IELTS Reading Preparation

Preparation Guideline and Lesson for IELTS Reading

The original IELTS Reading module is designed to access a candidate's ability to understand the types of texts, reading books, instruction manuals, leaflets, newspapers etc. he/she will find in the courses during studying in an English speaking country or during staying there to complete work experience and training programs or for immigration purposes. IELTS reading test lasts for 60 minutes and question types vary depending on whether a candidate is taking Academic IELTS test or General Training (GT) IELTS test.

The IELTS Reading test is designed to assess a wide range of reading skills of a candidate including:

  • Reading & understanding the theme/ general sense of the reading passages.
  • Reading for the main idea/ gist of the passages.
  • Reading for details.
  • Understand implied meaning / inferences of the passages.
  • Following the development of an argument.
  • Recognising writer's idea, opinion, purpose.
  • Being able to quickly find a point/ idea.

The Reading test would last for 60 minutes and you have to transfer your answers to the answer sheet within this allowed time. No extra time would be provided for transferring answers. Each reading passage suggests you to spend approximately 20 minutes but there is no hard and fast rule for that. You can schedule your time and spent more than 20 minutes on a reading passage while spending less time on another one whatever approach suits you.

The three reading passages usually have 2,150 - 2,750 words in total and you are advised to skim through the passages rather than reading line by line. Each correct answer would score 1 mark and there is no negative marking for wrong answers.

Specific and clear instructions are provided in your test and you must follow the instructions provided in the exam questions. For instance, if a question asks you to answer using NO MORE THAN 2 WORDS, you have to write 1 or 2 words as an answer. If you write the correct answer but the word limit exceeds 2 words, your answer would be treated as wrong and you won't get any mark.

Sometimes technical terms are used and you should not worry about that. The reading passages do not test your technical skill but your reading capability. If you can read and understand the topic and theme, you will be able to answer the technical reading passage (let's say a reading passage on robotics or fine arts) as well.

The two IELTS reading types i.e. Academic and GT are summarised below:

Academic Reading                                General Training Reading

60 minutes                                              60 minutes
40 questions                                           40 questions

3 readings passages                              3 readings

Texts from journals, magazines,          Texts from advertisements, booklets, leaflets, manuals,
books, newspapers etc.                        notices, newspapers, magazines etc.  

General interest texts written for        Texts related to everyday life, work & general interest
non-specialist audience

Usually 650-1200 words                           Usually shorter than 500 words 

Academic IELTS Reading Academic Reading:
The academic IELTS Reading module consists of 3 sections (3 reading passages) with approximately 40 questions. The total number of questions vary from 38- 42 but on an average, you can expect to have 40 questions. The three reading passages are on topics of general interest and usually these passages are taken from books, newspapers, journals, publications, research papers or magazines. At least 1 passage contains detailed logical argument. The reading passages are sometimes illustrated with diagrams, tables, pictures or graphs and each passage has accompanying questions. Usually, each reading passage has 12-14 questions. The passages vary in length (on an average 650 to 1200 words) and so does the number of questions on each passage. Questions sometimes come before the reading passage, sometimes after, but generally after the whole passage.

There are a variety of question types with each passage, including:

  • Multiple choice.
  • Fill in the gaps.
  • Short questions.
  • Sentence completion.
  • Heading matching.
  • Table/ flow-chart/ summary/ diagram completion.
  • Identification of writer's views/ claims: Yes, No, Not Given or True/ False / Not Given.
  • Classification.
  • Matching lists/ phrases.

» Click here if you want to prepare for Academic IELTS Reading.

» Click here for Academic IELTS Reading Sample Questions with Answers


GT IELTS Reading General Training Reading:
The IELTS General Training Reading module consists of 3 sections with approximately 40 questions. The three reading passages are generally taken from advertisements, leaflets, newspapers, instruction manuals, books and magazines and often come with illustrations and pictures. The first passage contains texts relevant to basic linguistic survival in English, which takes mainly concerned with providing factual information. The second passage focuses on the training context or professional context and involves texts of more complex language than the first reading passage. The third passage involves reading more extended texts, with a more complex structure than the previous two, but with the emphasis on descriptive and instructive argumentative texts. The third reading passage is usually larger than the previous two and requires more attention.

There are a variety of question types with each passage for GT reading test, including:

  • Multiple choice.
  • Fill in the gaps.
  • Short questions.
  • Sentence completion.
  • Heading matching.
  • Table/ flow-chart/ summary completion.
  • Identification of writer's views/claims: Yes, No, Not Given or True/ False / Not Given.

Please note that: Before 2009, Section 2 of the General Training Reading paper focused on the training context. From 1 May 2009, this section has been slightly modified and now focuses on the work context (e.g. applying for jobs, company policies, pay and conditions, workplace facilities, staff development etc.). The General Training module is increasingly recognised by employers, professional bodies and immigration authorities. This change was made to ensure that the module will more closely meet the needs of candidates who take IELTS for employment or immigration purposes.

»Click here if you want to prepare for General Training IELTS Reading

» Click here for GT IELTS Reading Sample Questions with Answers

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 2.15 (17 Votes)

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