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Malaysia: Subject Guides - Must read

MUET reading test guide and tips

The focus of the MUET reading test is to evaluate your ability to read, understand and interpret written English. We’re here to help you prepare for success with our guide to the test.

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The MUET reading test examines your knowledge of and ability to understand written English. You need to comprehend and interpret texts of various types and language levels. Being able to detect opinions, highlight facts and identify detail is essential. In this article, we explain what you can expect in the MUET reading test, from the test format to the types of questions you’ll answer.


What is the format of the MUET reading test?

The MUET reading test is worth 25 per cent of your overall MUET examination mark. The weighting is the same as for the listening, speaking and writing tests. You will have 75 minutes to complete the MUET reading test. The test is taken on the same day as the writing and listening test. 


The MUET reading test is divided into seven parts with ten texts. You will be required to answer 40 questions overall that are scored out of a total mark of 90. Questions are structured as three and four-option multiple-choice and multiple-matching questions. Let’s take a closer look at the test structure in the table below.


Section Test type Question type Question total
Part 1 3 short texts (100-150 words). Similar type & theme 4 MCQs 4
Part 2 2 texts (300-450 words) MCQs with 3 options 5
Part 3 2 texts (300-450 words) MCQs with 3 options 5
Part 4 2 texts (700-800 words). Different text types MCQs. 2 for each text & 2 comparison 6
Part 5 1 text (500-600 words) Gap text, 6 missing sentences (7 options) 6
Part 6 2 texts (700-900 words) MCQs (4 options) 7
Part 7 2 texts (700-900 words) MCQs (4 options) 7


What does the MUET reading test evaluate?

The MUET reading test evaluates your ability to understand and comprehend English language text. Further, this evaluation tests your reading and understanding level across different text types, topics and contexts. 


You will need to be able to read English text presented in formal and informal styles, as well as of differing lengths. For example, you may read a text from a newspaper, magazine, book, or report. In addition, you may have to interpret notices or an email. For some questions, notably the gapped text options, you will need to answer are also a test of your vocabulary and language usage. The key skills and understanding needed for the MUET reading test are:


  • Reading and comprehension 

  • Language level, context and complexity

  • Grammar, syntax and phrases

  • Information identification 

  • Understanding of main ideas

  • Vocabulary 

  • Understanding opinion, argument and fact

  • Summarising information 



How is the MUET test scored?

The MUET reading test uses the same evaluation scale as the other MUET tests. This is done using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) evaluation scale. Since 2021 the MUET exam scoring has been updated to include nine bands as opposed to the previous six. You can get more information on the CEFR scale using the table and video below. 


Aggregated score Band CEFR User
331 - 360 5+ C1+ Proficient
294 - 330 5.0 C1
258 - 293 4.5 B2 Independent
211 - 257 4.0
164 - 210 3.5 B1
123 - 163 3.0
82 - 122 2.5 A2 Basic
36 - 81 2.0
1 - 35 1.0



Band 5.0 & 5+ (score of 294 -360) CEFR C1 & C1+: Proficient

  • Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning

  • Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions

  • Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.

  • Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

Band 4.0 & 4.5 (score of 211 - 293) CEFR B2: Independent

  • Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation.

  • Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.

  • Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

Band 3.0 & 3.5 (score of 123 - 210) CEFR B1: Independent

  • Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.

  • Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken.

  • Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar, or of personal interest.

  • Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

Band 1.0, 2.0 & 2.5 (score of 1 - 122) CEFR A2: Basic

  • Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).

  • Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.

  • Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.



What are examples of MUET reading test questions?

For the MUET reading test, you need to get ready for texts of differing lengths, types and contexts. You will also have to be prepared to understand different topics and identify key elements in the text. Let’s take a closer look at some of the questions and texts you can expect in the MUET reading test.


MUET reading test part 1 question example

Read 3 notices about houses for rent. Answer questions 1 to 4 based on the notices about houses for rent (A to C). 


Which house

  1. Has easy parking

  2. Is the closest to shops 

  3. Is suitable for nature lovers 

  4. Has no bedroom furniture 


MUET reading test part 4 question example

Read a review about a film. Answer questions 15 and 16 based on review 1 

Review 1

This enchanting Hollywood musical will have you purring with pleasure, the film is the follow-up to Whiplash, Damien Chazelle’s 2014 film about the tough love between a jazz drummer and his teacher. At the Oscars, Whiplash was nominated for five academy awards, winning three. 


MUET reading test part 6 question example

Read an article on a condition known as hyperlexia. 

Answer questions 27 to 33 based on the article 


There is a small corner of the mysterious world of autism where children silently sit and read dictionaries at age two, but do not say their first word until, say, three or four. Reading is such an obsession that these children may read every license plate and sign in a parking lot as they walk through it. They can decode and pronounce words and sentences far beyond the ability of their contemporaries, though they often struggle to comprehend the passages they read. 


What are the top tips for the MUET reading test?

If you’re looking to get a good score on the MUET reading test, you need to understand the unique nature of each part of the test. Each will test a slightly different skill:


  • Part one - Identify facts from specific texts 

  • Parts two and three - Identify the main ideas and details. Infer meaning and reach conclusions. Identify details that can support an argument. 

  • Part four - Understand the main idea, supporting details, context, facts, and opinions. Compare and contrast information. Interpret the author's opinion, position and argument. 

  • Part five - Identify the purpose of the text, understand text structure and cause and effect. 

  • Part six and seven - Recognise the features of a text including, emotion, detail, opinion, attitude, purpose, and implication. Understand text organisation for comparison, reference and arrangement. 


There are other steps that you can take to ensure success in the MUET reading test. These include:


  • Practice reading different materials. Make notes and highlight words you are not familiar with. Keep notes and information on new vocabulary. 

  • Make sure to read quality materials that reflect the level of English you’ll need to display in the test. Use newspapers, magazines, websites, and books. Vary the length of the materials that you are reading. Challenge yourself to read longer pieces. 

  • Plan your time carefully. The time set for the exam isn’t that long so you will need to work quickly and under pressure. Practice your reading speed and use some of the MUET practice papers to time yourself. 

  • Always read the question carefully as to what is being asked. That way, you can identify key facts and elements that will help you answer the question. 

  • Try to understand the style, tone and purpose of the pieces that you are reading. 

  • Practice understanding the prefixes and suffixes of words. This can make accessing the vocabulary easier. For example, in the phrase: “the degradation of water quality”, the word ‘degradation’ comes from the root word ‘grade’ which means level or standard. The ‘de’ suffix has a negative connotation where it means the removal of something, while ‘tion’ is a noun that explains the process of something. 

  • Get used to summarising texts and understanding these as a whole. This helps with understanding meaning and information. 

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