Reading Questions for IELTS, all types explained

One of the most intriguing sections of the exam, the Reading question section is all about concentration and time management. It is a tricky one as you have a lot to do in a span of 60 minutes that are available at hand as IELTS reading exam time. There are three different passages of reading questions for you to answer 40 questions in total. Make sure to work on your reading speed as you have around 2500-3000 words to read and comprehend. Sometimes you have to read them twice. The reading passages differ a bit for reading exam IELTS general than reading exam IELTS academic.

Each passage can have a mix of reading questions of different formats and can be in any order. We need to make sure that we understand and practice all the types of questions well. It will help us to avoid any surprises. We have listed all the reading question types and information relating to them below. Happy reading.

1. Summary Completion Type

These types of questions want you to complete a summary of a given passage majorly by filling in words in empty spaces. The words can be from the passage or mentioned separately in a box. Make it a point to read the rules on how we can write the answer. Like a number of words and usage of numbers in the answer.


The answers generally come chronologically so keep a tab on words like nouns, verbs, and adjectives while going through the passage. Try and identify the words in the passage and fit in as per the instructions given in the question. Keep a check that the answer should be grammatically correct and fits into the summary completion passage well.

2. Matching Heading Type

Every paragraph of the passage can be given a heading. We need to match the list of headings given in the question section to the paragraphs. The headings can be more than the paragraphs and jumbled up in order.


Read and scan through the headings given in the questions to get an idea, identify the key idea presented in each paragraph and match it with the given headings. Answers will not be in order and they can be in a format like roman numerals (v, vi) to be written in the sheet, so read the answer instructions carefully.

3. Matching Paragraph Information Questions

The task here is to find a specific paragraph that has information about the given question. Scanning for specific information and relating it to the questions is important.


We have to find a specific paragraph and use the information to answer the question. Paraphrasing may be required to fit in the answer as per the instructions. We need to understand that not all passages are going to be used so scanning the questions first can help you save some time by not reading unnecessary paragraphs.

4. Sentence Completion Questions

There will be sentences in the question with blanks to be filled. Search relevant information from the passage and fill in the words with relevant answers. Word limits and rules to be noted from the instructions.


Important to identify the paragraph with relevant information. Fill in the right words as per instruction, the answers are mostly in a specific order. Use a number of words that are allowed as per the limits in the instructions.

5. True False Not Given/ Yes No Not Given Questions

We need to infer that the information given in the question can be found in the passage. It can be a piece of specific information or a writer’s opinion on a certain point. Specific information will fall under True False Not Given and the writer’s information will be matched under Yes No Not Given questions.


Understanding the question and locating the information in the passage is the primary task. If the thought in the questions matches with the information it is True or Yes. If the thought is totally negated in the passage then it is False or No. If the information is not found in the passage then the answer will be Not Given.

6. Short Answer Questions

You are required to answer questions related to specific details in the passage. Scan and locate the paragraph with the information.


Read the instruction on how many words or numbers can be used. Scan the passage and locate the paragraph with the information. Identify the type of word that will fit in (noun/verb/adjective). The answers will categorically come in order. It may be required to paraphrase the vocabulary in the question.

7. Flowchart Completion Questions

This type of question requires to complete a flow chart with words from the passage matching the relevant information. Scan the passage to find the information being asked in the question.


Select apt words from the passage and fill in the information following the arrows in the flow chart. The information may not come in chronological order in the passage. Read the instructions for usage of a number of words in the Flow Chart.

8. Table Completion Questions

Same as flow chart questions, we need to complete a table here with information from the passage. Scan for the part where the relevant information and can be found and fill the table.


Read the headings of the columns and rows of the table first, it will help you find the relevant information faster and save time. Find the part of the passage and use words to fill in the table. Answers are mostly available in a particular paragraph. Do read instructions for word and number usage limits.

9. Diagram Completion Questions

We need to label the diagram in the question with information from the passage. Scan the passage to read about the specific diagram.


Identify the paragraph with the relevant information and label the diagram. Read the instruction on word usage for labeling the diagram. The answer is mostly found in one or adjacent paragraphs in the passage.

10. Multiple Choice Questions

Choosing the correct answer from options available with the questions. It can be a piece of specific information or a correct ending to a sentence.


The answers mostly come in order. Locate the information in the passage and choose one of the correct options. We need to write the option we think is correct by giving the corresponding number like option A or 1. Read the instructions before answering.

11. Choosing a title

We need to choose the most appropriate title for the passage.


Read the opening and closing paragraphs and try to understand the main aim of the passage. The introduction and conclusion would be enough, to sum up, the same and hence will help you chose the apt title.

12. List Selection Questions

The questions aim at giving a list of words in the form of names or some information. We need to identify the information in the passage and choose the answers.


A bit different from Multiple choice questions. The words will all be a part of a list and we need to identify the correct information and scan out the answers. Read the question information closely to understand how we can paraphrase and extract correct information.

13. Classification Questions

We need to classify the information into different sections based on the details available in the passage.


Scan for the relevant information and classify it into the certain category the question belongs to. It can be possible to use a paraphrased version of the information for answers.

14. Matching Sentence Endings

We need to match the beginning of the sentences to the possible endings given in list of answers.


You read the complete sentences and endings first. Then move to locate the relevant information in the passage. Matching the most relevant ending to a beginning is important. You can match the endings also by checking if the sentence falls grammatically correct after matching. There will be more endings than required.

At the end of the article, we don’t want you to get overwhelmed with so many types of reading questions and the information given above. You can take 1-2 reading question types at a time and practice for the same. All types of reading questions are not going to come for the exam. It is generally a mix of 4-5 types of questions for you to attempt and answer.

Reading regularly will help you increase your reading speed, it is important to comprehend the information while reading so that we get a gist of the entire information in our mind. Practicing all the different kinds of reading questions will gear you up for the exam.

Do leave comments in the section below if you found this article helpful. You can also mail your feedback to [email protected]. Send in if you any specific requirements and want us to write or make a video blog for the same. We will be more than happy to guide you on it.

To read out the article on timing your IELTS exam read here.




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