IELTS Academic Reading – Complete Guide with Tips

Apr 03,2023

IELTS Academic Reading - Complete Guide with Tips

Students aspiring to study abroad have to take the IELTS Academic Test for English Language Proficiency Assessment. There are four modules in IELTS Academic: Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing. Although IELTS General and Academic have similar listening and speaking formats, there are slight variations in Academic Reading and writing. IELTS Academic reading involves complex reading and complicated vocabulary.

Hence, candidates should give sufficient time and effort to IELTS Academic Practice. This article has all you will require for an outstanding IELTS Academic Reading Score.

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IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test

Before you take your IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test, you need to learn the basic format of the test and the type of questions asked.

  1. Candidates will have 60 minutes to read and answer the questions.
  2. The test is in three sections, and each section will have a passage and questions based on the information provided in the text.
  3. The topic will be of general interest, and text will be given from newspapers, magazines, and journals.
  4. You will be asked descriptive, analytical, and factual questions from the text.
  5. The text may contain visual information such as graphs, tables, and diagrams.
  6. The information in the passage is to the point. It targets the audience for undergraduate and postgraduate programs and those taking professional registration like teachers or doctors in foreign countries.
  7. There will be 40 questions in the test, and for each correct question, there will be one mark. The marks will then be converted to a band score out of 9 bands, and this band will be in a full or half band.

What are the Types of Questions Asked in the IELTS Academic Reading Test

The IELTS Academic Reading Test will have different types of questions.

The Most Common Question Types Include:

  1. short-answer questions
  2. multiple choice
  3. sentence completion
  4. notes/summary/diagram/flow chart/table completion
  5. choose a heading for a paragraph
  6. Identification of writer’s views/claims – yes, no, or not given
  7. Identification of information – true, false, or not given
  8. matching lists/phrases

While the IELTS- General is for immigration purposes, the IELTS Academic Reading Test is for students willing to pursue higher Education Abroad. When we talk about the Reading section of the Academic module, the only way to improve your IELTS Academic Reading score is by understanding the question types and instructions.

7 Unique IELTS Academic Reading Tips:

We will also share some essential tips to help you in your IELTS Academic Reading Test preparation.

1. Read the Question First

When you start reading, read the question before you read the text. Once you understand the question, it will be easier for you to search for the answer in the passage, and you will save time for the difficult ones.

2. Leave the Tough Questions for the End

If you read the question and can not find the answer in the text, skip that and move to the question. After all, you can not afford to waste your time on the IELTS Academic Reading test.

3. Do Not Panic if There is a New Word

You will not know the meaning of every new word, and that is okay. All you need to do when you encounter a different word is look for the clue in the passage around it and try to figure out the meaning of the sentence.

4. Skimming and Scanning Works

The IELTS Academic Reading Test is all about skimming and scanning, and you have to learn these techniques to master the academic reading test. Skimming is reading a passage to get an overview of the content. You should not spend more than 3 to 4 minutes skim-reading the passage. Scanning is your skill to locate information quickly.

5. Underline the Keywords

Most questions will have keywords to help you find the answer from the passage. You have to underline the keywords and check if the keywords can be paraphrased. Dates, Numbers, and names are some of the common keywords, while the other keywords are more subtle.

6. Develop Your Vocabulary

You will come across many new words while preparing for the IELTS Academic Reading test. Note down these words with their meanings, as it will improve your vocabulary range to a great extent. Reading newspapers and magazines and listening to podcasts will help expand your linguistic skills.

7. Learn to Answer a Different Question-Types

Some students get confused with YES/NO/NOT GIVEN questions, whereas others find matching the paragraphs’ headings challenging. Make sure you practice well to face every question -type in the test.

Moreover, some e-books and IELTS materials are available online for those struggling to prepare for the reading test.

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Practice Material for IELTS Academic Reading

Here is a list of IELTS Books that will assist you in Test Preparation:

  1. Listening and Speaking Skills by Barry Cusack and Sam McCarter
  2. IELTS General Training & IELTS Academic Study Guide
  3. IELTS Preparation and Practice: Reading and Writing Academic Student Book
  4. Success in IELTS: Tips and Techniques
  5. IELTS Academic Reading Tests by Sam McCarter
  6. Check Your English Vocabulary for IELTS by Rawdon Wyatt
  7. Improve Your IELTS Writing by Norman Whitby and Sam McCarter
  8. Cambridge Grammar for IELTS
  9. Ace the IELTS: IELTS General Module – How to Maximize Your Score

How To Prepare for IELTS Academic Reading 2023?

1. Have a Study Plan

A well-planned routine for IELTS Preparation is mandatory for IELTS preparation. You have to follow the study plan without a break. After a few days of practice, most students get distracted from their goals, resulting in a low band score.

2. Understand the Test Format

Once you have decided to appear for an IELTS Exam, you need to understand the IELTS test format. Candidates should know the basic structure of the IELTS test,i.e., how many modules are there, the number of questions in each module, the type of questions, and the test duration.

3. Collect Study Material and Get Coaching if Required

If you plan to self-study, you will need IELTS books and sample test papers. There are many e-books and sample test papers available online. Take classes from expert IELTS trainers if your English skills are not that sound.

4. Practice Well Before the Test

Practice, Practice, and Practice. Once you’ve gathered enough practice material, practice the sample tests online to master your IELTS Academic Reading.

5. Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses

From the results of practice tests, you will be able to analyze your weak points and your specialties. Focus on the areas which require improvement until you are ready to take the test.

Must Read: IELTS Preparation Tips: Determine Strengths and Weaknesses


The IELTS Practice for Reading Test demands a thorough knowledge of the question types and intelligent work. By using different techniques for reading, like skimming and scanning, you can master the IELTS Academic Reading Test.

IELTS Academic Reading books and other online resources will remarkably contribute in improving your IELTS Academic Reading Score. A few hours of preparation can lead to a sparkling career abroad. Hence, we advise you to take full advantage of your time by polishing your English language skills.


Written By

Kirati Shah

Kirati Shah is a certified IELTS/TOEFL/PTE Trainer with 10 years of experience. She is on a mission to provide good quality lessons about IELTS and PTE through blogs and videos that can help students get their desired score and achieve their dream to migrate/study abroad.


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