IELTS Academic Reading Short Answer Questions

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Table of Contents

  1. IELTS Academic Reading Short Answer Questions 
  2. IELTS Academic Reading Short Answer Questions - Strategies & Tips to Solve
  3. Challenges faced while answering Short Answer Questions
  4. Skills required for answering Short Answer Questions
  5. Short Answer Questions Skill Building Exercise 1 
  6. Short Answer Questions Skill Building Exercise 2 
  7. Short Answer Questions Skill Building Exercise 3
  8. Answers For Skill Building Exercises 
  9. Conclusion 


IELTS academic reading short answer questions is one of the common 14 question types in the reading section. Here you will be answering the questions by choosing the one to three words from the reading passage. The answer must be within the word limit mentioned in the instructions. You will find answering this question type difficult as it demands you to read the passage in detail. We are making it easier for you through our tips and strategies given in this blog. 

"IELTS academic reading short answer questions consist of open ended questions which will requires you to answer within 1 to 3 words based on the reading passage." The important point to remember here is that you cannot write answers on your own, rather you must pick up the words from the passage. This task requires skimming and scanning skills to perform well. 

In this article, we are sharing all the necessary information required for clearing the IELTS Academic Reading Short Answer Questions as this is one of the crucial IELTS academic reading question types . Tips and Exercises given in this blog, can develop your skills and ability to answer the questions in an efficient way. Therefore, it also helps you to obtain a good overall score in the IELTS Academic reading section.

IELTS Academic Reading Short Answer Questions - Strategies & Tips to Solve 

In this article, we offer you 12 IELTS Academic Reading Short Answer Questions tips and strategies, which are recommended by IELTS experts. These tips will remove your worries and complexities in answering the IELTS academic reading short answer questions.

  • Read the instructions carefully. Your answer will be marked wrong if it exceeds the word/ number limit.
  • Read the first question. Determine what type of information is asked. Focus on the Wh-words. These questions ask for What, Where, Which, and When or a number (How much or How many)
  • Also, identify the keyword(s) and with their help locate the part in the passage where the information is present.
  • Now, look for the specific detail which is asked in the question. For example, if the question starts with ‘What’, the answer is usually a noun, i.e. the name of a thing, place, process, phenomenon, etc. Similarly, ‘When’ will be answered by a word or number indicating time, and ‘Where’ by a place, destination.
  • Repeat the procedure with other questions. The questions are in progressive order.
  • The words must be chosen from the passage that they’ve given.
  • Restrain your mind from formulating opinions for the given questions. Focus on choosing words from the passage to answer. 
  • Employ the skimming technique. Skimming helps you to get the main ideas of the passage. This technique aids you to locate which portion of the passage relates to the given questions.
  • Figure out the focus of the question. It steers you in the right direction.
  • Be cautious on the spelling of the words, when you copy from the text. 
  • Scan to locate the keywords in the passage. It makes the process easier and faster.
  • Sometimes, questions contain the synonyms of the words in the passages. Hence, Being informed about synonyms is helpful for this task.

Thousands of students reported that these 12 IELTS academic reading short answer questions tips and strategies increased their confidence while answering short answer questions. 

Also read: IELTS academic reading tips

Challenges faced while answering Short Answer Questions 

  • You may write your own words to answer instead of picking it up from the passage. 
  • You might exceed the word limit while answering the questions. 
  • Words can be misspelt while copying from the text. 

Skills required for answering Short Answer Questions

  • Skimming to get the general idea of the passages.
  • Scanning to look for specific information.
  • Keywords identification
  • Paraphrasing skill to understand the question statements.

Short Answer Questions Skill Building Exercise 1

Answer questions 1-8 which are based on the reading passage below.

The Dingo - An Australian Pest

The origins of the dingo are obscure, and there is much controversy connected with this. It is not truly native to Australia but is thought to have arrived between 3,500 and 4,000 years ago. Whatever its origins, the dingo was a highly valued companion to the aborigines. They were hunting companions, guard dogs, and they kept them warm at night.

Some believe they were brought here on rafts or boats by the ancestral aborigines. It has also been suggested that they came with Indonesian or South-East Asian fishermen who visited the northern coast of Australia.

The dingo can be found in all areas of Australia - from harsh deserts to lush rainforest The highly adaptable dingo is found in every habitat and every state of Australia,except Tasmania. In deserts, access to drinking water determines where the animal can live. Purebred dingo numbers in the wild are declining as man encroaches deeper and deeper into wilderness areas, often accompanied by his domestic dog.

The dingo is different from the modern dog in several ways: it does not bark, it has a different gait, and its ears are always erect. Dingoes are naturally lean, and they are usually cream to reddish-yellow with white points, some are black with tan points. An adult dingo stands more than 60cm high and weighs about 15kg. It is slightly smaller than a German Shepherd.

In its natural state, the dingo lives either alone or in a small group, unlike many other wild dog species which may form packs. Dingoes have a clearly defined territory which they rarely leave and which they protect from other dingoes, but which may be shared with dingoes when they form a group to hunt larger prey. The size of the home territory varies according to the food supply. Dingoes hunt mainly at night. Groups are controlled by dominant male. Members of a group maintain contact by marking rocks and trees within the territory, and by howling, particularly in the breeding season.

The dingo's diet consists of native mammals, including kangaroos, although domestic animals and some farm stock are also on the menu. This makes the animal unpopular with farmers. The dingo is thought to have contributed to the mainland extinction of the thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) through increased competition for food.

The dingo is an intelligent animal. It is no more dangerous to man than any other feral dog. The natural prey of the dingo is small mammals and ground-dwelling birds, but with the introduction of white settlement, they became such a menace to sheep, calves and poultry that measures had to be taken in an attempt to control them, such as dog-proof fences.

Dingoes start breeding when they reach the age of one or two but only the dominant members within an established group breed. They breed only once a year. Mating usually occurs in autumn/early winter, and after a gestation of nine weeks (same as domestic dogs), a litter averaging 4-5 pups is born, which are reared in a hollow log, a rock-shelter, or an old rabbit warren. Both parents take part in raising the pups. The pups are fully grown at seven months of age. A dingo may live for up to ten years.

Wild dingoes are wary of humans and do not attack unless provoked. They will approach camps in the bush looking for food or perhaps out of curiosity. Dingoes can be kept as pets but should be obtained at a very young age to enable them to bond with humans. Even when raised from pups they never seem to lose their instinct for killing poultry or small animals. Not all states in Australia allow dingoes to be kept as pets and a permit is required. The export of dingoes is illegal.

Dingoes and domestic dogs interbreed freely resulting in very few pure-bred, southern or eastern Australia. This threatens the dingo's ability to survive as a separate species. Public hostility is another threat to the dingo. Because it takes some livestock, the dingo is considered by many to be a pest.

Questions 1-8

Answer the questions below.

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

  1. What factor decides where the dingo can live in a desert?
  2. Which physical characteristic distinguishes a dingo from a domesticated dog?
  3. What term refers to a group of wild dogs?
  4. What determines the vastness of the area occupied by the dingoes? Which landscape features are used by the group to remain connected?
  5. Which landscape features are used by the group to remain connected?
  6. What animal might have been wiped out due to the dingo?
  7. What has been made to protect the livestock from the dingoes?
  8. What do many people regard the dingo as?

Check answer for this exercise

Check more IELTS academic reading short answer questions exercise with answers 

Short Answer Questions Skill Building Exercise 2

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

The Halifax Explosion

Before the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, the largest-ever non-naturl explosion had taken place in 1917 in the eastern Canadian port city of Halifax. With the outbreak of World War I, Halifax was effectively transformed into a boomtown. Convoys gathered weekly in Bedford Basin (the north-western end of Halifax Harbour) to traverse the Atlantic, and Halifax Harbour became heavy with vessels of one variety or another. This spike in boat traffic was not dealt with efficiently, and collisions became almost normal.

On December 1st, 1917, the French vessel Mont Blanc left New York to join a convoy in Halifax after being loaded with 226,797 kilograms of TNT (an explosive), 223,188 kilograms of benzol (a type of gasoline), 1,602,519 kilograms of wet picric acid (an explosive), and 544,311 kilograms of dry picric acid (another explosive). On December 6", the Mont Blanc was ushered into Halifax's harbour after the U-boat nets had been raised.

At the same time, the cargoless Norwegian ship, Imo, left Bedford Basin en route to New York in order to pick up relief items for transport to war-torn Belgium. Imo was behind schedule and attempting to remedy that. She passed a boat on  the wrong side before sending a tugboat retreating to port. By the time she reached the Narrows, she was in the wrong channel and going too fast. The Mont Blanc sounded her whistle, but the Imo sounded back twice, refusing to alter course. At the last moment, the Mont Blanc veered, and the Imo reversed, but it was too late. From the gash formed in the French boat's hull seeped a noxious spiral of oily, orange-dappled smoke. Mont Blanc's crew rowed to shore on the Dartmouth side, but no one could decipher their warnings. Their fiery vessel then casually drifted toward the Halifax side where it came to rest against one of the piers.

This spectacle drew thousands of onlookers. People crowded docks and windows filled with curious faces. As many as 1,600 died instantly when the boat exploded. Around 9,000 were injured, 6,000 seriously so. Approximately 12,000 buildings were severely damaged; virtually every building in town was damaged to some extent; 1,630 were rendered nonexistent. Around 6,000 people were made homeless, and 25,000 people (half the population) were left without suitable housing.

The Halifax Explosion, as it became known, was the largest manmade detonation to date, approximately one-fifth the ferocity of the bomb later dropped on Hiroshima. It sent up a column of smoke reckoned to be 7,000 metres in height. It was felt more than 480 kilometres away. It flung a ship gun barrel some 5.5 kilometres, and part of an anchor, which weighed 517 kilograms, around 3 kilometres. The blast absolutely flattened a district known as Richmond. It also caused a tsunami that saw a wave 18 metres above the highwater mark deposit the Imo onto the shore of the Dartmouth side. The pressure wave of air that was produced snapped trees, bent iron rails, and grounded ships. That evening, a blizzard commenced, and it would continue until the next day, leaving 40 centimetres of snow in its wake. Consequently, many of those trapped within collapsed structures died of exposure. Historians put the death toll of the Halifax Explosion at approximately 2,000.

(Adapted from a passage in: A Sort of Homecoming – In Search of Canada by Troy Parfitt)

Questions 1-7

Answer the questions below.

Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.

  1. What cargo, apart from explosives, was the Mont Blanc carrying? 
  2. What was the final intended destination of the Imo? 
  3. What part of the Mont Blanc was damaged due to the collision? 
  4. What was the number of immediate fatalities due to the explosion? 
  5. Where has the most massive human-made explosion taken place to date?
  6. What place was entirely devastated by the explosion? 
  7. What threw the Imo off to the shore?

Check answer for this exercise 

Attempt this free IELTS academic reading matching heading short answer questions mock test

Short Answer Questions Skill Building Exercise 3

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

Vancouver

Vancouver is quite different from virtually any other city in North America. Despite the fact it is a large modern cosmopolitan city, it seems to have a relaxed, small-town, close-to-nature feel about it. There is little comparison with other large Canadian cities such as Toronto or Montreal, which are more akin to the large eastern US centres like New York and Chicago. Vancouver, like all large North American cities, is a conglomerate of high-rise cubic office towers, although urban planners have kept the heights down. There are, however, some notable exceptions such as the Marine Building at the north foot of Burrard Street, once the tallest structure in the British Empire, the courthouse at Howe & Robson, and the library at Georgia & Hamilton.


Vancouver offers a wide range of attractions catering to all tastes but those with only a day to spare cannot be better advised than to take one of the many organised excursions recommended by the Vancouver Tourist Office.


Stanley Park, a 1,000-acre nature preserve, is Vancouver’s best-known landmark and a must for any visitor. It was established in 1887 and, in the opinion of many, is the most beautiful urban park in the world. Contrary to popular belief, this park was not established through the foresight of the city council of the day, but at the urging of a real estate developer called Oppenheimer. He is now considered the father of Stanley Park. All areas of the park are accessible to the public except for Dead Man’s Island, which has a small naval base.


The Eco Walk is a fun and informative way to see the park. The guide gives information on the trees, plants, birds and animals as well as on the rich aboriginal culture and legends of the park. The walking is medium paced, taking 3 hours to complete and covering 5 miles of relatively flat paved and gravelled trails over the selected seawall and forest paths. This walk is suitable for families, including active seniors.
There is also a world-class aquarium in the park and was the first to have killer whales in captivity and probably the first one to stop making them into a side-show. The aquarium feels the purpose of keeping the whales, namely re-educating the public and stopping the hunting of them, has been accomplished. In 2000, the last remaining killer whale at the aquarium was sold to Sealand in California, where it died shortly after arriving. The main threat to the park is the sheer volume of people who want to be in it. Efforts are being made to restrict the amount of automobile traffic passing through it. One of the ultimate goals is to eliminate the causeway leading to Lions Gate Bridge, but this will not likely occur until well into the 21st century.


Beaches are also a big attraction and temperatures are usually high enough to tempt most people to have a swim. However, one of the biggest days on these beaches is on New Year’s Day when the annual “Polar Bear Swim” attracts several hundred die-hard individuals out to prove that Vancouver is a year-round swimming destination.


Chinatown is North America’s third largest, in terms of area, after San Francisco and New York. It is steeped in history and is well worth walking around. It is most active on Sundays when people head to any of a wide selection of restaurants that offer dim sum. Chinatown also contains the world’s thinnest building at only 1.8 metres wide.


Questions 1-6

Answer the questions below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.

  1. What makes Vancouver similar to the big cities of North America?
  2. What famous building was once the highest in the British Empire?
  3. What was the profession of the park’s founding father?
  4. What is one of the final aims of the park?
  5. What event tries to encourage people to swim?
  6. What can you eat in Chinatown?

Check answer for this exercise

Check more IELTS academic reading short answer question practice questions 

Answers For Skill Building Exercises

Answers For Skill Building Exercise 1

(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 the regular font explains the answer in detail.)

1. Drinking water (or) access to water

Explanation: Paragraph 3 - In deserts, access to drinking water determines where the animal can live.

The answer is ‘drinking water’ or ‘access to water’ and not ‘access to drinking water’ as the word limit is of three words.

2. (always) (erect) ears 

Explanation: Paragraph 4 - The dingo is different from the modern dog in several ways: it does not bark, it has a different gait, and its ears are always erect.

3. Packs

Explanation: Paragraph 5 - In its natural state, the dingo lives either alone or in a small group, unlike many other wild dog species which may form packs.

4. (the) food supply 

Explanation: Paragraph 5 - The size of the home territory varies according to the food supply.

5. Trees (and) rocks

Explanation: Paragraph 5 - Members of a group maintain contact by marking rocks and trees within their territory,...

6. Thylacine (or) Tasmanian tiger

Explanation: Paragraph 6 - The dingo is thought to have contributed to the mainland extinction of the thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) through increased competition for food.

7. Dog-proof fences

Explanation: Paragraph 7. ... they became such a menace to sheep, calves and poultry that measures had to be taken in an attempt to control them, such as dog-proof fences.

8. a) pest

Explanation: Paragraph 10 - Because it takes some livestock, the dingo is considered many to be a pest.

Answers For Skill Building Exercise 2

(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 the regular font explains the answer in detail.)

1. Gasoline (or) benzol 

Explanation: Paragraph 2 - ...the French vessel Mont Blanc left New York in order a convoy in Halifax after being loaded with 226,797 kilograms of TNT (an expl 223,188 kilograms of benzol (a type of gasoline), 1,602,519 kilograms of wet picric a ), and 544,311 kilograms of dry picric acid (another explosive).

2. Belgium

Explanation: Paragraph 3 - At the same time, the cargoless Norwegian ship, Imo, left Basin en route to New York to pick up relief items for transport to war-torn Belgium.

New York is not the answer because it was a halt on the way to Belgium.

3. Hull

Explanation: Paragraph 3- At the last moment, the Mont Blanc veered, and the Imo reversed, but it was too late. From the gash formed in the French boat's hull seeped a noxious spiral of oily, orange-dappled smoke.

4. 1600

Explanation: Paragraph 4 - As many as 1,600 died instantly when the boat exploded.

5. Hiroshima

Explanation: Paragraph 5 - The Halifax Explosion, as it became known, was the largest manmade detonation to date, approximately one fifth the ferocity of the bomb later dropped on Hiroshima.

In this question, 'Halifax" may seem to be the answer instantly. Although Halifax is mentioned as what ".......was the largest manmade detonation to date.”, it is compared to the bomb dropped later on Hiroshima. The intensity of the Hiroshima explosion was five times that of Halifax and so the biggest explosion “to date”. "To date” in the question is in reference to the present time.

6. Richmond

Explanation: Paragraph 5 - The blast absolutely flattened a district known as Richmond.

7. (a) wave (or) (a) tsunami

Explanation: Paragraph 5 - It also caused a tsunami that saw a wave 18 metres high-water mark deposit the Imo onto the shore of the Dartmouth side.

Answers For Skill Building Exercise 3

(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 the regular font explains the answer in detail.)

1. cubic office towers

Explanation: Paragraph 1Vancouver, like all large North American cities, is a conglomerate of high-rise cubic office towers

2. Marine Building

Explanation: Paragraph 1 – …the Marine Building at the north foot of Burrard Street, once the tallest structure in the British Empire, the courthouse at Howe & Robson,…

3. Real estate developer

Explanation: Paragraph 3 – … at the urging of a real estate developer called Oppenheimer. He is now considered the father of Stanley Park.

4. eliminate the causeway

Explanation: Paragraph 5 One of the ultimate goals is to eliminate the causeway leading to Lions Gate Bridge, but this will not likely occur until well into the 21st century.

5. Polar Bear Swim

Explanation: Paragraph 6However, one of the biggest days on these beaches is on New Year’s Day when the annual “Polar Bear Swim” attracts several hundred die-hard individuals out to prove that Vancouver is a year-round swimming destination.

6. dim sum

Explanation: Paragraph 7Chinatown is North America’s third largest, in terms of area, … It is most active on Sundays when people head to any of a wide selection of restaurants that offer dim sum.

Also check IELTS academic reading notes completion

Click the following link to practice short answer questions with other question types to upgrade and refine your reading skills and check the answers:

Conclusion

We believe you have understood the tips, and strategies and practised the exercises to ace the IELTS Academic Reading Short Answer Questions. These will increase your chances of achieving an 8+ band score. 

 

 

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Global Headquarters

Kanan Intl EdTech Inc

229, Yonge Street Suite 450 Toronto Ontario, Canada M5B 1N9

India Headquarters

Kanan International Pvt. Ltd.

D-wing, 2nd Floor, Trident Complex, Ellora Park Vadiwadi Road, Vadodara, Gujarat 390007

IT/ Digital Campus

Chennai Office

132, Habibullah Rd, Satyamurthy Nagar, T. Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600017

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About Kanan International

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Copyright © 2022 KANAN INT EDTECH INC. All rights reserved.