English proficiency Exam

IELTS Reading Question Types and Tips

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Blog Summary Ace the IELTS reading section with insights on question types, skills tested, and top-notch tips. Master various question formats, from multiple-choice to diagram completion. Decode the marking criteria and band scores to optimize your performance. Strategize time management within the 60-minute window and explore diverse topics. Uncover the secrets to effective skimming, keyword identification, and reading speed enhancement. Elevate your IELTS reading prowess and unlock doors to your study abroad aspirations.

IELTS Reading Section: Question Types and Tips 

If you are trying to ace the IELTS exam to fulfil your dream of studying abroad, you must focus on each test section in detail. This blog will take you through the IELTS reading section, IELTS reading question types you can expect and IELTS reading tips. The IELTS reading question types aim to evaluate a wide range of reading skills like reading for main ideas, reading for the gist, understanding the main argument, and recognising the writer’s intent, opinions and such. The questions in the IELTS reading section are chosen from books, magazines, newspapers and journals that are apt for those starting university courses or looking to register for a profession. 

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IELTS Reading Test Format

IELTS Reading Format 

Three long essays that cover everything from discursive and analytical to factual and descriptive

IELTS Reading Exam Time 

60 minutes including transfer time 

IELTS Reading Test Questions

40 questions 

Recommended Read: IELTS Exam Syllabus and Pattern 

IELTS Reading Question Types

To prepare well for the IELTS Reading Section, you need to understand the different question types that will be asked and practice them separately. The table below will give you an idea of the IELTS Reading Question types you will encounter in the exam and the skills being assessed:

IELTS Reading Tasks 

IELTS Reading Question Types 

IELTS Reading Skills Tested

IELTS Reading Task 1

Multiple choice 

It tests a wide range of reading abilities, including in-depth comprehension of particular details or a general comprehension of the text's key ideas.

IELTS Reading Task 2

Identifying information 

It involves testing the ability to identify specific informational points in a text. 

IELTS Reading Task 3

Identifying writer’s claims/views

This task evaluates the capacity to recognise opinions or ideas, which is why discursive or argumentative texts are frequently employed in conjunction with it.

IELTS Reading Task 4

Matching information

It tests the capacity to search for specific information and is more concerned with detailed facts than the fundamental idea, in contrast to task type 5, Matching headers.

IELTS Reading Task 5

Matching headings 

The capacity to recognise the primary idea or theme in the paragraphs or sections of a text and to identify the main idea from supporting ideas is tested by this task.

IELTS Reading Task 6

Matching features 

It tests the ability to recognise linkages and interconnections between facts in the text as well as the test takers' recognition of theories and opinions. For this, the test-taker must be able to skim and scan the material.

IELTS Reading Task 7

Matching sentence endings

The ability to match sentence endings measures a test taker's understanding of the major ideas in a sentence.

IELTS Reading Task 8

Sentence Completion

It assesses a test-takers' ability to locate specific information by matching sentence endings.

IELTS Reading Task 9

Summary, note, table, flow-chart completion

It evaluates the understanding of specifics and/or the main points of a passage of text. Test takers must be aware of the kind of word (or words) that will fit into a specific gap given. 

IELTS Reading Task 10

Diagram label completion

This checks a test-taker's ability for a thorough explanation and their ability to connect it to facts displayed in a diagram.

IELTS Reading Task 11

Short-answer questions

Short-answer questions gauge a test-takers’ aptitude for finding and comprehending specific information in the text.

IELTS Reading Test Marking Criteria 

IELTS scores for reading are calculated on a scale from 0 to 9. Based on the candidates' correct number of attempts, scores are awarded. Each question on the IELTS reading test is worth one mark. In contrast to the IELTS General Training reading exam, the IELTS Academic reading test is challenging. 

There are 40 questions total in the IELTS Reading test. One mark is given for each right response. The IELTS nine-band scale is used to convert scores out of 40. Candidates with an IELTS band score of 9 will likely have answered 40 questions properly. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

IELTS Reading Band Score 

The table below will give you an idea of how the IELTS Reading Band Score is calculated for each correct answer:

IELTS Reading Score Correct Answers 

IELTS Reading Band Score 





























IELTS Reading: How to Manage Time Effectively? 

Since you only have 60 minutes to complete 40 questions on the test, managing your time is crucial. If you find the first passage simple, you may finish it in less time, giving you more time to answer questions in the subsequent two passages. It is usually advised to spend at most 20 minutes on each component of the Reading test. As the test progresses, the passages become more complex, so ensure you have enough time to complete the final passage.

Read more: IELTS Writing Test

IELTS Reading Topics

In the reading section, you will come across the following topics. However, this is a partial list of topics. These are just some IELTS Reading topics to help you prepare better: 

  • Environmental Science 
  • Biology
  • Trade and Commerce 
  • Engineering 
  • Inventions and Discoveries 
  • Tourism 
  • Psychology 
  • Global Politics 

IELTS Reading Tips 

We have compiled a list of IELTS Reading tips below to help you manage your time in the IELTS Reading section and boost your score: 

  1. Hone your skills for each type of question in the IELTS Reading section
  2. Learn to skim and scan through passages 
  3. Identify keywords and phrases 
  4. Develop your vocabulary
  5. Focus on the introduction and conclusion
  6. Practice proper grammar 
  7. Improve your reading speed 
  8. Organise your reading time 
  9. Read all the questions thoroughly 
  10. Answer every question carefully 

Read more: IELTS Speaking Test and Tips 

Frequently Asked Questions

How many parts does the reading section contain?

There are three main sections in the IELTS Reading exam, and to achieve the best results, you would need to prepare separately for each of them.

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