IELTS Reading Tasks

The Reading Section assesses your ability to understand and interpret complex texts.

It evaluates your skills in locating specific information, identifying main ideas, understanding details, and drawing inferences.

The texts cover a wide range of academic subjects, so familiarity with diverse topics is essential

The test is divided into three sections and takes 60 minutes to complete.

Structure of the IELTS Reading Test:

Academic Reading (3 passages, 40 questions)

    • This section consists of three texts taken from books, magazines, journals, or newspapers.
    • The texts are on topics of general interest suitable for candidates entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies.

      General Training Reading (3 sections, 40 questions)

      • This section is also divided into three parts, and the texts are taken from notices, advertisements, company handbooks, official documents, and other sources of general interest in the workplace or community.

Time Allocation:

  • Candidates are given 60 minutes to complete the entire Reading test.
  • There is no extra time for transferring answers, so candidates must write their answers directly on the answer sheet.


  • Each question in the IELTS Reading test is worth one mark.
  • The maximum possible score for the entire Reading test is 40.

The answers are marked by trained examiners, and the final score is reported on a band scale from 1 (non-user) to 9 (expert user). The Reading test assesses a candidate’s ability to identify main ideas, details, and inferences; understand logical argumentation; and recognize the opinions and attitudes of the writers. It also evaluates the ability to follow the development of ideas in a text and locate specific information within it.


The IELTS Academic and General Training Reading tests are graded on the same scale. The Academic Reading test may contain texts which feature more difficult vocabulary or greater complexity of style. It is usual that a greater number of questions must be answered correctly on a General Training Reading test to secure a given band score.

Here are the average number of marks scored at different levels of the IELTS scale in Academic Reading, and General Training Reading sections. The precise number of marks needed to achieve these band scores will vary slightly from test version to test version.


  • Band Score 5: Reading 15 
  • Band Score 6: Reading 23 
  • Band Score 7: Reading 30 
  • Band Score 8: Reading 35
General Training
  • Band Score 4: Reading 15
  • Band Score 5: Reading 23
  • Band Score 6: Reading 30
  • Band Score 7: Reading 35