IELTS or the International English Language Testing System has four modules that are tested upon – reading, writing, speaking and listening. However, the Reading section gives some of the exam takers butterflies in their stomachs. It amps up their anxiety as they need to be hyper-focused while reading something within a limited time frame.

The IELTS Reading test comprises 40 questions in total. Each of the questions here test different aspects of the taker’s reading prowess. It takes 60 minutes to complete this section as it contains 3-4 reading passages. These passages keep getting complex as one moves from one passage to the next and facets such as vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and analytical reasoning are evaluated.

The types of questions that students have to tackle are Matching Heading Questions, where an appropriate heading for a particular paragraph has to be chosen from among the options present, True and False questions, matching paragraph information questions, summary completion questions where a particular summary needs to be completed by filling in the blanks using words that are given, sentence completion questions, multiple choice questions, choosing a proper title for the passage, classification questions where a category for the information provided has to be selected, table completions, flow chart completion questions, diagram completion questions where diagrams need to be labeled and short answer questions.


Which is the most difficult question in the IELTS reading section then?

It all depends on the individual who appears for these tests and how he/ she views these sets of questions. Completing 40 questions in an hour may seem daunting but can be dealt with tactfully  if one practices before the test. Solving and completing mock papers within the time allotted as well as one-on-one tutorials with trained mentors assists people in appearing for IELTS Reading tests with confidence. 

There are some debates regarding the most difficult questions that the IELTS Reading section contains.
Some people find the questions on matching the headings complex while some consider the True/False/Not Given questions difficult. The reason IELTS takers find these questions annoying is because of paraphrasing. The words used in the questions are not the same as the ones that the passage contains, they are either synonyms or rephrased in a manner that conveys the meaning.

Say, a certain passage contains a line such as “ Anita was both diligent and kind-hearted.” You may be asked a question such as “Was Anita generous and dedicated towards her work?”
This tends to confuse the person appearing for the test as he/ she has to recall what he/she had read in the passage. Reading each and every sentence carefully will help you in remembering the descriptive words used and so, synonyms will not seem challenging.



People who go through 3-4 long passages within 60 minutes feel quite exhausted as they need to concentrate on the meaning of the information in the passage and then answer the questions.

True and False questions also become confusing when the sentence tends to be partially correct. Here, the examinee will think twice before answering as the question is tricky. In such cases, choose True only when all aspects of the sentence are correct. You also need to check if the words relate to the statement and then zero in on an option.
Matching headings will not seem very tricky if one keeps crossing out options that do not seem relevant.
Reconsidering each option by checking if it is a fit and then going with your instinct will also help.Read the paragraphs to know which headings will be the best fit and remember that there will just be one fit among the options provided.

The problem here is not reading passages but identifying the correct answers. The idea of reading the passage before attempting questions gives people massive anxiety. They need a focused form of reading where they are able to absorb the minute details of the passage text and answer all the questions. Familiarizing yourself with all the question types will also help as you will know exactly the type of questions that have a probability of coming. Doing this without a strategy is sure to result in a failure.

Reading excerpts or books during your downtime builds a habit of reading that stays with you throughout. Reading almost 2000 words will not seem very unnerving if one has already gotten into a habit of reading. It is true that reading requires more attention than listening, speaking or writing and holding one’s attention span for that long can get tricky at times. However, consistency is the very basis of everything and being consistent while reading will definitely lessen one’s anxiety.


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