Practice for the Reading Exercise 1

For the IELTS Reading module, there are 3 exercises that increase in difficulty as you progress. For this reason, even though you have 60 minutes to complete the exercises (thus an average of 20 minutes per exercise), we advise you to divide your time like this:

  • 15 minutes for exercise 1
  • 20 minutes for exercise 2
  • 25 minutes for exercise 3

For each text, you will have to answer 13 to 14 questions (40 in total).

In order to achieve a high score on the test, we recommend to practice for the IELTS in real exam conditions.

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What are the differences between the IELTS Academic and General Training?

The IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training both contain 40 questions and last 60 minutes for the Reading module, although the nature of the reading passages can differ.

IELTS Academic

IELTS General Training

Reading section exercise 1 is presented differently in the IELTS Academic test.

The Reading section of the IELTS Academic contains 3 reading passage:

  • On academic subjects of general interest (likely to be studied at university, e.g. cybercrime)
  • Derived from books, newspapers, journals or magazines
  • Written for a non-specialist audience (all technical vocabulary will be explained in a mini-glossary)
  • Between 2150 and 2750 words, and have 40 related questions (accounting for 1 point each) in total

All 3 IELTS Academic Reading exercises assess your general understanding of a text, of its structure and its features, while the first Reading exercise of the IELTS General Training is more specific, and differs from the two exercises that follow.

Exercise 1 of the Reading section of the IELTS General Training contains 2 to 3 short factual texts, one of which may be a composite article (for example: 6-8 very short adverts for hotels). The subjects are related to everyday life.

It involves reading texts that you will need to understand to live in an English-speaking country. You have to find the important information from documents such as a programme (television show, bus timetable), an advert (price, quality), etc.

If you are an IELTS General Training candidate, in the Reading section exercise 1 you will be assessed on your understanding of:

  • The general meaning of the text
  • The main ideas
  • The details

More information on the other exercises:

Example of a Reading Passage for Exercise 1

The example below is taken from the Global-Exam training platform.

PASSAGE 1 – Questions 1-8

Complete the summary below.

Choose ONE or TWO WORDS or a NUMBER from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 1-8.


What is the reason behind healthy athletes developing infections after only … 1 …. their knee or getting a bit of turf burn? Scientists explain that Staphylococcus aureus is to blame. But not just any staph will do, a special methicillin-resistant strain of this bacteria is now ineffective against … 2 …, such as penicillin.  In the mid twentieth century, the aforementioned cure nearly wiped out tuberculosis (TB). However, this disease began to approach epidemic numbers again with its drug-resistant counterpart killing … 3 … annually.

A few bacteria most likely survive even after taking antibiotics for a bacterial infection, this means the more resistant bacteria will survive and go on … 4 … .  Bacteria populations evolve using the process of conjugation. This process allows small loops of DNA to transfer … 5 … from one cell to another.

Some scientists hope that by targeting the toxins produced by bacteria, they will be able to … 6 … without killing the bacteria that have caused their illness, while others are fighting back using an ancient virus that infects the bacteria itself.

Our tips to make your exam a success

Read the instructions attentively

Reading instructions correctly and adhering to them is always vital during a test, but it is even more important to do so during the Reading section of the IELTS. In this section, if your answer does not perfectly correspond to the format described, it will be invalid!

Get the general meaning

It is important to learn vocabulary, but there can be words you have never seen before. If you hesitate on what a word could mean, don’t focus on that word in particular, just try to understand the meaning of the whole sentence.

Be careful with the timing

If you don’t have the answer to one question, move on to the next one. You can always come back later, it is important not to lose time!

Online Training with GlobalExam

GlobalExam is the first platform 100% dedicated to online preparation for language proficiency tests. On GlobalExam, you can train for the IELTS in real exam conditons, thanks to full mock exams with the correction, but also thanks to the dozens of exercices per section of the test.

Each result is automatically saved, and it gives you your overall progression along your training. According to this, you will be able to see where you perform well, and where you have gaps. For that, we have created vocabulary and grammar study sheets for you to practice!

You can try GlobalExam for free and do the equivalent of a full test, you just have to register!

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