IELTS Reading Section – All You need to Know

International English Language Testing System (IELTS), is a globally recognized English language test that evaluates the language proficiency among non-native English speakers who want to study, work, and migrate to English-speaking countries. There are two types of IELTS examinations: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Applicants are tested on four sections: writing, reading, speaking, and listening skills in the English language. 

Reading is the second part of the IELTS test and takes 60 minutes. It consists of three or sometimes four reading passages to increase difficulty, and there are a total of 40 questions to answer. The Academic and General Training Reading Tests are graded to the same level. Question formats are the same in both Academic and General Training, but the text styles are different for Academic and General Training. The IELTS Reading test is designed to test reading skills among non-native English speakers. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument, and recognizing writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose. The English language proficiency of the test takers is evaluated based on vocabulary, reading fluency, writing skills, and grammar. 

Everything you need to know about the IELTS Reading section

  • The IELTS Reading Section has 40 questions to be answered in a total of 60 minutes. Time management is an important thing, or else applicants will not be able to complete the test. Reading time is the main limitation, and applicants must practice more to complete the section within the time allotted. 
  • The Reading Section has three reading passages. The passages in the reading section will be set at increasing difficulty levels, which means the second passage will be more difficult than the first one. Take less time for the easier ones. 
  • Before preparing for IELTS Reading, aim for a score and design your preparation based on that. Every brand needs a different level of dedication and hard work. 
  • IELTS has two parts, Academic and General Training. If you are taking the test to study abroad, IELTS Academic is the right one. For immigration and work purposes, IELTS General Training will be sufficient. 
  • The types of questions in the reading section for both IELTS Academic and General Training will be the same. However, the texts will be different. 
  • Applicants preparing for IELTS General Training should focus on topics that are used in their daily lives. While for IELTS Academic, applicants need to focus more on the syllabus and academic topics related to study. 
  • IELTS Reading is more of a vocabulary test than reading. The section tests and evaluates the candidates based on vocabulary, grammar, reading skills, purpose, opinion, and punctuation. 
  • The IELTS Reading section has multiple-choice, short answers, summary completion, matching sentences, sentence completion, true or false statements, labeling a diagram, and matching information to paragraphs. Applicants need to practice all of these question types, as the paper will have all of the question patterns as stated. 
  • In the reading section, there is no negative marking. Applicants will not lose marks for incorrect answers. The reading band will be calculated based on the total number of correct answers. The band score ranges from 0-9. 

Difference between IELTS Academic and General Training Reading Test

The IELTS test is divided into two types, based on purpose and content. The IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training examinations assess English language proficiency. Applicants preparing for IELTS Reading must know the basic differences to prepare well for the test. 

IELTS Academic

IELTS General Training

The IELTS Academic module is taken by applicants who are willing to study abroad. It is taken by high school, undergraduate and postgraduate students to study abroad. 

The IELTS General Training examination is taken by those applying to study below degree level and are willing to work, immigrate, and settle down in English-speaking countries. 

The IELTS Academic section is more challenging. 

IELTS General Training is less challenging as compared to IELTS Academic.

The IELTS Academic test is designed with extracts from study modules and academic topics related to study. The texts are based on academic topics and study-related modules of past degrees and upcoming courses. 

The IELTS General Training examination is designed with extracts from daily life and day-to-day affairs. The texts are related to the topics that the applicants must know while living in an English-speaking environment.

Academic reading texts are taken from books, journals, newspapers, magazines, and websites that cover academic topics. 

General Training examination texts are taken from books, newspapers, and online resources that are related to general topics. 

Academic Reading test-takers will have 3 long extracts in the test. 

General Training test-takers need to read a combination of both long and short extracts. 

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