given based on the given passage.
The questions are in the same order as the information in the text, which means the text related to the first question and its answer will be located before the answer of the second answer. Similar to the True, False, and Not Given question, the test taker must understand that “No” is answered to the question statement if it is opposite to what is stated in the passage. And “Not Given” is answered to such statements when the passage neither confirms nor contradicts the given statement.
The answers for this question type will be limited to the passage only. The test takers must understand that knowledge beyond the text will not play a part in deciding the answers to this question.
Here, the test taker is asked to find specific details, examples, reasons, descriptions, comparisons summary, or an explanation, the test takers must locate specific information within the lettered paragraphs/ section of a text to the letter of the correct paragraphs/ sections in the boxes on their answer sheet.
The test-takers or students need not find information in every paragraph/ section of the given passage, but the test takers may need to locate more than one piece of information in a given paragraph/ section. If such a case appears, the instructions will instruct the test takers that they can use any letter more than once.
In Matching Headings, the test taker is asked to match headings to the relevant paragraphs. Here, the headings refer to the main idea of the given paragraph or the section of the reading text. So, the test takers are required to match the correct heading from the provided options to the paragraphs or the sections.
There are always more headings given than the number of paragraphs, thus some headings will note used. At times, some paragraphs are left out from this task, usually, this question type is used with texts that contain paragraphs and sections with defined themes.
The test takers are given a list of options to match with a set of statements or pieces of information. The options that are given consist of features from the text which are distinguished by letters.
The test takers might be asked to match different research findings to a list of researchers, or events to historical periods. The list of options will always be more than the information provided, so it is possible that some of the options will not be used. There are also chances that the options will be used more than once, in such cases, the test takers will be instructed that they can use the options more than once.
Matching Sentence Ending
The test takers or students are asked to complete the sentences based on the text, the test takers will be given the first half of a sentence, they then need to choose the best way to complete it from the list of options given.
There will be more options given for the test takers to choose from. The questions are in the same order as the information in the text, which means the text related to the first question and its answer will be located before the answer of the second answer.
For Sentence Completion, the test takers or students are asked to complete the sentences within a set number of words. The words for the answer must be taken from the text itself.
The test takers are given a set number of words/numbers through the instructions to be included in the answer for sentence completion. The instructions might state “No More than Two Words”, where the test taker should not write 3 or 4 words, every word will count. Every small word like will be taken into count, and answers like “a mountain” will be counted as two words.
If the test takers or students write more than the set number of words, their answers will be marked incorrect. The answers to this question type will be in order; the answer to the first question will be found before the answer to the second question. However, hyphenated words like “in-law” are counted as a single word.
Summary, Notes, Table, Flow-Chart Completion
Summary Completion: The test taker will be presented with the summary of the reading text, and they are required to complete the summary. The summary will usually be of a part of the text than the entire text.
Note Completion: The test taker will be presented with several notes relating to the reading text, and they are required to complete the notes.
Table Completion: The test taker will be presented with a table with some of the cells empty, or partially empty. The table will be based on the reading text, and the test takers are required to fill in the empty cells in the table.
Flow-Chart Completion: The test taker will be presented with a flowchart; a series of boxes or steps linked by arrows to show a sequence of events. These boxes will be empty or with some of the cells empty, or partially empty and the test takers are required to fill in the empty boxes in the flowchart.
The answers to these question types will not come in order. And the question will be based on a section or a paragraph of the text, rather than the entire paragraph.
There are two ways the questions can be asked for this task type, one where the test takers are required to find and select the words from the passage and the other where the test takers must select the words from the given list of answers. If the test takers are instructed to select the words from the text, they will also be given word limits.
Diagram Label Completion
Here, the test takers are required to complete the labels on the diagram that is related to the description in the text. The question will be based on a section or a paragraph of the text than being based on the entire text.
The question will ask you to label some type of machine, parts of a building, or any other element that can be represented pictorially. The task type is often used with descriptive texts or texts that describe processes.
The task will have instructions for word/number limits and the answers will not be available in order in the passage.
Short Answer Question
For the Short Answer Question, the test takers are required to answer the factual details in the text. The questions will be asked on the factual terms in the text, and the instructs will set the word/number limit for the answer.
The answers for each question will be in the same order in the text; the first answer will appear before the answer to the second question.
The test-takers will lose their points if they fail to answer according to the instructions.
The 40 questions you answer in IELTS Reading will each value one mark. Thus, for every correct answer the test taker gives, they will be rewarded a point. The test taker doesn’t lose a point if the answers they give are wrong, so make sure to answer all the questions as instructed.
All the scores you receive during the test will be converted into band scores. The scoring for IELTS Academic and General Training is different in IELTS Reading. The scoring chart makes it seem as if getting a higher band score in IELTS Reading is easier in Academic than in General training, but considering all the factors of both the tests, the scoring chart is considered fair.
IELTS Academic Reading:
Here is a scoring chart for the total correct answers and their equivalent band scores for IELTS Academic Reading;
IELTS Academic Band Scores
IELTS General Training Reading:
Here is a scoring chart for the total correct answers and their equivalent band scores for IELTS General Training Reading;
|IELTS General Training Band Scores
Tips For IELTS Reading
- Read as many articles as you can, reading is the essential practice for your reading test, you need to read to build your reading skills. Expand and enrich your vocabulary.
- You can listen to the audio of the podcast which will help with your pronunciation. Or else you can record the audio of your readings and provide feedback from it.
- The English language can be hard for someone so, to overcome read as much as you can in a day. The more you read or study books, the more you can improve your English reading skills.
- No need to read the whole text thoroughly at once. Do not spend time reading the whole text and trying to understand the text. You need to keep coming back to the text for finding and confirming your answers.
- Use the technique of skimming, it is not necessary to understand the text for the IELTS Reading. Skim through the whole text so that you have an idea of what the text is about.
- Practice Scanning Methods to find the answers, the test taker does not have time to read the entire text, again and again, scan for a phrase or a word to find the answer.
- Mark the keywords while you read the text, it will be helpful when you try to spot the after reading the text.
- Read the Title before you go on to read the entire passage. The title will give you an idea of what the text is going to be about. it will help you understand the text.
- The key to cracking the IELTS Reading is time management. Allocating time equally for each passage is useless for IELTS Reading. The final text is usually much harder to deal with, so try to give 30 mins for it. Manage your time so that you complete all tasks within the given framework of time.
- Use correct grammar, incorrect grammar can change the entire meaning of the answer.
- Spelling mistakes will be penalized, spelling mistakes will be counted as wrong answers so watch out for them. Make sure you have correct spellings for every answer.
- Do Not Get Stuck. If you are unable to find an answer to a question, do not spend time finding it. Skip the question and come back for it later.
- Always transfer your answers to your answer sheet as you answer every question. You will not have extra time like in IELTS Listening to transfer the questions to the answer sheet.
- Look out for the word limits. Every word you write counts, small words like “a” will also count. If the instruction asks for one word you must write one word, without using small words because if you use it, the word count would be 2.
- If you fail to find the answer till the very end of the test, Guess it. Do not leave an empty space. If you write something on the test, there are chances that the answer will be correct, and you get a point for it. But if you don’t write anything, you do not have any chance to score.
- If you are running out of time and still need to read and finish the test, simply focus on answering the test. This works for multiple choice answers, guess the answer if you are running out of time to read and answer correctly, there are chances that your answers might be correct.
We hope our Gurubaa blog “IELTS Reading” has helped enhance your knowledge of the Reading test. If you have queries, feel free to comment them or you can visit/contact Gurubaa for more information.