IELTS, short for International English Language Test System, is a test taken to assess the test taker’s understanding of the English language. This test is quite essential if one wishes to work, study or migrate to an English-speaking native country. Various countries like New Zealand, Australia, UK, the US, and many more accept this test score. Various employers, universities, schools, and government authorities consider the scores of this test.

The test consists of four parts- speaking, reading, listening, and writing. The grading is based on the scores from 1-9.

One such similar English language assessment test is the TOEFL.

What are the IELTS General and Academic Reading Tests?

This test consists of three to four long passages. These passages can be descriptive, analytic, and factual. The texts are taken from various sources like newspapers, magazines, books, blogs, articles, etc. Selected by non-specialists, these passages aim to test the exam taker’s skills and abilities to comprehend and use the English language. This is required for people who wish to take admission in educational institutions, jobs, or migrate to an English-speaking country.

The IELTS general reading test papers are comparatively easier than the IELTS academic reading test papers.  However, every student is expected to do the same Listening and Speaking sections.

IELTS General vs IELTS Academic Reading Contents

IELTS General

Time: 60 minutes

60 questions, three sections

Section 1: three or two factual texts (Short)

Section 2: two factual texts (short) based on work-related topics and issues

Section 3: complex and longer text

IELTS Academic

Time: 60 minutes

40 questions, three long passages

The texts are obtained from various journals, newspapers, blogs, articles, and so on.

How to Solve and Go about With the Passages?

Identification of Information

“Do the following statements agree with the information in the text?” is asked when you are expected to identify the information. To answer the IELTS reading test with answers, you will be given many statements and asked to answer the same with ‘True,’ ‘False,’ or ‘Not Given.’

Here, the important part is knowing and understanding the typical difference between ‘False’ and ‘Not Given.’ ‘Not Given’ means the passage neither confirms nor opposes the statement, and ‘False’ means that the passage opposes the statements.

Short Type Answer Questions

To check your ability to process complex information and locate the same, short questions are asked. Questions related to the factual information are asked in this type of question. You are expected to answer strictly as per the instructions given.

Instructions like “no more than two words,” “no more than three words and/or a number from the passage,” or “one word only” is given. Strictly adhere to the information and answer in only those many words or numbers, or else marks are deducted.

Matching Sentences Endings

These access your ability to understand the main topic and concepts of the texts. Here, the first part of the sentence is given in the form of a question, and you are asked to complete the rest by choosing one option from the list of sentences given.

Here’s a fact to aid you in such questions. The information in the passage and the order of the questions are the same. This means the answer to the second question is after the answer to the first one in the actual passage.

Multiple Choices Question

This consists of three different types of multiple-choice questions.

Choose the best three answers from seven choices (A, B, C, D, E, F, or G)

Choose the best answer from four choices (A, B, C, or D)

Choose the best two answers from five choices (A, B, C, D, or E)

This is very similar to the “Matching Sentences Endings,” where the question forms the first part of the sentence, and you have to choose the other half from the options given below.

Identifying a Writer’s Views or Claims

Here, your ability to understand and tell the difference between ideas and opinions is tested. The question asked would be, “Do the following statements agree with the views/claims of the writer?” to a certain number of statements given. You are expected to choose between ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ and ‘Not Given.’

Again, you ought to understand the difference between ‘No’ and ‘Not Given,’ similar to ‘False’ and ‘Not given’ in “Identification of Information.”

The point to be noted is that your knowledge of the topic and idea shouldn’t influence your answer in any way. You are to answer with the point of view of the writer or author.

Matching Headings

Distinguishing main ideas from supporting ideas is essential here. Your ability to understand various themes and concepts of sections or passages matters here the most.

Here, passages or sections are given as questions, and you are asked to choose the answer from the list of possible headings given. The passage and section used under this type of question usually have a specific theme or a concept. However, don’t expect every passage and theme to be a part of such questions.

Diagram Label Completion

Usually, descriptive and describing texts have such questions. The skill here is to relate the detailed information/description to the diagram given.

Here, you have to complete the labels of the diagram, or in other words, complete the labelling of a diagram. The diagram is wholly related to a part of the text. A question like “no more than three words and/or a number from the passage,” “one word only,” or “no more than two words.” Strictly adhere to these instructions, i.e., don’t use more words than mentioned. Marks are deducted if instructions are not followed properly.

Usually, texts related to the mechanism of a working object or construction of a particular structure include these questions.

Matching Feature

Another interesting yet challenging type of question is the matching feature question. Here, your ability to find and understand connections and relationships between facts is judged.

Here, the questions are asked with a list of options. These options are in the form of features of some sort. They are related to the text. For example, in one of the IELTS reading sample questions, matching dates with the historical events from the text were questioned.

At times, the options are to be used only once or twice. It is also possible that some options are extra and you don’t need them. Most of the time, they mention it straight away if you can use any option more than once.

Some other question types are the Summary, note, table and flow-chart completion, etc.


Regular practice by reading different types of texts and passages from newspapers, online blogs, novels, articles, journals, and periodicals may help. Solve papers and look out for the improvements your practice needs alongside. Try to build up an excellent vocabulary and include that in your daily conversations. This will help you remember the same better.

We at IELTS Ninja are equipped to help you in your IELTS preparation by giving you the critical information you need. Our team publishes and works around blogs and pieces related to IELTS content that are regularly posted on our website. Make sure to check us out for the same.


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Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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