How to Ace IELTS Reading Section?

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IELTS Reading

The IELTS test constitutes of four major sections, namely Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. In particular, the IELTS Reading section includes 3 passage-based categories with the total number of questions coming to 40. It aims to test the candidate’s ability to make patterns, judge the mood of the passage, sentence analysis, deduction, and reasoning, amongst others. Exam-takers must realize that this section, though may look easy to score, requires consistent preparation efforts.

Read here about the full IELTS Syllabus to know what you need to prepare for each section. Through this blog, let’s equip you with the success mantra to successfully crack the reading section of the IELTS exam.

Must Read: IELTS Eligibility

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) was created to assist you in moving to a country where English is the dominant language in order to work, study, or move. This includes the USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and others.

During the test, your proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing English will be evaluated. IELTS is scored on a scale from 1 to 9.

The British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and Cambridge English all jointly own IELTS.

IELTS Reading

The IELTS Reading section is given to test a wide range of reading skills including reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognizing writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose. The IELTS reading section has 40 questions and is 60 minutes long.

IELTS Reading Questions Types

Following are the types of IELTS reading questions:

Task Type Task Description
Matching Headings Question Choose a heading from the list that matches a paragraph or a section in the passage.
True, False, Not Given/ Yes, No, Not Given Identify whether the writer’s opinion or the information is in the question statements or not. 
Matching Paragraph Information Questions Match the information given in question with the information given in the passage. 
Summary Completion Questions  Complete the summary by filling in the blanks with the words taken from the passage. 
Sentence Completion Questions  Complete the sentence with the words taken from the passage. 

Multiple Choice Questions  Choose the correct answer from three or four possible options. 

List Selection  Choose the correct option from a list of words. It is different from multiple choice because all questions are related to only one long list of possible answers. 
Choosing a Title  Choose the correct title from a given list. 
Classification Questions  Decide which information belongs to which specific category from the given list. 
Matching Sentence Endings  Complete the sentence by matching its start and ending given from the list. 
Table Completion  Complete a table by using the words from the passage. 
Flow-Chart Completion Questions  Complete the flowchart by using the words from the passage. 

Diagram Completion Questions  Label a diagram. 

Short Answer Questions  Answer questions by taking details from the passage. 

IELTS Reading Topics

To ace in IELTS reading section, you must read books, magazines, newspapers and journals in your day-to-day life. Here are some general topics for IELTS Reading, academic and general.

IELTS Academic Reading Topics:

Health and Fitness
Dominant features of western countries
Famous personality
Television addiction in students
Advantages and disadvantages of technology for students
Light pollution
The environment of different countries
Impacts of the environment on human health
Children’s language
Skin unmasking
Specialities of different countries
Impacts of China on the youth of the world
Amateurs and their lifestyle
Modern tools to detect crimes
Waste management
Immigrant problems
Mental health
Villains and lessons taught by them
Marine life
Current happenings of any country
Issues observed on an academic campus
Issues observed in student life
Teacher-student relation

IELTS General Reading Topics:

Child growth and learning
Places of tourist attraction
Employee benefits
Organizational management
Strategic management
Leadership qualities
Employee management
Communication improvement in an organization
Feedback policy in the workplace
Domestic and international travel
Travel restrictions
Working hours
Workplace growth
Employee-employer relation
Organizational decency
Managerial theory
The clarity in HR policies
Job status in different countries
Job satisfaction
Work-life balance
Business deals
Social issues
The economic status of the company
The economy of the state or country
Crisis management
Risk management plan
Issues in leadership
Child growth and learning

IELTS Academic Reading vs. IELTS General Reading

IELTS Academic Reading includes 3 sections. Each question includes texts with excerpts from books, journals, newspapers and magazines. These texts outline academic topics of general interest. There is a difference between scoring patterns in IELTS Academic Reading and IELTS General Reading.

IELTS General Reading includes three sections. Section 1 includes 2 or 3 factual texts related to everyday situations, Section 2 presents factual text related to work and Section 3 includes complex text that highlights general topics. IELTS General reading is taken by those applying for immigration and work-related purposes.

IELTS Reading Materials

Below mentioned are some books that can help you prepare for the IELTS reading section.

Book Buy Here
The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS Buy here
Cambridge IELTS’ Book 14 for Academic with Answers Buy here
Barron’s IELTS Superpack Buy here
Target Band 7 Buy here

How can I Improve my IELTS Reading score?

Don’t Start Blindly. Thoroughly Read the Instructions.

During your IELTS Reading preparation efforts, you may subconsciously know the instructions, but during the exam is a strict no-no. Go through them carefully before starting. Questions like true/false/not given, gap filling, yes/no, and information matching may have triggers like ‘NOT’ mentioned which can change the whole direction of the answer. Moreover, the answer choices may have mixed information, wrong information or information that may be true but is not consistent with the passage. Reading what you are being asked to do is imperative.

Also Read: Idioms for IELTS

Be Ahead. Know the Question’s Pattern.

Get acclimated to the type and nature of the questions asked. In particular, the reading section involves the simultaneous application of skills of reading, assimilation, pattern-building, and the ability to conclude. Further, while a considerable number of the questions are logical and straightforward, getting through the sheer number as well as the odd knotty ones can quickly turn your perception of the seemingly easy IELTS Reading section. Thus, familiarise yourself beforehand with the pattern as well as the various types of questions, and try to score perfectly that will leave you ample amount of time to tackle your weak points. You can practice with the IELTS reading tests available online or with industry experts on Leverage Live!

Subscribe to Leverage IELTS for more such information

Take Time

Getting your answers right is an incomplete aim. But answering them right in time with a bit of time left for revision must be the objective. Achieving this level of proficiency requires systematic practising in a time-bound manner. A few exam suggestions we can make are:

  • Do not devote too much time to one question. Move on to another if some question is exhausting your minutes.
  • Learn to let go. The toughest ones are meant to be tough so if you can not get it right on one or two attempts, switch to the next.
  • Write the answers in the sheet while you are doing it and do not leave answer-filling for the end. Your responses in the answer sheet count and not on your rough sheet.

Also Read: Books for IELTS Preparation

The Divine Art of Scanning

Skimming and scanning through the passages just to get an idea of the topic discussed is an almost angelic ability, especially during the IELTS Reading section. This helps in developing a sense of the information being put out, its basic structure and if possible, its mood. Through a smooth floating motion, it also helps you mark out the important numbers that appear that may be a part of the questions asked. Remember, you must not get too deep and your priority must be reading carefully. 

Don’t Prioritise Vocabulary

While preparing for the IELTS Reading section, or any other part of the exam, you must always remember that it is not a test of vocabulary but of communication-coherent English. It affords greater importance to grammar and sentence, correction and understanding. So, if you come across difficult unknown words, just try to get around them and practice to get the central idea rather than dwelling on a few words. 

How to Crack IELTS

IELTS Reading Time

Exam structure: reading (60 minutes)
The 40 questions in the reading part are intended to evaluate a variety of reading abilities. These include skimming, understanding logical arguments, reading for gist, reading for major ideas, reading for detail, reading for comprehension, and recognising the perspectives, attitudes, and purposes of writers.

Three lengthy readings, ranging from discursive and analytical to factual and descriptive, are part of the IELTS Academic test. These come from publications including books, journals, periodicals, and newspapers. They have been chosen for a non-specialist audience yet are suitable for students starting university courses or looking to register for a profession.

IELTS Academic Reading in Detail

  • Multiple choice
  • Identifying information
  • Identifying the writer’s views/claims
  • Matching information
  • Matching headings
  • Matching features
  • Matching sentence endings
  • Sentence completion
  • Summary, note, table, flow-chart completion
  • Diagram label completion
  • Short answer questions

How the IELTS Academic Reading Section is Scored

The Academic Reading test is graded by certified scorers who are continually observed to assure accuracy. Cambridge English further examines each answer sheet once it has been graded.

Subscribe to Leverage IELTS for more such information

IELTS Reading Practice Tests: British Council

The IELTS, British Council has provided complete, genuine IELTS reading tests. Utilize the test to get exam-like practice. Spend an hour reading the passage, responding to the questions, and completing the answer sheet. Each exam includes a full reading test, an answer key, and an answer sheet. Choose below:


How many sections does the IELTS Exam have?

The IELTS test constitutes of four major sections, Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.

How many reading passages are there in the IELTS Reading section?

The IELTS Reading section is comprised of a total of three reading passages for the academic paper and three different sections for the general training paper with each section having 1 or 2 texts.

What type of reading passages are there in the IELTS academic?

IELTS Academic reading includes excerpts from books, magazines, and newspapers. It may contain complicated language, academic vocabulary, and at times diagrams, maps or other types of illustrations.

Excelling in the IELTS Reading section is no different than any other ability-testing exam like the TOEFL or GRE. A proper study plan goes a long way in channelizing your efforts. Take the assistance of the experts and mentors at Leverage Edu where you can develop a unique personalized approach towards your exam that accentuates your skills and improves your areas that need more practice. This way, you can be geared up, confident, and collected on the day of your exam.

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