IELTS Reading Test Format

Duration and format

The Reading test takes 60 minutes. There are 40 questions, based on three reading passages with a total of 2,000 to 2,750 words.

Texts and questions appear on a question paper which candidates can write on but not remove from the examination room.

All answers must be entered on an answer sheet during the 60-minute test. No extra time is allowed for transferring answers.

Task types

A variety of questions are used, chosen from the following types:

• multiple choice

• short-answer questions

• sentence completion

• note/summary/flow-chart/table completion

• labelling a diagram

• matching headings for identified paragraphs/sections of the text

• identification of writer’s views/claims – yes, no or not given

• identification of information in the text – true, false or not given

• classification

• matching lists/ phrases

Academic Reading

Texts are taken from magazines, journals, books, and newspapers. Texts have been written for a non-specialist audience. All the topics are of general interest. They deal with issues which are interesting, recognisably appropriate and accessible to candidates entering undergraduate or postgraduate courses or seeking professional registration.

At least one text contains detailed logical argument. Texts may contain non-verbal materials such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations. If texts contain technical terms then a simple glossary is provided.

General Training Reading

Texts are taken from notices, advertisements, official documents, booklets, newspapers, instruction manuals, leaflets, timetables, books and magazines.

The first section, ‘social survival’, contains texts relevant to basic linguistic survival in English with tasks mainly about retrieving and providing general factual information.

‘Training survival’, the second section, focuses on the training context, for example on the training programme itself or on welfare needs. This section involves a text or texts of more complex language with some precise or elaborated expression.

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