The IELTS Reading Academic Test lasts for an hour.
- It consists of three texts, or ‘passages’. The passages are on topics of an academic nature, in other words they’re the kinds of text you might read as part of a university course. Generally the passages become longer and more difficult (so the first one is the ‘easiest’!) Each passage has a number of reading tasks, with thirteen or fourteen questions that you have to answer, and in total there are always forty questions. There are different types of questions, and we’re going to look at some of these. Before that, let’s think about the two most important reading techniques that you’ll need to use.
Skimming & Scanning
- Skimming means looking over a text very quickly in order to get the gist - in other words, a basic idea of what it’s about. You can do this by looking at the title of the passage, the subheadings (if there are any) and the first and last sentences of each paragraph. The first sentence of each paragraph is especially important as it tends to contain the main idea of that paragraph. Skimming the passage before you try to answer the questions is essential, as it gives you an idea of the topic and of how the passage is organised.
- Scanning means looking through the text very quickly for a specific piece of information. This could be something like a name or date, or it could be an idea or statement, for example someone’s opinion. It could also be looking for key words or words with similar meanings, as we talked about above. When you’ve read the question and understood what you’re looking for, you’ll then need to scan the text to find the answer. (This will be easier if you’ve skimmed the text first!) Notice that neither scanning nor skimming involve reading the text word for word. Again, it’s important to remember that you’re not supposed to read every word.
Reading Academic Module in points:
- Test lasts for ONE hour only
- There are 3 parts.
- Each part contains one long text with questions under it, or in front of it - if a computer-delivered test is done.
- The difficulty level increases from part 1 to part 3.
- Texts are taken from books, journals, magazines, newspapers. The texts are on academic topics of general interest. These texts are usually related to subjects like science, sociology and can even be some form of illustration.
The IELTS Reading Academic Band Score
IELTS Reading Question Types
Multiple Choice Questions
- IELTS Academic reading multiple choice questions have about 3-4 options from which we have to choose our answer. This might be in the form of a question&answer type or a choose a correct ending to a sentence type. These answers appear in chronological order according to the passage.
- There are various types of matching questions in IELTS academic reading tests and each one is different from another.
- Matching Headings
- In this type of question, a list of headings will be given and you are asked to match these headings with a paragraph in the passage. You should read the headings before you begin reading the text. To get the correct answer, you have to read the complete paragraph and not just stop with the first few lines of the paragraph. There will also be many other headings that are not related to any of the paragraphs given in the passage, in such cases, try to identify those types of headings too.
- Matching information
- Matching Information questions have a list which contains information taken from the paragraphs. You are asked to find out the paragraph from which the information is taken. Sometimes the question may be tricky because the information given might not be in exact words as given in the paragraph instead it will be paraphrased so you need to read the paragraph to understand the meaning/idea behind it to answer these questions.
- Matching Features
- In this type of question, there will be a list of items in the box and you need to match these items by reading and understanding some sentences in the passages. The list may be of the name of people or cities. For example, If there is a name of a person in the box of items then the question may be to match the sentence with the person who said them. Like other types of match questions, some of the items mentioned may not be available in the passage. So, to save time read the passage before answering each question.
- Matching sentence endings
- In this type of question, you need to connect two halves of the sentences. The first half of the sentence will be already given you need to find out which is the appropriate ending for the sentence from the list given. While choosing from the list you need to keep the following things in mind:
- There should not be any grammatical errors in the sentence.
- The ending sentence chosen by you should make sense.
- The sentence should have the same meaning as the sentence in the passage.
True/False/Not given Questions
- These questions are very tricky. This question consists of several statements:
- If the statement is present in the article as it is then you need to mark it as true.
- If the statement is found to be the opposite of the sentence which is there then it should be marked as false.
- If the statement given in the question is not at all present in the article then it should be marked as not given. Do not spend a lot of time finding the sentence which is not there.
Yes/No/Not given Questions
- Similar to the True/False/Not given questions, Yes/No/Not given questions also have various statements. But here you are asked to agree or disagree with the statement based on the opinion of the author.
Note, Table, Diagram and Summary Completion Questions
- In Note, Table, Summary and Diagram completion questions, you will be asked to complete a set of notes, tables, diagram or a summary based on the information given in the text. Sometimes the question will be to write a short answer and sometimes you’ll have to choose from the list of answers given. Usually, these kinds of questions will only be based on one part of the passage, so you won’t have to read the whole passage to fill the important information.
Sentence completion and Short-answer Questions
- IELTS academic reading Sentence completion and Short answer questions are almost similar. In sentence completion, you’ll be asked to fill in the blank spaces using the words given in the text. Whereas, in short answers, you’ll have to take words from the given text to write the short answers. It is important to pay close attention to the instructions that are given in the question because in some instructions there will be a word limit mentioned and you may lose marks if you don’t follow it.