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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.
Overall band scores
- Band 9
Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
- Band 8
Very good user
Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
- Band 7
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.
- Band 6
Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings.
Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
- Band 5
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.
- Band 4
Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
- Band 3
Extremely limited user
Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
- Band 2
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.
- Band 1
Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
- Band 0
Did not attempt test
No assessable information provided.
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