The IELTS reading module takes about 60 minutes. You will have to answer 40 questions based on three reading passages containing between 2000 and 2750 words.
Both the passages and the questions appear on the same question paper. You can write on the question paper, but you can’t take it home. All answers have to be transferred to the answer sheet during the 60 minutes itself. No extra time is given for transferring answers.
Types of questions
A variety of questions are asked in the reading module. Here is an overview.
- Multiple choice questions
- Short answer questions
- Sentence completion
- Summary / flow chart / table completion
- Labelling a diagram
- Choosing headings for paragraphs
- Locating information
- True, false or not given
- Matching lists / phrases
- Multiple matching
Multiple choice questions
These questions are usually followed by four answer choices labeled A, B, C and D. You have to choose the best answer. If option A is the correct answer, then you have to write A on the answer sheet. The questions appear in the same order as the information in the passage.
These questions test your ability to find and understand precise information. These questions, too, appear in the same order as the information given in the passage.
You have to write your answers in words or numbers. Read the instructions carefully because they state how many words or numbers you have to write. Remember that hyphenated words are considered as single words. You will lose mark if you write more than or less than the required number of words.
Questions of this kind usually require you to complete the sentence in a given number of words taken from the passage. Usually there is a limit to the number of words you can use. If you write more than the required number of words you will lose mark. Note that you have to write the exact same words found in the passage. You are not supposed to use their synonyms. Sometimes you will be asked to choose the best option from a list.
Summary / table completion
You will be given a summary of a section of the passage. You have to fill in the gaps in the summary with information taken from the passage. Sometimes you will be asked to fill the empty cells in a table. The answers will usually come from one section of the passage.
Choosing headings for paragraphs
You will be given a list of headings that refer to the main ideas of the paragraphs in the passage. The headings are usually identified with lower-case Roman numerals. You have to match the headings with alphabetically marked paragraphs. On your answer sheet you have to write the appropriate Roman numerals in the given spaces.