IELTS reading

The IELTS reading section is the second part of the IELTS test and lasts 60 minutes in total. The individual tasks are not timed, so students can allocate their time as they see fit across the different tasks and they can complete the tasks in any order they choose.

Question types

The IELTS reading test is made up of texts and questions about those texts. The questions may be multiple-choice, short answer, fill-in-the-blank, or labeling exercises. Because you must write your answers by hand, handwriting and spelling are both important in order to succeed on the IELTS reading section. Amercian or British spelling are both counted as correct, but once you spell a word one way on the test, you must continue to spell it that same way throughout the test.

Test structure

The two versions of the IELTS have different reading tests. The IELTS Academic reading test is made up of three texts to read and questions about those texts. The three texts are academic, so they might be extracts from a university textbook, a journal, a scientific magazine, or another similar sources. No prior knowledge of the subjects is required to answer the questions about these texts.

The IELTS General Training reading test has three parts. The first part has several short texts or notices that one might expect to encounter in an English-speaking country. The second part has two work-related texts. These might be job descriptions, professional e-mails, or training materials. The third part of the IELTS reading test on the General Training version of the IELTS is made up of a single longer and more detailed text, for example an article from a newspaper or magazine.


Scoring on the IELTS reading section is on a scale of 0 to 9 and your IELTS reading result is equally weighted with the other IELTS section scores in calculating your total IELTS result.