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A Complete Guide on IELTS Reading

Essential Information and Tips

There will be 3 reading passages, each will contain around 900 words. That means, you will have to come across 2700+ words in the reading section exam. There will be total 60 minutes for the entire reading test. You will need to transfer your answer into answer sheet in this 60 minute time.

Test format, number and type of questions all are same for both GT and Academic reading test. However, the type of reading passage may not be the same.

Passages for Academic reading test are long, and they are taken from books, magazines, journals and newspapers.These passages can contain some complicated languages and diagrammatic illustration. 


However, GT reading passages are usually easier than that of Academic ones. These passages are taken from official letters, advertisements, magazines, and newspapers etc.

There will be 40 questions, each question will carry one point for each correct answer. Remember, there is no negative marking for incorrect answers.


Passages will be progressively difficult. That means the second passage will be more difficult than the first passage. Likewise, the third reading text will be more difficult than the second one.


You know that you will be given total 60 minutes to answer three equally long passages in Academic IELTS reading section. Therefore, don't spend more than 20 minutes for each passage.

There is nothing wrong with writing on the question paper as much as you need. Remember, don't use a highlighter pen. Practice using pencil.


Pay special attention to your spelling. Don't forget to bring eraser in exam hall. You might need to erase and rewrite spellings, specially when you are transferring the answer to answer sheet

Try to use capital letters rather than small letters. Because capital letters are more readable. You are allowed to write short forms in answering True/False questions. That means you can write "T" instead of the word True and "Y" instead of the word Yes.

Some questions' answers appear in order in the reading test, some don't. You will need to remember which question types provide you answers in order in the passage, and which don't.


Vocabulary will be the key strength for you in IELTS Reading section. Because you will encounter a number of synonyms and paraphrases here. If you have a good grasp at vocabulary, you will be way ahead of many other students. Don't forget to check our vocabulary section.

You don't have to address passages or questions in ordered manner. You can leave any passage/question anywhere unanswered, and then come back later in your convenient time. You just need to remember that you are given total one hour, and you have to complete everything in this 1 hour.

IELTS Reading: Question Types

There are different types of questions in IELTS reading test. You will be more confident in exam if you have a prior idea on the types of question that you might face in exam. You better know the probable problems and the most effective strategies to overcome those problems. We have discussed all these issues below. Don't forget to click on each type of question to get into the detailed discussion.


We have decorated this website for you with plenty of common topics, examples from actual past questions, sample answers, important resource links and so on. Please go through this huge volume of resources to give a boost to your IELTS preparation. Moreover, if you need a guarantee for a 7+ band score in IELTS Writing section, check our IELTS Writing Assist, we are happy to help.

However, click on each question type below to see the individual detailed discussion.

In this question, you will be given some sentences with gaps in them. You will be asked to fill the gaps with the words from the reading text.


This question tests your skills of vocabulary and grammar. Vocabulary, because you will need synonyms and paraphrases to fill the gaps. Grammar, because you cannot complete a sentence without proper use of grammar. 

In this question type, you will be given two lists. One list is with incomplete sentences without endings and another list for possible endings. You will be required to match the incomplete sentences with the correct endings. Your answer has to be based on the reading text. Check out this article to get the details regarding this question type. 

In this question type, you will be given a summary based on the reading passage, and there will be some gaps in the summary. This question tests how good you are at finding the main idea of the reading text. Click on the article for detailed discussion.

In Matching Heading question, you will be provided a few short sentences. You will need to match these sentences with the paragraphs in the reading text. It is really difficult for many students to answer this question because there is too much information to come across in each paragraph. Check out this article to learn the strategic approach to solve this question.

In this question, you will be given some statements or information. You will need to match the statement or find the information in the reading text. The question statement might appear in the form of definition, description, summary, explanation anything. Remember, whatever it is, answers must be there in the reading text. For a detailed discussion, click on the title.

This is a very common type of question. You will be given a list of options to choose from. Sometimes you might need to choose 1 out of 4 options, sometimes 2 out of 5, and sometimes even it could be 3 out of 6 answer options. This question judges your skill how fast you can locate the information in the reading text.  

This is an interesting type of question. You will be given a list of statements. You will need to identify which statement is true, which one is false, and which statement cannot be determined whether it is true or false. Your answers must be completely based on the reading text.

Remember, you may encounter either Yes, No, Not Given or True, False, Not Given options. The idea of both of these option types is same. All you need is just check whether the statement is supported by the reading passage or not. If it is neither supported nor denied by the passage, simply answer Not Given. Click on the title to get more strategic discussion on this question.

Labelling a diagram is a frightening task for so many students. It is not because answering this question is difficult, rather it is because most of the students are unfamiliar with this type of question. In fact, this question is pretty easy to answer. All you need to know is just some tips and strategies how to solve it. Click on the title to get the detailed analysis on Diagram Labeling question.

This is one of the most common question types for many students. Because, this  question is practiced almost all over the world. That's why most of the students are confident enough to answer this question. However, this confidence might appear as a problem for many students. Because they rush to answer this question with overconfidence to save time for other relatively difficult questions. As a result, they end up with making silly mistakes and losing easy marks in this question.

This is a series of steps. This question describes a process in detail, and it tests your skill how you can connect different stages according to sequence of events. Click on the topic to check the detailed discussion how to address this question.

You will be provided with an incomplete table for this question. In the table, there will be some paraphrased information from the reading text and some blank spaces. Your task will be to fill up the blank spaces. You will need to find the right order and paraphrases/synonyms to fill the gaps. Click on the title and check the detailed discussion on this question type.

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