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ielts reading

IELTS Reading Exam

This module covers the reading component of the IELTS reading exam.

Our tips and guides will show you how to

  • read quickly using two successful methods
  • save yourself time in the exam
  • use your hidden skill to gain points

First of all we will examine the format of both the Academic and General IELTS reading tests.  During this part we will also provide you with especially relevant tips and skills to help you in understanding how to successfully complete each question type.  Furthermore there are real-time online sample practice tests for all question types that give guidelines as to where you are going wrong so you will be able to understand fully what the examiners are looking for.


Section 1Format of the Reading exam
Lecture 1Academic v GeneralFree Preview

Academic v General

The IELTS Reading component tests your ability to read and understand English from a variety of formats. Like the Writing component of the IELTS exam, the reading exam exists in either Academic or General versions. The main difference between the two versions is the type of material you will be tested on understanding. 

The test lasts for 60minutes and comes in three different sections.



Texts are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers and have been written for a non-specialist audience. All the topics are of general interest. They deal with issues which are interesting, recognisably appropriate and accessible to test takers entering undergraduate or postgraduate courses or seeking professional registration.
The passages may be written in a variety of styles, for example narrative, descriptive or discursive/argumentative. At least one text contains detailed logical argument. Texts may contain non-verbal materials such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations. If texts contain technical terms then a simple glossary is provided.

The first section, ‘social survival’, contains texts relevant to basic linguistic survival in English with tasks mainly about retrieving and providing general factual information, for example, notices, advertisements and timetables.
The second section, ‘Workplace survival’, focuses on the workplace context, for example, job descriptions, contracts and staff development and training materials.
The third section, ‘general reading’, involves reading more extended prose with a more complex structure but with the emphasis on descriptive and instructive rather than argumentative texts, in a general context relevant to the wide range of test takers involved, for example, newspapers, magazines and fictional and non-fictional book extracts.

Whichever format you chose depends on why you need to sit this exam: If you are hoping to enroll in a university/course then it is very likely that you will need to do the Academic version. If you do not need the exam for university/course purposes then we advise you to sit the General version.

When deciding which version you will study for, always check with the person requiring you to have this exam, as some universities are okay with students just completing the General version whereas some universities state that you need the Academic version.

Lecture 2Test Techniques
Section 2Academic Sample Papers
Lecture 3Multiple Choice
Lecture 4Label Completion
Lecture 5Table Completion
Lecture 6Matching Headings
Lecture 7Matching Features
Lecture 8Identifying Information
Section 3General Sample Papers
Lecture 9Flowchart
Lecture 10Identify Information
Lecture 11Matching Features
Lecture 12Matching Headings
Lecture 13Multiple Choice
Lecture 14Sentence Completion
Lecture 15Short Answer
Lecture 16Matching Information