It is believed that scoring a 9.0 band score is difficult for students who do not belong to a natively English speaking background. You will surely encounter some unknown words in the IELTS Reading test, but you don’t have to worry about it. The motive of the IELTS reading test is to assess your ability to understand what you have read.

Most of the IELTS aspirants lose marks in the IELTS reading test not because of lack of knowledge but because of simple mistakes made by aspirants. Continue reading this article to know more about IELTS preparation, free IELTS practice test, and tips on the IELTS Reading test.

What Skills will be Tested in the IELTS Reading Test?

The reading section of the IELTS exam will test the following skills of an applicant:

  • Search some specific information
  • Completing a table, diagram, or summary
  • Tell the difference between supporting details and main ideas
  • Follow key arguments
  • Identify what the writer’s opinions are
  • Identify the purpose of the article

Also Read: Facial Expression Reading Answers: Learn How to Answer Questions for the IELTS Reading Section

What are the Different Types of Questions Asked in the IELTS Reading Section?

There are several question types asked in the IELTS reading test to assess the reading skills of the candidate. You must know about the different types of questions asked in the IELTS reading section, which are mentioned below:

  • Matching Headings
  • Matching Sentence Endings
  • Matching Information
  • True, false, not given
  • Multiple Choice
  • Diagram Label Completion
  • Sentence Completion
  • Short – answer questions

Tips to Do well in the IELTS Reading Test

Don’t Try to Understand Every Word

It is believed that you need to have an excellent vocabulary to score well on the IELTS test, but worrying about every word that you don’t understand in the reading section isn’t the right thing. You will have two options if you don’t understand the words in the reading exam. You can either read the complete sentence and look around it for clues or you can move on and forget about it. It is not necessary to understand the meaning of every word.

Candidates who think and worry about the meaning of every word, panic and spend too much time thinking about words that might not even be related to the question asked in the IELTS exam. You should focus on the words asked in the exam rather than worry and think about the words you don’t understand.

Practice Your General Reading Skills and Not Just Your IELTS Skills

It is important that you understand the pattern of the IELTS reading test, and what type of various questions are asked in the reading section of the IELTS exam. It is also important that you keep on improving from your mistakes. Students who just focus on harnessing their IELTS skills are taking the wrong approach. Candidates should instead focus on their general reading skills.

The IELTS reading texts can be boring at times and you are more likely to improve your reading skills if you pursue general reading rather than reading specifically for the IELTS exam. This will not only improve your reading skills but also your general vocabulary. You can select any practice source according to your choice.

Read the Instructions Carefully

Candidates often lose marks because of some silly mistakes they make while answering questions because they failed to read the instructions carefully. The questions in the reading section contain some very specific instructions. If you don’t read and follow these instructions carefully then you will surely get the questions wrong.

Also Read: How Much Higher? How Much Faster? An IELTS Sample with Reading Answers

No Need to Panic

Some questions asked in the IELTS exam will be easy and some questions might be difficult. The point to keep in mind while answering these questions is to never panic. You can’t spend a large amount of time on a single question and less time on the remaining questions. If you can’t find the answer soon then move on to the next question. You can always come back to these questions later. You should have complete control over your nerves to do well in the IELTS reading test. You might not be able to get all questions correctly on the day of the test but don’t get yourself in a frenzy.

The Reading Test is Just a Vocabulary Test

The reading test if seen from hindsight is more of a vocabulary test. The test checks your knowledge of phrases and synonyms to test your wide use of vocabulary. Students are advised to note, read and review. Reading is the best way to improve your vocabulary. Seeing words in context is much better than memorizing a list of words. If you see a word that you don’t understand then try to guess the meaning via the context of the sentence.

You also need to write down all the words in separate notebooks that contain words for IELTS. The notebook must not only contain the meaning but also the antonym, synonym, examples, and pronunciations as well. There is no need for writing all this new vocabulary if you are not reviewing it. Candidates are advised to go through new words each week.

You Need to Time Each Question Perfectly

If you spend a lot of time on a single question you will have a lot less time for other questions, but if you try to finish this section in a hurry you might get confused. It is advised that students try to finish each section in 20 minutes. It gives you 16 to 17 minutes to read and answer the questions, and 2-4 minutes to transfer and check your answers.

You can’t be told to spend a particular time on a single question since some of them might be difficult hence might take more time and others will be easy hence will take less time. You should pay more attention to your timing while solving the IELTS online practice test. After completing this exercise you will understand which questions take longer to answer and which take less time to answer.

Ignore Everything You Know about the Topic in the Passage

You are being tested on how well you understand the text and your knowledge of the topic should not influence your answers in any manner. You don’t have to make assumptions based on your knowledge, instead, answer according to the text of the passage.

Be Careful while Transferring Your Answers

You will be required to transfer your answers in an answers sheet. One common mistake that students make is that they spend a lot of time reading and answering questions and very little time transferring the answers in the answer sheet. It is only natural that students will make mistakes under pressure. You must solve mock tests to get an idea about how much time it will take to transfer answers and also familiarise yourself with the process.

Also Read: IELTS General Reading Practice With Answers: The Birth of Colour Blue

Why Should You Attempt the IELTS Mock Test?

Aspirants believe that just by reading the IELTS preparation material you secure a good band in the IELTS exam. But it is certainly not the case. Each IELTS aspirant must attempt several IELTS mock tests. The examples are listed below:

  • Candidates will get a good idea of how to complete the exam within the proper time limit.
  • Students will receive a proper idea about how their answers will be assessed.
  • Candidates will get an idea of how to attempt different sections and they can check out different strategies for answering these questions.
  • With exam patterns changing constantly, attempting mock tests will give you proper knowledge about the latest exam patterns.

Where can You Attempt IELTS Mock Tests for Free?

There are a lot of platforms from where you can attempt the IELTS Mock test online for free. The IDP and the British Council website allow you to attempt two mock tests for free once you register for the IELTS. There are a lot more websites that allow you to practice IELTS mock tests online for free.

You can also visit the IELTS Ninja’s paper section. It contains model test papers on each section of the exam, which can be attempted by you at your convenience. You will receive a detailed report once you complete these sections.


This article might have given you a proper idea about how to solve the reading section of the IELTS exam without facing any difficulties. To know and read more about the IELTS exam, keep visiting the IELTS Ninja website or click here.

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About the Author

Aaditya Anand

Aaditya might have completed his engineering in computer science, but he has always had a passion for writing. He believes that writing a code and a story are much more similar than they might seem. You need to imagine the end product in both of them and you can only reach there once you start writing. Aaditya’s love for food is the only thing he can’t describe with words and more than eating he enjoys cooking for his family and friends. In his free time, Aaditya enjoys watching cricket and football. He knows how to lighten the mood with one-liners in a serious situation. If he is not writing or reading about any of his interests, you can find Aaditya in a sports bar cheering for his favourite sports club.

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