There are a variety of different question types on the Reading Test and these are specifically designed to test your range of reading skills. You are expected to be able to read in a number of different ways and for a range of different purposes, including reading for a gist understanding, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognising writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose. Although the reading texts of the Academic paper and the General Training paper differ, they share the same kind of question/task types.
Today’s post explains what these various task types are and gives you examples of what you might get in your exam.
(All examples taken from www.ielts.org)
Matching paragraph information with question information
This task type is often written as “Which paragraph contains the following information?” You are expected to match that information to the relevant paragraphs in the reading text.
Matching headings to paragraphs
The task is to find the most suitable heading for each of the paragraphs from a list given to you. There are more headings than paragraphs and you can only use each heading once. Sometimes, you might be asked to choose a suitable title for the whole passage from a given list.
A very common task type, you are given a question and a number of possible answers. You must choose the appropriate answer.
Short answer questions
You are given specific questions relating to factual information and details in the text and you must write short answers based on information in the text.
There will be short notes in a table but some of the cells will be empty or incomplete. You must fill in the missing information using a specific number of words found in the passage.
True/False/Not Given (identifying information)
You are given a statement. You have to decide if the statement agrees with the content of the text, in which case it’s ‘true’. If it contradicts information in the text, it is ‘false’. If there is no specific information in the text, the answer is ‘not given’.
Yes/No/Not given (identifying writer’s views/claims)
You are given a number of statements and asked: ‘Do the following statements agree with the views/claims of the writer?’ You must write ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘not given’, depending on whether the views agree or contradict the writer’s view, or if there is nothing in the text to say yes or no.
Matching sentence endings
This task consists of a list of incomplete sentences with no endings and another list with possible endings. You have to match the incomplete sentences with the endings.
Categorisation (matching features)
Very similar to matching type tasks. You are given some options (eg. A, B, C ) which are a group of features from the text. There is also a list of statements. You must match each statement to one of the given options.
Sentence / Summary / Notes completion
You must complete the gaps in individual or connected sentences using a given number of words from the text. The summary is usually only one part of the passage rather than the whole text. Notes are referred to as such in the exam rubric (instructions).
Flow chart completion
In this task type, there will be a series of boxes or steps linked by arrows to show a sequence of events, known as a flow chart. Some of the boxes or steps will be missing information which you must complete.
In this kind of task, you are given a diagram which relates to the information in the text in some way and you need to label it. This task type is often used with texts describing processes or with descriptive texts.
It is an important part of IELTS exam preparation that you familiarise yourself with all these different task types and practise the skills needed to answer or complete them accurately and speedily. Look out for future blogs where we discuss each task type individually and show you how best to approach it.