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Looking to study or work in your dream country like the UK, Australia or Canada? Then you’d want to take and ace the IELTS General Training test!

In order to accomplish the necessary band score, you’ll need to score well for every single component, including your Reading test.

While the Reading test might seem easy, it isn’t very straight forward and you’ll need to have ample preparation to get familiar with the tasks to complete.

And in this article, we will be going through what you’ll need to know about the IELTS General Training Reading test and the best way to get fully prepared to score!

Four things you must know about the IELTS General Training Reading test

1. Understand the types of text you will be reading

The General Training test will comprise of three sections that will involve a variety of short and long text.

The first section has two or three short texts, the second will feature two texts while the final section has one long text to tackle.

The content of the text includes extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, advertisements and even company handbooks. These are done to simulate the different types of materials you will encounter on a daily basis in an English-speaking country.

The first section is geared towards ‘social survival’ and will contain tasks that will require you to retrieve and provide general factual information.

The second section is about ‘workplace survival’ and requires you to tackle tasks related to job descriptions, contracts and staff development.

The final section is a general one that emphasises more on the descriptive and instructive and encompasses a wide range of topics.

2. Learn the 11 different types of tasks

In the Reading test, you will have 40 questions spread across 11 different types of tasksexternal icon to handle.

The tasks are designed to test your reading, reasoning and analytical skills including understanding arguments and scanning for details as well.

These tasks include:

  • Multiple-choice questions

  • Identifying information

  • Identifying views and claims

  • Matching information

  • Matching headings

  • Matching features from statements

  • Matching sentence endings

  • Sentence completion

  • Summary, note, table & flow-chart completion

  • Diagram label completion

  • Short-answer questions

It is essential to follow the instructions of each task and answer with accuracy and correct grammar to ensure you aren’t penalised.

Female test taker preparing for IELTS Reading test

3. How to approach the General Training Reading test

While the Reading test can seem complex, you shouldn’t worry if you have a good understanding of what to do and how to prepare for it!

Here are some tips to help get you on track.

A. Read each passage with speed and accuracy

60 minutes might seem long, but time will fly especially when you need to read multiple texts and answer questions at the same time.

A good approach is to practice on sample tests a combination of scanning for information while also reading thoroughly for details.

This will help you easily switch between the two depending on the needs of the question.

B. Not all passages can be read in order

When it comes to reading order, most of the questions will be in the same order as the text except for certain tasks such as the matching features and flow-chart completion.

You must familiarise yourself with the test format to swiftly identify when reading.

C. Carefully assess the multiple-choice questions

The MCQ questions in the Reading test aren’t exactly straightforward and aren’t the standard ‘choose the best answer out of four’.

There will be instances where you will need to choose the best two or even three answers from many alternatives.

While this might be confusing, practice makes perfect!

4. Prepare yourself better with these resources

A great way to ensure you are well-prepared is to start taking sample practice tests that will simulate the real conditions of the Reading test.

You can access our test preparation materials here.

In addition, you can also attend a free IELTS Masterclassexternal icon presented by IELTS experts who will share tips and tricks, including on the reading section, to help you score better with confidence!

If you prefer a paid option to simulate the exact test you will encounter, without the actual

grading, you can take the IELTS Progress Check paid testexternal icon.

It will help you experience as close as possible to real examination conditions, plus you’ll be able to get back personalised feedback to review areas where you need to pay extra attention and improve on.

Male test taker preparing for IELTS Reading test

Prepare for the IELTS test with IDP today

Preparing early for your General Training Reading test is essential. It allows you to get familiar with the format, which can get confusing. 

Take the time to go through our resources and prepare yourself better with our wide range of sample tests at your disposal! 

At IDP, we have a world of resources and IELTS supportexternal icon that you can rely on to help you score better!

Be sure to check out our IELTS preparation materials here as well as read hand-picked tips on how to prepare and ace the testexternal icon

And once you are ready, you can book your IELTS test hereexternal icon!