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IELTS reading special rules you must know

IELTS Reading Special Rules


1. Answer the questions quickly and accurately. If you can't do a question quickly, leave it and come back to it later.


2. As the passages are long, you don't have to read them in detail. Skim and scan them to find the relevant information.


3. The level, the texts and the tasks become progressively more difficult. Therefore, do the earlier questions as quickly as possible, to give yourself more time for the difficult questions.


4. You have roughly one and a half minutes for each question.


5. Do not panic if you can only do maybe three questions out of seven. Go through them again and again, but quickly.


6. When you finish one passage, check your answers and try to fill any gaps.


7. The questions generally follow the order of the information in the text. However, the questions in one section can overlap another and they may be jumbled.


8. The questions are usually paraphrases of the text so look for the meaning in the text, not the exact words.


9. The questions test general understanding [G] and specific detail [S]:

  • Matching headings [G]
  • Multiple-choice questions [G and S]
  • Summary/flow-chart/table completion [G and S]
  • Classification [G and S]
  • Matching sentences from a suitable list [G and S]
  • Answering Yes, No, Not Given [G and S]
  • Answering True, False, Not Given [G and S]
  • Matching stems to sentences endings [S]
  • Sentence completion [S]
  • Short answer questions [S]


10. Some question types are used to see how you deal with specific information and general meaning. For example, a multiple-choice question can test for detail or understanding of a whole text.


11. The questions do not test your knowledge of English, but your ability to use your English. The exam is testing whether you can use your English to find your way around a written English text.