IELTS Reading Test

In the IELTS Reading Test, you will be given an hour to finish answering all three sections of the IELTS Academic or General Reading test. Let’s learn more about the reading test.

IELTS Reading Test Introduction

The Reading test consists of 3 text passages and has 40 questions in total. Your job is to read the passages and either answer questions, label diagrams, complete sentences or fill gaps. For every type of task, there are instructions and an example. Passages are taken from books, newspapers, magazines and the topics are very diverse, from scuba diving to space exploration. Passages progress in difficulty, with the first being the easiest and the third the hardest.

  • The reading test comes after the IELTS listening test. It is the second section of the IELTS test.
  • The reading test lasts 60 minutes (do not get a break).
  • There are 3 sections (each section has 13 or 14 questions)
  • There are 40 questions in total.
  • No extra time is given to transfer your answers from the questions to the answer sheet. Therefore, you have to complete the answer sheet within the 60 minutes.
  •  You must use a pencil to write answers on the Answer Sheet because it is scanned by a computer. That’s the same as the IELTS listening test.
  •  There is a wide variety of tasks candidates may have to complete.

IELTS Reading Marking And Assessment

  •  The scores are calculated by the number of correct answers you have. There are 40 questions which are equivalent to 40 points. Each time you get a correct answer, you get 1 point (no 1/2 points). That is how your band scores are calculated.
  • You have to follow the instructions exactly (e.g. must stay within word/number limit).
  • Spelling and grammar must be correct (e.g. singular or plural; use the correct form of the words). You will lose marks if you misspell a word or if you put a word in the wrong grammatical form.
  • There is no deduction for a wrong answer – so if you’re not sure, guess!

IELTS reading scores

According to official IELTS guidelines:

Band 5.5 = 20 — 22 correct answers.

Band 6.0 = 23 — 26 correct answers.

Band 6.5 = 27 — 29 correct answers.

Band 7.0 = 30 — 32 correct answers.

Band 7.5 = 33 — 34 correct answers.

Band 8.0 = 35 — 37 correct answers.

Band 83 = 38 — 39 correct answers.


The IELTS Reading test takes an hour and your task is to read passages of text and to answer questions according to what you have read. There are also other types of assignment which I will cover later on.

IELTS Reading Marking:

One mark is awarded for each of the 40 questions, and the result is translated into a score on the IELTS nine-band scale.

The tables below indicate the average number of marks required to achieve a particular band score in Academic Reading and General Training Reading.

IELTS Reading Academic Scores

 Correct Answers Band Scores
 40-39 9
 38-87 8.5
 36-35 8
 34-33  7.5
 32-30 7
 29-27 6.5
26-23 6
22-19 5.5
18-15 5
 14-13 4.5
 12-10 4
 9-8 3.5
 7-6 3
5-4 2.5

IELTS Reading General Training Scores

 Correct Answers Band Scores
 40 9
 39 8.5
 38-37 8
36  7.5
 35-34 7
 33-32 6.5
31-30 6
27-29 5.5
23-26 5
 22-19 4.5
 18-15 4
 14-12 3.5
 11-9 3
8-6 2.5



By Superingenious

I help students who are preparing for their international test or the once are looking to improve their English skills. So I help students learn English, get better scores on their tests, and prepare for the future.