IELTS Reading Practice General test is divided into 3 sections. The first two sections are divided into 2 parts each. Each of these passages is around 400 words. However, section 3 has one long passage of around 800 words. The number of questions one has to attempt is 40 and the time allotted is 60 minutes for the exam.
Neither the duration nor pattern of the exam differs for paper-based test-takers or computer-delivered tests. However, students of PBT have to transfer their answers to a final Reading sheet. On the other hand, CBT students will type on the space provided on the computer screen as they go along solving the test.
When the student starts with IELTS reading practice general passages the time management is one of the crucial skills required to get a higher band in the test. Although 60 minutes might seem to be enough time to solve 40 questions, it must not be forgotten that this 1 hour is not to be solely utilized for completing the answers.
You are required to read and comprehend around 2500 - 3000 words. Apart from this, understanding the paraphrased questions and do accurate analysis to answer them correctly is much needed and let us not forget the importance of reviewing your answers before the time runs out.
In addition to this, English language skills are of paramount importance. If the students lack in making sense of the passage or are not very good at knowing synonyms or not good at interpretation, the Reading module can be a challenge.
Hence, it can be concluded that it is a combination of these two skills that make the student score a better band. If either of it is lacking, the student will struggle. Nevertheless, these can be overcome by solving IELTS reading practice general passages as frequently as possible.
Let us have a look at the type of questions that a student can expect in the IELTS Reading General Practice.
True/False/Not Given type of questions - Honestly, this is the most feared question in the reading section by all. But let us break it down to what are we expected to do.
Firstly, the questions are tricky and the reason being, they are paraphrased and sometimes it requires a student to use his analysis to solve them.
Most importantly, stick to the author’s views in the passage and not apply one’s own knowledge. And secondly, remember that the true/false/not given questions follows the sequence of the passage. It seems quite overwhelming but by attempting enough practice papers from any of the top IELTS institute’s practice tests, one can become a pro at this.
Completion type of questions - They are the simplest ones when compared to other types of questions. Though they are relatively easy, the chances of making mistakes in these questions are quite high. Students forget to adhere to the instructions and lose effortless marks. There are multiple types of questions under this category such as Sentence completion, Summary completion, Table completion to name a few.
Matching Heading type of questions - Another very endearing type of questions of the IELTS General Reading test takers. After T/F/NG, Matching heading the second type of exercise which takes away the sleep of the students. Yet, if the right amount of comprehension of the paragraphs is done by the student, this can be the most scoring.
Matching Features & Matching Information types of questions - These exercises are relatively easier than the Matching Headings. In Matching Features questions, the student has to match the feature of a person, place, a discovery, a theory etc. to the given list of options. Whereas, the information given in the statements have to be tracked back to the correct paragraph in the Matching information type of questions.
Multiple choice type of questions - here the student has to look for the correct option from the choices given. In multiple choice questions, always remember to read the questions sequentially and finding the answer in the same order from the given passage.
Matching sentence ending type of questions - A student needs to diligently read the options given to complete the sentence. They should make sure that their choice of answer is grammatically correct or not besides understanding the paraphrased version of the question given.
How to improve the Reading bands
The most important skills to harness - comprehension, language skills, time management.
Read a lot - cannot insist enough - Do active reading - read local and international topics. Read about the environment, technology, international policies, articles on education, arts and so on to build up your vocabulary.
Note the time taken to complete an article, work on improving the speed of reading.
Attempt all the questions, as there is no negative making in this test. Hence, do not leave any question unanswered.
When in doubt seek help!
Wish there was a magic potion to help improve reading bands, but unfortunately, there is none. Nonetheless, the magic lies in smart work and practicing on a lot of reading tests from the top-notch IELTS institutes and doing your best.
About the Author
I am a certified IELTS teaching professional and have vast experience in training IELTS students to crack their test successfully and nurturing the IELTS trainers with their training journeys.