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The General Training Reading test consists of three sections and 40 questions. It focuses on situations you might face in everyday life, work-related issues such as applying for a job, and topics of general interest. The extracts in each section are taken from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines.
Section 1 looks at your social survival skills. The questions relate back to short texts that are relevant to everyday life in an English-speaking country. These might be notices, advertisements or timetables.
Section 2 takes a closer look at your workplace survival skills. The texts here are taken from job descriptions, contracts, staff development and training manuals, as well as pay and workplace condition documents.
Section 3 contains a long and more complex text on a topic of general interest. Texts could be taken from newspapers, magazine or books.
The reading part of the IELTS test looks at how well you can understand main ideas, details, inferences and implied meaning. It also assesses your ability to follow the development of an argument, recognise a writer's opinion, attitudes and purpose.
If you take computer delivered IELTS you will do the tests in the following order on the same day: Listening, Reading and Writing, with the Speaking test before or after this test session. If you take Paper-based IELTS, you will do the tests in the following order: Listening, Reading and Writing.
Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test can be done on the same day, or up to 7 days either before or after the test date.