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IELTS reading question types

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The Reading task in the IELTS test requires exceptional accuracy and speed. Each of the questions in the Reading task has its own problems and strategy to overcome the challenge. Below I will introduce several different types of questions in the IELTS Reading task.


Matching headings with passage paragraphs

In the IELTS Reading task you may be asked to match headings to the paragraphs of given text. This type of question tests your ability to understand the main idea of each paragraph. Therefore, it is important to practise your skills to ‘’catch’’ the main purpose of each paragraph.

Summary completion 

This type of question will give a summary of sentences with gaps and you will be asked to complete the sentences with words from the reading text. The main focus is on the accuracy. These questions will test your ability to match the given sentence to the text information as precisely as possible.

True, False, Not Given 

‘True, False, Not Given’ questions require you to identify if information in a text is correct or not. You will be given a number of factual statements and you will have to check and compare these statements with the information in the paragraph. This is probably the most difficult type of task in the reading paper and students usually find it quite tricky. Again, accuracy is a crucial part in this question. You must find exact sentences or words in the text to identify if the statement is correct, incorrect or the information is simply not given.


Multiple choices 

In this question you will be asked to choose the correct answer for a question from usually 3 or 4 possible options. You will need to scan the reading passage and locate the precise information. Another important tip is to read the instructions carefully, because you might be asked to choose multiple letters. Accuracy is the key here!


Matching sentence endings 

In this IELTS Reading task question you will be given a list of incomplete sentences with no endings and another list with possible endings. Your task will be to match the incomplete sentences with the correct ending based on the reading text. Be aware, some of the words in the question sentences could be paraphrased, look for the synonyms in the reading passage. Moreover, note that sometime not all the endings should be used.

Choosing a title

In this question you will be asked to choose the most appropriate title from the given list. Here you will need to identity the main aims of the reading passage and pay extra attention to the beginning and the end of each paragraphs.

Labelling a Diagram or a Chart

The type of question will ask you to complete a chart or a given diagram using the precise words from a passage. Be aware, the answers for this task do not always come in order! You will need to identity the type of the word and also look for paraphrases in the text.

Table completion

This task will ask you to complete the table using the correct word from the passage. You will need to locate specific words or word pairs from the passage and understand the details in each paragraph. Again, pay attention to the instructions and try to identify the type of speech needed for each part of the table (a verb, an adjective, an adverb, or a noun).

Short answer questions

You will be asked to answer the questions regarding the details in the reading passage. Precise location of each word is essential. You will have limited amount of time. Therefore, pay attention to the type of speech you will need to identity (a noun, a verb etc.) and remember that answers come in order. Don’t look for all the answers at the beginning of the reading passage!