Sunday, 10 April 2016

The Reading component of the IELTS test

60 minutes (no extra transfer time).

There are 40 questions. A variety of question types are used, chosen from the following:

  • multiple choice
  • identifying information (True/False/Not Given)
  • identifying a writer's views/claims (Yes/No/Not Given)
  • matching information
  • matching headings
  • matching features
  • matching sentence endings
  • sentence completion
  • summary completion
  • note completion
  • table completion
  • flow-chart completion
  • diagram label completion
  • short-answer completion

Test parts
There are 3 sections. The total text length is between 2,150 and 2,750 words.

Academic Reading
Each section contains one long text. Texts are authentic and are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been written for a non-specialist audience and are on academic topics of general interest. Texts range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. Texts may contain non-verbal materials such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations. 

General Training 
Section 1 contains two or three short factual texts, one of which may be composite (consisting of 6-8 short texts related by topic e.g. hotel advertisements). Texts are relevant to everyday life in an English-speaking country.

Section 2 contains two short factual texts focusing on work-related issues (e.g. applying for jobs, company policies, pay and conditions, workplace facilities, staff development and training).

Section 3 contains one longer, more complex text on a topic of general interest.

Texts are authentic and are taken from notices, advertisements, company handbooks, official documents, books, magazines and newspapers.

Skills assessed
A wide range of reading skills are assessed, including:

  • reading for gist
  • reading for main ideas
  • reading for detail
  • understanding inferences and implied meaning
  • recognising writer's opinions, attitudes and purpose
  • following the development of an argument.

Each correct answer receives 1 mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale.

Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

Academic Reading

Raw Score out of 40     Band Score
15                                  5
23                                  6
30                                  7
35                                  8

General Training Reading

Raw Score out of 40     Band Score
15                                  4
23                                  5
30                                  6
34                                  7

Information for Candidates: Introducing IELTS to test takers p.4


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