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Reading – Overview

Overview of the IELTS Reading Test

  • Reading is different for Academic and General Training.
  • The IELTS Reading test lasts around 60 minutes.
  • There are between 2000 and 3000 words to read.
  • There is a total of 40 questions in total and each question is worth the same mark
  • The IELTS Academic Reading Test has three reading texts written for non-specialist audiences
  • The IELTS General Training Reading Test has 3 sections
  • You may have text with British or American spelling.

Reading Test

In the Reading section of the test, there are no common topics, however, as the Academic and General Training are slightly different there is a common format for both. This section has common question types and recognising the different question types will contribute to a better chance of increasing your band score. The text will be taken from a newspaper, magazine, book or online resource and may be written in a variety of styles including narrative, descriptive, or argumentative. At least one of the passages will contain a logical argument.

Text may contain non-written materials, such as diagrams, illustrations, or graphs. More technical terms will be accompanied by a glossary of terms.

IELTS General Training Reading

The Reading test has three sections and text totalling 2,000-3,000 words. There will be 40 questions.

Section 1 comprises several short texts, about everyday topics. These topics are of general interest a person living in an English-speaking country would need to understand.

Section 2 comprises two texts, usually relating to work, such as things you will see at work or whilst applying for a job.

Section 3 comprises one long text about a general interest topic. The text is generally longer and more complex than the texts in Sections 1 and 2.

IELTS Academic Reading

The IELTS Academic Reading Test has three reading texts written for non-specialist audiences. All three reading texts are of topics that could be of interest to students at postgraduate level or lower. All texts come from journals, magazines, books, newspapers and online resources. 



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