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Get the Full Insight on IELTS Reading Test

3 Min Read
April 25, 2023


The IELTS Reading test is also considered one of the most challenging sections to do. This is because it will take most of your time and focus. Many people get stuck in one question or passage and run out of time. Make sure you strategize your test to make sure you get the best result. Let’s find out more about it down below!

IELTS Reading Test

The Reading test assesses a candidate's ability to understand written English in an academic and general context.

The Reading test consists of three or four reading passages, each followed by a series of multiple-choice questions. The passages are taken from a range of sources including academic texts, books, newspapers, and magazines. The questions test the candidate's ability to understand main ideas, details, opinions, and inferencesof the texts.

The test will contain question types selected from:

  • Multiple choice
  • Identifying information (True/False/Not Given)
  • Identifying writer's views/claims (Yes/No/Not Given)
  • Matching information/ headings/ features/ sentence endings
  • Sentence/ summary/ note/ table/ flow-chart/ diagram label completion
  • Short-answer questions

Text and Topics

The texts used in the IELTS Reading test are selected to be challenging, yet accessible, and are designed to test the candidate's ability to understand written English in both general and academic contexts. The passages can be up to 2,000 words in length, and the questions may test the candidate's ability to understand main ideas, details, opinions, and inferences of the texts.

Three lengthy texts make up the Academic Reading exam. These are:

  • The texts were gathered from books, journals, periodicals, and newspapers, and they are authentic. They cover scholarly subjects of popular interest and have been published for a non-specialist audience.
  • Texts are suitable for and accessible to exam takers who are enrolling in undergraduate or graduate programs or looking to become professionally registered.
  • Texts can be discursive and analytical or descriptive and factual. Texts may include other elements like drawings, graphs, and diagrams. If technical terms are used in the texts, a brief glossary is provided.

How Do You Manage Time for the IELTS Reading Test?

Time management is an important skill to have when you are taking the IELTS Reading Test. Why? Because you are going to encounter some long passage, and you don’t want to get stuck in the same passage, let alone the same question. Here are some tips that you can use to manage time in the IELTS Reading Test.

Pay attention to the introduction and conclusion

The introduction provides you with important background information about the text and sets the stage for what is to come. It can give you an idea of the main topic of the text and what to expect. On the other hand, the conclusion is the last part of the text that you will read and it provides a summary of the main points made in the text. It is often where the author's opinions or arguments are stated. So, by paying attention to these, you will get a better understanding of the text as a whole and be able to answer questions more accurately.

Identify key words

Keywords can help you to understand the main idea of a text, identify the author's argument or purpose, and find the information you need to answer questions. You can look for repeated words or words that express the main idea like "because," "therefore," "so," "however," and "on the other hand" tha often express the main idea of a text.

Answer every question

Even if you are unable to get an answer or an option, don't forget to still try to answer every question. If you don't have much time left, make an educated guess and you could be right because you won't lose any marks if you're wrong.

The IELTS Reading Test will take a lot of your time and attention. Don’t get too lost to one passage, and if you can, skim through and get the main idea. In this test you will feel the heat of racing against time. So make sure you prepare well and put the best strategy in use.