In IELTS Reading, different kinds of questions are asked in the exam. In IELTS reading, the students will get only an hour to read 3 passages and answer 40 questions. The questions are segmented into different kinds of questions that need to be completed within the given duration. Every passage usually has almost 3 or 4 different types of questions to answer.

Below mentioned is the list of the question types you can get in IELTS reading.

Matching Headings Questions

Task: The students have to select a heading from the provide list that is similar to the section or a para mentioned in the para.


  • To know the reason for the inclusion of the section
  • Looking for the differences between the main idea and supporting points
  • Knowing the main purpose of paragraphs and sections
  • Understanding the main content of paragraphs or sections


  • Go through all the headings before reading the passage.
  • There are often more headings than you require.
  • Analyse the headings carefully before matching them with sections/ paragraphs
  • Read all the instructions carefully.
True/False Not Given / Yes No Not Given Questions


  • Identifying particular information given.
  • Scanning & understanding the information.
  • Understanding what the writer wants to say.


  • Understand the meaning of each answer
  • yes / true = the same information is mentioned in the passage
  • No / false = the opposite information is mentioned in the given text.
  • Not given = in case the information is not present in the passage
  • Paraphrase the statements before trying to look for the answers
  • 3 – answers come in order

Matching Paragraph Information Questions

In these kinds of questions, the students have to find specific information and place them where they fit to be. It is important to clearly understand the text and understand each and every paragraph.

Task: Match the information provided in the question with information available in one of the paras in the passage provided.


  • 1 – identifying specific information
  • 2 – scanning for information


  • Paraphrase the information in the question
  • Check the available information in the passage
  • The answers are not asked in sequence.
  • The answers are often a letter (A, D, C, D…) – read instructions carefully to check
  • Remember that not all paragraphs may be used

Summary Completion Question

In IELTS reading, a summary part of the text will be provided to you and the students have to complete it by choosing words from the text with a given maximum number of words to complete it.

Task: The students need to complete summary by filling gaps with the help of correct words from the passage or words mentioned in the box


  • Scanning for particular information in the passage
  • Understanding ideas and supporting points
  • Choosing the right words


  • The students must identify the kind of words required for each gap.
  • Locate the information provided in the passage to select the right word.
  • If you have selected words from the passage, you need to check how many words can be used for each answer.
  • Make sure that the summary is grammatically correct.

Flow Chart Completion Questions

Task: Completion of the given task using the right words from the passage.


  • Locating particular facts given in the passage
  • Choosing the right words
  • Understanding all the facts and sequence of information


  • Check the required word needed.
  • Scan the passage for information
  • Answers are not asked in order
  • Take care of the direction of the arrows and boxes and follow the same to get the information.
  • Choose the most suitable words from the passage

Diagram Completion Questions

Task: Label a diagram based on the information provided in the passage


  • Locate the information in the passage
  • Relate the information to the diagram
  • Choose the right words


  • Look at the kind of word needed for the answer (noun / verb etc)
  • Check the information in the passage.
  • The information is mostly located in a particular passage.
  • Check the total number of words you can use to write the answer

Short Answer Questions

While doing short answer questions, the students must be extra careful. In these questions, the students are expected to answer the question from the given facts in the text. Moreover, it is important to check the number of words since there is a limit on maximum words.

Task: Answering questions related to the details in the passage.


  1. Presenting information in the passage
  2. Understanding the main details and particular information


  1. Identify the words’ kinds one requires for every answer.
  2. Paraphrase the vocabulary included in the questions
  3. Go through the passage completely to check the available information
  4. Check the number of words you can use for the answers
  5. Answers come in order

The Key Strategies for the IELTS Applicants for IELTS Reading3

  • Timing is the key
    • Since the students get just an hour to complete 40 questions, so they must use the available time wisely. Try to finish each section within 20 minutes, which includes 16-18 minutes to read and answer the questions and 3-4 minutes to transfer and check your answers. Focus on your time management skills. It is the practice and your determination to excel that can help you develop the required speed resulting in effective time management essential for IELTS.
  • Go through the all the directions carefully
    • Sometimes candidates’ marks get deducted in IELTS Reading as they don’t read the directions accurately. It is important to stay attentive while reading all the given instructions so that you don’t end up losing marks. The test takers must read as much, as often, and as quickly as they can. The more you read in the English language, the better it will be for you. The test takers must practice managing their reading time, pen down the important keywords and main ideas, and do more practice of scanning and skimming. Since there are no shortcuts and secret techniques to become a smarter reader, so it is all about practice and practice.
  • Skimming
    • Skimming here refers to quickly going through the entire text to get the main idea. To skim effectively, the students must read only a partial content. We all have encountered skimming while pursuing our studies, sometimes while reading a long chapter of a book, or sometimes while researching on a long article. In all such cases, we read the first few sentences of each paragraph, to get an overall idea of the same.

Process of skimming

  • First of all, go through the first paragraph carefully to get an appropriate idea of what will be discussed in the text.
  • Read the first and sometimes the next sentence of each paragraph as it helps get the gist of the context.
  • Post finishing reading the first sentences, read the lines written towards the end of the paragraph, check for the important pieceof information, like important dates, age, and names.
  • Read the ending paragraph attentively to make the conclusion.
  • Scanning
    • Scanning is being described as looking for particular phrases in the text to answer some questions. The questions asked in the IELTS Reading test often consist of dates, names, numbers, new terms or other key words. Thus, you can highlight those key words while reading, so that you can easily answer the given questions.

How to scan?

  • First of all, highlight the important information while reading the text (including dates, ages, names etc.)
  • While reading the question, look for the keywords and scan the text for it.
  • Focus on keywords and carefully scan the essential text to ease your task.

Close reading is important

Both Skimming & Scanning would be meaningless without Close Reading. There is no point doing skimming and scanning without Close Reading as none of them will provide the correct answer. They will just give you an idea about the content. Post completing Skimming & Scanning the text, it is important to read the set of questions given and then look for the answers.

Before deciding whether the answer is right or not, make sure you read the entire sentence or paragraph carefully. This is described as Close Reading means.

How to do effective Close Reading

  • Try to understand the meaning of every word you read
  • Take enough time to completely understand the gist of the text
  • Think carefully before selecting the right answer.

Do not take stress

The style and difficulty level of the IELTS reading questions varies from each other. For instance, some questions might be easy while some will be extremely difficult. The test takers must not spend a large amount of time on a hard question, rather they must move to the next question. If the answer does not present itself, move your focus to the next one. You can always answer the difficult questions later. Taking unnecessary stress becomes the cause of negative outcome. It can make you lose your concentration and make you feel pressurized.

IELTS reading is a vocabulary test

In many ways, IELTS Reading is much more a vocabulary test as compared to the reading test. The reason is that you need a wide range of vocabulary to understand the passages of the text mentioned. Also, learn different synonyms and paraphrasing if you want to identify the information required to answer the questions correctly.

Don’t worry about understanding every word

In case you are not able to understand a particular word in the test, you must carefully examine the words and sentences surrounded to get the clues. Alternatively, move on to the next sentence. Focus on the words that are related to the question and don’t take stress in case you are not able to understand a few words. Time is very important and so you need to ensure no single minute is wasted.

Practice Scanning

Scanning just as the word implies, means looking for very specific information in the question. The information may be about a number, name or date, or something else. Take an example, when you need to check someone’ date of birth, just check the article quickly and search near the year. It will help you save your time and use the saved time to attempt other vital questions.

Thus, the Key Strategies discussed above for the IELTS Applicants for IELTS Reading can surely help you crack the IELTS Reading easily. Experts advise you to allocate your time equally to each module for the maximum score in the test. For the best guidance and coaching contact the counselors at Study Smart.


  1. What are the numbers of questions asked in the IELTS Reading Test?
    • The IELST Reading section consists of 40 questions aimed at testing a wide range of reading skills of the test takers. The skills tested through the IELTS reading test consist of knowing logical argument, reading the primary ideas, and reading the answers. The candidates are asked 3 big texts varying from factual and descriptive to discursive and analytical.
  2. What are the kinds of IELTS Reading questions?
    • The kinds of IELTS Reading questions asked include Identifying information, Matching features, Sentence completion, Short-answer questions, Identifying the author’s claims, etc.
  3. How many days are needed to prepare for the IELTS exam?
    • There is no fixed timeline. The first and foremost thing is to understand the exam pattern and topics asked in each section including IELTS reading. Once the students get familiar with the exam format, it takes almost 2-4 weeks to prepare.
  4. Which is the right option for IELTS preparation online or offline?
    • Both carry equal importance. You can choose to prepare online or attend the physical classes depending on your personal conveniences.
  5. Which is the best coaching institute for IELTS in the country?
    • There are many coaching institutes in the country offering quality coaching for IELTS. You can choose Study Smart IELTS coaching for the best in class training and preparation.

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