Best tips to pass the Aptis Reading Exam

Are you taking an Aptis exam soon? Or thinking about doing so in the future and looking for some advice? Then this is the perfect place for you. Together, we will go through all the parts of the reading exam while finding out how to achieve the best possible marks and with helpful tips along the way.

Introduction- What is the Aptis exam?

With more and more students looking to pass the required level for various of reasons, they are now turning to Aptis to achieve this. But, what is Aptis? The best description would be that it’s an assessment tool by the British Council that tests all of your language skills for all levels. This is an online proficiency test that requires many different and alternative skills to pass each exam. Although it has some similarities to other exams it does, however, have many differences also. The exam will begin with lower level questions (A1-A2) and as you go through the exam, it will increasingly rise to the higher level (C1). Once finished, you will be awarded a CEFT which will state your overall level.

The structure

Altogether you will have to answer 25 questions, there will be 30 minutes to do this. The exam is divided into 4 parts, in each part you will face a different style of reading, which will challenge your reading skills as well as your organisation expertise and understanding of the texts.

PartNumber of questionsReading typeRecommended time allowance
15Sentence comprehension4 mins
26Test cohesion6 mins
37Short text comprehension8 mins
47Long text comprehension12 mins


Part 1- Aptis reading exam

This part is relatively straight forward, you will read a short letter/email from a friend or family member with 5 gaps. You need to fill in each gap with a choice of 3 words- a,b or c.

Each exam can vary but usually the gaps will need to be filled with the choice of: question words (who, where, how), vocabulary (plates, dishes or kitchen) and grammar (past, present and future). For higher level students, the answers will be obvious.

readking aptis part 1


Once you have filled in all of the gaps, Reread it through to check that it all makes sense and you are happy with your choices.

Part 2-Aptis reading exam

For this part, you will be asked to complete a story. The first sentence will be given to you, then you have to reorder and piece together 6 other sentences to conclude the story. 


The subjects are various, however, it’s generally about a famous person, story or a great invention. The story can only be completed in one way, so look out for clues that will help you link it all together such as………..

  • Numbers they give for instance, the year or age of the person
  • Completed information (is the sentence complete without anything extra needed?)
  • Life structure (generally, school comes before work, work is before retirement)


If the first sentence is “when they are born”, then develop the story through the ages. However, if the story is starting with some information about the person later in their life, then it is likely that there will be extra information about the first sentence before starting with when they were born.

Part 3- Aptis reading exam

Similar to part 1, part 3 is another gap fill but a bit more complex. This time, the text will be longer and there will be 7 gaps to fill with the choice of 10 words in total (you do not need to use 3 words). This will test your knowledge of how much you understand the given words and also the text itself. You are NOT able to change the form of the word, so think grammatically, for instance:

They were ____________ by the……

Then you should know that the missing word is an -ing form of the verb, this will narrow down the options you have.


In total, the text will be around 150 words. The choices of words can range from a nouns, verbs (etc…..check!!!!!). Select the appropriate word to continue.


I should not need to tell you this but, like for all exams, make sure you reread it and go through again to check your answers, if it doesn’t make sense or sound right, then it is most likely incorrect.

Part 4 -Aptis reading exam

So now comes the most difficult part. Here you will need to choose the correct heading that best describes the paragraph you are reading. Altogether, there are 7 paragraphs (topics can be various) and a choice of 8 headings (you do not need to use 1). Try to understand what the whole text is describing, whether it is negative or positive, if it is describing something or stating a fact. These are all useful to know when answering this part.


You will read around 750 words in total, it is designed to test your understanding of the text as well as reflecting your ability to choose a suitable heading. Link up and highlight all of the important points in each text to get an idea about what it is the main point of the paragraph, this will make it easier to decide which heading to use.


Just because the paragraph and the heading have the same word in it….does not mean it is the correct answer so read the whole paragraph to understand the text.

The scoring?

At the end, you will be scored between 0-50 and this will indicate your CEFR level which goes towards your final score for all the exams. Each correct answer is worth 2 marks/points


Once all the parts has been completed, you will receive a CEFR certificate which shows your general level of English.


Want to try out an example, then head over HERE to try a sample and test your level of English.

And that is the Aptis reading exam. Hope I have been able to help you master this exam and you are successful in your attempt in doing so with ease.


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