Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsSome researchers at a British university collected texts from coursebooks in 14 subjects and compared these to the reading passages in the IELTS Reading test. They look at the language, the organisation, and so on. They found out that the passages in IELTS Reading were very similar to the ones you will read in university. Can you guess why? Well, it's because the passages in the IELTS tests are taken from real articles, books, and publications. We do edit them somewhat during the test development process, but on the whole, they remain mostly as they originally were. And that's why they're so similar. It's because they're the real texts you encounter in university.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 secondsNow I should add that the researchers did find some differences between the university texts and IELTS texts. The university texts were more subject specific, and they also contain more content that require knowledge of particular cultures. That was not a surprise for us either. When we select passages to include in the IELTS Reading test, we try to select more general academic texts that can be understood by people studying many different subjects. We do this to make sure that the test is fair whatever subject you are studying. In the same way, we choose topics that people from a wide range of cultural backgrounds will be able to make sense of.

Skip to 1 minute and 27 secondsNow you realise IELTS is taken in many countries all over the world. Just see how many nationalities who are participating in this course. So we make sure that the ability to answer the test questions does not depend on cultural knowledge. I hope knowing this makes you feel more relaxed about taking the Reading test. Don't worry about the topics themselves, because you will be able to understand them. And focus instead on developing the reading skills you've learned about this week. And it's always worth repeating, just read as much as you can. It'll be good for you.

How is IELTS Reading similar to reading at university?

Watch Gad explain more about the texts you need to read in IELTS Academic Reading, and why these are similar to the texts that students need to read at university.

In the comments, tell us about an academic subject that you find really interesting to read about, and say why. ‘Like’ or reply to other comments that you like.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Inside IELTS: Preparing for the Test with the Experts

Cambridge Assessment English

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

Contact FutureLearn for Support