IELTS Reading Exam Introduction

Posted by on June 28, 2013

About the IELTS Reading Test

The IELTS reading test is comprised of 3 sections with a total of 40 questions in different formats and a full 60 minutes is given to complete this portion of the exam. There is a difference between the Academic and the General Training reading texts.

IELTS Academic Reading Exam

In the Academic portion the examinee is presented with a long portion of text in each of the three sections. These texts are ‘authentic’ readings which means they have been taken from books, journals, magazines and/or newspapers. These articles have been written for a non-specialist audience and are on academic topics of general interest. Texts are appropriate to, and accessible to, candidates entering undergraduate or postgraduate courses or those who are seeking professional registration. Texts range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. Texts may contain non-verbal materials such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations. If texts contain technical terms, then a simple glossary is provided.

One or more of the passages will be a 'detailed argument' where one side or both sides of an issue is explored. At least reading text one could include a diagram, an illustration or a chart or table that contains information you will need to answer the questions given.

There are three texts and 40 questions.


IELTS General Training Reading Exam

The General Training exam is also divided into three sections

Section 1 contains two or three short factual texts, 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 contains two short factual texts focusing on work-related issues (e.g. applying for jobs, company policies, pay and conditions, workplace facilities, staff development and training)

Section 3 contains one longer, more complex text on a topic of general interest

Texts are authentic and are taken from notices, advertisements, company handbooks, official documents, books, magazines and newspapers.


Format of Reading Test Questions

Test takers should be aware that a variety of question types are used. Questions will come as multiple choice, True/False/Not Given (identifying information), Yes/No/Not Given (identifying the writers views or claims), matching information, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence endings, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, diagram label completion, and short-answer questions.

Each of these styles helps test different reading skills and abilities of the examinee.


Why A Reading Exam?

A wide range of reading skills is assessed, including reading for gist(the essence or central idea understood in a loose manner), reading for main ideas, reading for detail; understanding inferences and implied meaning; recognizing a writer’s opinions, attitudes and purpose; and following the development of an argument.


It’s important to recognize that this is a very comprehensive test and is not something that you can cram for the night, week or month before you take the exam. There are no short-cuts are ways to trick the exam. Careful preparation must be made as well as attempting to improve your all-around English.


If you are interested in taking the IELTS exam please contact us to find out how Venture English Institute can help you prepare for this comprehensive exam.


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