IELTS Reading Question Types – Part 2

In a previous blog, we looked at some typical questions you may be faced with in the IELTS Reading test. This week’s blog provides tips and strategies for even more question types so that you can prepare and be ready for success on test day!

Locating Information

In this question type, you need to read pieces of information and find the correct section of the reading that contains this information. The tip here is to read the statements and underline any keywords then scan the text quickly to find the related information.  Be aware of synonyms and paraphrasing here.  Don’t just look for exactly the same words that are in both the statements and the text.  Look for words and ideas that have similar meanings.

Top tip: If you have found some information which is in a particular paragraph (i.e. paragraph A), this does not mean there will not be more information that you need to find in the paragraph. Additionally, you may have some paragraphs which have no information that you need to locate.

Summary completion Questions

In this type of question, you will have a summary and you will need to select words from the text to complete the summary.  The tip here is to read the summary first then find the section of the text which contains information which is related to the summary.

Top Tip: Always select a word/number from the text when filling in your summary and never a word that you have thought of.

Multiple Choice Questions

Multiple choice questions might be familiar to you as they are a common question format in many types of tests! Usually, the questions come in a similar format to the reading.  For example, the answer to the first question in the multiple-choice set will likely be found at the beginning of the text.

Top Tip: Use a process on elimination for these types of questions if you are unsure of the correct answer.  This means eliminating all the options you think are incorrect.  This way, hopefully you will just be left with one option.

List Selection

In this question type, you will have a list of items (i.e. names) and you will need to select which items related to a specific set of information in a sentence. The tip here is to read the sentences and then scan the text to find the section which talks about the sentence.  Then compare the information in the text with what is in the sentence and select the most appropriate response.

Top Tip: Quite often, your list is a selection of names from the text.  If this is the case, find these names in the text and underline everything that the person says.  This way it will be easier to find the information about what they say when you have to compare this to the information in the sentence questions.


Table Completion/Diagram Completion

In this type of question, you have a table or diagram to complete.  This type of question usually only focuses on a specific part of the text rather than the whole passage. You will have to read the table or diagram and then scan the text to find the exact section which you need to read (this is usually limited to around one or two paragraphs).  Then select the correct word (or words) to complete the table or diagram.

Top Tip: In the Academic reading, you may be confronted with longer academic words in a table or diagram.  Don’t be intimidated by this!  You will never need to have any special or technical knowledge on the subject to answer the question correctly.

Other tips for reading:

  • Synonyms and paraphrasing are important. As the Reading section tests your comprehension, you will usually see synonyms and paraphrasing between the questions and the content of the text.
  • Make steady progress throughout the test. If you are unsure of an answer, don’t panic, move on to the next question.  This will see you make steady progression through the test and will help with your stress levels!

Remember that knowing the strategies for each question type is only a small part of your preparation.  You will need to put these strategies into action in order to see improvements in your band scores.

Take our IELTS practice test to get familiar with test content and question types and visit our IELTS preparation page for more handy test tips and advice.

Do you have questions about the IELTS reading?  Sign up for our free IELTS webinars where you can get top tips from our IELTS experts and ask questions.

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