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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds Some 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 seconds Now 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 seconds Now 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.

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The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

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