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IELTS Reading

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IELTS Reading

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In the IELTS reading section, the problem is the time. You are supposed to read three passages and to give a total of 40 answers. You have one hour. Therefore you can devote just 20 minutes for a passage, which is sometimes not enough time.

The question booklet contains three reading passages (sometimes illustrated with graphs, tables or diagrams) and each passage has accompanying questions. The texts, which tend to increase in difficulty throughout the paper, vary in length, and so does the number of questions on each passage. The passages are usually from 700 - 1000 words long for the academic module and shorter in the general training module. There is a total of about forty questions. Sometimes these come before the reading passage and sometimes after.

There is a wide range of different question types. You may be asked to:
  • fill in gaps, for example in a passage of written text or in a table
  • match headings to written text or to diagrams or charts
  • complete sentences
  • give short answers to open questions
  • answer multiple-choice questions

Sometimes you will need to give one word, sometimes a short phrase and sometimes simply a letter, a number or symbol.

It is important that you control the time on each reading passage. If you spend too long on one, you may not leave yourself time to complete the others. This is true of individual questions too. You will have to work very quickly; if you cannot do a question, leave it and go on to the next. When sixty minutes have finished you will have to stop writing immediately.

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