Practice online for IELTS Reading Section

The second module of the IELTS test is the Reading section. It comes after the Listening section, and is followed by the Writing and then the Speaking modules.

You will have 60 minutes to read 3 texts and answer 40 questions both for the IELTS General Training and the IELTS Academic. Note that the only difference between the IELTS Academic and General Training in the Reading module is the nature of the reading passages (the Academic version’s passages will be more about general interest, rather than the General Training version’s passages will be more about everyday life).

Thus, our advices are suitable for all IELTS candidates. You can easily achieve a high score if you practice for IELTS enough, just follow our tips!

 

What is the structure of the IELTS Reading module?

In this table, we summarised the Reading section’s structure:

IELTS Reading

Structure

Format
  • 3 reading passages, with an increasing difficulty, thats is to say each text is harder than the one before.
  • The reading passages are taken from books, magazines and newspapers.
  • You will have 1 hour to answer 40 questions.
Questions
  • 40 questions, based on the texts, in a range of formats:
    • Multiple choice
    • Fill in the gaps
    • Connect the answer to the question
    • Complete the diagram
    • Matching lists
    • Identification
  • 1 point per correct answer. You cannot lose points.
  • All the answers are found within the reading passages
Answer Sheet You shall write down your answers on the answer sheet handed out at the beginning of the exam.

 

More information on each of the reading passages:

 

Here is a sample of the Reading module :

 

  • Reading passage 1 (Questions 1 to 12)

TEXT: BIOLOGY AND YOUR HEALTH

A  What you eat and drink is directly related to your health. But you may not think twice about the possibility of contaminated food or water, or a lack of vitamins in your diet. Not long ago, diseases caused by vitamin deficiencies were still fairly common. The first vitamins were identified less than 100 years ago, but today the vitamins found in foods are printed on labels.

B  Even today we still face food-related causes of illness. For example, you might hear about an outbreak of food poisoning, and mad cow disease was only recognised in the late 1980’s. Of perhaps greater concern to you are food allergies. Many people suffer from severe, even life-threatening, allergies to foods such as peanuts and shellfish. Beyond questions about the sources of food are questions and concerns about what people eat and how much they eat. For example, scientists estimate that more than 60 percent of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. The health consequences of obesity include increased risks of diabetes, stroke, heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer and other health problems. Biology can help you to better understand all of these health-related issues.

C  An understanding of biology on many different levels –genetic, chemical, and cellular, for example — can help you make any number of lifestyle choices that affect your health. Why is it important to use sunscreen? What are the benefits of exercise? What are the effects of using alcohol, illegal drugs and tobacco? Cigarette smoke does not just affect the lungs; it can also change a person’s body chemistry and have strong negative effects on the kidneys. Non-smokers normally have a normal enzyme level, while smokers have lower enzyme levels. Lower levels of monoamine oxidase in the brain can affect mood, and lower levels in the liver could contribute to high blood pressure.

 

Biology and the World Around You

D  In 1995, some middle school students from Minnesota were walking through a wetland and collecting frogs for a school project. The students stopped to look at the frogs and what they saw shocked them. Many of the frogs had deformities, including missing legs, extra legs, and missing eyes. What caused the deformities? Scientists investigated that question by testing several hypotheses. They studied whether the deformities could have been caused by factors such as a chemical in the water, ultraviolet radiation, or some other type of infection.

E  Why would frog deformities such as that provoke such scientific interest? The frogs are a part of an ecosystem, so whatever affected them could affect other species in the area. If the deformities were caused by a chemical in the water, might the chemical pose a risk to people living in the area? In other regions of the United States parasites caused similar deformities in frogs. Might that parasite also be present in Minnesota? If so, did it pose a risk to other species?

F  At first, parasites were not found in the frogs. However, scientists now suggest that the frog deformities were due to a combination of infection by parasites, called trematodes, and predation by dragonfly nymphs. Science has answered some questions about the cause of the leg deformities. However, scientists now think that a chemical may be connected to the increased number of parasite infections.

G  Suppose that the chemical comes from a factory in the area. Is it reasonable to ban the chemical? Should the factory be closed or fined? In any instance like this, political, legal, economic, and biological concerns have to be considered. What is the economic impact on the factory on the area? Is there any evidence of human health problems in the area? Is there a different chemical that could be used? Without an understanding of biology, how could you make an informed decision related to any of these questions?

H  These are the types of questions that people try to answer every day. Biologists and other scientists research environmental issues such as pollution, biodiversity, habitat preservation, land conservation, and natural resource use, but decisions about the future are not in the hands of scientists. It is up to everyone to make decisions based on evidence and conclusions from many different sources.

 

QUESTIONS 1 – 7

Label the missing words on the diagram below using words from the following paragraph from the text:

An understanding of biology on many different levels –genetic, chemical, and cellular for example — can help you make any number of lifestyle choices that affect your health. Why is it important to use sunscreen? What are the benefits of exercise? What are the effects of using alcohol, illegal drugs and tobacco? Cigarette smoke does not just affect the lungs; it can also change a person’s body chemistry and have strong negative effects on the kidneys. Non-smokers normally have a normal enzyme level, while non-smokers have lower enzyme levels. Lower levels of monoamine oxidase in the brain can affect mood, and lower levels in the liver could contribute to high blood pressure.

Write your answers in boxes 1 – 7 on your answer sheet.

 

 

QUESTIONS 8 – 12

This passage has eight sections, A-H.

Choose the correct heading for sections B, C, E – G and from the list of headings below.

Write the correct number i-ix in boxes 8-12 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings

i Potential Risks on an Ecosystem

ii Domestic Animals at further risk

iii Negative Effects of Smoke

iv Biologists asking questions

v Arthritis and Brain Cancer in young Americans

vi Consequences of American Habits

vii Local taxpayers want a solution

viii  Nymphs and trematodes affecting local frog population

ix Factory Workers are taking care of environment problems

 

8. Section B __________

9. Section C __________

10. Section E __________

11. Section F __________

12. Section G __________

 

What are the different type of questions for the IELTS Reading test ?

If you understand and keep in mind the 11 most frequently used instructions from the reading part, you will be able to read the question and answer it more quickly and more easily. Here is a summary of the questions you can find:

Type of Question

Description and Advice

Multiple Choice
  • 1 or more correct answers (usually 4 choices: A. B. C or D)
  • The questions are in the same chronological order as the text
True/False/Not given

Yes/No/Not given

  • “True”, “Yes” – statement justified by information in the text
  • “False”, “no” – statement contradicted by information in the text
  • “Not given” – the statement cannot be justified or contradicted by information in the text
  • Be sure to avoid answering “Yes” or “No” if the instructions ask you to answer using “True” or “False” because the point will not be given
Matching information

Matching features

  • Link up a specific statement to its paragraph (“Men discovered fire 790,000 years ago à “The keys to human growth and development”
  • There may be more statements than paragraphs (5 paragraphs for 7 statements)
  • One or more paragraphs may not be used
Matching headings
  • Link each paragraph to its title (paragraph B à title II: “The keys to human growth and development”)
  • The titles are designated by Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV, V, etc.); the paragraphs are designated by letters (A, B, C, D, E, etc.)
  • There may be more proposed titles than there are paragraphs (5 paragraphs for 7 titles)
  • One or more paragraphs may not be used
Matching sentence endings
  • Complete the beginning of the sentence given in the instructions
  • There may be more sentence beginnings than there are endings to find (7 sentence beginnings for 4 sentence endings)
  • The sentence beginnings are in the same chronological order as the text
Sentence completion
  • Find the words relating to each missing piece of information (text with gaps)
  • There may be more words proposed than there are pieces of information to place in the text (6 words for 4 missing pieces of information)
  • Pay attention to the word limit (“No more than 2/3 words”)!
Summary/note/table/flow chart completion
  • Complete the text summary using the words in the text
  • The summary can take the form of a continuous text, comments, a table or boxes to complete
  • The answers are not found in the same chronological order as the text, but they are often located within the same paragraph
Diagram label completion
  • Complete the details of a diagram by using the words in the text
  • The diagram may be of a machine, a building or any other information that can take the form of a diagram
  • Pay attention to the word limit (“No more than 2/3 words)!
Short-answer questions
  • Use the information found within the text
  • Pay attention to the word limit (“No more than 2/3 words!) Compound nouns such as “check-in” count as one word

 

GlobalExam’s tips for the IELTS Reading module

Even if each person works and practices differently, there are a few tips you can try in order to be more efficient, and thus achieve a high score.

 

Read the questions first

By reading first what will be asked later on, you will see the answers in the text as you read it. It will also allow you to answer more quickly.

 

Read each set of instructions attentively

Indeed, the instructions change from one text to another and a tricky statement can cost you the point. For example, if you must answer “Yes, No, or Not Given”, you must answer in that precise manner. “Yes” signifies that the text confirms the statement. Answer “No” if the opposite is true. “Not Given” is used if the text does give the information. Be aware that you do not systematically use “Not Given” whenever you are unsure. In this case, it is better to search within the text for the passage containing the answer.

 

Move on

As you only have a limited amount of time to answer all 40 questions, do not spend more than 3 minutes on a question when you cannot find the answer in the text. It is better to skip difficult ones and go back to them at the end rather than to struggle with them and end up wasting time.

 

Be careful with the timing

Managing your time well is one of the key strategies needed to pass the Reading section. You have 1 hour to answer 40 questions and it is up to you to organise your time as you wish. As the texts are presented in an order which increases in difficulty and because the last passage contains the most questions, we advise you to divide your time so that you spend 15 minutes on the 1st passage, 20 minutes on the 2nd passage and 25 minutes on the 3rd passage.

For more information on the other sections of the test, check out these articles:

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