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IELTS Reading Question Types: Information & Tips

In IELTS Reading, there are 14 different types of questions that you can be given. In IELTS reading, you will have only one hour to read 3 passages and answer 40 questions. These questions are always divided into different types of questions which you must complete. Each passage usually has about 3 or 4 different types of questions to answer.

In order to prepare well for your test, you must make sure that you practice each type of question. Below is a list of the question types  you can get in IELTS reading with information and tips to help you.

1. Matching Headings Questions

  • Task: Choose a heading from the list which matches a section or paragraph in the passage
  • Skills:
    • understanding the aim of a section
    • identifying the difference between a main idea and supporting points
    • understanding aims of paragraphs and sections
    • understanding general content of paragraphs or sections
  • Tips
    • read the headings before you read the passage
    • there are often more headings than you need
    • analyse the headings before trying to match them to sections or paragraphs
    • answers are often numerals (i, ii, iii, iv etc) – read instructions carefully to check
    • answers do not come in order
  • Click to practice a matching heading question.

2. True False Not Given / Yes No Not Given Questions

  • Task: Decide if the information or writer’s opinion in the question statements can be found in the passage
  • Skills:
    • identifying specific information in the passage
    • scanning and understanding information (T/F/NG questions)
    • understanding the opinions of the writer (Y/N/NG questions)
  • Tips
    • Understand the meaning of each answer
      • yes / true = the same information is found in the passage
      • no / false = the opposite information is found in the passage
      • not given = the information is not found in the passage
    • paraphrase the statements before trying to locate the answers
    • answers come in order
  • Click to practice some true, false not given questions and some yes, no, not given questions.

3. Matching Paragraph Information Questions

  • Task: Matching the information given in the question with information found in one of the paragraphs in the passage.
  • Skills:
    • identifying specific information
    • scanning for information
  •  Tips:
    • paraphrase the information in the question
    • find the information in the passage
    • answers do not come in order
    • the answer is often a letter (A, D, C, D…) – read instructions carefully to check
    • not all paragraphs may be used
  • Click to practice matching paragraph information questions.

4. Summary Completion Question

  • Task: Completing a summary by filling in the gaps using words from the passage or words given in a box
  • Skills:
    • scanning for specific information in the passage
    • understanding ideas and supporting points
    • selecting appropriate words
  • Tips:
    • identify the type of word needed for each gap (noun/verb/adjective etc)
    • locate the information in the passage in order to choose the right word
    • if you choose words from the passage, check how many words can be used for each answer
    • answers usually come in order
    • the summary must be grammatically correct which can help you in choosing the right word for the gap
  • Click to practice a summary completion question.

5. Sentence Completion Questions

  • Task: Completing sentences by filling in the gap with words from the passage
  • Skills:
    • scanning for specific information
    • selecting appropriate words
    • understanding information in the passage
  • Tips:
    • identify the type of word needed for each gap (noun/verb/adjective etc)
    • locate the information in the passage in order to choose the right word
    • the sentences must be grammatically correct which can help you in choosing the right word for the gap
    • check how many words can be used for each answer
    • answers usually come in order
  • Click to practice a sentence completion question.

6. Multiple Choice Questions

  • Task: Choose the correct answer to a question or the correct ending to a sentence from usually 3 or 4 possible options.
  • Skills:
    • scanning for specific Information
    • understanding information in the passage
  • Tips:
    • paraphrase the information in the question and options
    • locate the precise information in the passage
    • answers come in order
    • answers are usually letters (A,B,C or D) – read the instructions carefully to check
  • Click to practice a multiple choice questions

7. List Selection

  • Task: Choose the correct option from a list of words, information or names. This differs from multiple choice because the questions all relate to only one long list of possible answers.
  • Skills:
    • scanning for information
    • understanding information in the passage
    • identifying ideas relating to others
  • Tips:
    • read through the list and prepare paraphrases
    • read through the questions and identify key words
    • locate the information in the passage
    • answers come in order
    • answers are usually letters (A-G) – read the instructions carefully to check

8. Choosing a Title

  • Task: Choosing the most appropriate title from a list
  • Skills:
    • identifying aims of a passage
    • distinguishing between detail and main aims
  • Tips
    • look at the differences between the possible titles
    • pay attention to the opening paragraphs and closing paragraphs of the passage
    • don’t spend too much time on this question – it is only worth one point
  • Click to practice choosing a title

9. Categorisation Questions

  • Task: Decide which category the information belongs to from a list.
  • Skills:
    • locating information in the passage
    • categorising information
  • Tips:
    • find information in the passage
    • decide which category the information belongs to
    •  look out for paraphrases

10. Matching Sentence Endings

  • Task: Completing sentences by matching the start of the sentence with the correct ending given in a list.
  • Skills:
    • locating information in the passage
    • understanding information
  • Tips:
    • read through the sentences and then read through the possible endings
    • prepare paraphrases
    • find information in the passage
    • choose the best ending to match the information in the passage
    • the completed sentence must be grammatically correct
    • sentence beginnings follow the order of information the passage
    • answers are usually letters (A-G) – read instructions carefully to check
    • there are usually more endings given than you need
  • Click to practice matching sentence endings to improve your reading skills. Answers do not always come in order.

11. Table Completion

  • Task: Completing the table using the correct word from the passage.
  • Skills:
    • locating specific information in the passage
    • choosing appropriate words
    • understanding details
  • Tips:
    • read the column headings in the table
    • identify the type of word needed for each part of the table
    • scan the passage for information
    • answers are often located in a specific part of the passage
    • check how many words you can use for the answer

12. Flow Chart Completion Questions

  • Task: Completing the flow chart using the correct words from the passage.
  • Skills:
    • locating specific information in the passage
    • choosing appropriate words
    • understanding details and order of information
  • Tips:
    • identify the type of word needed for each part of the flow chart
    • scan the passage for information
    • answers do not always come in order
    • use the direction of the arrows and boxes to follow the order of information in the chart
    • select the appropriate words from the passage
    • check the number of words that can be used for each answer

13. Diagram Completion Questions

  • Task: Labelling a diagram
  • Skills:
    • locating information in the passage
    • relating the information to the diagram
    • choosing appropriate words
  • Tips
    • identify the type of word needed for the answer (noun / verb etc)
    • find the information in the passage
    • the information is usually located in one specific paragraph or two in the passage
    • check how many words you can use for the answer
    • answer do not always come in order

14. Short Answer Questions

  • Task: Answering questions regarding details in the passage.
  • Skills:
    • locating information in the passage
    • understanding detail and specific information
  • Tips:
    • identify the type of words you need for each answer (noun,verb etc)
    • paraphrase vocabulary in the questions
    • scan the passage to locate information
    • check how many words you can use for the answers
    • answers come in order
  • Click to practice short answer questions

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IELTS Listening Practice: Sentence Completion

Sentence Completion for IELTS Listening

This IELTS listening practice is based on sentence completion or gap fill questions. Read through the sentences, predict what types of answers you need for each gap and then listen to complete the sentences. Pay attention to the number of words possible for each answer. This is similar to listening in section 2.

Why we have festivals

Complete the sentences using no more than two words and/or a number.

  1. Festivals are useful to ……………… the cultural traditions of different countries.
  2. The majority of festivals can be traced back to a cultural ………..
  3. Festivals are a time when …………….. are put aside.
  4. Although countries have different festivals, their ……………. is often the same.


A festival is an event which is celebrated collectively. Festivals are mostly celebrated to propagate the cultural heritage of nations. Most festivals have their origins in a cultural belief which has been passed down through the generations. Festivals help to promote solidarity and the patriotic spirit in society by bring people closer together in harmony as they celebrate the festival. During this time, differences are forgotten and the national cultural identity predominates. By celebrating international festivals, it helps to promote tolerance, reduce racial conflict and encourages the acceptance of cultural diversity in a country. While there are marked differences in the way festivals are celebrated all over the world, there is a similarity in the purpose that the festival serves.

  1. propagate
  2. belief
  3. differences (the answer must be plural)
  4. purpose


Recommended Lessons

IELTS Listening Practice: Space Exploration Sentence Completion
IELTS Listening Practice: Mammoths Picture Multiple Choice
IELTS Video Lesson: Listening practice for Time

Vocabulary for Accurate Data in Writing Task 1

The video tutorial below explains why it is important to give accurate data when describing a chart in IELTS writing task 1 and provides a range of flexible vocabulary to help you achieve a better score. Transcript

Hello my name’s Liz and in this lesson I would like to look at giving accurate data for IELTS writing task 1. Now it’s very important that all the information you give is accurate the examiner will check and any mistakes will lower your band score. Now let’s have a look at an example of inaccurate information and then I will give you lots of vocabulary to help you give better accurate information.

This chart shows the percentage of smokers in England in 2010. We’ve got percentages here. It is divided into men and women and we’ve got three different age group we’ve got 20 -30 30 to 40 and forty-plus. Now here is a sentence: In the age group 20 to 30, 28% of men smoked compared to 30% of women. This is a typical sentence that I get from many students. What is the problem? Can you see any mistake? Well this is the problem here now we can see that women is correct 30 percent but men we can see it is under 30 but we cannot see that it is 28. We don’t know. The number is not given its not clear. So what we need to do is we need to use flexible language to give the accurate information let’s have a look.


  • under
  • below
  • less than
  • just under
  • slightly under
  • nearly
  • almost
  • close to
  • well under
  •  considerably less than


  • about
  • approximately
  • around


  • over
  • above
  • more than
  • just over
  • slightly over
  • marginally above
  • well over
  • considerably more than


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Sample Answers for Speaking Topic: Health

Below are some sample answers for the topic of health in IELTS speaking part 3. When you answer in speaking part 3, remember to extend you answers with lots of examples and explanation. Also remember to give a direct answer the question asked  and then develop your answer.

1. Do you think people pay enough attention to their health these days?

No, definitely not. The average person nowadays has a sedentary lifestyle and pays very little attention to their diet and also does hardly any exercise. If you take a typical English person, they eat a quick breakfast, such as a sugary cereal, they have a quick bite at lunch, like a sandwich, and for dinner they are either too tired to cook something healthy and nutritious or simply don’t have enough time. It’s pretty much the same with exercise. Few people these days have time to fit it into their daily routine.

2. Do you think the government is responsible for public health?

Well, to be honest, I think it the responsibility of both governments and individuals. Governments certainly could do more to educate people about ways to improve their health and I suppose it would be useful if they could some how have more controlled over the fast food industry. However, much of the responsibility falls on individual people to take exercise, eat well and have a balanced life style.

3. Do you think there are more unhealthy people these days than there were decades ago?

Yes, without a doubt. Generations ago, there was no fast food or convenience food so people generally ate healthy fresh produce instead of the junk food they eat today. Furthermore, people were also more active in the past as they either cycled or walked to get around and also had a healthier life style. Compared to now, they were much healthier.

4. How could parents encourage their children to be healthier?

I guess the best way would be to set an example. I always think that if adults lead by example, then children will  follow suit. What I mean is if parents need to get involved with sports and out-door activities, it will show children that exercise is fun. Another way would be for parents to get children involved in cooking health meals to encourage them to change their eating habits. Both methods, I’m sure will have a positive effect.

IELTS Conclusion Paragraph for Opinion Essay

This lesson looks at how to write an IELTS conclusion paragraph for an opinion essay given below. Before you practice the conclusion, make sure you have completed the other lessons for this topic:

Every one of us should become a vegetarian because eating meat can cause serious health problems.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

An IELTS conclusion paragraph should summarise the main opinion that you gave in your opinion essay – both in the introduction and the body paragraphs. The conclusion repeats the main points in brief and maintains your position.

This is the introduction for this essay: Eating meat is considered by some to damage our health and for that reason they believe all people should adopt a vegetarian diet. In my opinion, although a vegetarian diet is certainly a healthy option, having a balanced diet, which contains vegetables and some healthy meat, is the key.

The above introduction explains the main points and the position of this essay. Now you must restate the main points again for your conclusion paragraph. Use the tips below to help you.

Tips for an IELTS Conclusion Paragraph
  1. Paraphrase the main points introduced in your introduction
  2. Don’t put new main points in your conclusion
  3. Don’t change your opinion in the conclusion
  4. Don’t write over 40 words
  5. You can write either one or two sentences
  6. Can you have a concluding statement which is a predicting if you wish

Write your conclusion before you check the model. Model Conclusion

In conclusion, by balancing both vegetables and healthy meats, for instance fish and chicken, people will be able to adapt their diet more easily in order to benefit their health.


To conclude, by balancing mainly vegetables with fish or chicken, people will be able to adapt to a healthier diet more easily rather than become vegetarian. If people are educated about eating healthily, there will be less health problems in the future.

Recommended Lessons

IELTS Video Lesson: IELTS Conclusion Linkers
IELTS Video Lesson: Using the official answer sheet

A High Score Bar Chart Exercise

Fill in the gaps to complete the high score bar chart for  IELTS writing task 1. Use the completed bar chart report to model your own writing as it gives the right structure to use and a good range of sentence structures and language.

Below are useful sentence structures which are commonly used for bar charts for each paragraph (the introduction, overview and body paragraphs) to make up a complete task 1 writing model.

You will see a full report for the bar chart below and you must fill in the gaps to complete it by using the correct verb in their appropriate form.

The bar chart below shows the number of research students studying different subject in 2005.

IELTS bar chart

Source: The above chart was not created by IELTS Liz.

Model IELTS Bar Chart Report

Fill in the report below using the following verbs. You must put the verbs in the correct form and tense. Each verb can be used more than once.

to be   /   to see  / to study   /  to  illustrate  /  to show  /  to choose  / to learn  /  to prefer

The bar chart (1).  ………………… how many male and female research students (2). ……………….. six different subjects (linguistics, psychology, natural sciences, engineering, programming and mathematics) in 2005.

Overall, there (3). …………. more male research students than females in 2005. Although the most popular subject for both genders 4. …………..natural sciences, men least (5). …………….. linguistics and women (6). …………. little interest in mathematics. Linguistics was the only subject that 7. ………… favoured by women more than men.

There was a similar number of men and women in three subjects. There were equal numbers in research students (200) (8). ……………….. natural sciences. There was a difference between the genders of about 25 in both psychology and linguistic with more women (9). …………….. linguistics (around 110) and more men taking psychology (200).

A difference of about half (10)………… evident in engineering and programming where 150 men chose both subjects. By contrast, 200 men selected mathematics which was approximately five fold that of women (about 40).

  1. illustrates
  2. studied
  3. were
  4. was
  5. preferred
  6. showed
  7. was
  8. studying / learning
  9. studying / learning / choosing
  10. was


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Matching Sentence Endings: IELTS Reading Practice

In this type of question you need to choose the correct ending for each sentence by selecting the ending from a list given. This is not the most common question type in IELTS reading but it does appear in the test and it is worth practising.

This is one of my tough lessons which I’ve written to challenge the higher level students.

Skim read the passage and then read through the sentences with the possible endings. Pay attention to grammar in order to complete each sentence – the sentence must be grammatically correct. The information contained in a correctly completed sentence can be found in the passage.

NASA’s Orion ‘Mars Ship’ set for test flight

IELTS Space Topic

A US space capsule that could help get humans to Mars is about to make its maiden flight.Orion will be launched on a Delta rocket out of Cape Canaveral in Florida on a short journey above the Earth to test key technologies. The conical vessel is reminiscent of the Apollo command ships that took men to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s, but bigger and with cutting-edge systems. Given that this is a first outing, there will be no people aboard.

Nonetheless, the US space agency describes the demonstration as a major event. Nasa has a window in which to launch Orion of about two-and-a-half hours, which began at 07:05 local time (12:05 GMT). The launch preparations had to be stopped shortly before the opening of the window because a boat strayed into the eastern part of the launch range. After that, the countdown had to be held because of strong winds and a technical issue.

Orion is being developed alongside a powerful new rocket that will have its own debut in 2017 or 2018. Together, they will form the core capabilities needed to send humans beyond the International Space Station to destinations such as the Red Planet. For Thursday’s flight, the Delta IV-Heavy rocket – currently the beefiest launcher in the world – is being used as a stand-in. It will send Orion twice around the globe, throwing the ship up to an altitude of almost 6,000km (3,600 miles). This will set up a fast fall back to Earth, with a re-entry speed into the atmosphere close to 30,000km/h (20,000mph) – near what would be expected of a capsule coming back from the Moon. It should give engineers the opportunity to check the performance of Orion’s critical heat shield, which is likely to experience temperatures in excess of 2,000C (4,000F). They will also watch how the parachutes deploy as they gently lower the capsule into Pacific waters off Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula. (Passage from BBC News)

Questions 1-4

Complete the sentences by selecting the correct ending, A-G (not all letters will be used).

  1.  The first ever flight of Orion is aimed to ……
  2. Although the shape of Orion is similar to previous ships, it ………..
  3. A new rocket is also being developed which …………
  4. The rocket which will be used as a replacement will ………….
  5. As temperatures reach extreme levels on re-entry, this maiden flight will ……….
  • a. send Orion twice around the world.
  • b. has state of the art technology.
  • c. test the critical heat shield.
  • d. check Orion’s performance.
  • e. test the most important technology.
  • f. will have its first voyage in a few years.
  • g. help humans get to Mars


Click below to reveal the answers.

  1. e
  2. b
  3. f
  4. a
  5. c

All reading exercises on ieltsliz.com have been written by myself to help you prepare for your IELTS test.   


Vocab Builder
  • maiden flight / maiden voyage = first ever flight / first journey
  • conical = shaped narrowing to a point
  • similar to something in the past
  • cutting-edge = front-line / pioneering / brand-new
  • strayed = drifted
  • debut = first appearance
  • in excess of = more than
  • (parachute) deploys = opens


See all my IELTS Reading Tips and Practice Lessons

Map Completion for IELTS Listening

You may have to fill in points on a map in IELTS listening section2. This means you will be given a picture of a map to complete. When you must decide the answers to numbers on a map, the answer will come in order but that doesn’t mean it will be simple.

Always prepare the map by looking at the locations of each number and predicting what language you might hear to find the answers. Make sure you check the title of the map to help you predict answers and language.

Map Completion

Complete the map below using no more than two words for each question.

Bedford Surgery

Map Building Plan


Welcome to the Bedford Doctor’s Surgery. As you are a new patient, please listen to the information about our practice to learn about our surgery and the facilities available. To enter our surgery you will need to go up the stairs to the first floor so if you are disabled and need wheelchair access, you will need to call us to organize this. Once you enter the surgery, please go straight to the reception room on the left and sign in with our receptionist. You’ll also be able to wait for the doctor here. If you need the toilets, you’ll have to go back down to the ground floor which isn’t shown on the map and belong to the company renting that floor. If you have a large bag or a coat, you may want to leave them in the cloakroom which is located at the other end of the building. For the cloakroom, turn right once you get up the stairs and go straight ahead, it’s a small room at the end of the corridor.

The two doctor’s surgeries are situated just to the right of the stairs both with a lovely view over the town, one of them used to be the old waiting room. We also have a radiology unit which is next to the cloakroom and a laboratory for blood work just beyond the radiology unit. For patients who will be traveling by bus, there’s a bus stop just a few doors away from the surgery and for those of you coming by car, please park outside our main doors.

1. reception / reception room (left of the stairs)
2. cloakroom (right of the stairs at the end. You must spell this correctly to get the answer)
3. surgery (directly right of the stairs – the speakers says two surgeries so this is for number 4 as well. The speaker said that one of them used to be a waiting room – this is in the past, not now – a typical IELTS trap).
4. surgery
5. radiology unit (next to the cloakroom – if you didn’t get cloakroom, then you will have a problem to get this correct. You will need both words for a correct answer)
6. laboratory (next to the radiology unit)