IELTS General Reading Short Answer Questions

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Table of Contents

  1. IELTS General Reading Short Answer Questions
  2. IELTS General Reading Short Answer Questions - Strategies & tips to solve
  3. Skills required to solve short answer questions
  4. Common challenges faced while 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 Exercise
  9. Conclusion

IELTS General Reading Short Answer Questions is designed to test your scanning skills. In this task, you will be given a list of questions which are taken from the reading passages. You are required to answer those questions with the help of reading passages. Make sure you pick the words from the passages to answer the questions. Knowing several tips can speed up your answering process.  

Short answer questions ask you a list of questions which are derived from the reading passages. You need to pick appropriate words from the passages as an answer to the questions. Try to understand what type of questions listed out. It will navigate you through the reading passages. 

Short answer question is both the easiest and trickiest IELTS general reading question type. In this blog, you will get 12 IELTS general reading short answer questions tips which will boost up your performance in the IELTS general reading test. As an added benefit, we also provided 3 skill building exercises to practice the questions. 

IELTS General Reading Short Answer Questions - Strategies & tips to solve

Below, you will find 12 IELTS general reading short answer questions tips and strategies which are preferred by hundreds of IELTS students. Read these tips carefully to crack the short answer questions better. 

  • Instructions need to be read carefully. If you exceed the given word limit, then you will lose the mark. 
  • Read the question and understand what type of information is asked. Consider the Wh-words such as What, Where, Which and When or a number (How much or How many). It will navigate while you are reading the passages. 
  • Highlight the keywords and locate the part in the passage with the help of keywords, where the required information is present. 
  • Look for the details which are specifically asked in the question. For instance, if the first question begins with ‘What’, it will denote the name of a thing, place, process, phenomenon, etc. Also, if it begins with ‘When’, it indicates time. 
  • The questions will be in the same order as it is in the passage. It is referred to as “Progressive order of questions”. 
  • The words must be picked up from the passages while answering the questions. 
  • Do not write your own answers to the given questions. 
  • Skim the passages to grasp the main ideas. It can help you locate where the information is present in the passage. 
  • Identify the focus of the question. It helps you to understand which type of information is required. 
  • Don’t misspell the words when you write the answers in your answer sheet. 
  • Scan the passages to identify the keywords. It speeds up the answering process.
  • It is possible to ask questions which contain synonyms of the words in the passage. Having a good repertoire of synonyms will be helpful. 

Help yourself with these IELTS general reading short answer questions tips and strategies to answer the questions within a minimum amount of time. 

Also read: IELTS general reading tips

Skills required to solve short answer questions

  • Skimming to get the main ideas of the passages.
  • Scan the passages to find the specific facts or information.
  • Able to identify the keywords.
  • Able to paraphrase the question statement to understand it precisely. 

Common challenges faced while answering short answer questions

  • You might write your own choice of words as an answer to the questions that will lose your mark. You must pick the words from the passages. 
  • You could exceed the given word lime when answering the question.
  • You might misspell the words while copying from the passages. 

Short Answer Questions Skill Building Exercise 1

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

Jumping Spiders


The element of surprise is important for a stalking predator. Jumping spiders sneaking out to other webs will become prey on their owners. There is a difference between having lunch and becoming lunch for others. Zoologists discovered the tactics of the spiders: creeping forward when their prey's web is vibrating. 

Portia jumping spiders as a fifteen known species are relatively small, with adults being about two centimeters long. They normally live in the webs of other spiders. Portia spiders live usually in tropical forests, where one can find the climate humid and hot. They hunt other spiders to survive; sometimes they will fall into a trap. 'They will attack something about twice their own size if they are really hungry,' says Stimson Wilcox of Binghamton University in New York State.Kristen Gentile of the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, Wilcox and his colleague,  wanted to find out how Portia spiders keep the upper hand.

Each jumping spider has bigger eyes which resemble binocular lenses, and their function is pretty similar. Jumping spider locates its prey visually, and then jumps and captures from one centimeter to over ten centimeters away. Only some species of jumping spiders invade the webs of other spiders, and the Portia spider is one of them. Jumping spiders, including Portia spiders, stalks to prey on insects and other arthropods. Sometimes the spiders attract the victims attention by vibrating the web to imitate the struggles of a trapped insect. But, many web-weaving spiders know these tricks, so stalking is a better strategy. Sometimes, the researchers found, Portia spiders take advantage of the vibrations generated in the web by a gentle breeze. But if necessary, they will generate their own vibrations.

The researchers introduced various prey spiders to spin webs in the laboratory and then introduced Portia spiders. The zoologists used either a model aircraft propeller in order to simulate the shaking effect of a breeze. The researchers noticed that the stalking Portia spiders moved more when the webs were shaking than when they were stilt and they were more able to capture their prey during tests. Spiders do not attempt to change their movements when it is placed onto unoccupied webs.

Questions 1-7

Answer the questions below.

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

  1. Who discovered the tactics of the spiders ?
  2. Which type of spiders mostly live in tropical forests ?
  3. Who claims that Portia spiders attack other species twice on their own when they are really hungry ?
  4. What do jumping spider's eyes look like ?
  5. How jumping spiders locate their prey ?
  6. Which model that zoologists used to simulate a shaking effect of a breeze ?
  7. Where will the spider not change its movements ?

Check answer for this exercise

Check more IELTS general 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 Role of Government in environmental management 

Governments have a necessary role to play in environmental management. When the state attempts to manage the resources it owns, it often fails miserably. Governments, on the other hand, frequently act in ways that are far more damaging. They subsidise natural resource extraction and consumption. Various policies, ranging from farm price support to coal mining protection, harm the environment and (often) make little economic sense. Scrapping these governmental policies reaps us two benefits: it cleans up the environment and makes the economy more efficient.

Some of the actions have the potential to harm the environment such as deforestation, chemical fertilisers and pesticides that may contaminate water supplies; more intensive farming tends to exacerbate soil erosion, and the spread of monoculture and the use of high-yielding crop varieties has been accompanied by the disappearance of old varieties of food plants that might have provided some protection against pests or diseases in the future.

Soil erosion is a danger to land productivity. Both affluent and poor countries are affected. In 1982, scientists in the United States determined that around one-fifth of the country's cropland was losing topsoil at a rate that was expected to reduce the soil's productivity. Following that, the country began a programme to convert 11% of its agricultural land into meadow or woodland. India and China are losing topsoil at a significantly greater rate than the United States.

Questions 1-7

Answer the questions below.

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

  1. Who has a necessary role to play in environmental management ?
  2. How many benefits will we get if we scrap the government policies ?
  3. What will get contaminated if actions such as deforestation are executed ?
  4. What is considered as a danger to land productivity ?
  5. Which is expected to reduce soil’s productivity ?
  6. Which countries are losing topsoil compared to the United States ?

Check answer for this exercise

Attempt this free IELTS general reading short answer questions mock test

Short Answer Questions Skill Building Exercise 3

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

The conquest of malaria in Italy

Malaria is an illness which is caused by Plasmodium parasites. It transmits to humans by the biting of mosquitoes. This horrible disease affected the life of those who have existed on the peninsula for thousands of years. In 1861, Giuseppe Garibaldi’s wife died of malaria. Italy was officially declared malaria-free by 1962. Frank Snowden considered this story as a peculiar historical event. Snowden reveals the areas which historians have not uncovered. 

Usually everyone is aware that malaria is caused by mosquitoes. Medical practitioners studied malaria for a long time. Ancient texts laid out various aspects of malaria. Early man considered that malaria is caused by supernatural powers such as evil spirits, black magic of sorcerers and deities who are angered. Most experts in medicine believe that malaria is not caused by unclean air (miasma) . In 1850, Josiah Clark Nott published an essay called “Yellow Fever Contrasted with Bilious Fever”. In that essay, he dismissed the miasma theory and claimed that malaria is infected by microscopic insects

Some experts connect swamps, water and malaria but they don’t extend their mind to the insects. These theories only helped a little to tackle the disease. It became so worse when 11 million Italians were “permanently at risk”. Land workers life expectancy is found to be 22.5 years in malarial zones. Though some of them escaped death, they have weakened bodies and suffered from painful enlargement of the spleen. This disease affects the economy immensely. Southern Italians were blamed on epidemics as it was believed that malaria was hereditary. These loose theories were diminished after it was found that mosquitoes are the real cause of malaria. 

Questions 1-7

Answer the questions below.

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

  1. Which parasite causes Malaria ?
  2. When was Italy officially declared as malaria-free ?
  3. Who has studied malaria for a long time ?
  4. Who published an essay called “Yellow Fever Contrasted with Bilious Fever” ?
  5. What was the life expectancy of land workers in malarial zones ?
  6. Which is the real cause of malaria ?

Check answer for this exercise

Check more IELTS general reading short answer questions practice questions

Answers for Skill Building Exercises

  • Answer 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.   Zoologists

Explanation: Zoologists discovered the tactics of the spiders: creeping forward when their prey's web is vibrating.

2.   Portia spiders

Explanation: Portia spiders live usually in tropical forests, where one can find the climate humid and hot.

3.   Stimson Wilcox

Explanation: 'They will attack something about twice their own size if they are really hungry,' says Stimson Wilcox of Binghamton University in New York State. 

4.   Binocular lenses

Explanation: Each jumping spider has bigger eyes which resemble binocular lenses, and their function is pretty similar. 

5.   Visually

Explanation: Jumping spider locates its prey visually, and then jumps and captures from one centimeter to over ten centimeters away.

6.   Aircraft propeller

Explanation: The zoologists used either a model aircraft propeller in order to simulate the shaking effect of a breeze.

7.   Unoccupied webs

Explanation: Spiders do not attempt to change their movements when it is placed onto unoccupied webs.

  • Answer 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.   Governments

Explanation: Governments have a necessary role to play in environmental management. 

2.   Two

Explanation: Scrapping these governmental policies reaps us two benefits: it cleans up the environment and makes the economy more efficient.

3.   Water supplies

Explanation: Some of the actions have the potential to harm the environment such as deforestation, chemical fertilisers and pesticides that may contaminate water supplies

4.   Soil erosion

Explanation: Soil erosion is a danger to land productivity

5.   Topsoil

Explanation: Both affluent and poor countries are affected. In 1982, scientists in the United States determined that around one-fifth of the country's cropland was losing topsoil at a rate that was expected to reduce the soil's productivity. 

6.   India and China

Explanation: India and China are losing topsoil at a significantly greater rate than the United States.

  • Answer 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.   Plasmodium/ Plasmodium parasites

Explanation: Malaria is an illness which is caused by Plasmodium parasites.

2.   1962

Explanation: Italy was officially declared malaria-free by 1962. 

3.   Medical Practitioners

Explanation: Medical practitioners studied malaria for a long time. 

4.   Josiah Clark Nott

Explanation:  In 1850, Josiah Clark Nott published an essay called “Yellow Fever Contrasted with Bilious Fever”. 

5.   Land workers

Explanation: Land workers life expectancy is found to be 22.5 years in malarial zones.

6.   Mosquitoes

Explanation: These loose theories were diminished after it was found that mosquitoes are the real cause of malaria. 

Also check IELTS general 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

IELTS general reading short answer questions could become easier to crack if you implement the tips and strategies that you have read now. Hope the skill building exercises trained your reading and answering skills. 

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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

kanan-ftr-phone+91 63597 73959

kanan-ftr-phoneadmissions@kanan.co

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About Kanan International

A truly global higher education partner to learners and education institutions. Supports learners at every point in their global education journey with its reliable services, products and solutions.

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