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IELTS Reading Test 2021: Learn About IELTS Reading Test Format, Questions Types And More

Yocket Editorial Team
IELTS Reading Test 2021: Learn About IELTS Reading Test Format, Questions Types And More Image

Reading plays an important role in each one’s regular life. Be it comprehending simple direction signs, bills, or lengthy books, reading is an integral part of our lives. The IELTS reading test section is no different. It evaluates aspirants on their ability to read and understand passages in a given amount of time. The current article is an attempt to introduce you to the most important aspects of the IELTS reading test so that you perform well in this section.

What is the IELTS Reading Test?

The Reading section assesses a wide range of skills such as your ability to understand a writer’s opinion, comprehending even the minutest details and most of all how well you can grasp ideas. It is one amongst the four sections of the IELTS exam that you are evaluated on as an aspirant. The other three sections are Listening, Speaking, and Writing

The IELTS Reading section tests your grasping and understanding abilities. You’re tested by presenting an array of materials that include: reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical arguments and recognizing the writers' opinions, attitudes and purpose.

A Sneak Peek into the IELTS Reading Section


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

Ever felt confused between IELTS and TOEFL? - Understand the difference between IELTS and TOEFL here!

It needs to be mentioned here that there are two types of IELTS exam - Academic Test (for students) and General Training Test (for working professionals). The questions asked in both these tests are different for the Reading section. However, as a student aiming to study overseas, you need to focus on the IELTS Academic Test only.

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

The IELTS Reading Module: 11 Types of IELTS Reading Questions Every Aspirant Must Know

Let’s have a look at the various question types that are a part of the IELTS reading pattern that you must practice for scoring well in the IELTS reading test -

  1. Multiple Choice

Questions with four or more answer options are given. Pick the appropriate answer for every question.

  1. Identifying Information

These questions require you to read the answer options and mark if it complies with the given passage text. 

  1. Identifying Writer’s Views/Claims

Select the “Yes”, “No” or “Not Given” option, if the views of the writer match with the information given.

  1. Matching Information

These questions require you to match or point out information that’s given in the passage. 

  1. Matching Headings

Match the given headings with the given paragraphs. The title must perfectly suit the paragraph presented. 

  1. Matching Features

You should match a set of statements or pieces of information to a list of options. For example, be required to match different characteristics to age groups or events to historical periods, etc.

  1. Matching Sentence Endings

You are given the first half of a sentence based on the text and are required to choose the best way to complete the sentence from the list.

  1. Sentence Completion

Complete the given sentences.

  1. Summary, Note, Table, Flow-Chart Completion

You are given a summary of a section of the text, and are required to complete it with information drawn from the text.

  1. Diagram Label Completion

You’re supposed to write labels or complete charts in the number of questions that are asked. 

  1. Short-Answer Questions

Factual short answer questions need to be answered. 

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.

Now that you have an understanding of different question types in the IELTS Reading section, it is important to delve into a practical preparation approach so that you’re able to answer all the question types.

How 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, they help you speed read yet gather concepts thoroughly. You also learn new words and their meanings by relatively understanding sentences. 

Helpful tips to improve your IELTS reading section preparation:

  • Read long passages regularly

  • Understand the text to answer questions

  • Stay objective in your approach while reading

  • Develop better focus

Important Reading Topics to Prepare for IELTS Academic Reading

  • 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

Commonly Asked Questions About IELTS Reading Test

Q. Which IELTS test is suitable for you? 

Ans. The IELTS Reading test varies depending on the aspirants and their purpose of visiting abroad. For instance, undergraduates and postgraduates are required to take the IELTS Academic Reading test. Whereas, the IELTS General Training test is designed to focus on the reading skill of working professionals, immigrants, etc.   

Q. How many questions does the IELTS Reading Test have?

Ans. You have to answer 40 questions for the IELTS Reading task. 

Q. Can the IELTS Reading Test be attempted in paper format?

Ans. Yes, the IELTS Reading section can be answered on a computer as well as on paper. Both tests are the same. The only difference is that you’d be typing your answers instead of writing them. 

Q. Are aspirants provided extra time to transfer answers?

Ans. No, you aren’t given extra time to transfer your answers. Hence, make sure to manage time and transfer your test answers to the sheet. Also, avoid making mistakes while transferring answers as you may lose marks because of it. 

To improve IELTS reading as one of the sections that will get you closer to your dream score, work hard and prepare smart. This test, along with the Writing, Listening and Speaking sections is your gateway to a good university abroad. 

All the best for the IELTS Reading 2021!