Before getting into the IELTS Reading test, try our fun, quick quiz to see how much you know about it.

Click on the links below for information on different aspects of the IELTS Reading test. I hope these will answer your questions but, if they haven’t, you can contact Total-IELTS via email. Just click on the email link below.

IELTS Reading Test: Format & Grading

Which reading skills are tested and how your test is graded.

The similarities and differences between General Training and Academic tests.

IELTS Reading Skills

How and when to use the skills of skimming, scanning and speed reading. Different approaches to reading.

Read the questions or text first?

IELTS Reading Test: Strategies & Tips

Advice and strategies to how to improve your test score.

How to recognize paraphrase and synonyms, predicting the answer amongst others. 

Improving Your IELTS Reading Score

Improve your overall reading skills. Strategies and tips that will have a positive impact on your

IELTS Reading test score.

IELTS Reading Question Types

A must-read page that gives strategies and tips for each individual question type.

With examples from real IELTS past papers.

IELTS Reading Test: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Increase your IELTS Reading band score by avoiding these 5 common mistakes.


  • Can I write on the question paper?

         Yes, the question paper is not graded. You can make notes, highlight keep words etc. However, be careful not to write your answers on the question paper because there’s no transfer time at the end of the test. Always write your answers directly on the answer sheet

  • Should I practice with IELTS reading practice tests only?

      Of course, you should practice with authentic reading test papers as this will get you used to the idiosyncratic nature of the test and improve your time management skills. However, a mono diet of test practice alone can feel like a heavy chore. You can also improve your reading skills and vocabulary by reading for enjoyment and information. Magazine articles, newspapers, novels etc

  • Which should I read first, the passage or questions?

      There is much debate and strong opinions on which should be read first. To the best of my knowledge, there is no evidence that proves one is better (as in you will get a higher score) than the other. Try both methods and see which works best for you.


  • Should I write my answers in capital letters or lower case?

        Both are allowed and you can even use both in different answers. Capitals are safer as there are no punctuation issues and are easier to read.

  • Can I write in pen or pencil?

       IELTS regulations state pencil only for reading and listening answer sheets. You don’t need to bring your own pencils and erasures to the test center. The test center will provide them. 

  • Can I write T instead of TRUE and F and NG on the answer sheet?

       Yes, it’s acceptable and you can also write Y instead of YES and N instead of NO. Many candidates believe that it’s an IELTS rule that you need to write the full word because it says so in the instructions. However, both are acceptable.

  • How can I quickly improve my overall reading score?

       There’s really no magic formula to improving your reading score in a short space of time even though some sources “claim” to be able to do so. Improving your speed-reading skills, following the advice for each question type, improving you range of vocabulary and grammar, regular practice and quality of tuition will all help.