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IELTS Reading test question types

The Reading test is made up of a number of question types, which include:

  • Multiple choice 

  • Identifying information 

  • Identifying a writer's views/claims

  • Matching headings

  • Matching information

  • Matching features

  • Matching sentence ending

  • Sentence completion

  • Summary, note, table, flow-chart completion

  • Diagram label completion

  • Short answer

The Reading part of the IELTS test is different for the Academic and General Training tests. However, the number of questions and the question types remain the same for IELTS test types.

Your IELTS Reading score contributes to your overall IELTS band score.

How to calculate the IELTS Reading band score

The Academicexternal icon and General Trainingexternal icon IELTS tests have different reading sections. However, the question types, the number of questions and the way it is scored remain the same. In the Reading testexternal icon, you will respond to 40 questions that are based on three long texts, and you will receive one mark for each correct answer. Your raw score — which is used to calculate your IELTS band scoreexternal icon will be based on the total number of correct answers. It is crucial to attempt every question because leaving a blank answer will not receive points.

Below, you will find each band score and its description to help you understand IELTS scores in detail.

IELTS Reading Band Score Descriptors

Band  Skill level Description 
Expert user Has a full operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding. 
Very good user Has a full operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well. 
Good user Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally, handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning. 
Competent user  Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations. 
Modest user Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field. 
Limited user Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language. 
Extremely limited user Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur. 
Intermittent user No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English. 
Non-user Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words. 
Did not attempt test No assessable information provided. 


IELTS Academic Reading - Raw Score Conversion* 

Number of correct answers (Raw Score) IELTS Academic Reading Band Score 
38-37  8.5 
34-33  7.5 
29-27  6.5 
22-19  5.5 
14-13  4.5 
9-8 3.5 
5-4 2.5 


IELTS General Training Reading - Raw Score Conversion* 

Number of correct answers (Raw Score) IELTS General Training Reading Band Score 
39 8.5 
36 7.5 
32-33 6.5 
27-29  5.5 
19-22  4.5 
12-14  3.5 


* The IELTS Reading band score charts that are shown here highlight the average number of marks required to achieve a particular IELTS band score. Actual marks may vary slightly between tests due to the variation in texts used on different occasions.