IELTS Reading Introduction & Assessment
Source: Rachel Mitchell
– The reading test comes after the listening test . It is the second section of the IELTS test.
– The reading test lasts 60 minutes (do not get a break).
– There are 3 sections (each section has 13 or 14 questions)
– There are 40 questions in total.
– No extra time is given to transfer your answers from the questions to the answer sheet. Therefore, you have to complete the answer sheet
within the 60 minutes.
– You must use a pencil to write answers on the Answer Sheet because it is scanned by a computer. That’s the same as the IELTS listening test.
– There is a wide variety of tasks candidates may have to complete.
– The scores are calculated by the number of correct answers you have. There are 40 questions which are equivalent to 40 points . Each time you get a correct answer, you get 1 point (no 1/2 points). That is how your band scores are calculated.
– You have to follow the Instructions exactly (e.g. must stay within word/number limit).
– Spelling and grammar must be correct (e.g. singular or plural; use the correct form of the words) . You will lose marks if you misspell a word or if you put a word in the wrong grammatical form.
– There is no deduction for a wrong answer – so if you’re not sure, guess!
– IELTS reading scores
According to official IELTS guidelines:
Band 5.5 = 20 – 22 correct answers.
Band 6.0 = 23 – 26 correct answers.
Band 6.5 = 27 – 29 correct answers.
Band 7.0 = 30 – 32 correct answers.
Band 7.5 = 33 – 34 correct answers.
Band 8.0 = 35 – 37 correct answers.
Band 8.5 = 38 – 39 correct answers.
PRIMARY SKILLS NEEDED
– Searching and underlining key words.
– Looking for synonyms and parallel expressions.
– Skimming (reading the text very quickly).
– Scanning (looking for something without reading).
– Reading for specific information.
IELTS READING QUESTION TYPES
Matching Headings: you are asked to select headings of paragraphs and match them to the relevant paragraphs from a text. Matching headings is often one of the most difficult question types for Students. Why? The main reason is that the headings are usually very similar to each other. Also, you have more headings than you need for the question.
Matching Information to Paragraphs: you will be asked to match statements in a list to corresponding paragraphs in the reading text. The match information task has been designed to test your ability to find specific information in the passage of text. In other words, this task focuses on your ability to locate specific information. You might be asked to find specific details, for example, a reason, a description, a comparison, a summary, a fact, or an explanation.
Multiple-Choice Questions: one question is given to you followed by four or five choices in which you have to choose the best one which will fit your answer.
Summary Completion: you will be given a summary of information from the text and there will be some gaps in that summary. You will either be given a list of words to fill the gaps with or asked to find the answers in the reading text. Your job is to insert some of the words from the list into the gaps; or if you are asked to fill the gaps with words from the text, there will be more words in the list that are required to fill the gaps. All of the information contained in the summary will also be contained in the reading text but they will use synonyms and paraphrasing . Therefore, don’t expect to see the same words. The summary may relate to the whole passage or only a part of it and the text of
the summary will follow the order of the text of the passage.
Completion Tasks: These tasks are note completion, flowchart completion, sentence completion, table completion, and summary completion tasks.
Classification Type: you need to classify the information you read in the passage. In other words, you need to sort statements or features into different categories. There are always 3 categories and these categories are of the same type. You are also given several numbered statements or features. Each category is given a letter. So on your answer sheet, you need to write a letter, A, B, or C.
Matching Sentence Endings: you are going to be given a list of incomplete sentences and another list with possible endings. Your job is to choose the correct ending for each sentence based on the reading text. This means you will have to choose their ending correctly based on a number of options. All options are going to have similar meanings, so this is what makes this task rather challenging. However, the good news is that the sentences in the task will appear in the order that they will appear in the text; so you will know where to find each piece of information that each sentence conveys while you scan through the text.
Yes, No, Not Given Questions: the YES, NO, NOT GIVEN questions are all about the writer’s opinion. It’s not about the facts but about what the writer thinks. If the answer is YES , it means that the statement in the question agrees with the claims of the writer. If the answer is NO , it means the statement is opposite; it contradicts the claims of the writer. NOT GIVEN means it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about.
True, False, Not Given Questions: you will be given a number of factual statements and you have to check in the text if they are true, false or not given. The TRUE, FALSE, NOT GIVEN questions are all about factual information in the passage. It’s not about opinions; it’s about fact . TRUE means that the statement in the question agrees with the information in the passage. FALSE means the statement in the question contradicts the information in the Passage (“contradicts” means it’s the opposite meaning) . NOT GIVEN means there is no information on this. This task is used to assess the candidate’s ability to find the particular information found in the passage.
Short Answer Questions: where you have to give a very short answer with a maximum of three words or a number.