Exams Know-how

IELTS Reading Test 2023: Format, Study Material, Questions Types, and More

Yocket Editorial Team

Reading plays an important role in each one’s life. Be it comprehending simple direction signs, bills, or lengthy books, reading is an integral part. The IELTS reading test section is no different. It evaluates aspirants' ability to read and understand passages in a given time. If you, too, have started preparing for the IELTS Reading test, but wish to understand the section, go through this article. 

In this article, we will explain in detail the constituents of the IELTS Reading test. Let’s get started! 

Table of Contents

What is the IELTS Reading Test?

The IELTS Reading test is of two types: IELTS Academic and IELTS General. Let’s check what is included in each: 

  • IELTS Academic test: This exam includes three long reading texts which range from descriptive and factual to discursive and analytical. The passages in the IELTS academic test are taken from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. These passages have been selected for a non-specialist audience but are appropriate for students entering university courses or seeking professional registration.
  • IELTS General Training test: This IELTS Reading test includes extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks, and guidelines. These are materials a student is likely to encounter on a regular basis in an English-speaking environment/ world.


60 minutes

Number of questions


Marks per question


Mode of examination

Online or on paper


Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS nine band scale

However, before beginning your IELTS Reading preparation a candidate must understand the test format. 

Guide to Prepare for IELTS

IELTS Reading Test Format

Now you know that there are two types of IELTS Reading tests: part of IELTS Academic and IELTS General. The questions asked in both these tests are different for the Reading section. However, as a student aiming to study overseas, you only need to focus on the IELTS Academic test.

This Reading section comprises 40 questions that must be attempted in a maximum IELTS reading time of 60 minutes. Therefore, as an aspirant, you must stay aware of the nature and ‘types’ of these 40 questions in order to score well.

Types of IELTS Exams

Therefore, let’s check the types of questions asked in an IELTS reading practice test: Academic and General. 

Types of Questions in IELTS Reading

Let’s have a look at the various question types that are a part of the IELTS reading pattern that you must practise to score well in the IELTS reading test:

  • Multiple Choice

Under these types of questions, a candidate gets four or more answer options to choose from. Sometimes, the test taker is asked to choose two or more right options. Pick the appropriate answer for every question.

  • Identifying Information

These questions require you to read the answer options and mark if it complies with the given passage text. These questions help identify the test takers’ ability to recognise particular points of information conveyed in the text. It can thus be used with more factual texts.

  • Identifying Writer’s Views/Claims

Under this, the candidate needs to select the “Yes”, “No” or “Not Given” option if the views of the writer match with the information given. They access the test takers’ ability to recognise opinions or ideas. Therefore, it is often used with discursive or argumentative texts.

  • Matching Information

Under this, the test takers are required to locate specific information in the IELTS Reading lettered paragraphs/sections of a text and to write the letters of the correct paragraphs/sections in the boxes on their answer sheets. These specify a test taker's ability to scan critical information.

  • Matching Headings

Under this, the candidate has to match the given headings (i), (ii), (iii), and more with the given paragraphs. The IELTS Reading section always includes more headings than the actual number of paragraphs. So ensure that the title must perfectly suits the paragraph presented. 

  • Matching Features

Under this, the test taker must match a set of statements or pieces of information to a list of options. For example, you might be required to match different characteristics to age groups or events to historical periods, etc.

  • Matching Sentence Endings

In these questions of the IELTS Reading section, the test takers are given the first half of a sentence based on the text/ passage and asked to choose the best manner to complete it from a list of given possible options. 

  • Sentence Completion

In these IELTS General Reading or Academic questions, the test takers must complete the given sentences from the text. 

  • Summary, Note, Table, Flow-Chart Completion

Here, the candidate is given a summary of a section of the text and is required to complete it with information drawn from the text. This evaluates the candidates’ ability to understand details or the main ideas of a section of text. 

Note: Test takers need to be aware of the type of word(s) that will fit into a given gap in the variations involving a summary or notes.

  • Diagram Label Completion

Here, the candidate is supposed to write labels or complete charts in the number of questions asked in the description. 

  • Short-Answer Questions

Here, the test takers need to answer questions which usually relate to factual information about details given in the text. These are most likely to be completed with a text containing much factual information and detail. 

Note: The exact type of questions are ‘variable’ in the exam.

This implies that all the 11 types of questions will be asked. However, a fixed number is not allocated to the exact ‘type’ of questions. Therefore, your job as a student is to prepare for all.

IELTS Exam Fees

Further, to begin your preparation for the IELTS Reading section, let’s check the study material. 

Test Material to Prepare for IELTS Reading

Following are various test materials to prepare for the IELTS General Reading test.

  • Top Reading Books IELTS: Pick from these books with amazing IELTS Reading Topics for preparation. 
  • The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS – Check PDF (INR 1,170)
  • Cambridge IELTS’ Book 14 for Academic with Answers – Check PDF (INR 2,820)
  • Official IELTS Practice Materials – Check PDF (INR 1,240)
  • Barron’s IELTS Superpack – Check PDF (INR 3,129)
  • Target Band 7 – Check PDF (INR 2,081)
  • IELTS Reading Website: Following are the websites that can be considered by candidates to prepare for IELTS Reading. 
  • IELTS Liz
  • IELTS Buddy
  • IELTS Mentor
  • IELTS Test Preparation Course (Magoosh)
  • British Council
  • IELTS Band 7+ Complete Prep Course (Udemy)

To prepare for the IELTS Reading practice test, the candidates can explore the British Counsel website. 

How to Send IELTS Scores to Universities?

Now that you understand different sources of study material for your IELTS Reading section, it is important to delve into a practical preparation approach so that you can answer all the question types. For this, let’s explore a few reading tips for IELTS. 

Tips to Prepare for the IELTS Reading Test

One of the most effective IELTS Reading section strategies is to READ a lot! IELTS reading preparation demands regular reading of books, newspapers, novels, etc. After all, it will help increase your reading speed and learn to gather concepts thoroughly. You can also learn new words and their meanings by understanding sentences relatively. 

Helpful Reading tips for IELTS to improve your preparation are:

  • Read long passages regularly
  • Understand the text to answer questions
  • Stay objective in your approach while reading
  • Develop better focus

Further, let’s explore the important Reading topics to prepare for IELTS academic reading section: 

  • Can we prevent the poles from melting?
  • Illegal Downloads
  • The Beautiful game
  • Health and Fitness
  • Tackling Obesity In The Western World
  • Robots are coming, A not lier intelligence?
  • Crop-growing skyscrapers
  • History of computing hardware
  • Is Technology Harming Our Children’s Health?
  • An Aviation Wonder And its Creator
  • Light pollution
  • Nature on display in American zoos
  • Impacts of the environment on human health


An aspirant will certainly score well in the IELTS Reading exam when they consistently practice attentive reading. Despite having a basic awareness of the exam, aspirants still end up with many crucial questions. If you, too, are one, connect with our expert counsellors for taking guidance on IELTS or any other step in your study abroad journey like profile building, university application, visa application, scholarships/loans, etc. How? Subscribe to Yocket Premium now!


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Frequently Asked Questions about IELTS Reading Test

Which IELTS test is suitable for you? 

How many questions does the IELTS Reading test have?

Can the IELTS Reading Test be attempted in paper format?

Are aspirants provided extra time to transfer answers?

How are IELTS General Reading score converted to a band? 

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