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
    • dead 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 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
    • answers come in order

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 usually 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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  1. very helpful. thank you….

  2. Haider Rasel says:

    Specially madam I don’t understand when I do my listening part. Could you tell me any special advice for me?

  3. Gopal Sarkar says:

    Hi Liz,
    For some answers for some questions [such as short answer Questions], I see that if the questions asks for no more than 2 words, for example; many times I see part of the words are put in parentheses. This is seen in many standard IELTS textbooks such as Cambridge. My Question is: do we need to use parenthesis at the 1st place? Or isit like answers put in parentheses optional.

    Appreciate your response.


    • You don’t use brackets. The brackets in the answer key are to show possible answers to the questions. The brackets are used in answers keys only. You must decide what your answer is and it will either be right or wrong. Never put words in brackets for listening or reading.

  4. hi Liz Thanks for all the work and everything you’ve to done.. i was wondering, should we read the questions before reading the articles or the other way around?

    • It is recommended to read the passage before the questions except for Matching Headings. You will find this is the reason why the exam papers print the questions after the passage, but put the Matching Headings before the passage. However, it is entirely your choice. You must decide what works for you.

  5. Hello – Elizabeth i want ask you abou i thought to buy keywords for IELTS book for learn keywords to helping me in IELTS exam and is that useful to learned me supporting points also.because i found parts of three books to teach the key words for IELTS starting from the level of ( starter – improver – advance ) my level of language is elemantry 3

    best regards ,,,


    • A book of key words for IELTS reading will not help. The topics are so varied, it is impossible to predict them. They might be about history, biology, ecology etc.

  6. hello ,, Elizabeth could you please explain me what is meaning ” supporting point ” ?

    best regards ,,,

  7. thanks for all this is effort its amazing work , fact i dont show like that before > thank you very much , you are professional.

    best regards ,,,,

  8. dear mam,
    thank you for such a wonderful website…..
    i just wanted to ask something…..
    what happens if i write true,false,not given instead of yes,no,not given….
    i m really worried…..plz let me know,…..i m going to get penalized for dat…..

  9. Arjun Singh Rawat says:

    Hi Liz,

    Can you provide practice exercise for list selection ?

  10. Hi Liz.
    First of all thank you for this support. Your blog is really helpful.
    I have a question. Is it possible the same match to be the answer of two questions in matches list questions of a reading passage?
    Thank you in advance.

  11. hey liz i am jubin
    i am really poor at reading i could not do reading in one sit because i am not enjoying it do you have a way out so i could do well in reading. if you can do this for me that would be glad to me.
    jubin bhatt india

  12. Mam i want to know mostly answers come in order or not???

  13. Youmna Gamal says:

    Hi, Liz

    I want more practice lessons on writing and listening

    Thanks in advance

  14. Hi Liz, Thank you for your tips and postings, God bless you, may you have peace, prosperity and good health. I have a question is it good idea to read the whole passage and understand it and then read the questions? could you please help me out. thank you,


  15. Hi Liz,

    What a great page, thank you for putting so much effort into it!

    I have got a question regarding the rule of being consistent with either using upper case or lower case exclusively on the answer sheet. I have decided it is safer for me to only use upper case, but there are questions where lower case roman numerals are predefined as answers, like iii or vii. What do I do in this situation to avoid receiving punishment for being inconsistent with my letter case? Can I just change vii to VII or would it be marked as wrong since it is predefined on the question sheet to be lower case numerals?

    Thank you in advance and kind regards,


    • Roman numerals are actually counted as numbers and can be written either way. The CAPS rule applies to letters and words.

  16. Thank you Madam, really you done a grate job .super duper ..thanks a lot..:)

  17. AMMAR SAND says:


  18. If I find any mistakes (random ones) anywhere in the website, how can I quickly report that to you, Liz? I don’t mean grammar mistakes, rathe some typos etc. (I’ve seen some).

    • Just drop me a comment on the page. I’m always grateful when someone spots a typo because I don’t have time for proof reading, unfortunately.

  19. Hi Liz,
    Just want to correct the 11 instead of 111 (Table Completion).
    Just noticed it its not that important.
    What important is you are helping us/.
    More power, I am learning a lot.

    • Thanks so much. I don’t have time for proof reading so I’m glad you spotted it and told me 🙂

  20. Lamiaa maknuna says:

    Hi. Liz. I’m Lamia. Iwant to tell u something . I’m reading tips section . You doesn’t post many practices link like list sentence practice , categorisation question , table completation, flow chart, diagram . Can u pls suggest practices regarding this?? For that reason I can practice ..

  21. Dhir Sandhu says:

    The only thing that i want to tell u is madam… Big Thankyouuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

  22. Hi Liz,
    Could u make an video on sentence completion type of questions from Reading section please. 🙂

  23. Hi Liz, How are you ? Your Reading Tips are fantastic to me, that makes me your fan.
    Thank you.
    i have my IELTS exam on 19th may 2016 of British Council.
    LIZ, would you tell me please how can i improve my vocabulary easily and fastly what should i do,so i can get good overall score and tell me about noun,verb,adjective type of vocabulary or where i can find synonyms for ielts.
    I am awaiting for your reply because your help will make me my career.
    thank you,

  24. Avelino Thomas says:

    Nice , Nice tips its being useful to me , thanks a lot but I have a problem , I can’t find the exercises for List selection ,Categorisation Questions , table completion , flow chart completion questions and Diagram completion questions

  25. hi Liz,
    Thanks a lot for these tips. Its very helpful.
    I have question: IELTS is very new to me and this could be basic one.
    What does it mean when you say answers are in order for “T/F/NG” section and answers are not in order for “Matching heading questions”.

  26. Hi liz,
    Thank you for these very useful tips, they’re very helpful.
    I just would like to inform you about a little typo on the tips of question type 7 LIST SELECTION. The second tip, it’s written “dead through” instead of read through.
    Best regards,

  27. Muhammad Shaaban says:

    Hello Liz,

    I have a question about reading. In this past test, there is complete (no more than three words) the chart from the passage. In the passage it says “The average size of rockfish has also declined by several inches since 1970s.” In the chart it says “Rockfish caught today is ………. than rockfish caught in the past” I answered “several inches less” but the key is smaller. Would that be considered a wrong answer even though it is mentioned in the passage literally except for the “less” and is grammatically correct?

  28. Hi Liz,
    First of all, Thank you so much for all your help and guidance. Your blog helps me a lot to prepare me for my exam.
    I would like to ask you a question. could you please tell me the order of the Reading writing and listening tests? Which one is first?


  29. Narender Kumar says:

    Thanks for providing excellent platform for IELTS preparation. I came to know some useful tips related to Reading

  30. Hi Liz,

    You are an amazing person and it’so easy to follow your tips. My exam is on 12th of Dec, but I find difficulties in reading, the video on T,F,GN was so understandable and you have explained it so clearly. Could you please upload few videos of GT reading for other sections too, that will be more helpful for my exams. I could find only one video on reading and that was T,F,GN.

    Yours sincerely,

  31. Good morning dear Liz,

    I have also this question : The history of Europe have been documented since 3000 B.C.

    Passage: Conventional historical sources begin only with the introduction of written records around 3000 B.C. in western Asia , and much later in most other parts of the worlds.
    I answered with NG but the key says F 🙁 .. should I consider Europe as part of the “most other parts of the world”? but the passage does not say “all other parts of the world” .. What do you think , can you explain please?


    • It depends on the main aim and content of the paragraph and the sentences before and after this one. Don’t just look for your answer in one sentence. Post the whole paragraph with the question again and I’ll have a look.

      • Dear Mrs.Liz,
        As per your suggestion, this is the whole passage with the question:

        Passage: If arachaeology deals with the past , in what way does it differ from the history? in the broadest sense, just as aracheology is an aspect of anthropology, so too is it part of history? wgere we mean the whole history of humankind from its beginnings over three million years ago. Indeed for more than ninety nine percent of that huge span of time , aracheology- the study of past material culture – is the only significant source of information .Conventional historical sources begin only with the introduction of written records around 3,000 BC in western Asia , and much later in most other parts of the world.

        Question: The history of Europe have been documented since 3,000 BC.

        Thanks again Mrs.Liz for your response


  32. Dear Liz,
    I’ve following your tips and lessons to improve my reading skills , whenever I face T,F,NG questions I’ve started to apply your tip to assume the opposite as well and then look for the answer, but today I could n’t apply this tip appropriately, would you kindly help me?:

    The question: Industry in the Arctic has increased over the last 20 years.
    I prepared the opposite: = = = = = = = = = decreased = = = = = = = = = = = = =.

    The passage says :
    Our perception of the Arctic region is that its distance from the industrial centers keeps it pristine and clear from the impact of pollution. However , through a process known as transboundary pollution, the Arctic is the recipient of contaminants whose sources are thousands of miles away. Large quantities of pollutants pour into our atmosphere ,as well as our lakes ,rivers and oceans on a daily basis. In the last 20 years , scientists have detected an increasing variety of toxic contaminants in the North , including pesticides from agriculture ,chemicals and heavy metals from industry .These are substances that have invaded the ecosystem virtually worldwide but they are especially worrisome in the Arctic.

    Shall I say NG : because there is no mention to whether the industry increased or decreased?
    or F : because the passage states that the Arctic receives the chemicals from industrial sources thousands of miles away ( and hence the industry is not in the Arctic itself?)

    I’l really appreciate your help.


    • This is a very tricky one. The idea is that pollution comes from industry. However the Arctic has a distance from industrial centers and their pollution comes from industry outside the Arctic. Then it says that “scientists have detected an increasing variety of toxic contaminants in the North”. This sentence means that there is an increase of pollution in the Arctic (the North) from industry. Of course we know that the increase of pollution from industry is not in the Artic because we know that the pollution comes from industry in another region. So, this whole paragraph explains that the Arctic has increased pollution due to increased industry from outside the Arctic. For that reason, the answer is FALSE. The increase in industry is from outside the Arctic, not inside in the Arctic.
      All the best

  33. Hi liz, i am so glad that im watching your video’s. but i have one question about the classification could you please place a video of how to solve it because im finding it very hard to solve it that’s because i don not know the technique. And is it a common quesion ? ….thanks in advance 🙂

    • It is quite common but not one of the most common. I will certainly add that lessons to the list of videos that I hope to make next year.
      All the best

  34. yasee raies says:

    Hi dear Liz
    I just be here for offering my gratitudes for your gracious talented nature as a model of being a real human and a real teacher. That’s all my heart words.
    Thanks very much

  35. Kanwalpreet says:

    Hi Liz
    I’m struggling with reading, please help me how I can improve me reading scores.

    Looking forward soonest reply.

  36. Hi Liz,

    I’d first applaud you for this site for helping to crack IELTS with good score
    My exam is on Dec19.Would you give me suggestions/tips regarding the Speaking n Listening sections..I was tensed to speak in english abit. Is there any redcution in bands in Speaking if I use A instead of An,The or relating to Tenses.On what parameters are my Speaking skills tested and judged

    Thanks in-advance Mam,Hope U’d reply me

  37. Muhammed Shamsuddin says:

    What type of question are more easy and I should answer first.

  38. Hi Liz

    Where can i get the tips on how to tackle a question including maps

  39. good evening mam i exam is on 26th of september and you suggest me for reading,writing,listening,speAKING material for study to get good bandscore in ielts i required overall 7band plz help me…..

    • You can get practice tests from the IELTS Cambridge books from 1 to 10. You can get a book called “Improve your IELTS Reading Skills” for reading and the same one for listening. For speaking, prepare topics, ideas, vocabulary and practice answering questions. For listening, practice, write word lists and learn about question types.

  40. Prudhvi Raj says:

    Hi Liz,
    I need a small help from you, i am struggling to score 6.5 band in writing and 8 in reading.
    Please suggest me how can i score the required band.

    • For reading, you would need excellent understand of vocabulary, the ability to analyse questions and speed in scanning for information. For writing, you would need to learn more about how to structure your writing, linking words, using ideas or information correctly and having strong English.

  41. Dear Liz,

    I would like to ask you that there is a student who able to understand all training material and video in your website, would you mind telling me what is the English level for IELTS?

    I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Thanks a lot.

    Yours sincerely,

    • My site is aimed at students who have band 6, 7, 8 and 9 level of English. This site is for them to review known language and also learn new language.

  42. Syed S,Ahmad says:


    What are this logos placed on the right top corner? Do they have a meaning or grading?
    I see your pic also occurring at the same place in some.

    • These logos are automatic for wordpress websites.
      All the best

      • syed s. ahmad says:


        I read some FAQs on your site and learnt a lot about reading and listening tests and your valuable tips and suggestions. i could not access the videos as Youtube is prohibited in my country. Can you please load or provide links on Dailymotion if you have your videos there?
        I also read the scores and opinions of those who took the last September test. I found some high achievers with non-uniform performances through different categories. Was it the exam or the individuals for this disparities? Your comments,please.

        • Sorry, all my videos are on youtube and that won’t be changing for the foreseeable future. There are many reasons for differences in band scores between skills, all related to student performance and luck with topics.

  43. Syed S,Ahmad says:

    Hi Liz,

    When does one come to “know” that he is adequately prepared enough to take the IELTS test for a projected average score of 8 bands?
    As you shall agree that going for GMC,AMC exams the average requirement is 7.5 band with none less than 7 in any of the components !

    • You will know, when you complete a practice IELTS reading and listening test and score band 8. You can get your writing and speaking assessed online with some companies if you wish or just rely on your listening and reading scores.

  44. Thank you very much for sharing. It’s very useful for me.

    Could you please explain that what’s different between Question Type NO.4 and NO.5 ?

    • A summary completion is filling in gaps in a paragraph. Sentence completion is filling in gaps in single sentences. Please see my lessons on the main reading page to practice each type.

  45. syed s. ahmad says:

    Dear Liz.

    I did not understand the categorization questions. Can you elaborate a little or just site me some examples to better understand this category. Alternatively, add more tips to this class or a link as you have done for others.
    Thank you.

      • syed s.ahmad says:

        Dear Liz,
        I am very grateful for your reply and guiding me to something , which otherwise might have perplexed me foe sometime. Going through your advice on the link provided me to believe that reading English and understanding it to the full are two different things. We tend to read without fully understanding a certain words in the sentences assuming that we are comprehending the meaning of certain familiar as well as unfamiliar words, which meet our eyes without caring to pause or refer a dictionary or ask a friend or senior in the room. A word in English does not have one or more meanings but also has to be ” interpreted” in a certain context. For example, a bull’s eye does not mean a pare of bovine eyes but the most inner circle of a target or the most desired position on a target !

  46. Hi Liz, your website is very useful, i’d like to thank you and one suggestion we love to have an android & itunes app of your website.

    • There are a few things I need to do to improve my site but unfortunately it will need to wait until next year when I have more time. I appreciate your ideas though 🙂

      • Hi Liz

        I just finished my IELTS exam today.

        Writing Task1- to principal for college admission enquiring about status
        Writing Task2- advertisement are useful are giving false information , discuss both views

        i did overall i did pretty well, but reading i havent got much time to completed all questions.

        thank you for your help. i will let you know once i get the results.

        • Fingers crossed!

          • hi Liz,

            i got the results today, i was very surprised and shocked, this is my second attempt, here are my scores, i believe i got less in writing as i have poor handwriting, this time they didn’t allow me to write in Pen.

            2nd attempt
            reading -6
            writing 5.5
            speaking 6.5

            1st attempt
            reading 5
            writing 6.5
            speaking 6.5

            i need to take 7 in all 4, i have to write again :(, i lost confidence now, not sure how i start from now..

      • Hi Liz,
        Im glad to see your videos about ielts in you tube. They are awesome and the tips are useful. I am writing this to aak for a help about GT reading session. I have exam on 12th September 2015. I already wrote thrice but every time I am losing score in reading. I need above 6 in all modules but I am lacking behind reading module as all other modules my score is 6.5-7 above. So could you please help me out to get good score in reading module aswell. That is a very big asset for me from you in my life.


        • My tips and lessons are all on this blog. I can only suggest that you purchase more IELTS books on reading or find an IELTS teacher to help you develop further.
          All the best

  47. you are great Liz…

  48. Hello Liz, first of all I want to thank you very much for sharing with us your time, knowledge and IELTS experience. I will present my GT IELTS test for the second time and in the reading test I was expecting a high score but I was dissapointed by the actual result. My question is does it affects you score if in the matching heading questions you write the romans numerals ( I, II, III, IV, etc) instead of i,ii,iii, iv and how do we suppose to write them.

    • You should write them exactly as written to avoid any problems. But your result may be due to other problems relating to your English language or techniques with the question types.

  49. Omer Sharieff says:

    Hello Liz,
    I feel your web resource for IELTS prepration is complete and of high quality especially your tips for reading and writing skills. I will be taking test on 12th Sept. I was going through your tips for reading and have a question.
    Since I will be preparing for GT, I want to know if there are specific type of questions for GT or do I need to prepare for all the 14 types that you have mentioned here..

    • Good question. The question types for GT reading are the same as the academic test. The only difference is that your passages 1 and 2 are of different content and passage 3 is slightly easier than the academic passages. Even so, the practice lessons on my blog will still help develop your techniques for the question types.
      All the best

  50. hi
    thank you
    your videos are very good

  51. vinay joshi says:

    Hi, I have one doubt that in any passage I have first 5 question is of Multiple choice and next 6 to 11 questions are of Y/N/NG. Is there all answers is in ORDER or not.(Which means First 5 answers are in order and other type’s answers following that or start with top of passage). I hope you can understand my point because my Enlgish is very worst. Please help me…….Thanks in advanced I will have my exam on 1st of August.

    • The rules vary for each type of question. So if you have MCQ for 1 to 6 and then YNNG from 7 to 10, the rules change as you change the type of question you answer. This is the same for listening. That is why you need to underline how many words you can have in your answers because it changes.

      • vinay joshi says:

        Thank you Liz for your answer,

        I want to ask that if question type vary, do we need to start passage from top / first? I am really to much in tense for my exam.

        • Always skim read the passage in 2 mins. Then look at the questions types. If the questions come in order, start with the first one. If the questions don’t come in order, start with the question you prefer.

  52. syed s. ahmad says:

    Dear Liz,
    I had taken a hasty attempt at the IELTS academic some three years ago obtaining an average band of 6.5. My achievement went down because of my poor scores in the listening and reading components. I can not blame anyone else but to myself alone. I did not realize that there was so much to IELTS preparation and testing. You have done a commendable job ( rather a charity) by writing this blog and its contents with such fine details.

  53. Dear Liz,
    I’ve a very good command in spoken and written English as well as listening module never bothered me much.
    My only concern is Reading section of Ielts academic where I repeatedly failed to reach 7 band, honestly I can’t figure out where I’m lacking the required skill.can you please help me to get band 7 at least in reading module.
    Can you please help me?

  54. Hi Liz!
    Thanks a lot for all the question types you mentioned above.
    Please guide me how to attempt veiws or claim question type. A quick reponse is much appreciated.

    • I don’t understand what you mean about attempt views or claim questions. You will need to explain more clearly.

  55. Amanda says:

    Hi, first of all thank you for all this support!

    So, in the matching headings we have a lot of options.
    Let’s say that paragraph A, talks about i and iv.
    But I can just choose one option, because I can just wright one word.
    What should I do? Both are correct, doesnt matter which one I choose?



    • For matching headings there is only one correct answer. Don’t try to match specific information or small details, instead you should match the purpose and main content of the paragraph.

      • syed s. ahmad says:

        yes, most of the time this is what is being tested.I have received some guidelines from a friend about acquiring this skill through active, focused reading art.The fourteen types of questions in this test of reading is something I learnt from your page—an eye-opener !

  56. hello,
    Dear teacher,
    Matching Headings,question is this possible that,one same option could be used for two times? but for different paragraph.
    hope for the reply.
    thank you.

    • For matching headings, one heading can be used only once. For matching paragraph information, paragraphs may be used more than once. They are different types of questions. Don’t confuse them.

  57. plz can u share more video lesson on reading academic ielts.

  58. Hi Liz,

    Greetings for the day.

    Thank you so much for your outstanding Free IELTS Lessons. I recently, found your IELTS lessons on Youtube and your official blog. I have sat for IELTS (General) one time a month ago and I have scored overall band 5.5 in respectively (L – 5.5, R – 4.5, W – 5.5 & S – 5.5). I would like to score in IELTS (General) (L – 7.5, R – 6.5, W – 6.5 & S – 6.5) which are minimum required. I have booked my next IELTS (General) on 28/02/15. Whenever I find time, I practice your lessons and I have not got much time to prepare for the test. Do you have any lessons for IELTS (General)? Because IELTS have two versions Academic & General. Listening and Speaking Modules are same for both versions. I am looking for Reading and Writing Module lessons for IELTS (General). Please help me out on this and validate this writing skills in approximate band level.

    Thank you once again!

    Yours Sincerely,

  59. nguyen tuan anh says:

    Thanks again for your deep analysis of my weakness and misunderstanding of reading. I just come up with a new strategy of reading by locating the topic sentences of each paragraph first , title them by throwing in 1-2 words next to. I’ll do these in just 1 minute because i think whatever types of the questions below are, this will save time for me in locating any kind of information; however, sadly there’re many types of paragraphs that topic sentences are not always the first or the second ones ! do you have any tips for this?
    thank in advance

    • Hi,

      Unfortunately, there isn’t any fast way to spot the main point in a paragraph. As you said, it is usually located in the first sentence but also sometimes situated in the middle or end of the paragraph. The only thing to do is read the topic sentence carefully and then skim read the rest of the paragraph to check that it really is the main point or if the main point appears later.

  60. nguyen tuan anh says:

    hi Liz ,
    first of all, thanks for your kindness and being devoted to have posted lots of tips for us to bare in mind. I’ve just read your tips on ielts’ different reading question types and exactly it is the one i longed for. I just want to ask you a question : I’ve spend for more than one year listening to bbc and cnn news as well as reading online newspapers on While doing these, i can understand almost 70 % or 80 % of the content.That makes me so confident , I must say ! However, sadly, this morning when I just scored 7 in listening and terribly 6 in reading ! In the reading, most of the vocabulary is no stranger to me and i could read pretty fast but still failed to give the right answers ! I am now quite skeptical about my english compability and panic-stricken !! is there any differences between the ability of communicating in English and the ability of taking the test or sth ? please help me !

    • Hi,

      Yes, there’s a difference between having very good English and doing well in IELTS. With each test, you must understand the requirements and build the required skills. For reading, this means having a strong technique with each type of question, being very good at spotting paraphrases and being aware of traps.

      You have done well to prepare by listening to high level English on the BBC etc but now you must focus more on practice tests, question types, paraphrasing, time management and concentration. Basically, it’s time to prepare for the test itself rather than just improving your English.

      Divide your time between building skills with question types and doing practice tests. Remember that reading and writing both test academic ability as well as English.
      All the best

      • nguyen tuan anh says:

        I’m really thankful for what you replied to my first post ! One more question if you don’t mind : Yesterday I did True/False/Not given question types in the reading test of IELTS . This type of exercises is really painful to me ! I have the tendency of spending too much time reading back and forth to distinguish between false and not given information ! I have read a lot of tips but still make mistakes ! Not given information is not exactly “not given”, I must say ! Can you give me any tips in doing this? And how can I answer the questions without reading again too many times, which waste me a lot time ?
        Thank in advance my teacher,
        Tuan Anh from Vietnam

        • Hi Tuan Anh,

          These questions are certainly difficult. You are right, the information for Not Given answers is often found in the passage. However, you are looking for whether the majority of words in the statement can be found, you are look for the entire meaning of the statement to be found in the passage. If the whole meaning of the statement can’t be found, then it’s not given.

          Did you watch my video on how to find the correct answers for TFNG questions? ( From the video you will see that much of the information in the statement may be found in the question but without the full meaning, it is NG.
          I hope that helps.

    • It might be the case the you’re good at reading with speed but, at the time of reading you can’t understand it properly.. Read for speed as well as understand the text.

      • Hi,

        You should not aim to understand the whole passage, just find answers to questions. Even matching headings only require you to find the main point in the paragraph not to understand every word. If you tried to understand the whole passage, you would run out of time. The IELTS reading test is timed in a way to test your ability to find answers.
        All the best

        • I meant that if anyone just read and not concentrate (just read) than it’s useless. Definitely we shouldn’t read the whole text precisely instead, read speedily to get the gist.

          • Yes, that’s it. You’ve got it. It’s all about the skill of scanning to find answers. Any students trying to read the whole passage carefully will probably struggle quite a lot to succeed.

  61. You’re good … This is what I needed. I’m poor in reading section and it would help me a lot to improve my reading .. .Thanks ..

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