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Know What is IELTS

Learn IELTS General Training Reading Format Task Types before starting the preparation


The Reading component of the IELTS General Training exam is comprised of three tasks and features 11 task types. Read on for more information on these tasks and the types of questions you can expect to encounter on the test.

IELTS General Training Reading Format Task Types

IELTS General Training Reading Format Task Types

IELTS General Training Format

Candidates will have one hour to complete the three tasks. The first section may include either two or three short texts, or multiple shorter excerpts. The second task will always contain two passages, while the third component is comprised of a single lengthy passage. Sources are pulled from materials that you can expect to encounter in an everyday setting.

Task 1

This task focuses on social survival and includes texts that a candidate might see in a public setting. Candidates will be expected to retrieve factual information from announcements such as schedules, notices, and advertisements.

Task 2

The second section, known as the workplace survival component, concentrates on a professional context and can include contracts, training materials, and job descriptions.

Task 3

The general reading section focuses on more advanced texts that feature more difficult structures. These materials have more of a general context and can include book excerpts, magazines, and newspapers.

IELTS General Training Task Types

The Reading subtest contains 40 questions. There is no defined number of questions for each type. Each question is classified as one of the following types:

Multiple-Choice

This task type asks a question or provides a statement, and then offers the candidate a series of possible answers. Candidates must select the response that most accurately answers the question.

Matching Information

Test takers must match content in the lettered section or paragraphs of a passage with the letters of the correct corresponding paragraphs and sections provided on the answer sheet. In this task, candidates are typically required to find specific information such as an argument or a reason.

Matching Headings

This task is similar to the matching information task, but focuses more on the general idea of each paragraph as opposed to specific content found within.

Matching Features

For this task, candidates must match a set of statements with a corresponding list of options. Possible examples include pairing certain characteristics to different age groups or matching events with the historical periods in which they occurred.

Matching Sentence Endings

This component presents test takers with a group of unfinished statements. Candidates must use the available options to find the most appropriate conclusion to each sentence.

Completion Tasks

The completion tasks are similar to the matching sentence endings task, but in this instance, candidates must provide their own original phrases using wording from the text. Examiners will provide specific instructions for providing answers (no more than three words, only one word, etc.). Completion tasks fall into one of three categories:

  • Sentence completion
  • Summary, note, table, or flow-chart completion
  • Diagram labeling completion

Short-Answer

This task requires candidates to use information from the text to create their responses. As with the completion tasks, candidates will receive specific information about the length of the answers they must provide. Questions in this task focus on factual information contained in the excerpts.

Identifying Information

For these tasks, candidates will be presented with statements and then asked whether they are true, false, or not given. It is essential that candidates understand the difference between a statement that is false (meaning the information is proven to be incorrect) or simply not given (the answer is not known because the text does not offer an answer).

Identifying Writer's Intentions

This section is similar to the task above, but focuses on the opinions and thoughts of the writer. Candidates will be shown a series of statements about the views and claims of the excerpt's writer. The test taker must then determine if each sentence agrees or disagrees with the author's opinions or if the information is not given.

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