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More on Reading task types

You have already seen three types of IELTS Academic Reading task: note completion, matching headings and identifying writer’s views/claims (yes/no/not given). In this article we will briefly look at the other possible Reading tasks.

To complete the Reading tasks, you need to read in different ways, such as:

  • reading quickly to get the general idea of a text

  • reading quickly to locate information, eg to locate the relevant part of a text to complete a task

  • reading relevant parts of the text more carefully.

The paper may include some multiple-choice tasks, including the following:

  • A four-option multiple-choice task in which you choose your answer from options A to D. You need to read the question and the options as well as the relevant part of the text carefully.

  • A multiple-choice task in which you choose more than one answer (either selecting two answers from five options or three answers from seven options). This task focuses on locating information in the text, so it is important to look quickly through the text to find the right part before deciding on your answers.

The Reading paper may also include an identifying information (true/false/not given) task. This task type is different from identifying writer’s views/claims (yes/no/not given) tasks because it focuses on factual information in the text, not opinions or ideas. But as with the yes/no/not given task, the best approach is to quickly locate the relevant part of the text and then to read it carefully.

Another task type that may appear on the paper is one in which you choose from a list of options. There are quite a few possible variations:

  • A matching information task in which the text is divided into sections or paragraphs. For each question, you need to decide which section or paragraph a statement appears in. (The wording in the text won’t be the same as the statements in the task.) The focus of the task is reading through a text quickly to locate information.

  • A matching features task. The ‘feature’ can vary. It may, for example, involve matching statements with a list of people or a list of dates.

  • A matching sentence endings task in which you have to match the first half of a sentence with a list of possible endings.

As well as the tasks above, where you need to choose one or more answers, there are also tasks where you have to write down one to three words (and sometimes a number) from the text. Read the instructions carefully – they will tell you how many words/numbers you can use in your answers. These types of task include the following:

  • Sentence completion. You need to use words from the text to complete sentences, taking care to make sure that the complete sentence makes sense and is grammatically as well as factually correct.

  • Summary, note, table or flow-chart completion. (There is also a variation of this task type where you have to select from a list of answers.) You have already seen an example of a note-completion task. You can use the key words provided in the summary, notes, table, or flow chart to help you find the part of the text that you need to read carefully.

  • Diagram label completion. You need to complete labels on a diagram using a description of something in the text. To complete this type of task, you first need to quickly find the part of the text that contains the description that relates to the diagram, then read this description carefully.

  • Short answer questions. The questions will be in the same order as the information in the text. Although there is no table, diagram, flow chart, or notes to guide you, the best approach is still to read quickly to locate the information you need, and then to read the relevant part more carefully.

You can find more information about the task types on the IELTS website.

You can also try some sample test questions. https://www.ielts.org/about-the-test/sample-test-questions

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