Short-answer questions


In the IELTS Reading short answer question you have to answer a set of questions by reading a text in about two to three words.

IELTS Reading short answer questions sample task

IELTS reading short answer question sample task
IELTS reading short answer question sample task text

Source: Official IELTS website www.

IELTS Reading short answer question tips

Stay within the word limit

Identify the word limit for the answer and stay within it.

Read the question

Please read the questions understand them and then read the text. This will help you save time.

Answers appear in the same order as the text

A saving grace about these questions is that the answers will appear in the same order in the text.

Identify the synonyms and paraphrasings

Synonyms and paraphrasing will be used throughout the text. You should be able to identify the synonyms and paraphrasing used to be able to ace these questions.

Don’t use synonyms to fill blanks

You must use the exact words from the given text to answer the questions. Otherwise, your answers will be marked wrong.

IELTS Reading answer short questions strategy

Read the question

Read the question carefully to see how many words are needed to answer the question. In the example above, you must select NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the text to answer each question.

Read the questions and identify the keywords

Read each question carefully and try to understand what is being asked. Next, you have to identify the keywords so you can search for the answers using these keywords.

Skim the text

Skim through the text to understand the meaning of each paragraph. You need to focus on what the text conveys. Keep a lookout for the keywords you identified that might appear in the form of synonyms.

Re-read the questions

Re-read the first question and search the text for the synonyms of the keywords. once you find the answer move to the second question and so on till all have been answered. Remember to stay within the word limit specified in the question.

Correct answers

4 pieces of metal
5 on the bottom
6 $5
7 The Retailing Manager
8 $50,000

Work out the answers

4 This question focuses on what has been found in some fancy food products.

Using found as the keyword I started skimming the text and in the first sentence, it says that pieces of metal have been found. So pieces of metal is the correct answer.

5 This question focuses on where the batch numbers can be found on the jars.

Using batch numbers as the keyword I continued skimming and found it in the last sentence of the first paragraph where it says that the batch number is printed on the bottom of each jar. On the bottom is the correct answer.

6 This question asks how much a person will receive for an opened jar of chicken curry.

Using how much and opened jar as keywords I continued skimming through the second paragraph and found that in the last sentence of the second paragraph, it says that customers will receive $5 for each opened jar. So $5 is the correct answer.

7 This question focuses on who needs to be contacted if a customer has eaten from one of the jars with one of the listed batch numbers.

Using who needs to be contacted and eaten as the keywords I continued skimming in the third paragraph where it says the retailing manager will be interested to hear from people who have consumed. Note how will be interested to hear has been used as a synonym for contact and consumed has been used as a synonym for eaten. The retailing manager is the correct answer.

8 This question focuses on the maximum reward that Fancy Foods is offering to anyone with any information about who contaminated their product.

I started searching for the answer with the keywords Maximum reward and contaminated. I went straight to the reward section where the reward is mentioned in a range from $10000 to $50000. Note how placing metal pieces is used as a synonym for contaminated. $50000 is the correct answer as that is the maximum reward on offer.

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