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IELTS Reading Academic Format

The IELTS Academic Reading module consists of three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. Each passage has 12 to 14 questions. The passages are mainly related to the study materials found on different academic books in the university or college level. The texts are authentic and are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers, appropriate for individuals pursuing undergraduate or postgraduate courses or for professional purposes.

Total time duration 60 minutes
Total no. of Questions

40 Objective questions

3 Long Texts

Texts are from books, journals, magazines and newspapers written for a non-specialist audience. They are suitable and accessible to candidates entering undergraduate or postgraduate courses. The passages are written in narrative, descriptive or discursive/argumentative styles.  Texts may contain non-verbal materials such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations.

Nature of the questions
  • Multiple Choice
  • Identifying information [True/False/Not Given]
  • Identifying writer’s claims/views
  • Matching information,headings, features, sentence endings
  • Complete sentence, summary, note, table, flow chart, diagram label
  • Short-Answer Questions
Reading skills

These include questions which test a wide range of reading skills. 

These include reading for main ideas, themes, detail, scanning and skimming, understanding logical argument and acknowledging writers’ opinions and purpose.

Detailed information about the question type and their purpose of assessment

Question Sort

 Purpose of Assessment

Multiple Choice Questions

  • Test takers are given a part of the sentence and are asked to complete it from given options as A, B, C, D, and so on.
  • Candidates are required to select either
  • One answer from four alternatives
  • Two answers from five alternatives
  • Three answers from seven alternatives
  • The questions have the same order as the provided information in the passage, i.e. the answer to the first question will be located in the text before the answer to the second question, and so on.
This task type tests various ranges of reading skills which includes detailed understanding of specific points or an overall understanding of the main theme of the text.

Identifying information (true/false/not given)

The candidates will be given a set of statements and asked questions like: ‘Do the following statements agree with the information in the text?’

In response, the candidates are required to write ‘true’, ‘false’ or ‘not given’ in the boxes provided on their answer sheets.

Again the questions are in the same order as the information in the text.

This task type assesses the test takers’ ability to recognise particular points of information conveyed in the text. It can thus be used with more factual texts.

Identifying writer’s claims/views

The test taker will be given a set of statements and asked questions like- ‘Do the following statements agree with the views/claims of the writer?’

The answers should be marked as ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘not given’ in the boxes on their answer sheet.

The questions and the information in the text has the same order, I.e. the answer to the first question in this category will be located in the text before the answer to the second question, and so on.

This task is often used with eloquent texts.

This type of task assesses the test takers’ ability to recognise opinions or ideas of the writer.

Matching information

  • Test takers are supposed to locate specific information in the sections of a text, and write the letters of the correct sections in the boxes provided on their answer sheets.
  • The asked information could be- specific details, a reason, an example, a comparison, a description or a summary.
  •  The candidates do not necessarily need to find information in every section of the text, but they might find more than one piece of significant information in a given section. In this case, the test takers can use any letter more than once.
  •  Unlike other tasks, here the questions do not follow the same order as the information in the text.

This task type assesses the test takers’ ability to scan and locate a specific information and recognise a summary or definition.

 

Matching headings

Candidates are provided with a list of headings which refers to the main idea of the paragraph or section of the text and are to be matched to the correct paragraphs or sections. No heading should be used more than once.

Candidates may find that:

  • The number of headlines could be more than the paragraphs or sections, so unmatched headings can be left unused.
  • Some paragraphs or sections might not be there in the task.
  • As an example, more than one paragraph or section may already be matched with a heading.

This task assesses candidates’ ability to recognise the main idea or theme of a particular paragraphs or sections of a text, and to distinguish main ideas from supporting ones.

Main difference between matching information and matching headings tasks is that the former task is concerned with specific information while the latter recognises the main idea.

Matching features

The test takers are required to match a set of statements or pieces of information to a list of given options which are a group of features from the text, and are designated by letters.

It is likely that some options will not be used or might be used more than once. It will be instructed if so.

The questions do not have the same order as the information in the text.

This task assesses candidates’ ability to read for detail, skim and scan the text for required information, recognise relationships and connections between facts in the text dealing with factual information,description and narrative and to recognise opinions and theories.

Match sentence endings

Based on the text, the test takers are given the first half of a sentence and are required to complete it from a list of options which might be more than the questions.

The questions are in the same order as the information in the text, which means the answer to the first question in this group will be found before the answer to the second question, and so on.

This task type assesses the test takers’ ability to understand the main idea within the sentence.

Sentence completion

  • By writing their answers on the answer sheet, the test takers are required to complete sentences in a given number of words taken from the text.
  • How many words should be there in the answers, would be already instructed.
  •  The questions are in the same order as the information in the passage.
  • There is penalty for writing more than the word limit so pay attention. Although, numbers can be written using figures or words, contracted words are not tested and hyphenated words will count as single words.
This task type assesses the test takers’ ability to locate specific information from the passage.

Summary, Note, Table, Flowchart Completion

  • Test takers will be given a summary of a section of the text which will be most likely of only one part of the passage rather than the whole, and will be asked to complete it with information gathered from the text.
  • There are two variations of this task type, the test taker may be asked to either:
  • select words from the text
  • Or to select from a list of answers.
  • The given information would be in the form of summary, notes, table, flow-charts.
  • The answers will not necessarily occur in the same order as in the text. However, they will usually come from one section rather than the entire text.
  • How many words should be there in the answers, would be already instructed. There is penalty for writing more than the word limit. Although, numbers can be written using figures or words, contracted words are not tested and hyphenated words will count as single words.
  • This task is often used with descriptive texts since it is related to precise factual information.
This task type assesses the test takers’ ability to identify the main idea of a section of a text and understand details of the passage. It tests whether the candidate has knowledge of the type of words that fits into a given gap.

Diagram label completion

  • The test takers are needed to complete labels on a diagram which are related to a description contained in the text. The diagram may be of of any object that can be represented pictorially.
  • It will be already instructed how many words should be there in the answers. There is penalty for writing more than the word limit. Although, numbers can be written using figures or words, contracted words are not tested and hyphenated words will count as single words.
  • The answers may not occur in order in the passage, however they will be from one section rather than the entire text.
  • This task type is often used with texts describing processes or with descriptive texts.
This task type assesses your ability to understand a detailed description and to relate it to information in the text to the labels in the diagram.

Short Answer Questions

The test takers are needed to write their answers in words or numbers from the text on the answer sheet. These questions would be about factual details in the text.

It will be already instructed how many words should be there in the answers. There is penalty for writing more than the word limit. Although, numbers can be written using figures or words, contracted words are not tested and hyphenated words will count as single words.

The questions are in the same order as the information in the text which means the answer to the first question in this category will be located in the test before the answer to the second question and so forth.

This task type assesses your ability to locate and understand the exact information given in the passage.

 

Key points to remember

  • Carefully read the instructions for word limit. You will get penalised if you over write.
  • Learn to scan and skim.
  • Attempt every question! Don’t leave any empty spaces.
  • Pay attention to time limit.
  • Work on your vocabulary, grammar and spelling skills.
  • Practice reading as much as you can!

IELTS Academic reading practice tests provided by Gratis Academy can ensure your success in the final IELTS exam. For sure shot success in IELTS reading test, join Gratis Academy and reap benefits from our efficiently structured coaching program.

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