In the IELTS exam, the reading test practically takes up to approximately 60 minutes. There are 40 questions, based on the reading passages which contain roughly a total of 2,000 to 2,750 words. Both texts and questions appear on the question paper given which you can write but cannot remove from the examination room. After all, all the answers that you write must be inserted onto the answer sheet distributed to you within the 60 minutes test. So, please keep it in mind that no additional or extra time is allowed for transferring your answers.

Task Types
Basically, there are a variety of questions used which are chosen from these following types:

a. Multiple choice

b. Short-answer questions

c. Sentence completion

d. Note/Summary/Flow-Chart/Table completion

e. Labeling a diagram

f. Choosing the correct headings for paragraphs/sections of a text

g. Locating information

h. Identification of information in the text – True, False, Not Given / Identification of writer’s views or claims – Yes, No, Not Given

Task Type 1 : Multiple Choice
Multiple choice questions are used to test a wide range of reading skills. In fact, some of these questions, for example, may require you to understand specific points or the main points of a reading text. To put it simply, you are required to select the best answer from several options (example: A, B, C, D), and to write the letter of your selected answer that you have chosen on the answer sheet provided. After all, the questions are given in the same order as the information revealed from the reading passage.

Task Type 2 : Short-answer Questions
The short-answer questions require you to read the passage in details which in this case, these questions do test your ability to find an understanding precise, usually the factual information. In general, these questions follow the order in which the information is given from the reading passage.

In addition to that, you are also required to write your answers in words or numbers on the answer sheet. In that case, you are highly advised to read the instructions carefully, as they state the number of words/the numbers that you are required to write them down. The numbers can be given in figures or words. Hyphenated words count as single words whereas contracted words on the other hand will not be tested. Therefore, if you happen to write more than the number of words required, you will definitely lose your mark, even if your answer appears to be the correct word.

Task Type 3 : Sentence Completion
The sentence completion type technically has two variations of task. The first one requires you to complete the sentence in a given number of words taken from the reading passage. In fact, the maximum number of words which can be used is given from the instructions. The numbers can be written as figures or words. The words should be taken directly from the reading passage, and should be written in the appropriate spaces on the answer sheet. Thus, if you write more than the number of words asked for, you will practically lose your mark even if your answer includes the correct figures or words.

Apart from that, the second variation of task in this sentence completion type requires you to choose the best option from the list outlined. Well, there will be more options to choose from more than the questions provided. So, in this case, you should write the letter of your chosen answer on the answer sheet.

Task Type 4 : Note/Summary/Flow-Chart/Table Completion
Technically, the type of this task practically relates to the factual information, and is therefore often used with the descriptive passages. In fact, there are also two variations of this task. The first one requires you to select words/numbers from the reading passages. The summary contained will usually cover only one part of the passage rather than the whole text.

The given information may be in the form of a summary, a table with empty cells, several linked or connected notes or a flow chart with missing elements. Then, the answers will also come from one section of a passage rather than from the entire one. So, that is the first variation in this task. The second variation of this task requires you to select answers from the given list of answers, which often consist of one single word.

Task Type 5 : Labeling A Diagram That Has Numbered Parts
The type of this task technically requires you to label the numbered parts of a diagram that relates to a description contained from the reading passage. It is often used with texts describing processes or providing a briefly descriptive explanation. The labels illustrated may consist of up to three words which can be the combination of words as well as numbers taken directly from the given reading text.

So, in that case, you will write the correct labels within the spaces on your answer sheet. The instructions provided will be clearly indicated, as the answer expected to be the correct one will usually come from one passage section rather than from the entire one.

Task Type 6 : Choosing The Correct Headings For Paragraphs/Sections of A Text
This typical task is used with passages that contain paragraphs or sections with some clearly defined themes. You are practically given such a list of headings which are usually identified with lower-case Roman numerals (for example: i, ii, iii). Each heading will refer to the key or the main idea of a section or paragraph; you must match the heading with alphabetically marked paragraphs or sections of the reading text.

To put it in a simple explanation, your job in this type of reading task is that you are required to write the appropriate Roman numerals on your answer sheet after you have correctly matched the heading with marked paragraphs alphabetically. Keep it in mind that there will always be more headings revealed than the given paragraphs/sections which in this case, they will probably not be used or left aside. After all, one or more paragraphs/sections may already be matched with a selected heading as the example.

Task Type 7 : Locating Information
Locating details in order to recognize a summary or definition requires a wide range of reading skills in this type of task. In fact, you will be asked to find such specific information as reasons for an event, descriptions, comparisons, summaries, elaborations, explanations in the numbered paragraphs of the reading passage, and then write the letters corresponding to the correct paragraphs in the spaces on your answer sheet.

Perhaps, there may be more than one piece of information that you need to find in a given paragraph. In such cases, you will also be told that you can use a letter more than once.

Task Type 8 : Identification of Writer’s Views/Claims of Information From the Text
The type of this task is practically simple, yet, seems to be dreadfully tricky enough if you fail to perfectly understand the writer’s point of view. There are two variations illustrated in this task:

a. Firstly, “Do the following statements agree with the views/claims of the writer?” – This variation is designed to test your ability to recognize opinions or ideas and is therefore sometimes used with argumentative texts. In that case, you are simply required to write whether if you think that the answer is either “Yes, No, Not Given” in the spaces on your answer sheet.

b. Secondly, “Do the following statements agree with the information from the given text?” – This variation tests your ability to scan and identify specific points of information provided from the reading text. As a result, it is often used with factual texts. Similar to the previous one, in this second type of variation, you are required to write whether if you think that the answer is either “True, False, Not Given” in the spaces on your answer sheet.

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