Academic question types in IELTS Reading
Reading
Academic question types in IELTS Reading

Do you want to see all the IELTS Reading tasks at a glance? Today, I'm sharing the questions types in Academic Reading to help you understand the different types of questions that come up.  The Academic Reading Test has: 3 different texts of about 900 words each 40 questions to answer 1-hour time limit What is it actually testing?  The 40 questions are testing a variety of reading skills including your ability to: identify the writer’s overall purpose (why has the writer written this text?) follow key arguments in a text identify opinions and attitudes find specific information tell the difference between the main idea and supporting detail take information from the text to complete a diagram, summary table or notes.  Each passage or section has 13 or 14 questions. These are divided up into two or three different question types. Confused? Here's two examples:     As you can see, questions 1 - 8 are a note-completion question type, while questions 9 - 13 are a True / False / Not Given question type. 13 questions  2 question types   Question types  Note / summary / table / flow chart completion This question type requires you to understand the organisation of one part of the text. You have to: scan read the whole text to find the part you need  look at the notes in the questions – these paraphrase the words and ideas in the actual text. (Paraphrase is using different words with the same meaning so you will NOT find the exact same words in the text.) find the paraphrase find one or more words and / or a number in the text and copy them into the space. For more information about summary completion read: Time-saver strategy for IELTS Reading: Summary Completion blog   True, False, or Not Given This type of question requires you to identify and compare information given in statements with the information in the text.  You have to: read statements that are in the same order as the information in the text scan read the text to find the part that you need decide if the information in each statement: agrees with the text – TRUE,  contradicts (is different from) the text – FALSE  or  if the information in the statement does NOT appear in the text at all – NOT GIVEN.   For more information about True, False, Not Given read: Time-saver strategy for IELTS Reading: True/False/Not Given blog:   Yes, No, Not Given Unlike the question type above, here you must identify the writer’s views / claims.  You have to: read the text quickly to get a general idea of the content and the structure read the view/claim in the first question (questions follow the same order as the information in the text) use the key words to help you find the correct part in the text. For example, if the view or claim says ‘negative views’ then look in the text to locate those ‘negative views’ read the part of the text carefully and compare it with the question look for paraphrases and synonyms. decide if the view/claim in the question agrees with what the writer says in the text – YES, disagrees with what the writer says in the text – NO or if there is no information on this in the text – NOT GIVEN.    4-option Multiple Choice This question type requires you to choose one answer from choices A – D.  You have to: read the first question and the 4 options A – D find the correct part of the text and read it very carefully (questions follow the same order as the information in the text) the text will NOT have the same words as the options so look out for synonyms and paraphrases there will be parts of the text that mention something from all four options but they will not all be correct choose only the one option that is correct follow the same procedure for the rest of the questions.   Matching Headings This question type requires you to choose the correct heading for each paragraph of the text.  You have to: read the whole text focus on the content of each paragraph read the list of headings (there are more headings than paragraphs) choose the heading for each paragraph that summarises ALL the information in it.  In the list of headings, you should highlight the key words and phrases that would reflect the content of a paragraph in a text. So if we take the matching headings task example above, the key words to highlight would be:   i For this heading you would need to find a paragraph that mentions more than one complaint about the impact of a specifically named approach.  ii For this heading you would need to find a paragraph that talks about more than one fundamental belief that is wrong.  iii For this heading the paragraph would need to talk about the first recommendations that talk about business activities. And so on. As with all things Academic Reading, you will be looking for synonyms and paraphrase of the highlighted words. You would not expect to see the highlighted words themselves.    For more information about Matching Headings read our Blog: Time-save strategy for IELTS Reading: matching headings    Sentence completion This type of question requires you to complete a sentence with a suitable word or words from the text within the given word limit.   You have to: scan read the whole text to find the part or parts you need. The information may be in one paragraph or over a longer part of the text.  highlight the key words in the sentences to help you locate the correct place in the text find the paraphrase find one or more words and copy them into the space.   Top Tip: remember to use the words from the text exactly as they are written in the text. Make sure that the words fit the sentence grammatically.    Label the diagram This question type has a diagram and a description of a process.  You have to: scan read the whole text to find the part you need  carefully read the part of the text that describes the process find one or more words (again, this depends on the instructions) and copy them into the correct part of the diagram.  Again, remember to use the words from the text exactly as they are written.   I hope you’ve found this blog on the different task types for Academic Reading useful. They offer an overview of what’s required and what you have to do. Make sure you are familiar with all the different task types and practise them as much as you can. Happy Reading! Liz  

Liz Marqueiro

22 August, 2020

Academic question types in IELTS Reading

Academic question types in IELTS Reading

Do you want to see all the IELTS Reading tasks at a glance? Today, I'm sharing the questions types in Academic Reading to help you understand the different types of questions that come up. 

The Academic Reading Test has:

  • 3 different texts of about 900 words each
  • 40 questions to answer
  • 1-hour time limit

What is it actually testing? 

The 40 questions are testing a variety of reading skills including your ability to:

  • identify the writer’s overall purpose (why has the writer written this text?)
  • follow key arguments in a text
  • identify opinions and attitudes
  • find specific information
  • tell the difference between the main idea and supporting detail
  • take information from the text to complete a diagram, summary table or notes. 

Each passage or section has 13 or 14 questions. These are divided up into two or three different question types. Confused? Here's two examples:  

IELTS Reading Question Example

 

IELTS Reading Question Example 2

As you can see, questions 1 - 8 are a note-completion question type, while questions 9 - 13 are a True / False / Not Given question type.

  • 13 questions 
  • 2 question types

 


Question types 

Note / summary / table / flow chart completion

This question type requires you to understand the organisation of one part of the text.

You have to:

  • scan read the whole text to find the part you need 
  • look at the notes in the questions – these paraphrase the words and ideas in the actual text. (Paraphrase is using different words with the same meaning so you will NOT find the exact same words in the text.)
  • find the paraphrase
  • find one or more words and / or a number in the text and
  • copy them into the space.

For more information about summary completion read: Time-saver strategy for IELTS Reading: Summary Completion blog

 


True, False, or Not Given

This type of question requires you to identify and compare information given in statements with the information in the text. 

You have to:

  • read statements that are in the same order as the information in the text
  • scan read the text to find the part that you need
  • decide if the information in each statement:

agrees with the text – TRUE, 

contradicts (is different from) the text – FALSE 

or 

if the information in the statement does NOT appear in the text at all – NOT GIVEN.

 

For more information about True, False, Not Given read: Time-saver strategy for IELTS Reading: True/False/Not Given blog:

 


Yes, No, Not Given

Unlike the question type above, here you must identify the writer’s views / claims. 

You have to:

  • read the text quickly to get a general idea of the content and the structure
  • read the view/claim in the first question (questions follow the same order as the information in the text)
  • use the key words to help you find the correct part in the text. For example, if the view or claim says ‘negative views’ then look in the text to locate those ‘negative views’
  • read the part of the text carefully and compare it with the question
  • look for paraphrases and synonyms.

decide if the view/claim in the question agrees with what the writer says in the text – YES,

disagrees with what the writer says in the text – NO

or

if there is no information on this in the text – NOT GIVEN. 

 


4-option Multiple Choice

This question type requires you to choose one answer from choices A – D. 

You have to:

  • read the first question and the 4 options A – D
  • find the correct part of the text and read it very carefully (questions follow the same order as the information in the text)
  • the text will NOT have the same words as the options so look out for synonyms and paraphrases
  • there will be parts of the text that mention something from all four options but they will not all be correct
  • choose only the one option that is correct
  • follow the same procedure for the rest of the questions.

 


Matching Headings

This question type requires you to choose the correct heading for each paragraph of the text. 

You have to:

  • read the whole text
  • focus on the content of each paragraph
  • read the list of headings (there are more headings than paragraphs)
  • choose the heading for each paragraph that summarises ALL the information in it. 

In the list of headings, you should highlight the key words and phrases that would reflect the content of a paragraph in a text. So if we take the matching headings task example above, the key words to highlight would be:

 

i For this heading you would need to find a paragraph that mentions more than one complaint about the impact of a specifically named approach. 

ii For this heading you would need to find a paragraph that talks about more than one fundamental belief that is wrong. 

iii For this heading the paragraph would need to talk about the first recommendations that talk about business activities.

And so on.

As with all things Academic Reading, you will be looking for synonyms and paraphrase of the highlighted words. You would not expect to see the highlighted words themselves. 

 

For more information about Matching Headings read our Blog: Time-save strategy for IELTS Reading: matching headings 

 


Sentence completion

This type of question requires you to complete a sentence with a suitable word or words from the text within the given word limit.

 

You have to:

  • scan read the whole text to find the part or parts you need. The information may be in one paragraph or over a longer part of the text. 
  • highlight the key words in the sentences to help you locate the correct place in the text
  • find the paraphrase
  • find one or more words and
  • copy them into the space.

 

Top Tip: remember to use the words from the text exactly as they are written in the text. Make sure that the words fit the sentence grammatically. 

 


Label the diagram

This question type has a diagram and a description of a process. 

You have to:

  • scan read the whole text to find the part you need 
  • carefully read the part of the text that describes the process
  • find one or more words (again, this depends on the instructions) and
  • copy them into the correct part of the diagram. 

Again, remember to use the words from the text exactly as they are written.

 


I hope you’ve found this blog on the different task types for Academic Reading useful. They offer an overview of what’s required and what you have to do. Make sure you are familiar with all the different task types and practise them as much as you can.

Happy Reading!

Liz
 

Liz Marqueiro

Liz has been teaching IELTS around the world for over 25 years.

More about the author

filter tags

Recommended For You

recommended book image
IELTS 15 Academic

IELTS 15 Academic contains four practice tests EXACTLY like the real exam. It comes with audio scripts, answer keys and sample Writing answers. A new downloadable Resource Bank includes extra sample Writing answers, a sample Speaking test video and answer keys with additional explanations. QR codes in the book provide quick access to the audio and video content.  This book gives you an excellent opportunity to familiarise yourself with the test format and practise exam techniques using real-to-life test material written by the test makers (Cambridge Assessment English).  Also available for IELTS General Training *Book Depository is an online bookstore which offers free worldwide delivery. Alternatively, you can find it at your local bookstore or online shop.

Skill bar

Stay up-to-date