About the Reading Test
The IELTS Academic Reading test takes 60 minutes. There is a question booklet which contains all the instructions, the reading passages and the questions. There is an answer sheet (on the back of the Listening test answer sheet). You must put all your answers on the answer sheet while you are reading. There is no time allowed at the end for transferring answers. The test is divided into three sections. Each section is more difficult than the one before. Each reading passage is between 700 and 1000 words long. There are between 38 and 42 questions. The questions may come before or after the readings. There is a variety of possible question types. There may be examples of how to answer the questions.
There is a more detailed explanation of the questions later in the book. You may mark or write on the question paper, but all answers must be written on the answer sheet. Remember you must write your answers on the answer sheet as you go. Unlike in the Listening test, there is no time to transfer them at the end of the test. Getting the Instructions Right The written instructions in the reading booklet are always given in italics. Important aspects of the instructions are also in BOLD ITALIC CAPITALS. The instructions in the Reading test depend on the type of question. As you work through this book, take particular note of instructions. Getting to know the instructions now means that you will be able to see quickly what you have to do in the actual test and will be less likely to make the more common mistakes.
Following are five examples of instructions which are typical of those you will find in the IELTS Academic Reading booklet.
Read each of the instructions below and the explanations that follow.
Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet. This instruction typically applies to multiple-choice questions. One of the answers - A, B, C or D - will be the correct answer.
Reading Passage 2 has five sections A-E. Choose the most suitable heading for each section from the list of headings below. Write the appropriate numbers (i-ix) in boxes 11—15 on your answer sheet. Note: There are more headings than sections so you will not use all of them. You may use any heading more than once. This means the sections are given the headings A, B, C, D and E. The answer choices, (i.e. the headings) usually appear in a box and will be numbered using roman numerals. You will write those roman numerals on your answer sheer. There are always extra headings. Although you are told 'You may use any heading more than once.' you will rarely need to do so. There can be a question of this type asking for a heading for only one paragraph or a heading for the whole passage. Often there will be an example given. It is unlikely this example will be used again.
Choose ONE phrase A-F from the list to complete each key point. Write the appropriate letters A-F in boxes 11-15 on your answer sheet. The information in the completed sentences should be an accurate summary of points made by the writer. Note: There are more phrases A-F than sentences so you will not use them all. You may use any phrase more than once. This is like the headings instruction. Usually you will have to match the first half of a sentence with the second half. The completed sentences will always be paraphrases or summaries of information in the text. A similar instruction could ask you to match lists of points such as causes and effects, or advantages and disadvantages. It is possible that you will use a phrase more than once.
Look at Questions 12-15, Classify the following as linked in the. passage to: M Mammals B Birds F Fish Write the appropriate letters M, B or F in boxes 12-15 on your answer sheet. Again this is rather like the headings instruction. You classify the points given in each question to the appropriate category in the list.
a Using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS, answer the following questions. Write your answers in boxes 22-27. OR
b Complete the sentence( s) below with words taken from Reading Passage 3. Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 22-27. OR
c Complete the table [notes/summary] below.
Choose ONE or TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 22-27. There are two key points you will always need to check with this instruction type:
* the number of words you should use for your answer
• where the words come from: the passage or your own words.