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IELTS General Reading Test: Practice Test With Answers

Updated on 13 April, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

ielts general reading section

The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is an international standardized test of English language proficiency for non-native English speakers. The IELTS examination is of two types: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The examination focuses on assessing English proficiency in writing, reading, speaking, and listening skills. The IELTS General Training examination score is accepted by foreign high schools to study below degree level and for visa and employment purposes. 

The reading section is one of the vital parts of the IELTS General Training examination. The Reading section is designed to test and evaluate English readability, reading, and comprehension skills among non-native English speakers. It is a 60-minute test with 40 questions related to ideas, details, skimming, logical reasoning, arguments, and opinions. The IELTS General Training – Reading section or IELTS General Reading includes extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, journals, and extracts from articles. These are materials that the applicants are likely to encounter daily in an English-speaking environment.

The applicants need to read the three passages quickly and then solve the questions based on them. For the IELTS General Reading score calculation, the scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

Tips for IELTS General Reading: How to improve IELTS General Reading score?

  • Skim and scan the reading passages. Skimming means the applicants must take 2-3 minutes to quickly read the passage to get a general idea about the content before handling the questions. Scanning is when applicants are quickly able to locate a particular piece of information in a passage.
  • Applicants should practice reading a passage within a particular time limit. The time factor is very strict and applicants need to manage the time or else they will not be able to complete the examination. 
  • Vocabulary is very important, but applicants must not try to learn the entire dictionary. Rather, when they don’t understand the meaning of a particular word, they should understand the meaning of the words or sentences around it to find a cue. 
  • Read the passage first and then read the questions. The applicants will be able to answer at least 50% of the questions with just one skimming turn. 
  • Applicants need to locate answers in the passage and not waste their time in understanding the whole passage. Try to locate and scan the relevant information. Do not plan to read and understand every word in the passage. 
  • Use the keywords that are offered in the question paper. These keywords help in locating the right information in a long passage. 
  • Practice complicated passages so that an easy passage during the examination will be an easy thing to deal with. Set the level of English high while practicing, as the IELTS General Reading level is not an easy one. 
  • While taking the test, applicants need to be very careful about each instruction related to the questions and the guidelines to solve them. 
  • Increase your proficiency in English grammar. The answers that applicants write in the examination should be grammatically correct.

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Download IELTS Preparation Guide For Free

Get to know about the latest updates on the IELTS Exam, Eligibility, Preparation Tips, Test procedure,  Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Registration Process, Important Exam Dates, and much more!! This guide is a one-stop solution for every IELTS Aspirant who aims to crack the exam with an impressive band score.

IELTS General Reading Test Format 

IELTS general reading test is divided into three sections. All the IELTS general reading sections differ from each other in terms of the text shared. The three sections belonging to the IELTS general reading test format are as follows:

  • IELTS General Reading Section 1: Consist of two to three factual texts one of which may be composite while others are related to everyday life in an English native country. 
  • IELTS General Reading Section 2: Consists of two short factual texts that focus on work-related issues like organizational behavior, policies of a company, facilities at the workplace, etc. 
  • IELTS General Reading Section 3: Consists of a long and difficult text in terms of complexity. The data is taken from advertisements, official documents, newspapers, or magazines.

IELTS General Reading Instructions to Candidates

The instruction to candidates regarding IELTS general reading are as follows:

  • You are not advised to open the question paper unless you are told so
  • You need to write your credentials like name and candidate number in the spaces provided at the top of the page
  • You need to answer all the questions
  • Make sure you read the instruction for each part of the exam carefully 
  • Use a pencil to write your answers on the answer sheet
  • Complete the task within the time limit

Reading Question Types for IELTS General Training

The IELTS General Training reading differs from the academic reading in terms of language and difficulty level of the texts. The duration of the IELTS General Training Reading test is 60 mins and comprises 40 questions.

As discussed above, IELTS General Training section 1 is based on everyday life topics. The questions range from an advertisement for sports center facilities to educational courses. This section is not descriptive, it is based on facts.

IELTS General Training Section 2 consists of topics related to work (work schemes, pay schemes, organizational behavior, development, work conditions, or instructions related to machinery)

IELTS General Training Section 3 consists of long text and is more difficult than other sections. The topic is often taken from magazines and newspapers.

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IELTS General Training Reading Band Scores

IELTS General training reading band scores are listed below against the number of correct answers.

Correct Answers

Band scores





























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It is a six-week-long course and offers the following for IELTS preparation

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  • 15 writing assignments with correction and feedback 
  • Two full-length mock tests
  • One-to-one analysis of two full-length mock tests

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Download IELTS Sample Papers

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many passages in IELTS general reading?

There are three passages in IELTS general reading test and based on the passages 40 questions are asked which you need to complete in 60 minutes.

What is the difference between academic and general IELTS reading?

The IELTS Academic and IELTS General reading tests are different in the terms of topics. In the case of General Training reading, the topics are based on general interest. On the other hand, in the case of IELTS Academic reading, the topics are taken from academic textbooks, magazines, etc.

How to get 6 bands in IELTS General Reading?

To score a 6-band in IELTS General Reading, you should get at least 23 questions correct out of the 40 questions. Also, you need to spell your answer correctly. It is also important that you do not exceed the word limit set for each question.

A few techniques that might come in handy to you are as follows:

  1. Practice skim-reading 
  2. Identify keywords for answers
  3. Identify paraphrases
  4. Manage your time effectively
  5. Build your vocabulary daily

There are many books available that focus on IELTS General reading section.

How to improve IELTS General reading score?

IELTS General reading score can be improved by following the steps:

  1. Practice sample papers and try to answer the questions by implementing the techniques discussed in the previous question
  2. Examine your scores and the areas where you need improvement. Note them down and try to improve on them
  3. Include reading in your daily routine. Start by reading novels, newspapers, magazines, etc.

How to calculate IELTS General reading score?

The IELTS general reading scores are calculated based on the correct answers you get out of the 40 questions in the test. There is no negative marking for the incorrect answer.

How many questions in IELTS General reading?

There are around 40 questions in the IELTS General reading test which you need to answer in 60 minutes.

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