IELTS Reading

Here, test takers will encounter passages based on an assorted set of topics from different genres and will have to answer a variety of question types such as multiple choice, short-answer type questions, as well as those involving identifying information such as the writer's views, or completing a summary using words taken from the passages. Test takers should be careful when writing down their answers as they will lose marks for incorrect spelling and grammar.

What exactly does the Reading Section entail?

In the IELTS Academic Reading module, there are three sections, with each section consisting of one long passage followed by a few questions. The level of difficulty of the sections increases progressively. These passages are usually drawn from university-level books, journals or magazines. These passages often incorporate :

  • Graphs
  • Tables
  • Analytical flowcharts

The types of questions include, but are not limited to, multiple choice, identifying the writer’s intentions, opinions and claims, short answer writing, and sentence completion. The texts are taken from a wide range of magazines, journals, newspapers, books and other texts. The intention of the Reading section is to test your ability to grasp the main underlying ideas and opinions of the text, as well as to read for details, understand the arguments being made, and also to skim-read when there is a paucity of time.

 What is the duration for the Reading Section?

Test-takers have 60 minutes to complete the Reading section, with 40 questions worth one mark each in total. You are required to read 3 long passages, based on which a number of questions will be asked.
No of Questions

What are the different types of Reading Questions?

1) Short Answer Questions
2) Multiple Choice Questions
3) Summary Completion
4) Matching Sentence Endings
5) Sentence Completion
6) True, False, Not Given
7) Matching information to text/paragraphs

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Want to take a look at a typical question you might find on the IELTS reading section? Here's what you can expect!

                                                                                      Sample Type : Ending Ageism

Section A: Forty years ago, Erdman Palmore, a senior fellow at the Duke University Centre for the Study of Aging and Human Development published a series of questions – the Facts on Aging Quiz – designed to provoke group discussions about aging and old age. To his surprise, the quiz revealed that most Americans knew very little about the aging process and harbored many misconceptions, most of them negative. Among the most common misconceptions were that the majority of old people (age 65+) were bored, angry, irritated and unable to adapt to change and that at least 10 percent of them lived in nursing homes.
Section B: In 2017, Americans still need to be educated, perhaps even more so, if the proliferation of negative behaviors and hate speech towards old people is any indication. Of all the prejudices that divide us, ageism is still the most universally shared and tolerated. Consider these facts of contemporary life in America:Midlife men, especially those once considered at the peak of their ability and experience, are now widely discriminated against in the workplace. In some places, such as tech companies in Silicon Valley, discrimination starts at the age of 35.Among the Facebook groups that focus on older adults – approximately 25,000 members – 74 percent “vilified” older adults, according to one study, and 37 percent thought they should be banned from public activities like driving and shopping.
Section C: What do these facts have in common? They are all “macro-aggressions” – demeaning, hostile acts toward a category of people perceived as 'old'. Such acts are beyond individual control and often beyond our knowledge.Micro-aggressions are demeaning, belittling acts toward a single person (including one’s self) who is perceived as being 'old' and therefore socially irrelevant. Ending Ageism is arguably Margaret Morganroth Gullette’s most memorable and persuasive work to date because of its calling out of explicit, real-life cases of ageism and for its depth of feeling.
The rallying cry that echoes throughout this book is worth committing to memory: “Fight ageism, not aging.” It is a crucial distinction. Ageism is a form of systemic prejudice leveled against people of a certain age. Aging is the progression of a body through time, and even that is heavily influenced by history and culture. Aging serves as the trigger for ageism.
Section D: Yes, aging brings losses, but it also comes with benefits and compensations: broader perspective, emotional maturity, self-knowledge, kinder regard for others. As Palmore taught his college students 40 years ago, aging does not necessarily lead to Alzheimer’s. According to a recent report by the Alzheimer’s Association, only 3 percent of people age 65-74, 17 percent of people age 75-84, and 32 percent of people age 85 or older have Alzheimer’s dementia. Many older people experience some mild cognitive decline that will never become Alzheimer’s. Among those who have the disease, it does not eliminate their identity. Most retain aspects of their personality well into the final stages.As Gullette sees it, in 21st century America, the problem with Alzheimer’s, “surging at this nexus of disability and longevity,” is cultural. As a consumer society, we are hyper-focused on youth, energy, physical strength, mental acuity, verbal dexterity – those things we equate with productivity and advancement in our information age. We are afraid to lose control of our minds and bodies. We are frightened of illness and vulnerability. So we disassociate from older people because we equate aging with loss and decline. Gullette wants us to develop new words – and new sensibilities – for working with people experiencing cognitive losses. Gullette describes how she responded to her 91-year-old mother’s cognitive decline. She focused on the things her mother could do. She praised her remaining strengths and abilities and pointed them out to the people around her, including doctors and other caregivers, promoting an environment of loving support rather than critical assessment.
Section E: Aggressions, active or passive, against old people are the result of ageism. They tear at the social fabric and undermine the well-being of all people, young and old. They create a toxic environment where both perpetrators and victims suffer. (After all, the young perpetrator will someday be old, will experience ageist self-hatred, and will be subjected to the next generation’s age intolerance.) We can practice anti-ageism on a daily basis among family and friends. One of the simplest and most profound lessons of Ending Ageism is that we must learn to cherish the old people in our lives, beginning with our own aging selves.

Questions 1–6
The passage has five sections labeled A–E.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter A–E in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

NB: You may use any letter more than once.

Q1)After a certain age, people are considered to not have relevance in society because they are seemingly 'old'
Q2)Decades ago, a study found that a majority of Americans were ignorant of or held an adverse opinion of the aging process.
Q3)Not all people experiencing cognitive losses have Alzheimer’s.
Q4)Even in the current times, old people are being discriminated against.
Q5)General prejudice that exists against old people leads to anger and assaults against them.
Q6)One of the reasons for the anxiety that exists against Alzheimer’s is the over importance given to productivity and progress.

Answers for Q1:     C

Sample Student input: B

Correct answer: C

Our Expert's Explanation:

Section C describes macro-aggression as this: “…demeaning, hostile acts toward a category of people perceived as ‘old’.” The information given in this line is a paraphrase of the definition given for macro-aggression. Hence, Section C is the correct answer.

Sample Feedback :

Section B introduces the idea of how “midlife men” are perceived as old and treated in workplaces. It also describes how old people are abused in some groups in social media. However, this section does not say that old people were considered socially relevant.

Section C, while describing micro-aggressions, says how old people are considered socially irrelevant. So section B is the correct answer.

Other Answers:
Question 2 : A
Question 3: D
Question 4: B
Question 5: E
Question 6: D

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