IELTS Reading Task 1 Guides and Tips

Are you taking the IELTS Test? Do you feel confident about your reading skills? Better be prepared and ready as the IELTS Reading Test is one part of the test that will really put your reading comprehension skills to the test.

In this post, we will guide you and provide you with tips on how to ace Task 1 (Part 1) of the IELTS Reading Test

IELTS Reading Overview 

The IELTS Reading Test immediately follows the listening test. Because there is no time to move your responses from the question sheet to the answer sheet within the one-hour session, start writing your answers on the answer paper right away.

It takes an hour to complete the IELTS Reading Test. The IELTS Academic and General Training modules will have distinct texts, but the types and quantity of questions will be the same.

The writings are often shorter and easier to read in the General Training module, and they come from a variety of social, intellectual, and professional settings. 

On the other hand, the readings in the Academic module are longer and more complex than those required of regular candidates.

The texts are intellectual in nature and have been culled from books, magazines, and journals.

Three texts (Task 1, Task 2, and Task 3), ranging in length from 500 to 900 words, must be read. 

A total of 40 questions will be asked, with various types of questions to finish. 

It is intended to evaluate a wide range of reading abilities, including details, gist, and essential ideas; understanding logical argument; recognizing writers’ attitudes, opinions, and intent; and skimming. 

IELTS Reading Task 1 Reading Tips

Task 1 of the IELTS Reading Test is the easiest among the three parts of the Reading Section.

As mentioned earlier, the texts for the IELTS Academic and General Training modules are different but will measure the same skills.

To aid you in your IELTS Reading Task 1 preparation, we have listed some tips below to help you reach the band score you desire. 

  • Be mindful of the time. 

You only have one hour to finish 40 questions, so make the most of it.

Aim to complete each part in 20 minutes.

Allot 16-17 minutes to read and answer the questions, plus 3-4 minutes to transmit and double-check your answers.

  • Know that there are words that you may not know. 

If you do not understand a word on the reading test, there are two options.

You can either hunt for clues to its meaning in the words and sentences surrounding it, or you can proceed to the next question and forget about it.

You are not required to know the meaning of every word. 

  • Pay close attention to the directions.

Many good applicants fail the IELTS Reading section because they do not read the instructions carefully.

To prevent losing simple marks, pay strict attention to the directions you’ve provided.

  • Avoid panicking.

It is vital that you keep your cool and your nerves under control.

Accepting that you are probably not going to be able to get all of the questions right on exam day will help you manage your nerves and time.

  • Skip difficult questions. 

A few of the questions may be straightforward, and others will be really difficult.

It is not a good idea to spend a lot of time on a tough question.

Continue to the next question if the answer does not show. The tough questions can always be tackled at a later time.

Helpful Tips for Answering the IELTS Reading Task 1 Questions

The IELTS Reading Task 1 comprises different kinds of questions. You need to acquaint yourself with all of them so that you will be confident in answering them on the day of the test.

Below are the different kinds of questions that you might encounter in the IELTS Reading Task 1 both for the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training modules. 

Matching Headings to Paragraphs

A list of headings will be shown to you. In the instructions, 4 to 6 paragraphs from the reading text will be highlighted.

For each paragraph, you must choose the most relevant header.


  • Before you read the headings, read the questions.
  • Keep in mind that there are frequently more headings than you require.
  • Before attempting to match the headings with the paragraphs, examine them.
  • Be warned that the answers do not appear in any particular order.
  • Identify between main ideas and supporting details in the paragraph. 

Summary Completion

A summary or a paragraph with some gaps will be shown to you.

The summary contains all of the material found in the reading texts but is written using different terms.

You have a list of words to fill in the blanks with. The overall number of gaps will be greater than the stated number of words. 


  • Distinguish the part of speech needed to fill in the gaps. (noun, verb, adjective…)
  • Know where the information in the passage could be found.
  • Be mindful of the grammar as you fill in the gaps. 
  • Make sure to copy the correct spelling of the answers. 

Short Answer Completion

A sequence of questions is presented for you to respond to.

Your responses need to be three words or less in general but double-check the directions to be sure.


  • Identify the part of speech needed to answer the questions. (noun, verb, adjective…)
  • Keep in mind that the questions are always paraphrased.
  • Check the number of words required for the answers. 
  • Scan and skim the text to know where to find the answers. 
  • Be aware that answers come in order. 

True/False or Yes/No Not Given Questions

There are a number of statements and you have to decide if the information can be found in the passage or not. 


  • Analyze the meaning of the answers:

Yes/True – The statement is correct or stated in the text. 

No/False – The statement is wrong or not stated in the text. 

Not Given – The statement could not be found in the text. 

  • Reword the sentences before looking for the answers in the text. 
  • Be aware that the responses come in order. 

How to Prepare for the IELTS Reading Task 1?

The IELTS Reading Test Task 1 is arguably one of the most challenging parts of the IELTS.

Although you have approximately 20 minutes to answer around 15 questions, it may not be enough due to its difficult nature.

To help you prepare and get ready for the IELTS Reading Task 1, please follow the preparation tips we have below. 

  • Read… a lot. 

Make sure you read as many articles as possible a week or two before the exam. This will provide a level of experience and confidence in that area. This is the most crucial point to remember.

You cannot suddenly wake up one day and achieve an 8.0 in the IELTS Reading without prior reading experience.

  • Practice increasing the pace with which you read.

To make the most time allotted for the IELTS Reading Test Task 1, you must improve your reading speed.

Yet, comprehension must not be compromised for speed. It is all too simple to skim an article and then forget everything. Your priority should still be comprehension.

  • Learn to skim and scan. 

Skimming is an IELTS reading task approach that allows you to read through a given material quickly and efficiently while identifying the main themes of the text.

This method will save you time while also allowing you to get a sense of what the book is about after just one reading.

Scanning on the other hand, is a strategy in which you swiftly read over each line in search of a specific word or phrase.

It is useful when you only need a single-word answer. It differs from skimming in that it does not need you to look for a specific word or phrase.

  • Practice the skill of paraphrasing. 

Keep in mind that even if the IELTS Reading Task 1 is a reading task, it requires your vocabulary skills as well.

More often than not, the questions are paraphrased and the words in the passages will be different and paraphrased.

Learning how to paraphrase is one key factor that will make or break your desired band score. 

IELTS Reading Task 1 Practice Questions

Aside from the preparation tips we have cited above, answering practice questions is another way that will help you answer the IELTS Reading Task 1 questions with ease and confidence.

Below are IELTS Reading Task 1 practice questions for both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training modules for your reference. 

IELTS Reading Task 1 – Academic 

Reading Passage: 

A It’s impossible to see much more than a murky, blurry green color when you open your eyes in seawater. The sounds are also jumbled and difficult to understand. Humans would be lost in these deep-water ecosystems without specialized equipment, so how do fish make it look so easy? Much of this is due to electroreception, which is the ability to perceive and respond to electrical impulses as part of the total senses. Since water is an effective conductor of electricity, only aquatic or amphibious organisms have this ability.

B There are two types of electroreception. While all animals (including humans) produce electric signals, because they are emitted by the nervous system, some species have the ability to receive and decode electric signals generated by other animals in order to sense their location. This is known as passive electroreception.

C Other creatures, on the other hand, can go even deeper. Animals with active electroreception have biological organs that produce specific electric impulses when they are triggered. Territorial displays and mating signals, as well as finding objects in the water, can all be done with these. Electroreceptors that are active can distinguish between different resistances that their electrical currents encounter. This can assist them in determining whether another creature is prey, predator, or best left alone. The range of active electroreception is around one body length, which is generally just enough time for its host to move out of the way or go in for the kill.

D Members of some species of weakly electric fish have been found using active electroreception in an interesting way, known as the Jamming Avoidance Response mechanism. When these two electric fish encounter each other underwater and use the same frequency, each fish shifts the frequency of its discharge to broadcast on distinct frequencies. Their electroreception faculties will not become clogged as a result of this. At least one species had established a way to quietly and rapidly resolve this type of argument long before citizens’ band radio users had to cry “Get off my frequency!” at dumb amateurs clogging the airwaves.

E Electroreception has the potential to play a part in animal defenses. Rays are an example of this. Embryos of young rays develop inside egg cases linked to the seabed. The embryos’ tails are constantly moving, pumping water and allowing them to breathe through the egg’s exterior. However, if the embryo’s electroreceptors detect the presence of a predatory fish nearby, the embryo will stop moving (and so stop transmitting electric currents) until the fish has gone on. Because a variety of marine creatures passes by frequently, the embryo has evolved to respond mainly to signals resembling the respiratory motions of prospective predators such as sharks.

F Because of sharks, many people are afraid of swimming in the ocean. In some ways, this anxiety is well-founded: humans’ electroreceptive defense mechanisms are woefully inadequate. Sharks, on the other hand, hunt with incredible precision. They use their excellent sense of smell to track down their prey (the olfactory organs take up two-thirds of a shark’s brain). The shark listens to electric impulses as it approaches its prey, ensuring a perfect strike on its target; this sensitivity is so strong that the shark attacks blindly, allowing its eyes to retire for protection.

G When humans are attacked, it is almost often by accident. Because sharks can’t tell whether anything will satisfy their tastes just on electroreception, they ‘check before buying’, taking a bite or two and then evaluating the outcomes. Repeat assaults are highly likely while a human is bleeding, as the electric field’s strength is amplified by the salt in the blood, creating the ideal conditions for a feeding frenzy. Scientists are studying techniques to develop artificial electroreceptors that would disorient sharks and deter them from swimming on beaches in locations where shark attacks on humans are likely to occur.

H There is still a lot we don’t understand about how electroreception works. Observation has shown how electroreception affects hunting, defense, and communication systems, but the particular neural processes that encode and decode this information remain unknown. Electroreception’s involvement in navigation is also being investigated by scientists. Some scientists believe that saltwater and magnetic fields from the Earth’s core interact to create electrical currents that sharks use to migrate.

Questions 1-6.

The reading text has eight paragraphs. Which of the following paragraphs includes the information? Fill in boxes 1–6 on your answer sheet with the correct letter, A–H.

  1. How electroreception aid fish reproduction
  2. A prospective human-beneficial application of electroreception
  3. A word used to describe an animal’s ability to receive but not transmit electrical signals
  4. Why electroreceptive abilities are limited to species that live in or near water
  5. How electroreception may aid animals in navigating great distances
  6. An explanation of how some fish avoid interfering with one other’s electromagnetic signals

Questions 7-10

Fill up the blanks in the summary below. Choose no more than THREE words from the passage for each response. Fill in boxes 7-10 with your answers.

A shark is an excellent hunter. To begin with, it makes use of its (7) ______________ to smell its prey. When the shark comes close enough, it makes use of (8) ______________ to direct it toward a precise attack. The shark’s eyes close and roll back into its skull as it approaches the final few feet. The majority of sharks avoid humans as a dietary source because of their (9) ______________. However, once a shark has attacked a human, a repeat attempt is very likely since the salt in the blood amplifies the strength (10) ______________. 

IELTS Reading Task 1 – General Training

Reading Passage: 

Procedures in the event of an emergency

July 2011 update

This is true for everyone on the school grounds:

In an emergency (e.g., a fire), locate the nearest teacher who will dispatch a messenger to the office the soonest time possible, or call the office at ext. 99.

Evacuation Procedures:

  1. A series of short bell rings will sound to signal an emergency evacuation. (This might be a hand-held bell or siren in the event of a power outage.)
  2. All classwork will come to a halt right there and then.
  3. Students will leave their bags, books, and other belongings at their current location.
  4. The class rolls will be taken by the teachers.
  5. Classes will exit the building through the nearest stairwell. Use the nearest alternative staircase if these stairs are inaccessible. Use the escalators instead of the lifts. Do not flee.
  6. Each class will walk quickly and orderly to the paved quadrangle area close to the car lot, under the direction of the teacher.
  7. The same will be done by all support employees.
  8. Ms Smith, the Marshall Supervisor, will be wearing a red cap and will be waiting with the master timetable and staff list in hand.
  9. When the school is evacuated, students gather in the quad with their teacher. The teacher will take a roll call and make a headcount.
  10. Each instructor sends a student to the Supervisor to report on whether or not all of the students are present. Students will take a seat after checking (in the event of rain or wet pavement they may remain standing).
  11. When all employees and pupils have been accounted for, the Supervisor will notify the Office.
  12. Unless the ‘All Clear’ signal has been given, all students, teaching staff, and support workers must stay in the evacuation area.
  13. The ‘All Clear’ signal will be a long bell ring or three siren blasts.
  14. Under the supervision of the teacher, students will return to class in a timely way.
  15. If an emergency arises during lunch or recess, children should gather in their homeroom groups in the quad and wait for their homeroom teacher.

Questions 1-6. 

Fill in the blanks in the sentences below. Choose no more than three words from the text for each response.

  1. In the event of an emergency, a teacher will contact the administration or ______________.
  2. Students must evacuate the building by the ______________  if at all feasible.
  3. In the quad, ______________ will meet the teachers and pupils.
  4. Each class ______________ will count and mark the number of people in his or her class.
  5. Everyone is welcome to return to class after the ______________. 
  6. Unless there is a problem at lunch, pupils gather in the quad in ______________  to wait for their instructor.

Questions 7-10. 

Do the statements below correspond to the text’s information? Answer questions 9–10 with True, False, or Not Given.

True – The statement approves of the information given in the text.

False – The statement disapproves of the information given in the text. 

Not Given – There is no given information in the text. 

  1. All seat works will be given as homework in case of an evacuation emergency. 
  2. Headcount will be done by Ms. Smith, the Marshall Supervisor. 
  3. Support employees need to assist in the evacuation of the students. 
  4.  Everyone needs to wait for the ‘All Clear’ signal which will come at the sound of a bell. 

Answer Key

IELTS Reading Task 1 – Academic
1. C
3. B
6. D
7.olfactory organs
8.electric signals
9.sinewy muscle
10. electric field
IELTS Academic Task 1 – General Training 
1. office
2. escalator
3. Marshall supervisor
5.    ‘All clear’ signal
6. groups
7. Not Given
8. False
9.   True
10. True

Additional FAQs —  IELTS Reading Task 1

How Long is the IELTS Reading Test?

The entire IELTS Reading Test lasts for 60 minutes, and there are 40 questions to answer.

This is true for both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training modules.

Timing is crucial in the IELTS Reading Test, and we recommend that you spend about 20 minutes on each task. 

Does Everyone Take the Same Reading Test? 

Because the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training modules are intended for different purposes and groups of people, the IELTS Reading Test is not the same for the two modules.

The IELTS Academic Reading Test is more complex than the IELTS General Training Reading Test.

However, the number and types of questions are the same. 

Do I Lose a Point if My Answer is Wrong?

No, you do not lose a point for every wrong answer you get in the IELTS Reading Test (or any section of the IELTS, for that matter). That is why we encourage you not to leave a question unanswered.

If you do not know the answer for a specific answer, make a wild guess and hope for the best. 

Do I Have Time to Transfer My Answers at the End of the IELTS Reading Test? 

Unlike in the IELTS Listening Test, where you are given extra time to transfer your answers on your answer sheet, you do not get this privilege in the IELTS Reading Test.

In the 20 minutes you have for each IELTS Reading task, we advise that you spend about 2-3 minutes transferring your answers on your answer sheet.