The Reading paper has three sections and texts totaling between 2,150 and 2,750 words. There will be a variety of question types, such as multiple choice, short-answer questions, identifying information, identifying writer’s views, labeling diagrams, completing a summary using words taken from the text and matching information/headings/features in the text/sentence endings. Test takers should be careful when writing down their answers as they will lose marks for incorrect spelling and grammar.
There are two different Reading papers for Academic and General Training. The differences are mainly in the number and length of the texts, and sometimes in the level of difficulty too. The Section 3 text in General Training is very similar to the entire texts in Academic module.
Texts in IELTS Academic
- Three reading texts, which come from books, journals, magazines, newspapers and online resources written for non-specialist audiences.
- All the topics are of general interest to students at undergraduate or postgraduate level.
Texts in IELTS General Training
- Section 1 contains two or three short texts or several shorter texts, which deal with everyday topics. For example, timetables or notices – things a person would need to understand when living in an English-speaking country.
- Section 2 contains two texts, which deal with work. For example, job descriptions, contracts, training materials.
- Section 3 contains one long text about a topic of general interest. The text is generally descriptive, longer and more complex than the texts in Sections 1 and 2. The text will be taken from a newspaper, magazine, book or online resource.
How IELTS Reading is Scored
The Reading sub-test is scored in a similar way as Listening, according to the number of correct answers given by a test taker. The number of correct answers and their corresponding Band scores are given in the table below: