The IELTS Reading Test assesses the candidate’s ability to answer comprehension questions correctly after reading some English text.
The IELTS Reading Test lasts for one hour and contains three readings of gradually increasing difficulty. There are a total of 40 questions asked after the test – approximately 13 for each task within the IELTS Reading Test. (The precise number varies from exam to exam). To read and understand both the questions and the readings, and then to respond correctly to the questions requires fast reading. This also show a high degree of competence in written English comprehension.
The IELTS Reading Test assesses reading and reading-related skills, including:
– Following instructions. Up to ten question types may be used in the IELTS Reading Test, and it is essential that the candidate understand each one and the way it is to be answered, e.g. multiple correct answers or a single correct answers.
– Identifying the main passage ideas. It is not necessary to understand everything within a particular text passage. If there is no question pertaining to a particular sentence or passage, it matters less (for testing purposes) if you understand it. But it is important to grasp the main ideas. Most questions are based on each passage’s main points, and knowing what – and where – they are in the text is often critical to the accurate and quick answering of questions.
– Understanding how the main ideas in a passage are connected. Various questions types require seeing some connection between main ideas. However, virtually all of the question types produce questions that require the candidate to see the relationship between ideas or the way individual ideas must be connected to arrive at a correct answer.
– Testing the truthfulness of statements in the questions against “word strings” found in a reading text. Often, IELTS Reading task questions, particular true-and-false and fact-or-opinion, are comprised of sequences of words found in exactly the same form in the readings. However, phrases prior to those word strings, e.g. “some scientists think that…” or qualifiers following them, e.g. “but”, “unless”, “except for” may turn what appears to be a fact into an opinion or a what appears to be a true statement into a false one.
– Grasping ideas underlying the main arguments. Some questions require the reader to see the writer’s motivation in writing or organizing the passage as it finally appears. These underlying concepts sometimes emerge only with careful reading or by looking for evidence of them when the candidates know there are questions about them.
– Understanding the writer’s point of view. This is arguably the most difficult of the reading skills. It requires that the candidate understand more than just the words but the underlying perceptions and attitudes behind them. Most readings have a “point” that is not stated directly. Sometimes the writer’s intent can only be discovered by analysing the kinds of words writers use to address their subjects, particularly judgment words. Candidates may also need to evaluate the author’s feelings, if any about the topic – e.g. advocacy, affection, concern, alarm, and even neutrality.
To your IELTS success,
P.S. The IELTS Reading Test is the one most candidates find the easiest. However, it is the questions, rather than the difficulty of the readings which makes the task more difficult for candidates. Learn about the IELTS Listening Test . Click HERE