The reading test lasts 60 minutes and takes place after the listening test and before the writing test. This part of the exam differs for academic and general versions of the exam.
In the academic version of the exam, you are given 3 texts of between 700 and 900 words. The passages selected are not particularly academic or technical and cover a range of general interest topics such as science, education and history.
In the general version, the first two texts are composite texts related to living, working or study in an English speaking country. The first text could contain 6-8 different job advertisements, while the second typically contains two workplace documents such as a dress code and holiday policy.
Both academic and general versions have 40 questions divided by the 3 texts. In the academic IELTS these are divided as 13-13-14, whereas in the general training IELTS reading they are 14-13-13.
Unlike the listening test, the IELTS reading test doesn’t allow time for transferring your answers to the answer sheet.
IELTS use the following types of questions:
IELTS reading scores are calculated by adding up the number of correct answers and converting these to an IELTS band score. There is a difference in the number of points needed for different bands in the general and academic versions of the reading test. For the conversion table, click here.