IELTS Reading Exam

What is the Utility of IELTS Reading Exam?

IELTS comprises four different test areas to assess the English language proficiency of a candidate, of which the Reading exam is one of the key test areas. Reading is very important for any language. It is like one of the pillars and building blocks of a language, the rest being the Listening, Writing and Speaking. So, you must be well prepared for this exam in order to score a high band scale score in this section.

IELTS Reading Exam

First, let us look into what the Reading exam includes. The Reading exam needs to be attempted within 60 minutes. The Reading section is further divided into three sub-sections. Each Reading section starts with texts followed by questions expected to be answered based upon the texts. All the sections together consist of 40 questions. There are different types of questions like multiple-choice questions, completion of sentences, tables or pictorial diagrams, matching analogies, identifying true or false etc. It differs a bit for the Academic and the General Training versions of the test.





All the three sections of the Academic test version consists of one long text each, which will be followed by questions. The texts are authentic and are usually extracted from newspapers, journals and magazines etc and relate to topics of academic significance. The texts might be descriptive or even pictorial like graphs and illustrations etc.

The General Training Reading exam is a bit different. Here, the first Reading section consists of two or three short texts. The second section consists of two texts on work-related issues. The third section consists of one long text that usually relates to general topics.

Utility of IELTS Reading Exam

The Reading section is used to test a wide variety of skills of the test takers. You must first know about how the Reading test evaluates your skills in order to prepare yourself to do your best.

  • First, your skill to read and understand the given data is assessed. Obviously, within the allotted 60 minutes time, you must manage reading the texts and then answering them. You will have 40 questions to attempt. If you take at least a minute to solve one question, then you will be left over with only 20 minutes to read the texts.

  • If you are a good reader and an interpreter, then you can answer each question in less than half a minute. So, reading and understanding well saves the time you take for answering a question.

  • Therefore, your ability to read well, interpret the given data, draw inferences, comprehending the details etc will all be assessed in the Reading section.

Scoring and Tips

For all the given 40 questions, each question carries a single mark. If you answer a question correctly, then, you get one mark which is the raw score. The raw score that you obtain in the test will be equated to the 9-band scale.

To score high in this section, you must practice rigorously. It requires your concentration. For instance, if you have read a given passage and have started attempting the questions, then you must be able to find the answer directly from your understanding and memory. If you waste time for each question by searching back for the answer in the passage, then it will be a drawback for you. For long and complex texts, it is obvious that we might look back into the passage. So, you must practice to learn time management well for this section. Make a habit of reading books, magazines and newspapers regularly. This will help you to read and understand any text in a faster way.