IELTS Reading General Training Topics

Whilst the format of the IELTS Reading module is basically the same for both the Academic and General Training tests, the content is different.  If you have decided to take the IELTS Reading General Training test it is worth reviewing the topics you will likely see so that you can become familiar with topic specific vocabulary. Additionally, with only 60 minutes to read up to 2,750 words, it is helpful to already have some knowledge of a topic as this can help speed up your skimming and scanning, without becoming focused on the detail. Let’s have a look at some of the type of texts used in each section and the topics you might see.

Type of Texts Used

The type of texts used in the IELTS Reading General Training are taken from:

    • advertisements
    • books
    • company handbooks
    • magazines
    • newspapers
    • notices
    • official documents

Topics You Might See

There are a variety of topics covered during the test with each section having a particular focus. (For more on the General Training section, check out our lessons here.) Let’s look at each one in turn.

Section One – ‘Social Survival’:

The first section contains two or three really short factual texts, for example notices, advertisements, and timetables, that would be important to understand in an English country in order to conduct your day to day life. The texts in section one may include a number of “mini texts’ to look through, eg: a series of advertisements on similar subjects.

Topics might include:

  • community education programs
  • evacuation procedures for a public space
  • product return notices
  • advertisements for foreign language centres
  • a charity cycle ride information pack (i.e. London to Brighton Bike Ride)
  • mail order products

Visual Example:

IELTS Reading General Training Section 1 Example

Section Two – ‘Workplace Survival’:

In this section, you will find two short factual texts focusing on work-related issues.  The texts here will be more complicated than in section one and will use more difficult language and structure.

Topics might include:

    • company policies
    • pay and working conditions
    • workplace facilities
    • applying for a job
    • staff development
    • workplace dismissals
    • job descriptions
    • job contracts
    • training materials
    • company expenses policies
    • compliant procedures

Visual Example:

IELTS General Reading Section 2 Example

Section Three – ‘General Reading’:

Here you will need to read one longer, more complex text on a topic of general interest. This extended prose will be be the most complex in structure of the three sections and the emphasis will be on descriptive and instructive texts.

Examples include:

  • Calisthenics Today (i.e. using only one’s body weight to increase muscle mass)
  • Understanding Bee Behavior
  • Robots At Work
  • The History of Cinema
  • Lack of Sleep

Visual Example:

IELTS General Reading Section 3 Example

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  • Gwendolyn

    Gwendolyn is our expert blogger on IELTS. She has experience in preparing students for the IELTS exam and is currently in South Korea teaching English as a Second Language. When not blogging, you are most likely to find her on an airplane, striving to obtain membership in the Traveler’s Century Club, something she’s just about as passionate about as helping students achieve their life dreams.

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