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How to prepare for IELTS Reading Test?

by IDP IELTS India 20 Jan, 2021

As we already know, the International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is an international standardized test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. The test is divided into four sections and you are tested on all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. While preparing for the reading part of the test, it’s important to understand the test format and then practice accordingly.

IELTS Reading Test Format

IELTS has two different versions: Academic and General Training. The test can either be paper-based or computer-based. Each organisation that accepts IELTS will usually specify which version of IELTS they would need from you for your application. In some cases either IELTS Academic or IELTS general training would be accepted.

  • The General Training Reading test

    It has three sections and 40 questions which focuses on everyday life-like situations, work-related issues such as applying for a job, and topics of general interest. The extracts in each section are taken from books, magazines, newspapers, ads, company handbooks and guidelines.

    Section 1: It looks at your social survival skills. The questions relate back to short texts that are relevant to day to day life in an English-speaking country. These might be texts like notices, advertisements or timetables.

    Section 2: This part takes a closer look at your workplace survival skills. The texts are extracted from job descriptions, contracts, staff development and training manuals, pay and workplace condition documents.

    Section 3: It contains a lengthy and more complex text on a topic of general knowledge and could be taken from newspapers, magazines or books.

    This reading part of the IELTS test measures how well you can understand main ideas, details, inferences and implied meaning. It also tests your ability to follow the development of an argument, understand a writer's opinion, attitudes and motivation.

  • The Academic Reading test

    Similar to the general training reading test, it assesses a wide range of reading skills. It looks at how well you can read to understand central ideas, details, opinions and implied meanings. Your reading comprehension skills are tested, including skimming, scanning and reading for detail.

    The Academic Reading test is made up of 3 long texts which are extracted from latest books, journals, magazines and newspapers. The subject matters are related to topics you might face if you were to study at an undergraduate or postgraduate level or apply for professional registration in an English-speaking place.

    You will have to answer 40 questions in total in the Academic Reading test. These questions can range from multiple choices to pick out information or a writer’s view, matching headings, features and sentence endings, as well as sentence, summary, note, table and flow-chart completions, and short-answer questions.

After thoroughly understanding the test format, practice comes into play and has quite a crucial role. Practicing with sample questions available online can help you get familiar with the format of the test. This will give you a fair idea of what to expect in the test.

Please refer to below practice links for your IELTS Reading test preparation: