1. Develop reading skills such as skimming (which parts you should strategically read) and scanning (best choices for searching for information)
  2. Understand different question types, and how to answer them.
  3. Read my eBook for a detailed guide to the test
  4. Do ALL the Cambridge books of past test papers 7-19!
  5. Learn from your mistakes! Make sure you check and figure out why any answers were wrong. Check the answers at the back of the books.
  6. If you cannot understand an answer then ask me! Go to the comments section at the bottom of this page and tell me the book, test number, question number and I will try to explain the answer to you.
Band Converter for the IELTS reading test:

If you would like to convert your score out of 40 into an IELTS band score (0-9) you can use the table below as a guide.

Band Score0.
Raw score012 – 34 – 56 – 78 – 910 – 1112 – 1415 – 1718 – 2021 – 2223 – 2526 – 2728 – 3233 – 3435 – 3637 – 3839 – 40
Test Overview

The IELTS reading test takes one hour. There are 40 questions to answered and the texts and questions increase in difficulty. The reading test is split into the IELTS Academic Reading test and the IELTS General Reading test.

Common Question Types

The most common types of question in the reading test are as follows :

  • Multiple choice
  • Short answer questions
  • Summary completion
  • Matching headings to paragraphs
  • Identifying the writer’s attitude
  • Table completion
  • Matching causes and effects
  • Sentence completion

How the test is graded

The reading test is graded according to the specifics of the question type and each question is worth exactly the same mark. Incorrect spelling and grammar may result in a wrong answer. In addition, it is important to read the instructions clearly. For example, it is common to read the phrase “answer using no more than three words.” If you ignore these instructions and write four words – you are instantly wrong!

There is not enough time to read every article in full and answer each question. To do well in the IELTS reading exam follow the key steps below:

  • Establish the question type (multi-choice, complete a summary)
  • Establish answer type required (multi-choice, 3 words etc.)
  • Skim the article
  • Read questions and underline keywords
  • Attempt to answer the questions
  • Scan the article to answer the questions (Scan for the keywords from the questions, you may need to be scanning for synonyms)
The difference between IELTS Academic Reading and General Training Reading

In theory, both of the tests should be equal in terms of a candidate’s ability to score well. However, the Academic Reading test tends to focus more on articles that are of a more academic nature, whereas the General Reading test uses articles that are of a more day to day nature. These are more like a newspaper or magazine article or may include aspects that someone is likely to come across in their general life such as a bus timetable or newspaper advertisement for an apartment.

Both types of reading exams can be prepared for in the same way EXCEPT the test-taker should focus on only doing practice tests for the type of exam they are taking. The skills and techniques that need to be learnt and developed are exactly the same.

4 thoughts on “Reading”

  1. which is advisable in both listening and writing modules – writing all answers in CAPITAL letters or a mix of upper and lower cases?

    • CAPITAL letters do not matter for listening and reading, AT ALL! even if you write london with a small letter it is ok.

      For WRITING it does matter. A a mix of upper and lower cases is best but you are allowed to use all CAPITAL letters.
      Writing london with a small letter is NOT OK

  2. Hello sir,
    First of all i’d like to appreciate your effort.

    I’d like to know whether cambridge practice test books for reading are easier than real test or not?

    Because some if my friends said that you’ll get 2-3 mark less than that i got in these tests. Actually, they found it easy as compare to real test. So, I’m in big confusion that whether i should prefer cambridge books or not.

    Please give your kind advice.


    • cambridge test books are by far the best materials. They are actual past test papers.
      People may get lower scores in their test due to 1. test stress 2. marks lost due to errors with issues such as spelling that they do not deduct when they grade themselves


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