IELTS Reading General Format
|IELTS General Reading module has 3 sections of around 40 questions and is of 1 hour. The first section has 2 or 3 texts which test your ability to survive in an English speaking environment. The second section has one or 2 texts related to work or training topics. The third section has one long passage, much like the academic module. The main difference between General and Academic Reading test is the level of complexity. Texts in General module are smaller and less difficult than the Academic Reading passages.|
|Total time duration||60 minutes|
|Total no. of Questions||
40 Objective Questions
The first section:
It contains texts related to basic linguistic survival in English with tasks mainly about searching and providing general factual information.
The second section:
It focuses on job descriptions, contracts and staff development and training materials related to workplace.
The third section:
It involves reading of more complex subjects with descriptive and instructive texts. For example,newspapers, magazines, fictional and non-fictional book extracts.
|Nature of the questions||
These include questions which test your reading skills.
These include reading for a particular point or the main idea, detail, scanning and skimming, understanding of logical argument, opinions, attitudes and purpose of the passages.
Detailed information about the question type and their purpose of assessment
|Purpose of Assessment|
Multiple Choice Questions
|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.|
This task type assesses the test takers’ ability to scan and locate a specific information and recognise a summary or definition.
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:
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.
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.|
|This task type assesses the test takers’ ability to locate specific information from the passage.|
Summary, Note, Table, Flowchart Completion
|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
|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!
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