The International English Language Testing System is one of the most reliable proficiency tests and is accepted by more than eleven thousand organisations. The test assesses a candidate’s ability to communicate in the English language based on four parameters: reading, writing, listening and speaking.
The test is of two types: General Training and Academic module. The difference between the two being:
General Training: Applies to those candidates who wish to migrate abroad for employment purposes. However, the speaking and listening section remains the same for both.
Academic Test: Those who wish to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate courses abroad need to submit the results of this test to their respective universities.
Note: Reading and writing tests differ for both these types, as mentioned above. Hence, candidates who wish to migrate abroad and seek employment opportunities must opt for General Training.
Here is a detailed overview of reading tips, types of questions asked in the IELTS reading test, and some common topics in the General and Academic test.
Types of Questions in the IELTS Reading Section
Candidates are required to answer 40 questions, and the allotted time is 60 minutes in which they must complete this section.
General Training Reading Test
The IELTS reading section of the General Training test constitutes of three sections:
Section 1: Two or more short texts and usually contains facts. For instance, it can be an advertisement for sports facilities.
Section 2: This consists of complex language and may include work schemes, contracts, or texts on work conditions.
Section 3: It is a long text and is considered the most difficult out of the three sections. However, the topics are generally associated with interests or general subjects.
Academic Reading Test
This module includes three long texts that are factual, descriptive, and analytical. However, the IELTS academic module is more challenging because the text is up to 2000 words. This means that the candidates must have the ability to skim for the main points and find answers by reading the keywords.
Common Types of Questions
Some types of questions are common in the IELTS reading test. They have been highlighted below:
- Multiple choice
- Identifying writer’s claim
- Matching information
- Short answers
- Diagram Label
- Summary, note, table, chart completion
- Completing sentences
- Match sentence
- Matching headings
- Matching information
- True, False, and Not Given
- Features matching
Most Important Topics
IELTS reading is unpredictable, which makes it challenging for most candidates. However, we have compiled a list of topics for both general training and academic modules. This will help the students prepare for IELTS reading practice and attain a good score.
- Environmental science
- Global politics
- Health and fitness
- Famous personalities
- Waste management
- Mental health
- Marine life
- Teacher-student relation
- Tourist attraction
- Organisational management
- Strategic management
- Feedback policy
- Travel restrictions
- Growth in workplace
- Working hours
- HR policies
- Job satisfaction
- The economy of the country or state
- Company’s economy
- Crisis management
- Risk management
Tips for a Higher Band Score
The IELTS reading test assesses the candidate’s ability to understand the text.
For many non-native speakers, scoring a band 9.0 seems impossible. Many feel that it is because of the lack of knowledge that they lose out on marks. However, that is not the reason at all. It is because they don’t have the knowledge of inside tips and techniques.
That is why we have underlined reading tips that will help you achieve a band score of 7 and above.
Skimming is when one looks for the main answers or keywords. Candidates can circle main keywords and synonyms in the text. It usually includes a fast reading with a focus on important points and not an in-depth analysis of the text. For example, candidates can read the first and last lines of a paragraph to get a gist of it.
Candidates must try to solve the questions in the stipulated time as that will give them time for revision. Of course, it is essential to practice before the IELTS reading test to avoid missing out on any questions.
Read English texts
Candidates can improve their skills by reading English texts as much as they can. Reading books, articles, online publications, or educational materials, will help increase the vocabulary.
Highlight unknown words
While reading new texts, it is natural to come across unknown words. Hence, it is important to highlight those unknown words and check for their meaning in the dictionary in such a situation.
Familiarise with different question types
Before the IELTS reading test, candidates must practice different types of questions that appear. This will help them grow a stronghold over the questions and teach them effectively to manage their time.
Distinguish the types of texts
First and foremost, candidates must distinguish the type of texts and whether they are descriptive or discursive.
Discursive– These texts are general hypotheses and are based on the research of the author.
Descriptive– These texts follow a chronological order and contain a lot of facts. However, it may also express opinions.
Instructions to Follow While Appearing for the Exam
Candidates, while appearing for the IELTS reading test, must follow these instructions to avoid any difficulties before the exam:
The most vital instruction that candidates must follow before appearing for the exam is organising their documentation. They must carry their passport or national ID, depending on which documents they used for registration.
- Arriving early
Candidates should try to reach their examination centre at the earliest and complete all the necessary procedures before sitting for the exam. These procedures generally take around an hour to complete.
- Do not panic
Candidates must not panic during the exam. They must listen carefully to the instructions of the supervisors before entering the exam hall. Before the commencement of the exam, they must read those instructions carefully and accordingly allocate their time for each task.
- Watch English movies, read texts
Before appearing for the exam, candidates must read English books or watch English movies. They must try to understand what is being told in the conversation and watch for the unknown words.
- Remove covering from your face
For identification purposes, candidates must remove any identification from their faces. Their photograph will be taken and hence must do as told. This photo will appear on the Test Report Form.
- Keep only identity documents, pencil and book sheet on the desk
Candidates must only have registration documents, a pencil, an eraser, and a water bottle on the desk. All electronic items must be submitted and switched off.
- Leave the test material after completion of the test
Candidates must not carry any of the test material after completion of the test.
Students can take the help of the IELTS reading practice test to score well in the exam. They can download it online and practice it at their convenience. This will help them familiarise themselves with the questions that appear during the exam and prepare better to answer for IELTS reading.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I get a band score of 8 and above in the IELTS reading section?
To get a band score of 8 in IELTS, students must answer 36 out of 40 questions correctly. The scores are given in half and full bands. This can be achieved through successful time management, diverse lexical resources and following the tips mentioned above. Solving practise tests will also boost your confidence and ultimately help you achieve your ideal score.
2. What is the assessment criteria for the reading section?
The examiners generally look for the candidates ability to locate and understand precise information, summarising skills, ability to differentiate between the main ideas and specific detail, ability to locate detail and overall understanding of the grammar and language.
3. What is the validity of the IELTS test score?
IELTS test result is valid for two years. However, if the candidate has appeared for the exam twice, their most recent marks will be considered. Most universities ask for latest test reports, therefore before submitting a score review request, one must be sure that there is a scope of improvement in the grade otherwise the candidate will have to retake the exam.
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