You have decided to sit for the IELTS exam. Good for you. You know that the exam will deal with listening, speaking, reading and writing, but you don’t know much beyond that. Well, in this article, we’re going to cover the IELTS reading section since the more you know about it, the better prepared you will be and a prepared test-taker is a successful test-taker.
We’ll go over the format of the IELTS reading section and what tasks there are for you to do. Also, we’ll provide you with some tips for dealing with the reading section since a good reading score can be vital for a university application or for employment, depending on the position. But because we love sharing, we also wrote an article providing you the top 10 listening tip and sample exercises. The last section of the article will let you know what we do for IELTS online preparation at GlobalExam.
What is the format of the IELTS reading section?
The reading section lasts for 60 minutes in both the general and academic versions of the exam.
This section has 40 questions that are intended to test a wide variety of reading skills. These skills include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognizing a writer’s opinion, attitude and purpose.
There are three long texts, ranging from descriptive and factual to discursive and analytical. The readings originate from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. You do not need to be a specialist in the subject to understand a reading, but you do need a well-developed academic vocabulary. One text is going to contain a detailed argument on a topic.
The task types make use of a variety of question types such as multiple choice, identifying information, identifying the writer’s views and claims, information matching, matching headings to paragraphs, matching features, matching sentence endings, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, diagram label completion and short-answer questions. There are a lot of different kinds of questions and you better become familiar with them all.
You transfer your answers to an answer sheet during the test. This is important to remember: no extra time is allowed for transfer. Each question is 1 mark.
IELTS General Training
This version of IELTS follows the same format as the academic version, but the readings are taken from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines. The vocabulary is less demanding, and the items are things you would encounter daily in an English-speaking environment.
What are the tips for passing this section?
Use your time wisely!
- Don’t waste time trying to figure out difficult questions. If you spend a lot of time on difficult questions, you’ll be wasting valuable exam. Answer all easier questions first and leave the hard ones for the end.
- Don’t start reading the text before looking at the tasks. When you start reading, you should have some questions in mind. Read the tasks and questions first before you read, and think about the information that you must find to answer the question.
- Practice doing lots of reading tests, so you become familiar with the task types, questions formats and wording of the questions.
- Read the task carefully. Make sure you read the instructions and the examples carefully. Lots of people write four words when the instructions say three words, for example.
Common question types you need to know
True/false/not given: True and false are self-explanatory. Not given means that the article did not mention the information.
Matching tasks: Consider all the options for each question. Don’t cross out something too quickly. Often one option may fit in two or three places, but it fits in one place best, so you need to be careful and go through everything.
Gap filling tasks: Watch the word limit. Don’t go over the word limit for each gap. You won’t get the point if you do.
Some other suggestions
Vocabulary-find the Academic Word List and the Academic Vocabulary List. Go through them and see which words you don’t know and then learn them. Read academic stuff and get familiar with the phrasing used.
Skimming and scanning-learn how to skim and scan well. They are great time savers and allow you to find information quickly and effectively.
Read faster-it sounds silly, but a lot of people plod through a text. Push yourself to read faster. Find articles of similar length and time yourself.
Preparing Online with GlobalExam
You might be asking yourself: where do I begin?
Well, that’s where GlobalExam comes in. We are language exam preparation experts who know the IELTS exam well, and what the different IELTS tasks and questions are like.
We offer you an abundance of exercises since you will need plenty of practice to become familiar with the variety of IELTS tasks. Also, we have mock exams, simulating the feel and conditions of an IELTS exam; you’ll be timed and receive feedback.
What else is there?
Well, there are corrected exercises to help you know where you are going wrong, and what you need to do to improve, and we use progress tracking that uses statistics to show you how you are doing; this is great for your motivation and planning.
Also, GlobalExam provides multiple study paths, giving you selection and variety in how you prepare.
All of the above is found on a top notch platform that is attractive, easy to use and affordable. With GlobalExam, you will be ready and confident on your IELTS test date.