Academic Reading

The Academic Reading test is 60 minutes long.

Test Parts

There are 3 sections. The total text length is 2,150-2,750 words.

BulletEach section contains one long text.

BulletTexts are authentic and are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been written for a non-specialist audience and are on academic topics of general interest.

BulletTexts are appropriate to, and accessible to, test-takers entering undergraduate or postgraduate courses, or seeking professional registration.

BulletTexts range from descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical.

BulletTexts may contain non-verbal materials, such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations.

BulletIf texts contain technical terms, a simple glossary is provided.

Question types

A variety of questions is used, chosen from the following types: multiple choice, identifying information, identifying writer’s views/claims, matching information, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence endings, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, diagram label completion, short-answer questions.


Each correct answer receives 1 mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

Downloadable Academic Reading sample tasks

Academic Reading sample tasks
Academic Reading Sample Task - Identifying information (PDF, 35KB)
Academic Reading Sample Task - Identifying writer's views (PDF, 56KB)
Academic Reading Sample Task - Matching features (PDF, 22KB)
Academic Reading Sample Task - Matching headings (PDF, 26KB)
Academic Reading Sample Task - Multiple choice questions (PDF, 21KB)
Academic Reading Sample Task - Table completion (PDF, 59KB)
Academic Reading Sample Task - Diagram label completion (PDF, 61KB)
Academic Reading answer sheet
IELTS Reading answer sheet (PDF, 130KB)
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