Why IELTS Reading is difficult – how to pass it with Prepare IELTS exam

Is passing the IELTS reading test too tough?

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Is passing the IELTS reading test too tough?


The IELTS is vital for millions worldwide who wish to access foreign education, earn professional credibility, and migrate abroad. The IELTS Reading test, one of the four main elements - Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking poses substantial challenges in front of aspirants.

But is it as challenging, or can a planned upshot seal success? To answer this, the blog delves into the complexities of the IELTS Reading Test, giving crucial insights, significant tips to improve scores, and tactics to demystify its problems.

What is IELTS

IELTS measures the level of English language proficiency of non-native speakers. Recognised by worldwide educational institutions, employers, and governments, the test is a key to overseas opportunities.

Two test versions - Academic and General Training are distinguished based on the type of participants: those who apply for a higher educational institution and migrate to find work, respectively.

Types of IELTS Reading Tests: Academic Vs General Training

Although the two versions of the IELTS Reading test assess your comprehension of written English, their purpose and content vary. The Academic Reading test has three long texts ranging from descriptive and factual to discursive and analytical, whereby drawn books, journals, magazines, and newspapers are sampled, targeting potential university entrants.

Alternatively, the General Training Reading test has extracts from books and magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisement leaflets, and company handbook guidelines. The questions are based on what you will encounter daily in an English-speaking setting. Moreover, the test is meant for people who wish to pursue nonacademic training or take up employment opportunities and even emigrate.

Structure of the IELTS Reading Test

The Academic and General Training Reading tests have a duration of 60 minutes, containing forty questions answering various reading skills. You must develop the ability to understand its primary ideas, details, outline arguments, and conclusion, as well as the writer’s opinion.

The Academic version is more likely to contain a comprehensive reading passage compared with the Reading section in General Training.

Is the IELTS Reading Test difficult?

The only factor that affects your perception of how difficult the IELTS Reading test is depends solely on how much you prepared for it, your current English levels, and strategies used during the test. The time limit is also not an easy hurdle for most test takers because they would have to read quickly and effectively.

Statistical results and the opinions of test takers reveal that the most crucial challenges relate to comprehending texts with complicated linguistic forms. From multiple-choice options to matching headings, identifying information in paragraphs, and completing sentences or summing up ideas, are considered tedious tasks under comprehending texts.

IELTS Reading Tips/ How to Improve Reading Skills in IELTS

To conquer the IELTS Reading Test, consider these proven strategies:

  • Practice Regularly: Get acquainted with the test format by practising your skills using as many texts in this regard as you possibly can. under comprehending texts.

  • Develop Skimming and Scanning Techniques: Know how to skim for the main purpose and scan fast when searching for particular information.

  • Enhance Vocabulary: A rich vocabulary will facilitate your understanding of a vast scope of topics and shades in texts.

  • Time Management: Use time-pressure conditions to improve your speed and efficacy.

  • Understand Question Types: Each question type needs its own approach and skill set, so get to know them beforehand.

IELTS Reading Test: Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Spending Too Much Time on Difficult Questions:

  • Set a strict time limit for each question.

  • Move on if you're stuck and return to difficult questions if time permits.

Poor Time Management:

  • Take timed tests to get speedy and efficient.

  • Time your practice session with the help of a watch or timer.

Lack of Preparation for Diverse Question Types:

  • Get acquainted with the different question types (such as multiple choice, matching headings, true/false /not given).

  • Get books, website materials, and practice tests to prepare differently.

Strategies to Avoid Pitfalls:

  • Dedicate focus time for reading, answering, and reviewing questionnaires.

  • Make it a habit of starting with questions that are easy to answer first for quick wins and gain confidence.

How to Score High on IELTS Reading Test

Scoring high in the IELTS Reading section is proof of both your English language skills and test-taking ability. In the following section, we have iterated the specific strategies and practical suggestions to improve your reading competencies and improve the overall test score. 

Improve Overall Reading Speed and Comprehension:

  • Read academic books, newspapers, and journals regularly to improve reading speed.

  • Summarize each paragraph in your own words to enhance understanding.

Practice Extensively with a Timer:

  • Practice 60 minutes to simulate exam conditions.

  • Strive to finish practice tests in the prescribed time to develop endurance.

Familiarise Yourself with the Types of Questions:

  • Each question type should be reviewed, and the corresponding strategy for answering it should be understood.

  • Practice locating words that act as keywords in questions to find answers fast in the text.

Develop a Strong Grasp of Paraphrasing and Synonyms:

  • Study all the lists of synonyms and practice paraphrasing sentences from the texts used in assessing their knowledge.

  • Practice detecting paraphrased sentences or phrases in passages.

Test-Taking Techniques:

  • Practice scanning and skimming texts for the overall idea and look out for all the relevant details.

  • If based on the situation, use the elimination methods and make educated guesses when needed.

Enhance Vocabulary:

  • Carry a vocabulary notebook to write down new words and phrases learned.

  • Review and use new vocabulary in context often.


In summary, the IELTS Reading test is a difficult task to complete but not something impossible. If you are sincere in your preparation process, have an idea about what kind of test this is, and prove yourself as a highly effective strategy user, your reading skills will improve, increasing your chances for success. Remember that improvement is the result of practice and patience. The tips and strategies highlighted in this blog should prepare you well for the IELTS Reading test.

We hope you now have an idea of how easy or difficult it is to pass the IELTS Reading test. But, still, if you are looking for more details or would like to prepare for IELTS, you can contact Prepare IELTS exam (PI) expert counsellors for further guidance. Our team of education experts is dedicated to providing you with the best test material and guidance to ace the IELTS exam. You can get a one-on-one counselling session and an IELTS online practice test via our platform. Contact us at info@prepareieltsexam.com or call us at +91 9773398388 for further queries.


Given that the IELTS Reading Test requires 60 minutes to complete all sections, it is recommended to assign approximately a quarter-hour per passage. This guarantees that you have adequate time to read and answer questions and go through the answers for a few seconds.

Guess if you are not certain. Unlike any other exam where there is a penalty for wrong answers, leaving an answer blank in the IELTS Reading Test means that one missed watching out on scoring even half a point.

Increasing reading speed is based on constant work with various sources. Attempt to read daily, concentrating on skimming for general ideas and scanning for details. In addition, timing yourself while reading will allow you to improve your speed gradually.

Yes, you can. First, making notes, underlining keywords, and marking important information in the question booklet can be quite useful. Additionally, only the circle in which you put your answers on the answer sheet will be scored.

In the Academic Reading Test, three texts range from descriptive and factual to analytical discursive. These kinds of texts are usually extracted from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers and are appropriate to people entering university studying or those who want to take up a professional job.


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