IELTS Reading – Question Formats

The IELTS reading test asks students to read 3 different passages and answer 40 questions. However, the questions may be presented in different ways:

Chart Completion

A chart completion task asks students to use information from the article to fill in the missing spaces in a chart.

An example of a chart completion task is here, with answers here.

Identifying Information

When asked to identify information, students are given statements about the passage and must answer whether they are ‘true’, ‘false’, or the answer is ‘not given’.

An example of an identifying information task is here, with answers here.

Identifying Writer’s Claims

An identifying writer’s claims task is similar to an identifying information task. In this task students are asked whether a statement agrees with what the writer has said, and can answer ‘yes’, ‘no’, and ‘not given’.

An example of an identifying writer’s claims task is here.

Labelling a Diagram

Similar to a chart completion task, labelling a diagram asks students to use information from the article to fill in the missing spaces on a diagram.

An example of a labelling a diagram task is questions 3-6 here.

Matching Features

A matching features task gives students a list of ideas, and must match them to the right paragraph, person etc.. For example, students must match each of five ideas with the scientist who talked about them in the passage.

An example of a matching features task is here.

Matching Headings

In a matching headings task, students are given a list of headings that could summarise each paragraph. The students must match the heading that best suits each paragraph.

An example of a matching headings task is here, with answers here.

Matching Information

A matching information task is a simple task in which students are given some information and must find the place in the passage it was written. This usually involves choosing which paragraph the information is in.

An example of a matching information task is questions 1-8 here.

Matching Sentence Endings

Matching sentence endings tasks gives students a set of incomplete sentences, and a set of sentence endings. Students must choose the endings that best complete each sentence.

An example of a matching sentence endings task is questions 1-6 here.

Multiple Choice

In a multiple choice task, students are given a list and must choose the one (or ones) which answer the question.

An example of a multiple choice task is here, with answers here.

Sentence Completion

Sentence completion tasks are similar to matching sentence endings tasks, except the student is not given a set of possible choices. Instead the student must write an answer, usually limited to 2 or 3 words. It is normal that these words are directly taken from the passage (i.e. students don’t need to think of new words).

An example of a sentence completion task is questions 9-13 here.

Short Answers

A short answer task is a simple idea, but can be difficult. Students are given a question, and a blank space to write a short answer usually limited to 2 or 3 words. These answers are generally directly taken from the passage (i.e. students don’t need to think of new words).

An example of a short answer task is here.

Summary Completion

In a summary completion task, the students are given a short passage summarising the article but with some words removed. The students must write in the missing words. Sometimes students can choose their answers from a given list, but other times they must find the answer in the text.

An example of a summary completion task is here, with answers here.

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