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IELTS Reading Test Tips and Advice

The General and Academic Training Reading tests are usually graded to the same level. However, the texts mentioned in the Academic Reading Test can be more challenging as compared to those mentioned in the General Training Test.

Test duration: 60 minutes (for both Academic and General tests)

What is the IELTS Reading Test Format (Academic)?

In your Reading test (Academic), you will find three sections, each having one long text.

These texts are excerpts borrowed from either books, magazines or newspapers. These are usually aroundtopics of general interest, and so you need not be specialist to answer them. These excerpts can range from being factual and descriptive to analytical and discursive. They may also have non-verbal elements like graphs, diagrams or illustrations. If in case, there are jargons or technical terms used, a glossary will be provided.

IELTS Reading test format - General Training

In your Reading test (General Training), you will find three sections.

Section 1: Two or three factual texts (short), one of which may be composite (consisting of 6-8 short texts related by topic, e.g. hotel advertisements). Topics are relevant to everyday life in an English-speaking country.

Section 2: Two factual texts (short) that focus on work-related issues (e.g. company policies, applying for jobs, salary, workplace facilities, or staff development and training).

Section 3: Contains a slightly more complex and longer text on a generic topic. It will be passage taken from real notices, company handbooks, advertisements, books, official documents, magazines or newspapers.

Helpful Tips for IELTS Reading Test

  • Practise reading different kinds of texts in English to develop the habit of reading quickly.
  • Before you answer any question, read each question properly to make it easier to find answers later. If you can, mark possible answers while you read. If you are taking IELTS on computer, make notes or even highlight any section of the text.
  • Start with a cursory reading of the text to have a generic idea what it is about. Once you are a little familiar, read it carefully keeping in mind the questions to which you need to find the answers.
  • Since you do not have to apply your own knowledge to answer the questions, all answers will be there in the passage itself. Read carefully to not miss them.
  • While answering, ensure that you are using the correct spellings as given in the passage.
  • Sometimes there can be questions to test upon your understanding of the given passage. For instance, the question could be about the topic, highlighting particular words or ideas denoting the core message of the passages.
  • It is a good practice to mark important words as you read along. For instance, if there are important dates, mark them! It becomes easier to spot them if a question is asked around the same.
  • Ensure your spellings are always correct, especially when you are copying from the passage.
  • if you are attempting IELTS on paper, write your answers down on the answer sheet. You will not get any extra time later on to transfer any of your answers.

To be better prepared, you can also download the range of other important official IDP Education IELTS preparation tools that we have available for you.

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IELTS Support Tools A step-by-step guide to improve your language and test taking skills. Download