IELTS Academic Reading Locating Information

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Table of Contents:

  1. IELTS Academic Reading Locating Information 
  2. IELTS Academic Reading Locating Information - Tips & Strategies to Solve 
  3. Locating Information Skill Building Exercise 1
  4. Locating Information Skill Building Exercise 2
  5. Locating Information Skill Building Exercise 3
  6. Answers for Skill Building Exercises
  7. Conclusion

IELTS Academic Reading Locating Information regularly appears in the IELTS Reading test. In this task, the paragraphs/sections of the reading passage will be labelled with alphabets - A, B, C,... and in the question set, there will be a few pieces of information marked with Question numbers. You are required to find out which paragraphs/sections contain the given pieces of information. It will become problematic, if you don’t have the right methods to solve the given questions. Tips, methods and exercises that you’ll see in this post will boost your confidence in answering the questions. 

Locating information question type tests your skimming and scanning skills by asking you to locate the specific information in the paragraph. The fundamental steps that you need to follow is to read the statement, understand it’s main idea and underline the keywords. And, use those keywords to identify the appropriate paragraph to the statement. Repeat this procedure for each statement to finish this task, efficiently. 

It was stated that IELTS Academic Reading Locating Information is one of the challenging IELTS academic reading question types. You can get all the details and information about this question type by reading this post. This will prepare you to ace the IELTS academic reading test.

IELTS Academic Reading Locating Information -Tips & Strategies to Solve 

Enhance your task solving ability with the help of 12 IELTS Academic Reading Locating Information tips and strategies, which we’ve mentioned below. These tips and methods are all created by trained professionals, who are proficient in IELTS academic reading section.

  • Read the instructions carefully. Skimming the whole passage can prove helpful as it gives an idea of the type of information contained in each paragraph.

  • Remember, you are not looking for the gist of the paragraphs, you are searching for specific information. The questions usually indicate what type of information you must look for, such as a description, a reason, examples etc.

  • Sometimes, a paragraph can be used more than once as an answer. Instruction is provided in that case.

  • Read the question and understand what type of information it is. For example, it can be like facts, descriptions or explanations.

  • Read the first labelled paragraph carefully. Now read all the questions and decide if any of the keywords or their synonyms are present in the paragraph. Read the portion carefully and judge whether it conveys the same information as in the question. If so, write the paragraph letter by that question.

  • If you find more than one paragraph containing similar information, re-read the paragraphs and the question and choose the best one. Here you should focus on the synonyms of keywords and paraphrased information.

  • If any relevant information is found, read the portion carefully to decide whether the information matches with the question statement. If so, this could be your possible answer.

  • Be attentive while you’re answering the questions. Good amount of attention prevents errors in the answering process.

  • Scanning proves to be a good method. The nature of scanning is looking for specific information or facts. You can use scanning to locate which paragraph contains given information.

  • Don’t be hasty. Detailed reading is required in order to figure out whether the information exists in the paragraph or not.

  • Use the Process of Elimination.Take the specific statement and eliminate the paragraphs which don't fit with the chosen statement. This technique helps you to choose the suitable answer.
  • Underline the names, places and numbers in the question statements. These are the things you can find easier in the test.

We hope these IELTS academic reading locating information tips and strategies will benefit you for achieving high band scores in the IELTS reading test.

Also read:  IELTS academic reading tips

Challenges faced while answering Locating Information Question

  • Answers can be anywhere in the reading text. So, you need to look at the whole text.
  • More often, the answer might not be the key idea or gist of the paragraph, it can be even some small details in the paragraph.
  • You may come across irrelevant information which could consume your time.

Skills required for answering the Locating Information Question

  • Skimming ability to get the main idea of the paragraph
  • Scanning ability to find the specific information
  • Ability to identify synonyms and paraphrased words

Locating Information Skill Building Exercise 1

Answer questions 1-6 which are based on the reading passage below.

Incredible Journeys

  1. The nervous system of the desert ant Cataglyphis fortis, with around 100,000 neurons, is about 1 millionth the size of a human brain. Yet, in the featureless deserts of Tunisia, this ant can venture over 100 meters from its nest to find food without becoming lost. Imagine randomly wandering 20 kilometres in the open desert, your tracks obliterated by the wind, then turning around and making a beeline to your starting point - and no GPS allowed! That's the equivalent of what the desert ant accomplishes with its scant neural resources. How does it do it?

  2. Jason, a graduate student studying the development of human and animal cognition, discusses a remarkable series of experiments on the desert ant on his blog, The Thoughtful Animal. In work spanning more than 30 years, researchers from Rüdiger Wehner's laboratory at the University of Zurich Institute of Zoology carefully tracked the movements of ants in the desert as the insects foraged for food. One of the researchers' key questions was how the ants calculated the direction to their nest.

  3. To check for the possibility that the ants used landmarks as visual cues, despite the relatively featureless desert landscape, the researchers engaged in a bit of trickery. They placed a food source at a distance from a nest, then tracked the nest's ants until the ants found the food. Once the food was found, the ants were relocated from that point so that the way back to their nest was a different direction than it would have been otherwise. The relocated ants walked away from the nest, in the same direction they should have walked if they had never been moved. This suggested that the ants are not following features, but orienting themselves relative to an internal navigation system or (as turned out to be the case) the position of the Sun in the sky.

  4. No matter how convoluted a route the ants take to find the food, they always return in a straight-line path, heading directly home. The researchers discovered the ants navigation system isn't perfect, small errors arise depending on how circuitous their initial route was. But the ants account for these errors as well, by walking in a corrective zigzag pattern as they approach the nest. So how do the ants know how far to travel? It could still be that they are visually tracking the distance they walk. The researchers tested this by painting over the ants' eyes for their return trip, but the ants still walked the correct distance, indicating that the ants are not using sight to measure their journeys.

  5. Another possibility is that the ants simply count their steps. In a remarkable experiment published in Science in 2006, scientists painstakingly attached 'stilts' made of pig hairs to some of the ants' legs, while other ants had their legs clipped, once they had reached their food target. If the ants counted their steps on the journey out, then the newly short-legged ants should stop short of the nest, while stilted ants should walk past it. Indeed, this is what occurred! Ants count their steps to track their location. (If only you had remembered to do this before you started on your 20-kilometre desert trek!)

  6. But other creatures have different navigation puzzles to solve. In a separate post, Jason explains a study showing how maternal gerbils find their nests. When a baby is removed from the nest, the gerbil mother naturally tries to find and retrieve it. Researchers placed one of the babies in a cup at the centre of a platform, shrouded in darkness. When the mother found the baby, the platform was rotated. Did she head for the new position of her nest, with its scents and sounds of crying babies? No, she went straight to the spot where the nest had been, ignoring all these other cues. For gerbils, relying on the internal representation of their environment normally suffices, so the other information goes unheeded.

  7. Migratory birds, on the other hand, must navigate over much larger distances, some of them returning to the identical geographic spot year after year. How do they manage this trick? One component, University of Auckland researcher and teacher Fabiana Kubke reports, is the ability to detect the Earth's magnetic field. Though we've known about this avian sixth sense for some time, the location of a bird's magnetic detector is still somewhat of a mystery. Last November, however, a team led by Manuela Zapka published a letter in Nature that narrowed the possibilities. Migratory European Robins have magnetic material in their beaks, but also molecules called cryptochromes in the back of their eyes that might be used as a sort of compass. The team systematically cut the connections between these two areas and the Robins' brains, finding that the ability to orient to compass points was only disturbed when the connection to cryptochromes was disrupted.

  8. Much remains to be learned about how birds can successfully migrate over long distances. Unlike ants and gerbils, they can easily correct for large displacements in location and return to the correct spot.

Questions 1- 6


This reading passage has eight paragraphs, A–H.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter, A - H, as your answer to each question.

  1. An explanation of how adjustments are made when navigating
  2. Recent news about how navigation systems work
  3. A comparison of tracking abilities
  4. A study showing that scent and sound are not important
  5. Explaining the importance of counting
  6. A description of how ants navigate

Check answer for this exercise 

Check more IELTS academic reading locating information exercise with answers

Locating Information Skill Building Exercise 2 

Answer questions 1-7 which are based on the reading passage below.

The Dodo

  1. The dodo, formerly known as 'Didus ineptus', has been renamed 'Raphus cuculatus’. The dodo is the most famous extinct species in the history of planet Earth. Its fire contact with Europeans was in 1598, when a Dutch expedition headed by Admiral Jacob Cornelius van Neck landed on an island, thick with dense forests of bamboo and ebony, off the east coast of Africa. The island was named Mauritius by the adventurous and artistic admiral – the first man to draw the extraordinary and unique flightless bird, now universally known as the dodo (from the Dutch word 'dodoor' meaning sluggard) The demise of the dodo has been attributed to hungry Dutch sailors en route to the Spice Islands of Indonesia. They would take a dinner break on the tropical island and consume the defenceless dodo, but it was clearly an acquired taste as the sailors named it ‘valghvogel’ - meaning disgusting bird.

  2. The island of Mauritius is only 10 million years old, and until the arrival of European settlers, there were no island predators to threaten the easy-going existence of the dodo, a bird that had evolved from the African fruit-eating pigeons of the genus 'Treron'. This benign, predator-free paradise had allowed the dodo to evolve into a pedestrian bird with tiny wings unable to rise even a few inches off the ground. The dodo was no match for the cunning, domestic pets of Europe and within less than a 100 years after the first landing of van Neck and his band of adventurers, the dodo was extinct -- the last egg devoured, no doubt, by an overstuffed rat whose ancestors had emigrated from the sewers of Amsterdam with the original Dutch colonists.

  3. The popular image of a fat and stupid creature comes from the celebrated painting the dodo by Jan Savery (1589–1654). On his visits to the Oxford University Museum, Lewis Carroll was inspired by this image and the only remaining dodo skull and claw (both are still on display there) to create his own fictionalversion for ‘Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' - "When they had been running for half an hour, or so, the Dodo suddenly called out, 'The race is over', and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, ‘But who has won?’”

  4. That image of the weird, flightless, dim-witted dodo is now being challenged by contemporary scientific research. Dr Andrew Kitchener has created two life-size reproductions of the dodo - one is housed in the Royal Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, and the other is in the Oxford University Museum. They are based on research using hundreds of actual dodo skeletons and bones unearthed by naturalists in the Mare aux Songes swamp in South-East Mauritius.

  5. The new slimmer streamline dodo is very different from the fat cuddly buffoon celebrated in the picture of Jan Savery. Dr Kitchener's research presents us with a lithe, active, smart dodo superbly adapted to live and survive prosperously in the forests of its native Mauritius. The popular image of a fat, immobile, flightless dodo was drawn by Savery and his contemporaries because the live specimens that they used as models had been shipped over to Europe on a diet of ships biscuits and weevils and then overstuffed by their overzealous owners as they exhibited them to the general public.

  6. In 1991 further credence was given to this new image of the dodo when a series of long-lost drawings by Harmenszoon dating from 1601 was discovered in the Hague after having been lost for over 150 years. These drawings confirm the thin streamline image first seen in van Neck's drawings of the dodo frsual, careless extinction will continue to fascinate generations to come.

Questions 1- 7

This reading passage has eight paragraphs, A–F.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter, A - F, as your answer to each question.

Note: You may use any letter more than once. 

  1. The reason for the dodo being a flightless bird
  2. Reference to a study on which a new theory about dodo is based
  3. Mention of the type of vegetation found at a place
  4. Two contrasting depictions of the dodo
  5. Reference to the birth of a fictional character
  6. Further evidence supporting the new perception of the dodo
  7. The reason for the wrong portrayal of the dodo

Check answer for this exercise

Attempt this free IELTS academic reading locating information mock test 

Locating Information Skill Building Exercise 3 

Answer questions 1-6 which are based on the reading passage below.

World's oldest leather shoe found in Armenia

  1. A perfectly preserved shoe, 1,000 years older than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt and 400 years older than Stonehenge in the UK, has been found in a cave in Armenia. The 5,500- year-old shoe, the oldest leather shoe in the world, was discovered by a team of international archaeologists.

  2. The cow-hide shoe dates back to 3,500 BC (the Chalcolithic period) and is in perfect condition. It was made of a single piece of leather and was shaped to fit the wearer’s foot. It contained grass; although the archaeologists were uncertain as to whether this was to keep the foot warm or to maintain the shape of the shoe, a precursor to the modern shoe-tree perhaps? “It is not known whether the shoe belonged to a man or woman,” said lead author of the research, Dr Ron Pinhasi, University College Cork, Ireland “as, while small, (European size 37; US size 7 women), the shoe could well have fitted a man from that era.” The cave is situated in the Vayotz Dzor province of Armenia, on the Armenian, Iranian, Nakhichevanian and Turkish borders, and was known to regional archaeologists due to its visibility from the highway below.

  3. The stable, cool and dry conditions in the cave resulted in exceptional preservation of the various objects that were found, which included large containers, many of which held well-preserved wheat and barley, apricots and other edible plants. The preservation was also helped by the fact that the floor of the cave was covered by a thick layer of sheep dung which acted as a solid seal over the objects, preserving them beautifully over the millennia!

  4. “We thought initially that the shoe and other objects were about 600-700 years old because they were in such good condition,” said Dr Pinhasi. “It was only when the material was dated by the two radiocarbon laboratories in Oxford, UK, and in California, US that we realised that the shoe was older by a few hundred years than the shoes worn by Ötzi, the Iceman.” Three samples were taken to determine the absolute age of the shoe and all three tests produced the same results. The archaeologists cut two small strips of leather off the shoe, and sent one strip to the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit at the University of Oxford and another to the University of California – Irvine Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility. A piece of grass from the shoe was also sent to Oxford to be dated and both shoe, and grass were shown to be the same age.

  5. The shoe was discovered by Armenian PhD student, Ms Diana Zardaryan, of the Institute of Archaeology, Armenia, in a pit that also included a broken pot and wild goat horns. “I was amazed to find that even the shoe-laces were preserved,” she recalled. “We couldn’t believe the discovery,” said Dr Gregory Areshian, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, US, co-director who was at the site with Mr Boris Gasparyan, co-director, Institute of Archaeology, Armenia when the shoe was found. “The crusts had sealed the artefacts, and archaeological deposits and artefacts remained fresh dried, just like they were put in a can,” he said.

  6. The oldest known footwear in the world, to the present time, are sandals made of plant material, that were found in a cave in the Arnold Research Cave in Missouri in the US. Other contemporaneous sandals were found in the Cave of the Warrior, Judean Desert, Israel, but these were not directly dated so that their age is based on various other associated artefacts found in the cave.

  7. Interestingly, the shoe is very similar to the pampooties worn on the Aran Islands (in the West of Ireland) up to the 1950s. “In fact, enormous similarities exist between the manufacturing technique and style of this shoe and those found across Europe at later periods, suggesting that this type of shoe was worn for thousands of years across a large and environmentally diverse region,” said Dr Pinhasi.

  8. “We do not know yet what the shoe or other objects were doing in the cave or what the purpose of the cave was,” said Dr Pinhasi. “We know that there are children’s graves at the back of the cave, but so little is known about this period that we cannot say with any certainty why all these different objects were found together.” The team will continue to excavate the many chambers of the cave.


Questions 1- 6

This reading passage has eight paragraphs, A–H.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter, A - H, as your answer to each question.

Note: You may use any letter more than once. 

  1. Testing different parts of the shoe to confirm the age
  2. Comparison of an artefact with ancient monuments
  3. Mention of a particular footwear of relatively modern era
  4. Unanswered questions about the shoe
  5. Mention of natural factors that aided conservation of the artefacts
  6. A reference to limited knowledge restricting conclusion

Check answer for this exercise

Check more IELTS academic reading locating information practice questions 

Answers for Skill Building Exercises 

Answer for Skill Building Exercise 1 - (Incredible Journeys) 

(Note: The text in italics is from the reading passage and shows the location from where the answer is taken or inferred. The text in regular font explains the answer in detail.)

Paragraph D

Explanation: The researchers discovered that the ants’ navigation system isn’t perfect;... But the ants account for these errors as well, by walking in a corrective zigzag pattern as they approach the nest.

Paragraph G 

Explanation: Last November, however, a team led by Manuela Zapka published a letter in Nature that narrowed the possibilities. Migratory European Robins have magnetic material in their beaks, but also molecules called cryptochromes in the back of their eyes that might be used as a sort of compass. 

Paragraph A 

Explanation: Yet, in the featureless deserts of Tunisia, this ant can venture over 100 meters from its nest to find food without becoming lost. Imagine randomly wandering 20 kilometres in the open desert, your tracks obliterated by the wind, then turning around and making a beeline to your starting point - and no GPS allowed! That's the equivalent of what the desert ant accomplishes with its scant neural resources.

Paragraph F 

Explanation: Did she head for the new position of her nest, with its scents and sounds of crying babies? No, she went straight to the spot where the nest had been, ignoring all these other cues. For gerbils, relying on the internal representation of their environment normally suffices, so the other information goes unheeded.

Paragraph E 

Explanation: If the ants counted their steps on the journey out, then the newly short-legged ants should stop short of the nest, while stilted ants should walk past it. Indeed, this is what occurred! Ants count their steps to track their location.

Paragraph C 

Explanation:  This suggested that the ants are not following features, but orienting themselves relative to an internal navigation system or (as turned out to be the case) the position of the Sun in the sky.

Answer for Skill Building Exercise 2 - (The Dodo) 

(Note: The text in italics is from the reading passage and shows the location from where the answer is taken or inferred. The text in regular font explains the answer in detail.)

  1. Paragraph B 
    Explanation: This benign, predator free paradise had allowed the dodo to evolve into a pedestrian bird with tiny wings unable to rise even a few inches off the ground
  2. Paragraph D 
    Explanation: That image of the weird, flightless, dim-witted dodo is now being challenged by contemporary scientific research... They are based on research using hundreds of actual dodo skeletons and bones unearthed by naturalists in the Mare aux Songes swamp in South East Mauritius.
  3. Paragraph А 
    Explanation: ... when a Dutch expedition headed by Admiral Jacob Cornelius van Neck landed on an island, thick with dense forests of bamboo and ebony, off the east coast of Africa
  4. Paragraph E 
    Explanation: The new slimmer streamline dodo is very different from the fat cuddly buffoon celebrated in the picture of Jan Savery.
  5. Paragraph C 
    Explanation: On his visits to the Oxford University Museum, Lewis Carroll was inspired by this image and the only remaining dodo skull and claw (both are still on display there) to create his own fictional version for 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'...
  6. Paragraph F 
    Explanation: In 1991 further credence was given to this new image of the dodo when a series of long-lost drawings by Harmenszoon dating from 1601 was discovered in the Hague ...
  7. Paragraph E 
    Explanation: The popular image of a fat, immobile, flightless dodo was drawn by Savery and his contemporaries because the live specimens that they used as models had been shipped over to Europe on a diet of ships biscuits and weevils and then overstuffed by their overzealous owners as they exhibited them to the general public.
Answer for Skill Building Exercise 3 - (World's oldest leather shoe found in Armenia) 

(Note: The text in italics is from the reading passage and shows the location from where the answer is taken or inferred. The text in regular font explains the answer in detail.)

  1. Paragraph D 
    Explanation:  The archaeologists cut two small strips of leather off the shoe, and sent one strip to the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit at the University of Oxford and another to the University of California...A piece of grass from the shoe was also sent to Oxford to be dated and both shoe, and grass were shown to be the same age.
  2. Paragraph A 
    Explanation: A perfectly preserved shoe, 1,000 years older than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt and 400 years older than Stonehenge in the UK, has been found in a cave in Armenia.
  3. Paragraph G 
    Explanation: Interestingly, the shoe is very similar to the pampooties worn on the Aran Islands (in the West of Ireland) up to the 1950s.
  4. Paragraph B 
    Explanation: It contained grass; although the archaeologists were uncertain as to whether this was to keep the foot warm or to maintain the shape of the shoe, a precursor to the modern shoe-tree perhaps? “It is not known whether the shoe belonged to a man or woman,” said lead author of the research, Dr Ron Pinhasi,...
  5. Paragraph C  
    Explanation: The stable, cool and dry conditions in the cave resulted in exceptional preservation of the various objects that were found,...The preservation was also helped by the fact that the floor of the cave was covered by a thick layer of sheep dung which acted as a solid seal over the objects, preserving them beautifully over the millennia!
  6. Paragraph H 
    Explanation: ...so little is known about this period that we cannot say with any certainty why all these different objects were found together.

Also check IELTS academic reading true - false - not given

Click the following link to practice locating information with other question types to improve your reading skills and check the answers for feedback:

Conclusion

These tips, strategies and exercises will definitely upgrade your capability in solving IELTS academic reading locating information. But, the real change comes only if you start applying this in your regular practice. So, use these tips for answering previous IELTS question papers. If you have any questions or suggestions, email us. 

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