IELTS Reading

The IELTS test for reading measures your ability to read and understand a variety of texts taken from sources such as newspapers, academic journals, and textbooks.

To get a good score in the IELTS reading test you need to be able to identify main ideas in a text, pick out specific details, and understand a wide range of vocabulary.

The best way to get a good IELTS reading test score and improve your reading skills in general, is to read often, and read a variety of texts.

However, an understanding of the format of the IELTS reading test and the strategies you can use when taking it will help you achieve the score that best represents your reading ability.

We believe that reading is the single most important thing you can do to improve your English and your overall IELTS test score. Reading will improve your vocabulary, and expose you to a variety of sentence structures. It will not only help improve your score in the IELTS reading test, but also in all the other sections of the IELTS test.


The IELTS lessons we create at IELTS MOOC are designed to expose learners to as wide a variety of texts on different topics that commonly feature in the IELTS reading test. In addition, our lessons look at specific question types and the strategies you can use. A common problem that IELTS reading test takers encounter is not having enough time to complete the test. The strategies we look at in our lessons help learners answer questions faster and more accurately.

IELTS Reading Test Format

The reading test lasts for 60 minutes and consists of three texts on three subject areas. There are a total of forty questions, with each question worth one point each. Test takers can answer the questions in any order, and should spend approximately 20 minutes on each text.

You must write your answers on the answer sheet as you work your way through the texts.

How is the Reading test scored?

Your band score is calculated according to how many questions you answer correctly on the following scale:

Band Scale

These are approximate scores and may vary slightly depending on the difficulty of the test.

Bringing it all together

Here, I am going to talk about how improving your reading can also help you in achieving a better score in the IELTS Speaking, IELTS Writing, and IELTS Listening sections. Many English language teachers will tell you that reading is the most important skill to learn.

There are many reasons for this. It introduces you to a wide range of vocabulary. When you read something for the first time, there might be a lot of new words. By going to the dictionary and finding out the meaning of these new words you expand your vocabulary. This will help give you a better chance of understanding the words you encounter in the IELTS Reading section AND the IELTS Listening section. You may also be able to use some of these words in the IELTS Writing section and the IELTS Speaking section.

Another important benefit of reading is that when you read English texts, you will see English grammar being used well. If you read enough, your grammar will improve. This will help improve your scores in the IELTS Writing and IELTS Speaking.

We strongly recommend that you read a lot of English from many different sources. These could be newspapers, magazines, novels, online articles. Reading about lots of different topics, exposes you to new ideas and the language used to discuss these ideas. For example, the language used to talk about new technology will be very different to the language used when discussing taking care of your pets. In the IELTS test, you will read, listen to, and have to speak and write about a wide variety of topics which you may not be familiar with. Reading a lot will increase the chances of you being able to understand or explore these topics.

So, read, read, read, read, read. Read for fun. Read things you enjoy. Do not just read IELTS study books. Read as much as you can and you will see your IELTS scores improve.

Check out our reading lessons