IELTS Reading Test Overview


The IELTS Reading Test is the second part of the exam. It lasts 60 minutes and consists of 3 sections and a total of 40 questions.

You should write your answers directly onto the exam answer paper as you do NOT have extra time at the end to transfer your answers.

A variety of tasks are used, chosen from the following types:

  • multiple-choice
  • short-answer questions
  • sentence completion
  • notes/summary/diagram/flowchart/table completion
  • matching headings to paragraphs or sections of text
  • identification of writer’s view/claims (yes/no/not given)
  • identification of information in the text (yes/no or true/false + not given)
  • classification
  • matching lists/phrases

Academic Reading Module

Section Number and Type of Reading Texts




There is one passage in each section.  Texts come from books, magazines, newspapers and journals, and are non-specialist.  At least one passage contains a detailed argument.

General Training Reading Module

Section Number of Texts Types of Texts

1  Social Survival

2 or more Usually short but containing a lot of information,based around everyday survival English, e.g. public information leaflets
2 Training Survival  2

Usually containing information about a university or college, e.g. services or facilities provided.

3 General Reading 1 longer text General reading comprehension on any subject.

Is the IELTS test completed in one day?

The Listening, Reading and Writing components of the test are always completed immediately after each other and with no break. Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test may be taken up to 7 days either before or after the test date.

What can I bring into the examination room?
Only pens, pencils and erasers. You must bring the passport/national identity card you used on the IELTS Application Form to the test. You must leave everything else outside the examination room, including mobile phones and pagers which must be switched off and placed with personal belongings in the area designated by the supervisor. If you do not switch off your phone/pager or keep it on you, you will be disqualified.

Which part do I take first?
You do the Listening test first following by the Reading and Writing components of the test. Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test may be taken up to 7 days either before or after the test date.

Is there time at the end of the Reading test to transfer answers?
No. The Reading test is one hour, and you must write all your answers on the answer sheet in this time.

Can I use a pen for the Reading test?
No. You must do it in pencil. The answer sheet is scanned by a computer which cannot read pen.

Can I make notes on the Reading question paper?
Yes. The IELTS Examiner will not see your question paper.