How to deal with different types of reading questions

A wide range of question-types are used in IELTS Reading for both the Academic and General Training modules. You will have to answer 40 questions on three reading passages in one hour.

 

Each reading passage will have three or four types of questions - Any of the following may be used - taken from the list below:

Multiple choice

  • You will have up to four options to choose from (A, B, C, D)
  • The key to answering these questions is to underline key words and look for synonyms and/or antonyms in the text

Identifying information (True/False/Not Given)

  • You will have to decide whether a statement is True, False or Not Given according to the information in the reading passage.
  • True – the information in the reading passage is the same as in the statement
  • False - the information in the reading passage is different to the statement
  • Not Given – there is no information in the reading passage related to the statement

Identifying writer’s views/claims

  • You will have to decide whether a statement agrees with the writer’s views/claims (Yes), disagrees with the writer’s views/claims (No) or if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks (Not Given)
  • Yes – the information in the reading passage is the same as in the statement
  • No - the information in the reading passage is different to the statement
  • Not Given – there is no information in the reading passage related to the statement

Matching information

  • You will be asked to match information with paragraphs or sections in the reading passage using a list of statements
  • The key to answering these questions is to be able to find key information in the reading passage that is the same as the information in the list of statements

Matching headings

  • Match a heading from a list with a section in the reading passage
  • The key to answering these questions is to be able to understand the main idea of each section. There are usually more options in the list than you need

Matching features

  • You will be given a list of names (e.g people, countries, cities, dates) and have to match them with sentences
  • The key to answering these questions is to be able to scan the text for the names mentioned in the list and then match the names with the features mentioned in the sentences

Matching sentence endings

  • You will be given the first part of a sentence and have to match it with the second part from a list of options
  • The key to answering these questions is to be able to see what fits grammatically and logically. There are usually more options in the list than you need

Completing a sentence

  • You will be given the first part of a sentence and then have to complete it based on the information in the reading passage
  • The key to answering these questions is to find specific information in the passage. You should pay attention to the word count (e.g NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS) and whether you need a verb phrase or a noun phrase

Completing a summary

  • You will be given a summary with missing information. You have to complete it based on the information in the reading passage
  • The key to answering these questions is to locate the specific information in the text. Then you need to fill the gap with an appropriate word or phrase (noun, verb, adjective, adverb etc)
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Finishing notes

  • You will be given someone’s notes with gaps that need to be filled
  • The key to answering these questions is to be able to find specific information in the text and complete the notes with the information

Finishing a table

  • You will be given a table with gaps that need to be filled
  • The key to answering these questions is to be able to find specific information in the text and put the information in the correct place on the table

Completing a flow-chart

  • You will be given a flow chart with gaps that need to be filled
  • The key to answering these questions is to be able to find specific information in the text and follow the order of the process

Labelling a diagram 

  • You will be given a diagram with labels that need to be added

 

  • The key to answering these questions is to be able to find specific information in the text and then label the correct part of the diagram

Short-answer questions

  • You will have to answer a question with a short answer, usually with a word limit (e.g. NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS)
  • The key to answering these questions is to be able to find specific information in the text and then produce an answer within or on the word limit

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