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IELTS Reading Question Types

You will meet different types of questions in the IELTS reading section. These questions are designed to test your overall reading skills including skimming and scanning, finding main ideas and details, understanding logical arguments and recognizing author’s attitude. Here are some common IELTS reading question types!

1.Multiple Choice Questions

This is a traditional question type in many English tests. You will be asked to select the correct answer to a given question from three or four choices. In order to find the right answer, you need to locate the related information in the passage and understand the meaning of the information. Practice with the official multiple choice sample task.

2.True/False/ Not Given Questions

In True/False/Not Given questions, there will be several statements. You need to decide whether these statements match the information in the passage and the author’s attitude or not, which requires you to scan the passage, find related information and understand the details in the passage. Practice with the official True/False/Not Given sample task.
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3. Matching Questions

Matching questions, the most common questions in the IELTS Reading section, may cost you more time to answer than other question types because you have to understand the requirement of the questions first and then locate as well as understand a lot of pieces of information in the passage.

3.1 Matching Headings Questions

This type of question asks you to match headings for the main idea of each paragraph in the reading passage. It requires you to identify main ideas of each paragraph precisely because some headings may have similar meanings and they are likely to mislead test takers. I recommend reading the whole passage and underlining key sentences or words in each paragraph before reading the headings. Practice with the official matching headings sample task.

3.2 Matching Information Questions

This type of question asks you to match listed information with one of the paragraphs containing the given information. In order to make the perfect match, you need to scan the passage and understand detailed information in all paragraphs in a short time. Practice with the official matching information sample task.

3.3 Matching Features Questions

This matching question requires you to match some items with their features. You also have to scan the passage, just find related information and understand the details. Practice with the official matching features sample task.

4. Sentence Completion Questions

This type of question requires you to complete a sentence with several words. Don’t give long answers because it usually has word limit such as NO MORE THAN ONE/TWO/THREE WORDS. You can locate the information in the passage based on the question. In most cases, the words come from the passage itself. Practice with the official sentence completion sample task.

5. Summary Completion Questions

This type of question asks you to complete a summary of a paragraph by using several words. The words are usually in the given paragraph, but you need to pay attention to the grammar. Change the word forms (add s/ed etc.) based on the context. Practice this type of question with questions 36-40 in the IELTS sample reading test.

6. Short Answer Questions

This type of question begins with ‘wh’ words (when, what, where and who) and it also has word limit. Just like other questions, find related information back in the passage based on the key words in the questions. Practice with the official short answer sample task.

7. Note/Table/ Diagram Label Completion Questions

This type of question asks you to complete a note, a table or a diagram with information in the paragraph. In some cases, you need to choose one word or several words from a group of words. In other cases, you have to find the words in the passage. Practice this type of question with the official IELTS reading sample task.

Though it sounds a little bit complicated, it is possible to get high scores on IELTS reading section if you get fully prepared! Check out the best free IELTS Resources to get you prepared and then go to our IELTS prep to see how you can really improve your score!


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