1. How long is the IELTS reading test?
The reading test is 1 hour long. Unlike the Listening Test, there is no extra time given to transfer your answers to the answer sheet, so you must do this within the 1 hour.
2. How many reading passages are there?
There are three reading passages for the academic paper and usually five reading tasks of mixed length for the general training paper.
3. How many questions are there?
There are 40 questions.
4. How are the scores calculated?
You get one point for each correct answer. You do not lose points for an incorrect answer.
5. What is the difference between the academic test and general test?
The Academic Test tends to focus more on articles that are of a more academic nature, whereas the General Test uses articles and extracts that are of a more day to day nature.
6. Can I write on the reading question paper?
Yes, you can. You can make notes, underline words and write on any part of the question paper. Only your answer sheet will be marked.
7. How is the reading test marked?
Usually the local staff, in your local test centre, will mark your paper by hand. The examiners who mark the speaking and writing tests do not usually mark the reading test.
8. Are capital letters important?
No, they are not. For reading and listening capitalisation does not matter. Therefore, even if you don’t write in capital letters and the answer is London and you write it with a small “L” you still get it right.
9. Is spelling important?
Yes, it is. If the answer is spelt incorrectly, it will be marked wrong.
10. Do my answers have to be grammatically correct?
Yes, pay close attention in order to make sure that your answer is grammatically correct.
11. What counts as a word/number for an answer word/number limit?
Words with hyphens count as one word. Right-handed is one word. For dates, 12th December is one word and a number. 100 is one number, 1,000,000 is one number.
12. Can I write ‘T’ instead of true?
Yes, abbreviations are generally accepted throughout. You can write ‘T’ for True, ‘F’ for False, “NG’ for Not Given and even things like ‘Y’ for yes and ‘N’ for no.
13. Do all answers come in order?
Unlike the listening test where all answers occur sequentially [one after the other], none of the reading questions are completely sequential. However, the majority of question types occur roughly in sequential order. What this means is that the answer to question 8 will be near question 9 but not necessarily right before it (it could possibly be one or two questions before or after it). However, some types of questions such as matching headings to paragraphs are not at all sequential. This makes sense as it would be very easy if they were!
14. How can I quickly improve my score?
The key to success in the reading test is getting used to the way questions get asked and the logic needed to answer them. Do lots of practice tests to learn and understand this. In addition, do lots of reading to improve your English vocabulary and also become a better reader.
15. How can I find out my reading speed?
You can do the speed reading test at http://www.readingsoft.com/index.html#test
See details of my IELTS reading eBook