IELTS Reading Task 2 Guides and Tips

Are you taking the IELTS soon? How confident are you with your reading skills? Do you think it is enough to get you the band score you aim for? Better be prepared as the IELTS Reading will surely test your reading skills to the limit.

This page focuses mainly on the IELTS Reading Task 2 (Part 2), so if you have questions about this part of the IELTS, please stay on this page and read on. 

IELTS Reading Overview 

The IELTS Reading Test comes right after the IELTS Listening Test.

Because you will not be given time to transfer your responses from the question sheet to the answer sheet within the one-hour allotted period, begin writing your responses on the answer paper immediately.

The IELTS Reading Test takes one hour to complete.

Although the materials for the IELTS Academic and General Training modules differ, the types and number of questions are the same. The papers in the General Training module are typically shorter and easier to read, and they come from a variety of social, intellectual, and professional areas.

The readings in the Academic module, on the other hand, are longer and more demanding than those needed of normal candidates. The intellectual texts were collected from books, magazines, and journals.

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

There are 40 questions to answer, with various types of questions to complete. 

It is designed to assess various reading skills, including details, gist, and main concepts; logical argument; recognizing writers’ attitudes and viewpoints, and skimming.

IELTS Reading Task 2 Reading Tips

The second part of the IELTS Reading Test, Task 2, immediately follows Task 1 and is considered to be more challenging. 

The texts for the IELTS Academic and General Training modules are different, although they will test the same skills as previously stated.

As you prepare for the IELTS Reading Task 2, please refer to the list we have provided for some recommendations that will help you obtain a desirable band score.

  • Read the questions first. 

This tip is a game-changer when it comes to the IELTS Reading Task 2.

You have around 20 minutes to complete this task. You will not be able to read the content in its entirety and at your leisure due to time constraints.

First, have a look at the questions. This will help you know what to look for when you go to the paragraph, saving you time.

  • Scan, skim and summarize. 

If you combine this advice with the first tip, it will yield fantastic results.

Look for core concepts, comprehend the layout of the text, underline keywords and salient elements, and try to figure out what the paragraph is about by skimming it.

When it comes to the IELTS Reading Task 2, this is crucial.

  • Remember and take note of the keywords. 

The IELTS requires a lot of information-gathering. You will be asked to search for specific details and choose the appropriate responses to questions.

While you read, note keywords like places, dates, topics, and figures. You will be able to identify them with practice.

  • Check your grammar and spelling. 

When you have to answer question types that oblige you to write an answer, be sure that there are no grammatical errors.

The importance of grammatical intuition, spelling, and sentence structure cannot be overstated in the IELTS Reading Task 2.

  • Manage your time wisely. 

You only have one hour to complete 40 questions, so use it wisely. Each segment should take no more than 20 minutes to complete.

Allow 16-17 minutes to read the questions and answer them, plus 3-4 minutes to transfer and review your responses.

Helpful Tips for the IELTS Reading Task 2 Questions:

There are various questions in the IELTS Reading Task 2. You should be familiar with all of them to answer them on test day confidently.

The question types you will encounter in IELTS Reading Task 2 for both the Academic and General Training modules are listed below.

Matching Headings to Paragraphs

You will be presented with a list of headers. Four to six paragraphs from the reading text will be underlined in the instructions.

You must select the most appropriate header for each paragraph.


  • Read the questions first, then the headings.
  • Remember that there are usually more headings than you need.
  • Examine the headings before trying to match them to the paragraphs.
  • Please note that the responses do not come in any specific order.
  • In the paragraph, distinguish between the primary ideas and supporting details.

Multiple Choice

A ‘stem’, which might be an unfinished statement or a question, will be offered to you.

Three or four alternative solutions will follow the stem, but only one will be correct (the answer); the other three will appear logical but will be incorrect in some way (the distractors).


  • Reword the questions and the answers. 
  • Note the paragraph where the answer to the question could be found. 
  • Be aware that some of the answers might appear accurate but are actually not. 
  • Responses are usually the letters A, B, C, or D but read the instructions well.
  • Read the questions first before proceeding to read the passage. 

Sentence Completion

Unfinished sentences are presented for you to answer.

You must fill in the blanks with information from the text that you have read.


  • Recognize the word type needed for each statement. (nouns, verbs, adjectives…)
  • Identify the part of the text where the answer could be found. 
  • Look for context clues and hints to help you identify the correct answer. 
  • Check the number of words needed for each answer.
  • Know that the answers usually 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. 


  • Examine the meaning of the responses:

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

No/False – The statement is incorrect or does not appear in the text.

Not Given – The statement is not in the text.

  • Before looking for answers in the text, reword the sentences.
  • Keep in mind that the responses are given in chronological order.

How to Prepare for the IELTS Reading Task 2?

Being one of the most challenging parts of the IELTS, preparing for the IELTS Reading Task 2 is a must. You do not just go to the testing center on the test day unprepared.

Otherwise, you are more likely not to get the band score you aim for. 

Please continue reading to find out some proven and effective tips you can employ while you get yourself ready for the IELTS Reading Task 2. 

  • Read every day. 

You must, first and foremost, read. You must read from a range of sources. Articles on the internet, novels, newspapers, and journals are all good places to start. Just go with the flow and do not worry about what you are reading.

Read with curiosity and for pleasure. This is something I cannot emphasize enough.

Your reading endurance, reading speed, and vocabulary will all improve due to this. This tip is the magic bullet for achieving your desired band score in the IELTS Reading Task 2.

Read every single day. It makes no difference if you read for half an hour or 45 minutes; the important thing is that you read.

  • Be familiar with the different question types and practice. 

Know the different types of questions that might be asked in the IELTS Reading Task 2. This will give you the edge and make you at ease as you answer the questions.

It makes you discover which areas you need improvement on. Additionally, find time to answer practice tests too.

These will help you prepare for the IELTS Reading Task 2 question types and ensure that you have enough practice.

  • Learn how to paraphrase. 

Because the language in the question may differ from the language in the text, you must improve your reading skills (which you can only accomplish by reading every day) so that you may paraphrase the question using synonyms and deduce its meaning.

  • Practice with different strategies, then choose which works best for you.

You will find a method to pass the IELTS Reading Task 2 on every website, tutor, and previous candidate. Check out these ideas and know which one works best for you.

Reading the questions first and then the text is the ideal method for most candidates. Others, on the other hand, do the exact opposite.

Try both strategies on separate practice exams, and the one that gets you the most points is the better strategy.

  • Choose your practice materials carefully. 

While using previous IELTS reading examinations is a good idea, it can rapidly become tedious. We recommend picking topics that fascinate you.

You will more likely be able to finish the book and read more if you do it this way. This is proven to be a long-term strategy because it will improve your language skills rather than your exam skills. 

IELTS Reading Task 2 Practice Questions

Aside from the preparatory recommendations we have already mentioned, answering practice questions is another way to improve your ability to answer the IELTS Reading Task 2 confidently.

For your reference, we have included IELTS Reading Task 2 practice tests for both the Academic and General Training modules below.

IELTS Reading Task 2 – Academic 

Reading Passage 1: 

A In 1984, researchers in Shark Bay, Western Australia, observed dolphins performing an uncommon behavior. When the animals became hungry, they plucked a marine basket sponge off the seafloor and fitted it over their beaks like a glove would. The sponges shielded the dolphins’ beaks, or rostra, from the rocks and shattered bits of coral that littered the seafloor, according to the scientists, making this the first case of tool use in this species.

B The researchers theorized that a clever Shark Bay dolphin worked out a long time ago that probing the sediments with a sponge connected to her beak was a safe way to stir up these swim bladder-less fish. Other dolphins eventually picked up on this strategy. But why would dolphins go to such lengths when they could just catch a fish in the open sea? Bottom-dwelling fish, on the other hand, are far more nutritious. Some fish lack swim bladders, which are gas chambers that assist other fish maintain buoyancy as they swim upwards and downwards the water column. Dolphins in the Bahamas have been observed foraging for bottom-dwelling fish, and they hunt in part by echolocating these bladders, which emit a strong acoustic signal. This aids the cetaceans in locating prey that is buried in sea sand. Barred sand perch and other bottom-dwelling fish, which are popular with some Shark Bay dolphins, lack swim bladders and are thus more difficult to locate via echolocation. The seafloor isn’t as soft here as it is in the Bahamas, so dolphins risk damaging their rostra by probing for these species.

C Not every dolphin in Shark Bay goes sponge hunting. Janet Mann, a behavioral ecologist, explains, “It’s mostly done by females.” She believes the strategy was devised by female dolphins as a result of the “selection pressures” they endure when raising a calf for as long as they do, roughly 4 to 5 years. “These brilliant dolphins have found out a technique to target fish that other dolphins can’t,” she adds, adding that this species isn’t caught or even known about by local fishermen. Dolphin mothers pass the sponging practice down to their daughters and some boys, according to Mann’s prior research, which is unusual proof of a cultural tradition in an animal other than humans. 

D When a local fisherman noticed what appeared to be a peculiar tumor on a dolphin’s nose a few decades ago – quite recently in evolutionary terms – the foraging technique was discovered. The ‘tumors’ turned out to be a conically shaped sponge, and it became clear that the dolphins would spend a long time looking for one that was the proper form for their snout. The sponge is used to gently scatter sand on the seafloor in order to disturb buried fish. When a fish is spotted, the dolphin lets go of the sponge and pursues it. “It has long been assumed that behaviors learned just from one parent are not very stable. With our model, we can now demonstrate that sponging is a stable behavior”. Dr Anna Kopps, University of New South Wales lead biologist, echoed this sentiment.

E Using a computer simulation to predict the origin of “sponger” dolphins, the researchers were able to envision various scenarios in which the talent could have spread among the dolphin population over time. They then analyzed and compared the outcomes of the simulations to field data on the spongers’ genetic link to evaluate the importance of mothers in passing on the talent to their kids. They discovered that if the chances of a sponger’s offspring learning the skill were slim, the dolphins who did learn it needed to gain a survival advantage from it in order for it to be passed down to the next generation. They were also able to use the model to try to figure out when the behavior started. “The findings suggested that sponging was invented between 120 and 180 years ago – this is only a best estimate,” Dr. Kopps said. Although dolphins attempted to teach the hunting method to all of their young, scientists noticed that it was mostly female offspring who understood the notion. The study proposed one possible reason for why male offspring rarely acquire the same skill: male bottlenose dolphins create deep ties with other males, and such alliances aren’t suited to seabed foraging, which is a time-consuming, solitary activity.

F According to US scientists, developing a new tool is sure evidence of intelligence. “There’s a clear correlation between tool users and animals with larger brains. Only humans have a larger brain than bottlenose dolphins,” said Janet Mann, a marine biologist who led the study. “Dolphins don’t need tools because they’re already skilled at capturing fish, but they’ve learned that this sponge makes their job easier. It takes brains to figure out how to use things in such a creative way.” Mann admits that we still don’t have a good understanding of dolphins. “It’s difficult to get inside their heads because their brains are built differently, and it’s difficult to analyze their language, but they appear to be quite brilliant,” she added. 

G Dolphins are frequently observed behaving in a playful manner and constructing gadgets for entertainment. They’ve been seen blowing bubbles and forming rings out of them to play with. A dolphin will make use of its body and nose to keep the bubble ring in form and prevent it from floating to the surface after it has been created. According to Louis Herman, a cognitive psychologist, “The study provides a greater grasp of the how and why of sponging by the Shark Bay dolphins. The research adds to previously known examples of very clever species innovation.” According to Simon Reader, a behavioral scientist, Patterson and Mann’s findings reinforce a pattern seen in other tool-using animals. “Tool usage appears to be virtually a last resort, used only after all other choices have failed or are unavailable,” he says, observing that woodpecker finches on the Galápagos Islands turn to tool use only in arid areas, extracting grubs from tree branches using cactus spines. According to Reader, using tools takes time and energy, so animals only use them when there’s a sure benefit, such as finding a fatty fish that most other dolphins (and fisherman) are unaware of.

Questions 1-6:

The reading text is divided into seven paragraphs, labeled A through G. Which of the following paragraphs includes the information? Fill in boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet with the correct letter (A-G).

  1. Intelligence’s hallmark ___________
  2. The first instance of dolphins employing tools ___________
  3. An amusement device ___________
  4. The reason dolphins go to such lengths to retrieve fish from the ocean’s depths   ___________
  5. The sponging innovation time estimate ___________
  6. A local fisherman’s observation ___________

Questions 7-10:

Select the appropriate letter: A, B, C, or D. Fill in the blanks in boxes 7-10 on your answer sheet with the proper letter.

7. Dolphins utilize sponges to catch fish because of the following reasons:

A. It appeals to them.

B. It facilitates hunting.

C. It aids them in catching more fish while on the hunt.

D. It assists them in obtaining fish from the ocean’s depths.

8. All of the following facts about dolphins are true, with the EXCEPTION of:

A. Females were the first to discover sponge hunting.

B. The sponging technique is never used by male dolphins.

C. Female dolphins pass on the sponging technique to their daughters.

D. There have been three generations of sponging dolphins documented.

9. Dr. Anna, a biologist, claims that:

A. Sponging can be a long-term habit.

B. For dolphins, sponging is quite harmful.

C. For decades, she has been researching dolphins.

D. Dolphins do not inherit their parents’ sponging technique.

10. Using a computer simulation of sponging, researchers:

A. were able to predict dolphin behavior.

B. found out a novel method of treating dolphins.

C. discovered the underlying cause behind sponging.

D. were able to determine the approximate origin of sponging.

IELTS Reading Task 2 – General Training

Reading Passage: 

1. The Vitamin Shoppe: 1,946 part-time positions available

The Vitamin Shoppe is a nutritional supplement retailer established in New Jersey. Under the moniker “Vita Path,” they also have outlets in Canada. Through its retail locations, the company offers over 8,000 different supplement SKUs, and through its online retail platforms, it offers over 20,000 distinct supplement SKUs.

Employee Evaluation: “Good growth prospects, with new stores opening all year in the United States. Because the company is situated in New Jersey, it has more progressive employment and benefit rules. Vacation, health, and dental benefits are all excellent. Payment is higher than normal. Also, good customer service interaction policies. Instead, than promoting things, concentrate on providing excellent customer service.”

2. Chipotle: 1,553 part-time positions available

Chipotle is noted for using organic meats in all of its 1,500 restaurants, which are spread across 45 states. Since its inception, the company has progressed tremendously in 1993, and today employs over 37,000 people. It was one of the first eateries to embrace the concept of “quick casual” dining trend.

Employee Evaluation: “My coworkers are fantastic, and the food is delicious. It helps me pay my bills while also making me giggle. The schedule is extremely flexible, but it is also demanding. Keep looking if you’re seeking something simple and relaxing.”

3. Advantage Sales & Marketing: 1,742 part-time positions available

Consumer goods and food product producers and suppliers benefit from Advantage Sales & Marketing’s outsourced sales, merchandising, and marketing services. ASM has over 65 offices in the United States and Canada and works with over 1,200 clients, including Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Unilever, and Energizer.

Employee Evaluation: “Long-term business that can adjust to market developments. Flexible time off for vacation and illness, as well as a well-planned routine.”

4. Universal Protection Service (UPS): 1,219 part-time positions are available

Universal Protection Service is one of the major security service providers in the United States. They provide a wide range of security solutions for airports, hospitals, corporate buildings, and other locations.

Employee Evaluation: “Depending on where you work, you can earn a good living. Based on availability, there is room for advancement. Better than any other security firm I’ve ever worked for.”

5. PSA Healthcare: 1,295 part-time positions available

PSA Healthcare, commonly known as Pediatric Services of America, is a home health agency with locations around the United States. The company is based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Employee Evaluation: “I enjoy dealing with pediatric patients and their families one-on-one. You have enough time to provide excellent empathetic care! Both employees and clients are well-served by the office staff and managers. When it comes to hiring personnel and staff, there is a lot of leeway. I was never chastised for taking a day off.”

Questions 1-5:

Select the appropriate letter: A, B, C, or D. Fill in the blanks 14–22 on your answer sheet with the proper letter.

1. Which of the offers has the most part-time positions available?

A. Chipotle

B. PSA Healthcare

C. Vitamin Shoppe

D. Advantage Sales & Marketing 

2. Which of these businesses has operations in both the United States and Canada?

A. PSA Healthcare and Chipotle

B. The Vitamin Shoppe and PSA Healthcare 

C. Advantage Sales & Marketing and PSA Healthcare 

D. Advantage Sales & Marketing and The Vitamin Shoppe 

3. Which firm, according to his/her review, is the best security company he/she has ever worked for?

A. Chipotle

B. PSA Healthcare

C. The Vitamin Shoppe

D. Universal Protection Service

4. In 1993, which firm was created?

A. Chipotle

B. PSA Healthcare

C. The Vitamin Shoppe

DA. Universal Protection Service

5. Which review does not mention a convenient schedule?

A. Chipotle

B. PSA Healthcare

C. The Vitamin Shoppe

D. Advantage Sales & Marketing

Questions 6-10:

Which of the following statements correspond to the information in the reading text? Fill in the blanks in boxes 6-10 on your response sheet.

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. According to the evaluation, The Vitamin Shoppe has a higher-than-average pay.
  2. A Chipotle employee claims that working there is both enjoyable and financially rewarding.
  3. Advantage Sales & Marketing has 65 locations worldwide.
  4. In the United States, Universal Protection Service provides a variety of security services.
  5. PSA Healthcare’s high wages are praised by a reviewer.

Answer Key

IELTS Reading Task 2 – Academic
IELTS Reading Task 2 – General Training
10.Not Given

Additional FAQs – IELTS Reading Task 2

How Can I Practice for the IELTS Reading Test?

You can practice for the IELTS Reading Test by answering practice questions like the one we have above in this article.

These days, there are many practice questions available on the internet that will help you prepare for the IELTS Reading Test.

These materials are often free and contain previous IELTS papers. Just ensure that you are getting the materials from reliable sources. 

What is the IELTS Academic Reading Test?

The IELTS Academic Reading Test is part of the IELTS module intended for those aspiring to work or pursue higher degree studies in English-speaking countries like the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.

It is more challenging than the IELTS General Reading Test, but the number and type of questions are the same. 

How Can I Get 8.5 in IELTS Reading?

To get an 8.5 in the IELTS Reading Test, you need to get at least 36 correct answers (out of 40).

To be able to achieve this, you need to prepare yourself well.

Knowing the test format, understanding the different types of questions, reading a lot, enhancing your grammar and vocabulary, and answering practice questions are things you can do to achieve an 8.5 band score on the IELTS Reading Test.