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The Complete Guide to IELTS Reading (FAQ)

The Complete Guide to IELTS Reading (FAQ)


IELTS Reading Prep is based on two primary resources: quality reading material and trusted practice materials. To improve your reading skills, it is essential to use different resources in your studies. Additional resources will help you develop other skills more efficiently.


All the information you need to pass the IELTS. Learn about scoring and download a study plan.


This is the complete guide for IELTS reading, written by me, a former IELTS examiner.

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It can be overwhelming and confusing to navigate the IELTS Reading section. This guide will help you if you feel this heavy and hazy stress. This guide outlines the steps, strategies, and resources you will need to prepare for your test day. This guide covers both the Academic and General Training versions.


This is how you can think about it. Imagine your reading skills like woodworking skills. To build a wooden table, to show that we are skilled at table crafting, we will need to have a hammer and some sandpaper. We don’t need a hammer and sandpaper for each step. Each tool has its own use and time. Each practice resource can improve specific skills that will help you demonstrate your proficiency in linguistics to your examiner. You will get the most out of your study time if you use each tool only for its intended purpose.



Learn more about the IELTS Reading Section

Do you prefer general or academic training? There are two types of IELTS Reading Sections.

First, let’s say that IELTS Reading comes in two types: Academic or General Training. Make sure that you have the correct IELTS test version before you sign up. You can ask the institution for test results to help you choose the proper test.


The Academic passages cover more academic topics. They are similar to articles in magazines or newspapers. General Training Reading covers general topics that are relevant to daily life or work.


The Test

“How many questions do you have to answer in the reading test?”

There are 40 questions.

“How long does the reading exam take?”

You have one hour to complete your answers.

“How many readings are there?”

There are three readings.


“What topics will you be reading?”

Science and history are the most popular topics. For example, astronomy, psychology, chemistry, biology, neuroscience, etc. Biographies are also very popular. Other issues that are less common include…


“How is the reading test scored?”

Most often, the local staff will mark them by hand and record your scores.

“Do the readings become harder as the test progresses?”

They do.


“Should the questions be read or the reading first?”

Before you read the questions, make sure to skim the text.

“Do the answers appear in the right order during the reading?”

Sometimes. They will answer some questions, such as T/F/NG, but not others, such as matching the heading.

Is there a difference in academic and general training?


Yes, the general training topics are relevant to daily life and newspapers. The academic topics are… um… more academic.


“Can I write T instead of true?”

Abbreviations can be used throughout the world. It is possible to write “T” for True, “F” for False, and “NG” for Not Given. You can also write “Y” for yes, and “N” for no. To be safe, we recommend that you write the whole words. It’s not worth it.

“How many different types are there of questions?”

There are 14 types of questions.

“How long should each reading be?”

Each should take approximately 20 minutes.

“When should you write on the answer sheet?”

There is no extra time for you to transfer your answers.


“Can you write in all capitals?”

Yes, you can.

“Is capitilisation important?”

You will still get full marks for London or London.

“Is spelling important?”

Yes, you’ll be penalized for spelling mistakes.


“Do my answers need to be grammatically correct?”

To ensure correct grammar, be sure to pay attention to the gaps-fills.

“What counts for a word in the ‘no more than ___ words’ question?”

All dates, times, and numbers count as one word. 200 is one term, 3,000,000 is one phrase, 11am is one sentence, and 22% is one paragraph. Words that contain hyphens such as mother-in-law can be considered one word. 18th September can be used as a date.

“I don’t understand the test.” Are you able to provide a guide?

Yes! It’s funny, you should ask. I have it here.

“Do incorrect answers affect my score more than those with blanks?”


Yes, you can fill in all the answers even if your guess is wrong. Don’t leave any blanks.



“How is the reading test done?”

A reading test can take between 1 and 2 years to complete. Every question must be reviewed and corrected by many people. It is highly reliable.


“I keep learning, but I don’t know how to improve.” What can I do?

Vocabulary is the key to both reading and listening tests. It is not possible to learn thousands of English words quickly. Your score will rise if you improve your English vocabulary. This can take many years, depending on how high you want to score!


“Should the computer-based reading exam be taken?”

The benefits are so great that I believe most students should take advantage of them. It is important to practice online with the one you choose, but you can also use the computer to test it.


Test Day

“Can you write on the test?”



“Can I bring a beverage?”

As long as the bottle remains transparent, yes. (Be aware that in many countries, there is no need to use the bathroom.

“How many hours should I practice every day?”

It all depends on how proficient you are at English and what score you desire. It doesn’t matter how long or how complex your practice is; it matters that you do it every day.


“What if there is a problem?”

Talk to a member of staff at the center. They will be happy to help.

“Should I write in pen or pencil?”

Pencil to be used for reading and listening.

“Can I use the bathroom during the test?”

This is acceptable in most countries. But you won’t get additional time.

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