info@bestmytest.com Looking for TOEFL prep?
How to get a high IELTS reading score

IELTS Reading Practice Test Guide: Free Academic and General Reading Practice Tests with IELTS Reading Tips to Achieve a Higher IELTS Reading Band Score

In this guide you will find a free IELTS reading practice test with answers, a lot of IELTS reading test questions, and IELTS reading tips for all 11 reading question types. This page contains everything you need to know and the essential skills for a high IELTS reading score.

First off, if you're looking to take a free IELTS Reading Practice Test or are just curious to see what an IELTS reading exam is like, then click the button below.

IELTS General Training Reading Test IELTS Academic Reading Test

play_circle_outline Start IELTS General Reading Practice Test

play_circle_outline Start IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test

IELTS General Reading practice test questions

reading Mock Test 1 - 12
Mock Test 1 Mock Test 2 Mock Test 3 Mock Test 4 Mock Test 5 Mock Test 6 Mock Test 7 Mock Test 8 Mock Test 9 Mock Test 10 Mock Test 11 Mock Test 12
reading Mock Test 13 - 24
Mock Test 13 Mock Test 14 Mock Test 15 Mock Test 16 Mock Test 17 Mock Test 18 Mock Test 19 Mock Test 20 Mock Test 21 Mock Test 22 Mock Test 23 Mock Test 24
reading Mock Test 25 - 36
Mock Test 25 Mock Test 26 Mock Test 27 Mock Test 28 Mock Test 29 Mock Test 30 Mock Test 31 Mock Test 32 Mock Test 33 Mock Test 34 Mock Test 35 Mock Test 36
reading Mock Test 37 - 48
Mock Test 37 Mock Test 38 Mock Test 39 Mock Test 40 Mock Test 41 Mock Test 42 Mock Test 43 Mock Test 44 Mock Test 45 Mock Test 46 Mock Test 47 Mock Test 48

IELTS Academic Reading practice test questions

reading Mock Test 1 - 12
Mock Test 1 Mock Test 2 Mock Test 3 Mock Test 4 Mock Test 5 Mock Test 6 Mock Test 7 Mock Test 8 Mock Test 9 Mock Test 10 Mock Test 11 Mock Test 12
reading Mock Test 13 - 24
Mock Test 13 Mock Test 14 Mock Test 15 Mock Test 16 Mock Test 17 Mock Test 18 Mock Test 19 Mock Test 20 Mock Test 21 Mock Test 22 Mock Test 23 Mock Test 24
reading Mock Test 25 - 36
Mock Test 25 Mock Test 26 Mock Test 27 Mock Test 28 Mock Test 29 Mock Test 30 Mock Test 31 Mock Test 32 Mock Test 33 Mock Test 34 Mock Test 35 Mock Test 36
reading Mock Test 37 - 48
Mock Test 37 Mock Test 38 Mock Test 39 Mock Test 40 Mock Test 41 Mock Test 42 Mock Test 43 Mock Test 44 Mock Test 45 Mock Test 46 Mock Test 47 Mock Test 48
reading Mock Test 49 - 60
Mock Test 49 Mock Test 50 Mock Test 51 Mock Test 52 Mock Test 53 Mock Test 54 Mock Test 55 Mock Test 56 Mock Test 57 Mock Test 58 Mock Test 59 Mock Test 60
reading Mock Test 61 - 72
Mock Test 61 Mock Test 62 Mock Test 63 Mock Test 64 Mock Test 65 Mock Test 66 Mock Test 67 Mock Test 68 Mock Test 69 Mock Test 70 Mock Test 71 Mock Test 72
reading Mock Test 73 - 84
Mock Test 73 Mock Test 74 Mock Test 75 Mock Test 76 Mock Test 77 Mock Test 78 Mock Test 79

Table Of Contents

IELTS Reading Test Information

The IELTS Reading Test consists of 3 sections and a total of 40 questions. In general, you will answer 12-14 questions for each section and are given exactly 60 minutes to complete your reading exam. Each section can contain 1-3 passages depending on if you are taking the IELTS Academic Reading Test or the IELTS General Reading Test. Next, we'll go over some of the key differences between the two test types.

IELTS Academic Reading Test VS IELTS General Reading Test

As we said, the IELTS reading test has two versions: IELTS Academic Reading Test and IELTS General Reading Test. The Academic version is for people looking for higher education, while the General Training version is for those looking to migrate or looking to enroll in high school. The overall structure is the same for both versions: Both tests contain 3 sections, 40 questions, and 11 question types. However, there are some differences between them illustrated in the table below.

SectionIELTS Academic Reading TestIELTS General Reading Test
Section 1 One long academic text which ranges from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. The text will be taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers.

12-14 questions
Two or three short factual texts. Topics are relevant to everyday life in an English-speaking country.

12-14 questions
Section 2 One long academic text which ranges from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. The text will be taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers.

10-14 questions
Two short factual texts focusing on work-related issues (eg. applying for jobs, company policies, pay and conditions).

12-14 questions
Section 3 One long academic text which ranges from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. The text will be taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers.

12-14 questions
One longer, more complex text on a topic of general interest. Texts are authentic and are taken from notices, advertisements, company handbooks, books, magazines and newspapers.

12-14 questions

IELTS Paper-based Test VS IELTS Computer-based Test

Now let's look at the difference between paper-based tests and computer-based tests in the IELTS Reading section. In the paper based test, you will be given a Question Booklet and an Answer Sheet. The Question Booklet is where you will see all the questions you need to answer. The Answer Sheet is where you will write your final answers for grading. You can check out the official IELTS answer sheet pdf here

Note: Unlike in the IELTS listening test, you will not be given extra time to transfer your answers from the booklet to the answer sheet, so add your answers into the answer sheet as you answer the IELTS Reading Test questions.

In the computer based test, you will answer questions on the computer. Your passages will be on the left-hand side and your questions will be on the right-hand side. You will also be able to highlight text and use control functions to copy and paste answers. For more information about the paper based test and the computer based test, check out The IELTS Computer Based Test Guide.

Now, let's look at the IELTS Academic Reading Test and the IELTS General Reading Test in more detail.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

In the academic IELTS reading test, the passages are taken from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers from academic sources that would be appropriate for university students. Each passage is long, maybe 6 - 10 paragraphs, may be written in a variety of styles like narrative or descriptive, and covers a wide range of academic topics such as anthropology, history, science, biology, art, education, linguistics,..etc. The passages will sometimes include technical terms or even visual material such as charts and graphs. You can practice these topics and more with our IELTS reading practice test questions.

So which academic topics appear the most in the official IELTS Academic Reading Test?

Well in 2018 & 2019, the most common IELTS academic reading test topics were history and social sciences, which include culture, education, linguistics, and sociology. Interestingly, the history topics were mostly about animals/plants of New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and Canada. The next most popular IELTS reading test topics were psychology, natural science, art, anthropology, business, and biology.

The chart below shows different academic subjects tested in IELTS academic reading tests in 2018 and 2019.

IELTS Academic Reading Test Subjects in 2018 and 2019

Because of these trends, we made sure our IELTS reading practice tests include these topics. We have also added IELTS reading sample topics from less used topics, just in case. It's important you prepare for all situations, because you never know what IELTS reading topic you will get.

IELTS General Reading Test

In the general IELTS reading test, the passages are taken from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines found from material you would encounter on a daily-basis in an English-speaking environment. Just like in an IELTS academic reading test, there are 3 sections, however in an IELTS general reading test, each section is a bit different from one another.

  1. Section 1: Contains two or three short texts or several shorter texts

    This section is called Social Survival and it contains texts relevant to basic linguistic survival in English with tasks mainly about retrieving and providing general factual information, for example, notices, advertisements and timetables.
  2. Section 2: Comprises two texts

    This section is called Workplace Survival and focuses on the workplace context, for example, job descriptions, contracts and staff development and training materials.
  3. Section 3: Is one long text

    This section is called General Reading and involves reading more extended prose with a more complex structure. The focus is on descriptive and instructive instead of argumentative texts.

I hope you're not feeling too overwhelmed. The IELTS reading test is not as difficult as it seems. As long as you follow our IELTS reading tips and utilize our IELTS reading practice tests, you'll be ready to handle any IELTS reading passage and achieve your target reading score. By the way, the IELTS academic reading test is scored slightly different from the IELTS general reading test. Next, we'll go over the IELTS reading score differences.

How your IELTS Reading Score is Calculated

Each IELTS reading test question is worth 1 point, so you can get a "raw" score of up to 40 points. Then, your raw score will be converted into your band score. The table below can give you a general idea about how raw reading scores are converted to band scores for the IELTS Reading Tests.

IELTS Academic Reading Test Scores
Raw scores Band scores
39-40 9
37-38 8.5
35-36 8
33-34 7.5
30-32 7
27-29 6.5
23-26 6
19-22 5.5
15-18 5
13-14 4.5
10-12 4
8-9 3.5
6-7 3
4-5 2.5

The table below gives you a general idea about how raw scores are converted to band scores for the IELTS General Reading Test.

IELTS General Reading Test Scores
Raw scores Band scores
40 9
39 8.5
37-38 8
36 7.5
34-35 7
32-33 6.5
30-31 6
27-29 5.5
23-26 5
19-22 4.5
15-18 4
12-14 3.5
6-7 3
9-11 3
6-8 2.5

However, keep in mind that each version of the IELTS reading test is slightly different and the score required to achieve a certain band changes depending on how everyone who took that test did on that particular day. Therefore, the number of correct answers needed to get a band score will differ slightly from test to test, but in general you should be aiming to get around 30 out of 40 if you want to get a band 7 score.

Another thing we want to remind you is that the hardest questions and the easiest questions count equally towards your final reading score, so make sure you're not losing out on easier points by getting stuck on harder questions. Next we'll cover the strategies on how to answer each reading test question type.

IELTS Reading Tips: How to Answer all 11 Reading Question Types

There are 11 different question types on the reading test and all of them require a different strategy. Therefore, it is important you practice each question type to learn the best way to tackle it for a high IELTS reading score. In the following sections, you'll learn about all 11 reading question types and try a sample question for each type.

Question Type 1 – Matching Information

In this question type, you are asked to match statements to paragraphs in the reading text. The statements could be reasons, descriptions, summaries, definitions, facts or explanations. You need to find the specific information in the paragraph and match it to one of the statements. The answer will normally be contained in a whole phrase or sentence, rather than a single word. Below is a sample Matching Information question on the IELTS Academic Reading Test.

Matching Information Question
Questions 27 – 32

Reading Passage 7 has eight paragraphs labelled A-F.

Which paragraphs contains the following information?

Write the correct letter A-F in boxes 27-32 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

  1. an explanation of the factors affecting the transmission of information
  2. an example of how unnecessary information can be omitted
  3. a reference to attitude to fame
  4. details of a machine capable of interpreting incomplete information
  5. a detailed account of an incident involving information theory
  6. a reference to what Shannon initially intended to achieve in his research

Answer sheet
27
28
29
30
31
32

  • spellcheck Answers
    27 D
    28 F
    29 B
    30 E
    31 A
    32 C
Reading Passage 7

Information theory lies at the heart of everything - from DVD players and the genetic code of DNA to the physics of the universe at its most fundamental. It has been central to the development of the science of communication, which enables data to be sent electronically and has therefore had a major impact on our lives

A In April 2002 an event took place which demonstrated one of the many applications of information theory. The space probe, Voyager I, launched in 1977, had sent back spectacular images of Jupiter and Saturn and then soared out of the Solar System on a one-way mission to the stars. After 25 years of exposure to the freezing temperatures of deep space, the probe was beginning to show its age. Sensors and circuits were on the brink of failing and NASA experts realised that they had to do something or lose contact with their probe forever. The solution was to get a message to Voyager I to instruct it to use spares to change the failing parts. With the probe 12 billion kilometres from Earth, this was not an easy task. By means of a radio dish belonging to NASA's Deep Space Network, the message was sent out into the depths of space. Even travelling at the speed of light, it took over 11 hours to reach its target, far beyond the orbit of Pluto. Yet, incredibly, the little probe managed to hear the faint call from its home planet, and successfully made the switchover.

B It was the longest-distance repair job in history, and a triumph for the NASA engineers. But it also highlighted the astonishing power of the techniques developed by American communications engineer Claude Shannon, who had died just a year earlier. Born in 1916 in Petoskey, Michigan, Shannon showed an early talent for maths and for building gadgets, and made breakthroughs in the foundations of computer technology when still a student. While at Bell Laboratories, Shannon developed information theory, but shunned the resulting acclaim In the 1940s, he single-handedly created an entire science of communication which has since inveigled its way into a host of applications, from DVDs to satellite communications to bar codes - any area, in short, where data has to be conveyed rapidly yet accurately.

C This all seems light years away from the down-to-earth uses Shannon originally had for his work, which began when he was a 22-year-old graduate engineering student at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1939. He set out with an apparently simple aim: to pin down the precise meaning of the concept of 'information'. The most basic form of information, Shannon argued, is whether something is true or false - which can be captured in the binary unit, or 'bit', of the form 1 or 0. Having identified this fundamental unit, Shannon set about defining otherwise vague ideas about information and how to transmit it from place to place. In the process he discovered something surprising: it is always possible to guarantee information will get through random interference - 'noise' - intact.

D Noise usually means unwanted sounds which interfere with genuine information. Information theory generalises this idea via theorems that capture the effects of noise with mathematical precision. In particular, Shannon showed that noise sets a limit on the rate at which information can pass along communication channels while remaining error-free. This rate depends on the relative strengths of the signal and noise travelling down the communication channel, and on its capacity (its 'bandwidth'). The resulting limit, given in units of bits per second, is the absolute maximum rate of error-free communication given signal strength and noise level. The trick, Shannon showed, is to find ways of packaging up - 'coding' - information to cope with the ravages of noise, while staying within the information-carrying capacity - 'bandwidth' - of the communication system being used.

E Over the years scientists have devised many such coding methods, and they have proved crucial in many technological feats. The Voyager spacecraft transmitted data using codes which added one extra bit for every single bit of information; the result was an error rate of just one bit in 10,000 - and stunningly clear pictures of the planets. Other codes have become part of everyday life - such as the Universal Product Code, or bar code, which uses a simple error-detecting system that ensures supermarket check-out lasers can read the price even on, say, a crumpled bag of crisps. As recently as 1993, engineers made a major breakthrough by discovering so-called turbo codes - which come very close to Shannon's ultimate limit for the maximum rate that data can be transmitted reliably, and now play a key role in the mobile videophone revolution.

F Shannon also laid the foundations of more efficient ways of storing information, by stripping out superfluous ('redundant') bits from data which contributed little real information. As mobile phone text messages like 'I CN C U' show, it is often possible to leave out a lot of data without losing much meaning. As with error correction, however, there's a limit beyond which messages become too ambiguous. Shannon showed how to calculate this limit, opening the way to the design of compression methods that cram maximum information into the minimum space.

Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the entire IELTS Reading - Matching Information lesson.

Question Type 2 – Matching Headings

This question type tests your ability to understand the main idea of each paragraph. You will be given between 5 and 7 headings and you have to match each paragraph in the reading text to one heading. A heading is a short sentence that summarise the information in a paragraph. There are always more headings than paragraphs.

Matching Headings Question
Questions 1 – 5

Reading Passage 6 has six sections, A-E.

Choose the correct heading for sections A-D and E from the list of headings below.

Write the correct number i-vii in boxes 2-5 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings
  1. Commercial pressures on people in charge
  2. Mixed views on current changes to museums
  3. Interpreting the facts to meet visitor expectations
  4. The international dimension
  5. Collections of factual evidence
  6. Fewer differences between public attractions
  7. Current reviews and suggestions
ExampleAnswer
1. Section Av
  1. Section B
  2. Section C
  3. Section D
  4. Section E

Answer sheet
2
3
4
5
  • spellcheck Answers
    2. ii
    3. vi
    4. i
    5. iii
Reading Passage 6

Section A The conviction that historical relics provide infallible testimony about the past is rooted in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when science was regarded as objective and value free. As one writer observes: 'Although it is now evident that artefacts are as easily altered as chronicles, public faith in their veracity endures: a tangible relic seems ipso facto real/ Such conviction was, until recently, reflected in museum displays. Museums used to look - and some still do - much like storage rooms of objects packed together in showcases: good for scholars who wanted to study the subtle differences in design, but not for the ordinary visitor, to whom it all looked alike. Similarly, the information accompanying the objects often made little sense to the lay visitor. The content and format of explanations dated back to a time when the museum was the exclusive domain of the scientific researcher.

Section B Recently, however, attitudes towards history and the way it should be presented have altered. The key word in heritage display is now 'experience', the more exciting the better and, if possible, involving all the senses. Good examples of this approach in the UK are the Jorvik Centre in York; the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford; and the Imperial War Museum in London. In the US the trend emerged much earlier: Williamsburg has been a prototype for many heritage developments in other parts of the world. No one can predict where the process will end. On so-called heritage sites the re-enactment of historical events is increasingly popular, and computers will soon provide virtual reality experiences, which will present visitors with a vivid image of the period of their choice, in which they themselves can act as if part of the historical environment. Such developments have been criticised as an intolerable vulgarisation, but the success of many historical theme parks and similar locations suggests that the majority of the public does not share this opinion.

Section C In a related development, the sharp distinction between museum and heritage sites on the one hand, and theme parks on the other, is gradually evaporating. They already borrow ideas and concepts from one another. For example, museums have adopted story lines for exhibitions, sites have accepted 'theming' as a relevant tool, and theme parks are moving towards more authenticity and research-based presentations. In zoos, animals are no longer kept in cages, but in great spaces, either in the open air or in enormous greenhouses, such as the jungle and desert environments in Burgers' Zoo in Holland. This particular trend is regarded as one of the major developments in the presentation of natural history in the twentieth century.

Section D Theme parks are undergoing other changes,too, as they try to present more serious social and cultural issues, and move away from fantasy. This development is a response to market forces and, although museums and heritage sites have a special, rather distinct role to fulfil, they are also operating in a very competitive environment, where visitors make choices on how and where to spend their free time. Heritage and museum experts do not have to invent stories and recreate historical environments to attract their visitors: their assets are already in place. However, exhibits must be both based on artefacts and facts as we know them, and attractively presented. Those who are professionally engaged in the art of interpreting history are thus in a difficult position, as they must steer a narrow course between the demands of 'evidence' and 'attractiveness' especially given the increasing need in the heritage industry for income-generating activities.

Section E It could be claimed that in order to make everything in heritage more 'real', historical accuracy must be increasingly altered. For example, Pithecanthropus erectus is depicted in an Indonesian museum with Malay facial features, because this corresponds to public perceptions. Similarly, in the Museum of Natural History in Washington, Neanderthal man is shown making a dominant gesture to his wife. Such presentations tell us more about contemporary perceptions of the world than about our ancestors. There is one compensation, however, for the professionals who make these interpretations: if they did not provide the interpretation, visitors would do it for themselves, based on their own ideas, misconceptions and prejudices. And no matter how exciting the result it would contain a lot more bias than the presentations provided by experts.

Section F Human bias is inevitable, but another source of bias in the representation of history has to do with the transitory nature of the materials themselves. The simple fact is that not everything from history survives the historical process. Castles, palaces and cathedrals have a longer lifespan than the dwellings of ordinary people. The same applies to the furnishings and other contents of the premises. In a town like Leyden in Holland, which in the seventeenth century was occupied by approximately the same number of inhabitants as today, people lived within the walled town, an area more than five times smaller than modern Leyden. In most of the houses several families lived together in circumstances beyond our imagination. Yet in museums, fine period rooms give only an image of the lifestyle of the upper class of that era. No wonder that people who stroll around exhibitions are filled with nostalgia; the evidence in museums indicates that life was so much better in the past. This notion is induced by the bias in its representation in museums and heritage centres.

Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the entire IELTS Reading - Matching Headings lesson.

Question Type 3 – Matching Features

In this test type, you are required to match a list of options to a set of statements. The options are a group of features from the text, and are identified by letters.

For example, you might match different research findings to a list of researchers, or characteristics to age groups, events to historical periods, etc. Note that it is possible that some options will not be used, and that others may be used more than once. The instructions will inform you if options may be used more than once.

Matching Features Question
Questions 7 – 10

Look at the following items (Questions 7-10) and the list of groups below.

Match each item with the group which first invented or used them.

Write the correct letter A-E in boxes 7-10 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

  1. black powder
  2. rocket-propelled arrows for fighting
  3. rockets as war weapons
  4. the rocket
First invented or used by

A  the Chinese
B  the Indians
C  the British
D  the Arabs
E  the Americans

Answer sheet
7
8
9
10

  • spellcheck Answers
    7 A
    8 A
    9 B
    10 E
Reading Passage

The invention of rockets is linked inextricably with the invention of 'black powder'. Most historians of technology credit the Chinese with its discovery. They base their belief on studies of Chinese writings or on the notebooks of early Europeans who settled in or made long visits to China to study its history and civilisation. It is probable that, some time in the tenth century, black powder was first compounded from its basic ingredients of saltpetre, charcoal and sulphur. But this does not mean that it was immediately used to propel rockets. By the thirteenth century, powder- propelled fire arrows had become rather common. The Chinese relied on this type of technological development to produce incendiary projectiles of many sorts, explosive grenades and possibly cannons to repel their enemies. One such weapon was the 'basket of fire' or, as directly translated from Chinese, the 'arrows like flying leopards'. The 0.7 metre-long arrows, each with a long tube of gunpowder attached near the point of each arrow, could be fired from a long, octagonal-shaped basket at the same time and had a range of 400 paces. Another weapon was the 'arrow as a flying sabre', which could be fired from crossbows. The rocket, placed in a similar position to other rocket-propelled arrows, was designed to increase the range. A small iron weight was attached to the 1.5m bamboo shaft, just below the feathers, to increase the arrow's stability by moving the centre of gravity to a position below the rocket. At a similar time, the Arabs had developed the 'egg which moves and burns'. This 'egg' was apparently full of gunpowder and stabilised by a 1.5m tail. It was fired using two rockets attached to either side of this tail.

It was not until the eighteenth century that Europe became seriously interested in the possibilities of using the rocket itself as a weapon of war and not just to propel other weapons. Prior to this, rockets were used only in pyrotechnic displays. The incentive for the more aggressive use of rockets came not from within the European continent but from far-away India, whose leaders had built up a corps of rocketeers and used rockets successfully against the British in the late eighteenth century. The Indian rockets used against the British were described by a British Captain serving in India as 'an iron envelope about 200 millimetres long and 40 millimetres in diameter with sharp points at the top and a 3m-long bamboo guiding stick'. In the early nineteenth century the British began to experiment with incendiary barrage rockets. The British rocket differed from the Indian version in that it was completely encased in a stout, iron cylinder, terminating in a conical head, measuring one metre in diameter and having a stick almost five metres long and constructed in such a way that it could be firmly attached to the body of the rocket. The Americans developed a rocket, complete with its own launcher, to use against the Mexicans in the mid-nineteenth century. A long cylindrical tube was propped up by two sticks and fastened to the top of the launcher, thereby allowing the rockets to be inserted and lit from the other end. However, the results were sometimes not that impressive as the behaviour of the rockets in flight was less than predictable.

How to tackle Matching Features Questions

Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the entire IELTS Reading - Matching Features lesson.

Question Type 4 – Identifying Information

In this question type, you'll be given statements relating to the passage and your job will be to answer whether or not the statement is true, false, or not given. Let's have a look at some sample identifying information questions.

Identifying Information Question
Questions 1 – 7

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1? In boxes 1–7 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE   if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE   if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN   if there is no information on this

  1. Chronobiology is the study of how living things have evolved over time.
  2. The rise and fall of sea levels affects how sea creatures behave.
  3. Most animals are active during the daytime.
  4. Circadian rhythms identify how we do different things on different days.
  5. A 'night person' can still have a healthy circadian rhythm.
  6. New therapies can permanently change circadian rhythms without causing harm.
  7. Naturally-produced vegetables have more nutritional value
Answer sheet

1
2
3
4
5
6
7

  • spellcheck Answers
    1. FALSE
    2. TRUE
    3. NOT GIVEN
    4. FALSE
    5. TRUE
    6. FALSE
    7. TRUE
Reading Passage 1

Chronobiology might sound a little futuristic – like something from a science fiction novel, perhaps – but it's actually a field of study that concerns one of the oldest processes life on this planet has ever known: short-term rhythms of time and their effect on flora and fauna.

This can take many forms. Marine life, for example, is influenced by tidal patterns. Animals tend to be active or inactive depending on the position of the sun or moon. Numerous creatures, humans included, are largely diurnal – that is, they like to come out during the hours of sunlight. Nocturnal animals, such as bats and possums, prefer to forage by night. A third group are known as crepuscular: they thrive in the lowlight of dawn and dusk and remain inactive at other hours.

When it comes to humans, chronobiologists are interested in what is known as the circadian rhythm. This is the complete cycle our bodies are naturally geared to undergo within the passage of a twenty-four hour day. Aside from sleeping at night and waking during the day, each cycle involves many other factors such as changes in blood pressure and body temperature. Not everyone has an identical circadian rhythm. 'Night people', for example, often describe how they find it very hard to operate during the morning, but become alert and focused by evening. This is a benign variation within circadian rhythms known as a chronotype.

Scientists have limited abilities to create durable modifications of chronobiological demands. Recent therapeutic developments for humans such as artificial light machines and melatonin administration can reset our circadian rhythms, for example, but our bodies can tell the difference and health suffers when we breach these natural rhythms for extended periods of time. Plants appear no more malleable in this respect; studies demonstrate that vegetables grown in season and ripened on the tree are far higher in essential nutrients than those grown in greenhouses and ripened by laser.

Knowledge of chronobiological patterns can have many pragmatic implications for our day-to-day lives. While contemporary living can sometimes appear to subjugate biology – after all, who needs circadian rhythms when we have caffeine pills, energy drinks, shift work and cities that never sleep? – keeping in synch with our body clock is important.

The average urban resident, for example, rouses at the eye-blearing time of 6.04 a.m., which researchers believe to be far too early. One study found that even rising at 7.00 a.m. has deleterious effects on health unless exercise is performed for 30 minutes afterward. The optimum moment has been whittled down to 7.22 a.m.; muscle aches, headaches and moodiness were reported to be lowest by participants in the study who awoke then.

Once you're up and ready to go, what then? If you're trying to shed some extra pounds, dietitians are adamant: never skip breakfast. This disorients your circadian rhythm and puts your body in starvation mode. The recommended course of action is to follow an intense workout with a carbohydrate-rich breakfast; the other way round and weight loss results are not as pronounced.

Morning is also great for breaking out the vitamins. Supplement absorption by the body is not temporal-dependent, but naturopath Pam Stone notes that the extra boost at breakfast helps us get energised for the day ahead. For improved absorption, Stone suggests pairing supplements with a food in which they are soluble and steering clear of caffeinated beverages. Finally, Stone warns to take care with storage; high potency is best for absorption, and warmth and humidity are known to deplete the potency of a supplement.

After-dinner espressos are becoming more of a tradition – we have the Italians to thank for that – but to prepare for a good night's sleep we are better off putting the brakes on caffeine consumption as early as 3 p.m. With a seven hour half-life, a cup of coffee containing 90 mg of caffeine taken at this hour could still leave 45 mg of caffeine in your nervous system at ten o'clock that evening. It is essential that, by the time you are ready to sleep, your body is rid of all traces.

Evenings are important for winding down before sleep; however, dietitian Geraldine Georgeou warns that an after-five carbohydrate-fast is more cultural myth than chronobiological demand. This will deprive your body of vital energy needs. Overloading your gut could lead to indigestion, though. Our digestive tracts do not shut down for the night entirely, but their work slows to a crawl as our bodies prepare for sleep. Consuming a modest snack should be entirely sufficient.

How to tackle Identifying Information Questions

This question type is one of the most difficult question types on the IELTS reading test because you need to have strong logic in order to answer correctly. It is imperative that test takers understand the difference between “FALSE” and “NOT GIVEN” answers.

If an answer is “FALSE”, it means that there is information in the passage which proves the statement at hand to be incorrect.
If the answer is “NOT GIVEN”, it means that the passage does not contain the information presented in the statement, nor does the passage confirm or contradict that information.

The confusion between these two options is one of the most common problems for test takers during this question type. To learn more about 3 common problems students make when answering “TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN” questions, check out this blog post: How to Answer an IELTS True/False/Not Given Question Type or study the IELTS Reading - Identifying Information lesson.

Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the entire IELTS Reading - Identifying Information lesson.

Question Type 5 – Identifying Writer's Views/claims

In this question type, you will be given a number of statements and asked: Do the following statements agree with the views/claims of the writer? You are required to write yes, no or not given in the boxes on their answer sheet.

No means that the views or claims of the writer explicitly disagree with the statement.
Not given means that the view or claim is neither confirmed nor contradicted.

Identifying Writer's Views/claims Question
Questions 4 – 7

Do the following statements reflect the claims of the writer in the reading passage?

In boxes 4-7 on your answer sheet write

YES   if the statement reflects the claims of the writer
NO   if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer
NOT GIVEN   if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this
  1. Thirty per cent of deaths in the United States are caused by smoking-relateddiseases.
  2. If one partner in a marriage smokes, the other is likely to take up smoking
  3. Teenagers whose parents smoke are at risk of getting lung cancer at some time during their lives.
  4. Opponents of smoking financed the UCSF study.

Answer sheet
4
5
6
7

  • spellcheck Answers
    4. NO
    5. NOT GIVEN
    6. YES
    7. NOT GIVEN
Reading Passage

Discovered in the early 1800s and named 'nicotianine', the oily essence now called nicotine is the main active ingredient of tobacco. Nicotine, however, is only a small component of cigarette smoke, which contains more than 4,700 chemical compounds, including 43 cancer-causing substances. In recent times, scientific research has been providing evidence that years of cigarette smoking vastly increases the risk of developing fatal medical conditions.

In addition to being responsible for more than 85 per cent of lung cancers, smoking is associated with cancers of, amongst others, the mouth, stomach and kidneys, and is thought to cause about 14 per cent of leukemia and cervical cancers. In 1990, smoking caused more than 84,000 deaths, mainly resulting from such problems as pneumonia, bronchitis and influenza. Smoking, it is believed, is responsible for 30 per cent of all deaths from cancer and clearly represents the most important preventable cause of cancer in countries like the United States today.

Passive smoking, the breathing in of the side-stream smoke from the burning of tobacco between puffs or of the smoke exhaled by a smoker, also causes a serious health risk. A report published in 1992 by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emphasized the health dangers, especially from side-stream smoke. This type of smoke contains more smaller particles and is therefore more likely to be deposited deep in the lungs. On the basis of this report, the EPA has classified environmental tobacco smoke in the highest risk category for causing cancer.

As an illustration of the health risks, in the case of a married couple where one partner is a smoker and one a non-smoker, the latter is believed to have a 30 per cent higher risk of death from heart disease because of passive smoking. The risk of lung cancer also increases over the years of exposure and the figure jumps to 80 per cent if the spouse has been smoking four packs a day for 20 years. It has been calculated that 17 per cent of cases of lung cancer can be attributed to high levels of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke during childhood and adolescence.

A more recent study by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) has shown that second-hand cigarette smoke does more harm to non-smokers than to smokers. Leaving aside the philosophical question of whether anyone should have to breathe someone else's cigarette smoke, the report suggests that the smoke experienced by many people in their daily lives is enough to produce substantial adverse effects on a person's heart and lungs.

The report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA), was based on the researchers' own earlier research but also includes a review of studies over the past few years. The American Medical Association represents about half of all US doctors and is a strong opponent of smoking. The study suggests that people who smoke cigarettes are continually damaging their cardiovascular system, which adapts in order to compensate for the effects of smoking. It further states that people who do not smoke do not have the benefit of their system adapting to the smoke inhalation. Consequently, the effects of passive smoking are far greater on non-smokers than on smokers.

This report emphasizes that cancer is not caused by a single element in cigarette smoke; harmful effects to health are caused by many components. Carbon monoxide, for example, competes with oxygen in red blood cells and interferes with the blood's ability to deliver life-giving oxygen to the heart. Nicotine and other toxins in cigarette smoke activate small blood cells called platelets, which increases the likelihood of blood clots, thereby affecting blood circulation throughout the body.

The researchers criticize the practice of some scientific consultants who work with the tobacco industry for assuming that cigarette smoke has the same impact on smokers as it does on non-smokers. They argue that those scientists are underestimating the damage done by passive smoking and, in support of their recent findings, cite some previous research which points to passive smoking as the cause for between 30,000 and 60,000 deaths from heart attacks each year in the United States. This means that passive smoking is the third most preventable cause of death after active smoking and alcohol-related diseases

The study argues that the type of action needed against passive smoking should be similar to that being taken against illegal drugs and AIDS (SIDA). The UCSF researchers maintain that the simplest and most cost-effective action is to establish smoke-free work places, schools and public places.


How to tackle Identifying Writer's claims Questions

Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the entire IELTS Reading - Identifying Writer's Claims lesson.

Question Type 6 – Multiple Choice

On the IELTS academic reading test and the IELTS general reading test, you will need to answer multiple choice questions. Each multiple choice question will vary in terms of how many answer choices you need to select and the question type you'll be asked.

The different number of answer choices

  1. Choosing one answer out of four options (The most common)
  2. Choosing two answers out of five options
  3. Choosing three answers out of six options

The question type

  1. Completing a sentence
  2. Answering a question

We've included a full IELTS reading sample passage and reading questions with answers for a more thorough understanding of the multiple choice questions.

Multiple Choice Question
Questions 10 – 12

Choose the appropriate letters A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in boxes 10-12 on your answer sheet.

10. Research completed in 1982 found that in the United States soil erosion
  1. reduced the productivity of farmland by 20 per cent.
  2. was almost as severe as in India and China.
  3. was causing significant damage to 20 per cent of farmland.
  4. could be reduced by converting cultivated land to meadow or forest.
11. By the mid-1980s, farmers in Denmark
  1. used 50 per cent less fertiliser than Dutch farmers.
  2. used twice as much fertiliser as they had in 1960.
  3. applied fertiliser much more frequently than in 1960.
  4. more than doubled the amount of pesticide they used in just 3 years.
12.Which one of the following increased in New Zealand after 1984?
  1. farm incomes
  2. use of fertiliser
  3. over-stocking
  4. farm diversification

Answer sheet
10
11
12

  • spellcheck Answers
    10. C
    11. B
    12. D
IELTS Reading Passage

All these activities may have damaging environmental impacts. For example, land clearing for agriculture is the largest single cause of deforestation; chemical fertilisers and pesticides may contaminate water supplies; more intensive farming and the abandonment of fallow periods tend to exacerbate soil erosion; and the spread of monoculture and use of high- yielding varieties of crops have been accompanied by the disappearance of old varieties of food plants which might have provided some insurance against pests or diseases in future. Soil erosion threatens the productivity of land in both rich and poor countries. The United States, where the most careful measurements have been done, discovered in 1982 that about one-fifth of its farmland was losing topsoil at a rate likely to diminish the soil's productivity. The country subsequently embarked upon a program to convert 11 per cent of its cropped land to meadow or forest. Topsoil in India and China is vanishing much faster than in America.

Government policies have frequently compounded the environmental damage that farming can cause. In the rich countries, subsidies for growing crops and price supports for farm output drive up the price of land. The annual value of these subsidies is immense: about $250 billion, or more than all World Bank lending in the 1980s. To increase the output of crops per acre, a farmer's easiest option is to use more of the most readily available inputs: fertilisers and pesticides. Fertiliser use doubled in Denmark in the period 1960-1985 and increased in The Netherlands by 150 per cent. The quantity of pesticides applied has risen too: by 69 per cent in 1975-1984 in Denmark, for example, with a rise of 115 per cent in the frequency of application in the three years from 1981.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s some efforts were made to reduce farm subsidies. The most dramatic example was that of New Zealand, which scrapped most farm support in 1984. A study of the environmental effects, conducted in 1993, found that the end of fertiliser subsidies had been followed by a fall in fertiliser use (a fall compounded by the decline in world commodity prices, which cut farm incomes). The removal of subsidies also stopped land-clearing and over-stocking, which in the past had been the principal causes of erosion. Farms began to diversify. The one kind of subsidy whose removal appeared to have been bad for the environment was the subsidy to manage soil erosion.

In less enlightened countries, and in the European Union, the trend has been to reduce rather than eliminate subsidies, and to introduce new payments to encourage farmers to treat their land in environmentally friendlier ways, or to leave it fallow. It may sound strange but such payments need to be higher than the existing incentives for farmers to grow food crops. Farmers, however, dislike being paid to do nothing. In several countries they have become interested in the possibility of using fuel produced from crop residues either as a replacement for petrol (as ethanol) or as fuel for power stations (as biomass). Such fuels produce far less carbon dioxide than coal or oil, and absorb carbon dioxide as they grow. They are therefore less likely to contribute to the greenhouse effect. But they are rarely competitive with fossil fuels unless subsidised - and growing them does no less environmental harm than other crops.

How to tackle Multiple Choice questions

Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the entire IELTS Reading - Multiple Choice lesson.

Question Type 7 – Matching Sentence Endings

In this test type, you will be given a list of incomplete sentences with no endings and another list with possible endings. Your job is to match the incomplete sentences with the correct ending based on the reading text.

Matching Sentence Question
Questions 8 – 10

Complete each sentence with the correct ending A-J from the box below.

Write the correct letter A-J in boxes 8-10 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

  1. Passive smoking
  2. Compared with a non-smoker, a smoker
  3. The American Medical Association
  1. includes reviews of studies in its reports.
  2. argues for stronger action against smoking in public places.
  3. is one of the two most preventable causes of death.
  4. is more likely to be at risk from passive smoking diseases.
  5. is more harmful to non-smokers than to smokers.
  6. is less likely to be at risk of contracting lung cancer.
  7. is more likely to be at risk of contracting various cancers.
  8. opposes smoking and publishes research on the subject.
  9. is just as harmful to smokers as it is to non-smokers.
  10. reduces the quantity of blood flowing around the body.

Answer sheet

8
9
10

  • spellcheck Answers
    8. E
    9. G
    10. H
Reading Passage

Discovered in the early 1800s and named 'nicotianine', the oily essence now called nicotine is the main active ingredient of tobacco. Nicotine, however, is only a small component of cigarette smoke, which contains more than 4,700 chemical compounds, including 43 cancer-causing substances. In recent times, scientific research has been providing evidence that years of cigarette smoking vastly increases the risk of developing fatal medical conditions.

In addition to being responsible for more than 85 per cent of lung cancers, smoking is associated with cancers of, amongst others, the mouth, stomach and kidneys, and is thought to cause about 14 per cent of leukaemia and cervical cancers. In 1990, smoking caused more than 84,000 deaths, mainly resulting from such problems as pneumonia, bronchitis and influenza. Smoking, it is believed, is responsible for 30 per cent of all deaths from cancer and clearly represents the most important preventable cause of cancer in countries like the United States today.

Passive smoking, the breathing in of the side-stream smoke from the burning of tobacco between puffs or of the smoke exhaled by a smoker, also causes a serious health risk. A report published in 1992 by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emphasized the health dangers, especially from sidestream smoke. This type of smoke contains more smaller particles and is therefore more likely to be deposited deep in the lungs. On the basis of this report, the EPA has classified environmental tobacco smoke in the highest risk category for causing cancer.

As an illustration of the health risks, in the case of a married couple where one partner is a smoker and one a non-smoker, the latter is believed to have a 30 per cent higher risk of death from heart disease because of passive smoking. The risk of lung cancer also increases over the years of exposure and the figure jumps to 80 per cent if the spouse has been smoking four packs a day for 20 years. It has been calculated that 17 per cent of cases of lung cancer can be attributed to high levels of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke during childhood and adolescence.

A more recent study by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) has shown that second-hand cigarette smoke does more harm to non-smokers than to smokers. Leaving aside the philosophical question of whether anyone should have to breathe someone else's cigarette smoke, the report suggests that the smoke experienced by many people in their daily lives is enough to produce substantial adverse effects on a person's heart and lungs.

The report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA), was based on the researchers' own earlier research but also includes a review of studies over the past few years. The American Medical Association represents about half of all US doctors and is a strong opponent of smoking. The study suggests that people who smoke cigarettes are continually damaging their cardiovascular system, which adapts in order to compensate for the effects of smoking. It further states that people who do not smoke do not have the benefit of their system adapting to the smoke inhalation. Consequently, the effects of passive smoking are far greater on non-smokers than on smokers.

This report emphasizes that cancer is not caused by a single element in cigarette smoke; harmful effects to health are caused by many components. Carbon monoxide, for example, competes with oxygen in red blood cells and interferes with the blood's ability to deliver life-giving oxygen to the heart. Nicotine and other toxins in cigarette smoke activate small blood cells called platelets, which increases the likelihood of blood clots, thereby affecting blood circulation throughout the body.

The researchers criticize the practice of some scientific consultants who work with the tobacco industry for assuming that cigarette smoke has the same impact on smokers as it does on non-smokers. They argue that those scientists are underestimating the damage done by passive smoking and, in support of their recent findings, cite some previous research which points to passive smoking as the cause for between 30,000 and 60,000 deaths from heart attacks each year in the United States. This means that passive smoking is the third most preventable cause of death after active smoking and alcohol-related diseases.

The study argues that the type of action needed against passive smoking should be similar to that being taken against illegal drugs and AIDS (SIDA). The UCSF researchers maintain that the simplest and most cost-effective action is to establish smoke-free work places, schools and public places.

How to tackle Matching Sentence Endings questions

Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the entire IELTS Reading - Sentence Endings lesson.

Question Type 8 – Sentence Completion

In this kind of question, you will be given a number of sentences with gaps in them and asked to complete the sentences with words from the reading text.

These questions are as much vocabulary tests as they are reading tests because they require you to be aware of paraphrasing (using different words to repeat a sentence so that it has the same meaning) and synonyms (words with the same or very similar meanings)

Sentence Completion Question
Questions 10 - 13

Complete the sentences below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.

  1. ______would be a more effective target for government investment than micro-turbines.
  2. An indirect benefit of subsidising micro-turbines is the support it provides for ______
  3. Most spending has a _____effect on the environment
  4. If people buy a micro-turbine, they have less money to spend on things like foreign holidays and ____.

Answer sheet

10
11
12
13

  • spellcheck Answers
    10 offshore wind farms.
    11. developing technology
    12. negatived
    13. cars
Reading Passage

A In terms of micro-renewable energy sources suitable for private use, a 15-kilowatt (kW) turbine is at the biggest end of the spectrum. With a nine metre diameter and a pole as high as a four-storey house, this is the most efficient form of wind micro­turbine, and the sort of thing you could install only if you had plenty of space and money. According to one estimate, a 15-kW micro-turbine (that's one with the maximum output), costing £41,000 to purchase and a further £9,000 to install, is capable of delivering 25,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh)' of electricity each year if placed on a suitably windy site.

B I don't know of any credible studies of the greenhouse gas emissions involved in producing and installing turbines, so my estimates here are going to be even more broad than usual. However, it is worth trying. If turbine manufacture is about as carbon intensive per pound sterling of product as other generators and electrical motors, which seems a reasonable assumption, the carbon intensity of manufacture will be around 640 kilograms (kg) per £1,000 of value. Installation is probably about as carbon intensive as typical construction, at around 380 kg per £1,000. That makes the carbon footprint (the total amount of greenhouse gases that installing a turbine creates) 30 tonnes.

C The carbon savings from wind-powered electricity generation depend on the carbon intensity of the electricity that you're replacing. Let's assume that your generation replaces the coal-fuelled part of the country's energy mix. In other words, if you live in the UK, let's say that rather than replacing typical grid electricity, which comes from a mix of coal, gas, oil and renewable energy sources, the effect of your turbine is to reduce the use of coal-fired power stations. That's reasonable, because coal is the least preferable source in the electricity mix. In this case the carbon saving is roughly one kilogram per kWh, so you save 25 tonnes per year and pay back the embodied carbon in just 14 months - a great start.

D The UK government has recently introduced a subsidy for renewable energy that pays individual producers 24p per energy unit on top of all the money they save on their own fuel bill, and on selling surplus electricity back to the grid at approximately 5p per unit. With all this taken into account, individuals would get back £7,250 per year on their investment. That pays back the costs in about six years. It makes good financial sense and, for people who care about the carbon savings for their own sake, it looks like a fantastic move. The carbon investment pays back in just over a year, and every year after that is a 25-tonne carbon saving. (It's important to remember that all these sums rely on a wind turbine having a favourable location)

E So, at face value, the turbine looks like a great idea environmentally, and a fairly good long-term investment economically for the person installing it. However, there is a crucial perspective missing from the analysis so far. Has the government spent its money wisely? It has invested 24p per unit into each micro-turbine. That works out at a massive £250 per tonne of carbon saved. My calculations tell me that had the government invested its money in offshore wind farms, instead of subsidising smaller domestic turbines, they would have broken even after eight years. In other words, the micro-turbine works out as a good investment for individuals, but only because the government spends, and arguably wastes, so much money subsidising it. Carbon savings are far lower too.

F Nevertheless, although the micro-wind turbine subsidy doesn't look like the very best way of spending government resources on climate change mitigation, we are talking about investing only about 0.075 percent per year of the nation's GDP to get a one percent reduction in carbon emissions, which is a worthwhile benefit. In other words, it could be much better, but it could be worse. In addition, such investment helps to promote and sustain developing technology.

G There is one extra favourable way of looking at the micro-wind turbine, even if it is not the single best way of investing money in cutting carbon. Input- output modelling has told us that it is actually quite difficult to spend money without having a negative carbon impact. So if the subsidy encourages people to spend their money on a carbon-reducing technology such as a wind turbine, rather than on carbon-producing goods like cars, and services such as overseas holidays, then the reductions in emissions will be greater than my simple sums above have suggested.

How to tackle Sentence Completion questions

Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the entire IELTS Reading - Sentence Completion lesson.

Question Type 9 – Summary, Note, Table, Flow-chart Completion

In this question type, you are given a summary of a section of the text, and are required to complete it with information drawn from the text. The summary will usually be of only one part of the passage rather than the whole. There are two variations of this question type. You may be asked either to select words from the text or to select from a list of answers.

The given information may be in the form of:

  • several connected sentences of text (referred to as a summary)
  • several notes (referred to as notes)
  • a table with some of its cells empty or partially empty (referred to as a table)
  • a series of boxes or steps linked by arrows to show a sequence of events
  • with some of the boxes or steps empty or partially empty (referred to as a flow-chart).
Table Question
Question 9 – 13

Complete the table below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 9-13 on your answer sheet.
Species French Spanish South African ball
Preferred climate cool 9 _____ 12 _____
Complementary species Spanish 13 _____
Start of active period late spring 10 _____
Number of generations per year 1-2 11 _____

Answer sheet

9
10
11
12
13

  • spellcheck Answers
    9 temperate
    10 early spring
    11 two to five / 2-5
    12 sub-tropical
    13 South African tunneling/tunnelling
Reading Passage

Introducing dung1 beetles into a pasture is a simple process: approximately 1,500 beetles are released, a handful at a time, into fresh cow pats2 in the cow pasture. The beetles immediately disappear beneath the pats digging and tunnelling and, if they successfully adapt to their new environment, soon become a permanent, self-sustaining part of the local ecology. In time they multiply and within three or four years the benefits to the pasture are obvious.

Dung beetles work from the inside of the pat so they are sheltered from predators such as birds and foxes. Most species burrow into the soil and bury dung in tunnels directly underneath the pats, which are hollowed out from within. Some large species originating from France excavate tunnels to a depth of approximately 30 cm below the dung pat. These beetles make sausage-shaped brood chambers along the tunnels. The shallowest tunnels belong to a much smaller Spanish species that buries dung in chambers that hang like fruit from the branches of a pear tree. South African beetles dig narrow tunnels of approximately 20 cm below the surface of the pat. Some surface-dwelling beetles, including a South African species, cut perfectly-shaped balls from the pat, which are rolled away and attached to the bases of plants.

For maximum dung burial in spring, summer and autumn, farmers require a variety of species with overlapping periods of activity. In the cooler environments of the state of Victoria, the large French species (2.5 cms long), is matched with smaller (half this size), temperate-climate Spanish species. The former are slow to recover from the winter cold and produce only one or two generations of offspring from late spring until autumn. The latter, which multiply rapidly in early spring, produce two to five generations annually. The South African ball-rolling species, being a sub-tropical beetle, prefers the climate of northern and coastal New South Wales where it commonly works with the South African tunneling species. In warmer climates, many species are active for longer periods of the year.
Glossary
1. dung: the droppings or excreta of animals
2. cow pats: droppings of cows

How to tackle Summary and Table Completion questions


Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the entire IELTS Reading - Summary Completion lesson.

Question Type 10 – Diagram Label Completion

This question type requires you to complete labels on a diagram, which relates to a description contained in the text. There are three kinds of diagrams you might get: a technical drawing of a machine or invention, something from the natural world, or a design or plan.

Diagram Label Completion Question
Questions 6 – 8

Label the tunnels on the diagram below using words from the box.

Write your answers in boxes 6-8 on your answer sheet.

reading sample question diagram


Answer sheet

6
7
8

  • spellcheck Answers
    6 South African
    7 French
    8 Spanish
Reading Passage

Introducing dung1 beetles into a pasture is a simple process: approximately 1,500 beetles are released, a handful at a time, into fresh cow pats2 in the cow pasture. The beetles immediately disappear beneath the pats digging and tunnelling and, if they successfully adapt to their new environment, soon become a permanent, self-sustaining part of the local ecology. In time they multiply and within three or four years the benefits to the pasture are obvious.

Dung beetles work from the inside of the pat so they are sheltered from predators such as birds and foxes. Most species burrow into the soil and bury dung in tunnels directly underneath the pats, which are hollowed out from within. Some large species originating from France excavate tunnels to a depth of approximately 30 cm below the dung pat. These beetles make sausage-shaped brood chambers along the tunnels. The shallowest tunnels belong to a much smaller Spanish species that buries dung in chambers that hang like fruit from the branches of a pear tree. South African beetles dig narrow tunnels of approximately 20 cm below the surface of the pat. Some surface-dwelling beetles, including a South African species, cut perfectly-shaped balls from the pat, which are rolled away and attached to the bases of plants.

For maximum dung burial in spring, summer and autumn, farmers require a variety of species with overlapping periods of activity. In the cooler environments of the state of Victoria, the large French species (2.5 cms long), is matched with smaller (half this size), temperate-climate Spanish species. The former are slow to recover from the winter cold and produce only one or two generations of offspring from late spring until autumn. The latter, which multiply rapidly in early spring, produce two to five generations annually. The South African ball-rolling species, being a sub-tropical beetle, prefers the climate of northern and coastal New South Wales where it commonly works with the South African tunneling species. In warmer climates, many species are active for longer periods of the year.

Glossary
1. dung: the droppings or excreta of animals
2. cow pats: droppings of cows

Question Type 11 – Short Answer Questions

In this question type, you have to write one, two or three words or a number as an answer. Questions usually relate to factual information about details in the text.

The instructions will make it clear how many words/numbers test takers should use in their answers, e.g. NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage, ONE WORD ONLY or NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS. If test takers write more than the number of words asked for, they will lose marks.
Numbers can be written using figures or words.

Short Answer Question
Questions 1 - 3

Answer the questions below using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 1-3 on your answer sheet.

  1. In which year did the World Health Organisation define health in terms of mental, physical and social well-being
  2. Name the three broad areas which relate to people's health, according to the socio-ecological view of health.
  3. During which decade were lifestyle risks seen as the major contributors to poor health?

Answer sheet

1
2
3

  • spellcheck Answers
    1. 1946
    2. social, economic, environmental
    3. 1970's
Reading Passage

The concept of health holds different meanings for different people and groups. These meanings of health have also changed over time. This change is no more evident than in Western society today, when notions of health and health promotion are being challenged and expanded in new ways.

For much of recent Western history, health has been viewed in the physical sense only. That is, good health has been connected to the smooth mechanical operation of the body, while ill health has been attributed to a breakdown in this machine. Health in this sense has been defined as the absence of disease or illness and is seen in medical terms. According to this view, creating health for people means providing medical care to treat or prevent disease and illness. During this period, there was an emphasis on providing clean water, improved sanitation and housing.

In the late 1940s the World Health Organisation challenged this physically and medically oriented view of health. They stated that "health is a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being and is not merely the absence of disease" (WHO, 1946). Health and the person were seen more holistically (mind/body/spirit) and not just in physical terms.

The 1970s was a time of focusing on the prevention of disease and illness by emphasising the importance of the lifestyle and behaviour of the individual. Specific behaviours which were seen to increase risk of disease, such as smoking, lack of fitness and unhealthy eating habits, were targeted. Creating health meant providing not only medical health care, but health promotion programs and policies which would help people maintain healthy behaviours and lifestyles. While this individualistic healthy lifestyles approach to health worked for some (the wealthy members of society), people experiencing poverty, unemployment, underemployment or little control over the conditions of their daily lives benefited little from this approach. This was largely because both the healthy lifestyles approach and the medical approach to health largely ignored the social and environmental conditions affecting the health of people.

During the 1980s and 1990s there has been a growing swing away from seeing lifestyle risks as the root cause of poor health. While lifestyle factors still remain important, health is being viewed also in terms of the social, economic and environmental contexts in which people live. This broad approach to health is called the socio-ecological view of health. The broad socio-ecological view of health was endorsed at the first International Conference of Health Promotion held in 1986, Ottawa, Canada, where people from 38 countries agreed and declared that: "The fundamental conditions and resources for health are peace, shelter, education, food, a viable income, a stable eco-system, sustainable resources, social justice and equity. Improvement in health requires a secure foundation in these basic requirements." (WHO, 1986)

It is clear from this statement that the creation of health is about much more than encouraging healthy individual behaviours and lifestyles and providing appropriate medical care. Therefore, the creation of health must include addressing issues such as poverty, pollution, urbanisation, natural resource depletion, social alienation and poor working conditions. The social, economic and environmental contexts which contribute to the creation of heath do not operate separately or independently of each other. Rather, they are interacting and interdependent, and it is the complex interrelationships between them which determine the conditions that promote health. A broad socio-ecological view of health suggests that the promotion of health must include a strong social, economic and environmental focus.

At the Ottawa Conference in 1986, a charter was developed which outlined new directions for health promotion based on the socio-ecological view of health. This charter, known as the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, remains as the backbone of health action today. In exploring the scope of health promotion it states that:

Good health is a major resource for social, economic and personal development and an important dimension of quality of life. Political, economic, social, cultural, environmental, behavioural and biological factors can all favour health or be harmful to it. (WHO, 1986) The Ottawa Charter brings practical meaning and action to this broad notion of health promotion. It presents fundamental strategies and approaches in achieving health for all. The overall philosophy of health promotion which guides these fundamental strategies and approaches is one of "enabling people to increase control over and to improve their health" (WHO, 1986).

How to tackle Short Answer questions

Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the entire IELTS Reading - Short Answer lesson.

How Trends Help You Prepare for the IELTS Reading Test

We've talked about the IELTS reading tips for answering each question type, now let's look at an interesting trend that can help with your reading test preparation. The pie chart below illustrates the proportion of each reading question type that appeared in official IELTS reading tests in 2017.

IELTS Reading Question Types in 2017

As you can see, "Sentence/Summary/Note/Table/Flow-chart/Diagram completion & Short answer" question types were the most common at 29%, with "Identifying information/viewer claims" question types in close second with 23%. Finally, the "Matching features" question type accounted for 16%, "Matching information/Multiple choice" 11%, and "Matching headings" 10%.

With this information, you can see which question types are most likely to appear in your IELTS reading exam. Although you MUST prepare for all question types, knowing this information can help you manage your time between them. Of course, if you are scoring high with certain question types, then you probably should focus more time on the question types you are struggling with. If you want to know exactly what reading question types you struggle with, start a FREE IELTS Reading Sample Test and at the end of the exam, simply click View Results to see your full reading diagnostic report, which also includes how you did for each question type.

Next up we'll go over tips and strategies necessary for a high reading score.

IELTS Reading Tips: How to Improve your Reading Band Score

Most students fail the reading section for following three reasons

  1. Slow reading speed
  2. Poor vocabulary
  3. Little or no preparation
Improving your reading speed

First, let's get the obvious out of the way. To improve your reading speed, you need to actually practice reading and do it consistently.

Now let's look at a less obvious strategy that will help you understand the meaning of large chunks of sentences. Start by dissecting the sentence. Do this by Looking for the sentence's subject and verb. Finding the subject and verb will help you understand the meaning of the sentence. One reason why academic reading passages cab be hard to comprehend is because they join strings of ideas to form long compound sentences. This produces large chunks of sentences that are harder to absorb, so using the subject and verb as your guide to understanding the entire chunk is a great tool you can use during your IELTS reading exam.

Improving your vocabulary

Many people think answering reading questions is as simple as scanning the paragraph for keywords and information...Well, unfortunately, it's not that simple. reading questions are usually paraphrased, meaning, the words have been changed to use synonyms of words from the passage. This is done to increase the difficulty, otherwise, the test would be too easy. Because of this, you must improve your vocabulary in order to know the many different synonyms of a word.

As you prepare for the reading test and you come across a word you do not know, make a habit of either stopping and looking it up or at least writing it down and looking it up later. It's a little tedious, but it's extremely effective. Your goal should be, but is not limited to, studying 15 to 20 new academic words each day.

Knowing in which question types answers are/are not in order

It is important to know that for some question types, the answers are usually (almost always) in the same order as the passage. For other question types, answers are rarely ever in the same order as the passage. We've completed a table for the question types that follow and the one that don't. Please keep in mind.

Answers are usually (almost always) in the same order as the passage Answers are rarely ever in the same order as the passage.
  • Summary, Note, Table, Flow-Chart Completion
  • Diagram Label Completion
  • Identifying Information (TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN)
  • Identifying Viewer's claims (YES/NO/NOT GIVEN)
  • Multiple Choice
  • Matching Sentence Endings
  • Short Answer
  • Match Headings
  • Matching Information
  • Matching Features
Finding the best reading strategy for you

The biggest challenge most people face in the IELTS reading exam is completing all reading questions before time runs out. In the next section, you will learn three strategies and it'll be up to you to figure out which one suits you best. You'll do that using our free reading practices.

3 IELTS Reading Strategies

Strategy 1: Reading the entire passage then answering the questions.

First of all, this isn't much of a strategy. It's something people do when they don't properly prepare for the reading exam. However, we have included it as a strategy because, technically speaking, if you can retain the information from the passage on your first read through and are able to answer the questions, then you won't need strategy 2.

This strategy, if you don't have a better than average memory, is inefficient. You'll end up running out of time before you can answer all the questions. A lot of people make this mistake. However, there are some questions that don't require much effort and will benefit from this strategy like If the question is a "Yes" or "No" answer, then you'll be able to skim quickly and fin the answer quickly, but there aren't enough of these question types, so it's not advisable to use this strategy unless you can handle it.

Strategy 2: Reading questions first, read for an objective and take notes, and then answer questions wisely

This is our recommended strategy. It will help you get a higher IELTS reading score. Think of this as a clear map of how to generally approach the exam:

Step 1: Read questions first

One of the most common mistakes that candidates make when approaching the reading exam is reading every single word of the passages. Although you can practice for the exam by reading for pleasure, “reading blindly” (reading without any sense of what the questions will ask) will not do you any favors in the exam. Instead, it will hurt your chances for effectively managing your time and getting the best score.

The main reason to read the questions first is because the type of question may determine what you read in the passage or how you read it. For example, some question types will call for the “skimming” technique, while others may call for the “scanning” technique.

It is important to tackle a set of questions that are of the same question type. You'll need to determine which question type you want to tackle first. A good strategy would be to start with the easier question type and move on to more difficult question types later. The Easiest question types are the ones where you spend less time reading. For example, the Matching Heading question type is an easier one because you only need to find the heading that best describes the main idea of a paragraph. An example of a difficult question type would be Identifying Information. For this question type, you'll need to read each paragraph to find out if each statement is TRUE, FALSE, or NOT GIVEN according to the passage.

Here is a table that lists the difficulty levels for each question type. Use this table as a reference when choosing which question type you want to tackle first.

Difficulty level Question Type
Easy Match Headings
Short answer
Medium Matching Sentence Endings
Matching Features
Multiple choice
Sentence Completion
Diagram Label, Summary, Note, Table, Flow-Chart Completion
Difficult Match Information
Identifying Information (TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN)
Identifying Viewer's claims (YES/NO/NOT GIVEN)
Step 2: Read for an objective

After you’ve read the questions for the passage, you will be able to read for an objective. What does this mean? For example, if you come across a question that includes the year “1896”, you can make a note of when this year comes up in the text, using it to answer the question later on. There are two reading techniques that will help you stay on track with reading for an objective. The first one, skimming, is best defined as reading fast in order to get the “gist”, or general idea, or a passage. With this technique, you are not stopping for any unfamiliar words or looking for specific details. The second technique, scanning, is best defined as reading for specific information. With this technique, you are not reading for the overall gist, but rather, specific information. Notice how each of these techniques has a specific objective in mind. This will help you find information more quickly.

Step 3: Take notes

As you’re reading for an objective, you should also be making notes on the margins of the passage, placing stars next to key information, or underlining things that you believe will help you answer the various questions. This will make it easier for you to check back when you are asked certain things in the questions. Choose whichever note-taking system is right for you—just make sure you do it!

Step 4: Answer wisely

After you’ve read the questions, read the passage, and have taken any appropriate notes, you you should have located the part of the text where you where you need to read carefully. Then just read carefully and think critically to determine the correct answer.

Strategy 3: Skimming, note taking, & question types.

This is another strategy used by many IELTS test takers. It will help you get a higher reading score. The strategy consists of 4 steps:

  1. Skim each paragraph to get the general idea of each paragraph. The main idea of a paragraph is usually found in the first few sentences so focus a little more on those sentences. The following sentences can be skimmed quickly, underlining names/words/phrases that stand out.
  2. After skimming each paragraph, write short notes (2-5 words) next to each paragraph with your best guess about the main idea of that paragraph.
  3. Next, answer a set of questions that are of the same question type.
  4. Finally, Answering a set of questions efficiently and correctly.

It is important that you spend no more than 3-5 minutes on Steps 1 and 2. Spending too much time on these steps will waste too much time and you'll end up running out of it.

Steps 1 & 2

The goal here is to set up an efficient method for finding answers in the passage. By writing down the general idea of each paragraph, you'll know what paragraph contains the answer to each question. This will save you a lot of time because if you didn't write it down, you would likely need to skim each paragraph for the general idea of the question, then you would need to carefully scan the paragraph for the answer. By noting down each paragraph's main idea, you get to skip the first step of skimming each paragraph and start scanning for the answer.

Step 3

After you've thoroughly skimmed the text and written down some notes, you're ready for Step 3. In this step, you'll need to determine which question type you want to tackle first. A good strategy would be to start with the easier question type and move on to more difficult question types later. The Easiest question types are the ones where you spend less time reading. For example, the Matching Heading question type is an easier one because you only need to find the heading that best describes the main idea of a paragraph, so technically you only need Step 1 and 2 to answer this question type. An example of a difficult question type would be Identifying Information. For this question type, you'll need to read each paragraph to find out if each statement is TRUE, FALSE, or NOT GIVEN according to the passage.

Here is a table that lists the difficulty levels for each question type. Use this table as a reference when choosing which question type you want to tackle first.

Difficulty level Question Type
Easy Match Headings
Short answer
Medium Matching Sentence Endings
Matching Features
Multiple choice
Sentence Completion
Diagram Label, Summary, Note, Table, Flow-Chart Completion
Difficult Match Information
Identifying Information (TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN)
Identifying Viewer's claims (YES/NO/NOT GIVEN)
Step 4

Now that you've figured out which set of questions you'll answer first, it's time to actually answer them :( Don't worry! Although each question type is different, the strategy answer them correctly applies to them all. The basic principle is simple, just follow the steps below:

  1. Read the question carefully and identify important keywords.
  2. Find the paragraph that contains the information needed to answer the question.(Hopefully you already have the general ideas written down for each paragraph, so you can easily figure this out.)
  3. Scan the paragraph for the important keywords (They are most likely a synonyms!) until you locate the part of the text where you need to read carefully.
  4. Finally, read carefully and think critically to determine the correct answer.

Free IELTS Reading Sample PDF Downloads with Answers

Now, it is time to check out some free reading samples from the British Council (the makers of the IELTS exam). Try to answer the questions and see how you do!

All information on this page was referenced from the official IELTS website: www.ielts.org