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IELTS Preparation - The IELTS Reading Test

This IELTS preparation page gives you tips and suggestions on how best to study for the IELTS Reading test. For information and tips on taking the IELTS Reading test please see our IELTS Reading Module page.

What is the best way to approach preparing for the IELTS Reading test? The short answer is to read a lot. When reading an article decide what sort of information to look for and focus on that. If you do that you don't have to understand everything in the article. Much of the IELTS Reading test requires you to look for this sort of specific information.

In the case of long newspaper articles, concentrate on the introductory and concluding paragraphs first as this is where you will find summaries and opinions.

You should not only read a lot, you should read selectively. What you read depends on the format you are taking.


For the Academic version the texts used in the IELTS Reading test are taken from magazines, journals, books and newspapers. You should try to find this type of material and select articles that are of general interest and appropriate to someone entering a degree course or professional registration. Your local library may have suitable English language materials. Otherwise use the internet to find suitable texts.

General Training

General Training Reading texts are taken from notices, advertisements, official documents, booklets, newspapers, instruction manuals, leaflets, timetables, books and magazines. These texts are about survival English, the sort of English you would need to survive on a day to day basis in an English speaking country. As with Academic Reading check out your local library and the internet. Of the paper based materials, newspapers contain advertisements and notices as well as news items and magazines contain advertisements and articles. Official documents can be found on the internet, as can instruction manuals and timetables. Advertisements of all kinds can also be found on the internet. You should also read things like instructions on food packets, tourist leaflets etc. Many of the day to day foodstuffs that you buy have contents and instructions listed in English. These are very useful sources of English text that are easy to overlook.

For further materials and other resources to help you prepare for the IELTS Reading Test check out our IELTS Resources pages.

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