IELTS Reading Short Answer Question: Tips, Samples, Challenges Faced

6 minute read
ielts reading short answer questions

The IELTS Reading Short Answer Questions are generally deemed easy and scored by test-takers. Such questions require individuals to read the given text and answer accordingly. You will be required to analyse the given passages and provide answers which you deem appropriate. In these questions, test-takers have to answer in one to three words at most. However, due to its simplicity, one may get too tempted to rush their answers and lose their crucial marks. Read this blog to understand the major challenges you could encounter in the IELTS exam, some preparation tips and more.

5+ Tips for IELTS Academic Reading Short Answer Questions

Here are the top 5+ tips for you to ace the IELTS Academic Reading Short Answer Questions.

  • Test takers must keep the word limit in mind. Exceeding the word limit can result in a deduction of scores. 
  • You should carefully read the questions and infer what they require. Understanding the questions is crucial to finding the right answers. 
  • You should be able to identify the primary keywords and use them to navigate to the section of the paragraph where the required information is present. 
  • Different introductory words often hint at the kind of answer expected. “What” questions usually call for nouns, while “When” questions often require time-related answers.
  • You should refrain from stating your personal opinion or bias in your answers. 
  • Implement the skimming technique to get the gist of the passage and locate the answers. 
  • Avoid spelling or grammatical errors whilst attempting the short answer questions in IELTS. 

Common Challenges Faced

While it is true that short answer questions in IELTS Reading may appear at first glance to be less demanding than other tasks within the test, they nonetheless present certain obstacles that can impede students. Here are the potential challenges that you may face whilst attempting IELTS Reading Short Answer Questions. Have a look. 

  • To avoid losing marks, refrain from expressing your personal opinions or rephrasing information in your own words. Instead, consistently draw words or phrases directly from the provided passage.
  • Students often exceed the word limit whilst attempting such questions. Individuals must ensure that their answers lie within the set word limit. 
  • You should be cautious while writing your answers. Spelling errors and Grammatical discrepancies can result in your loss of scores. 

Skills Required

Work on the following skills to bolster your chances of securing better scores in the IELTS Reading Short Answer Questions. 

  1. Keyword Identification: You should be able to discern the crucial keywords from the given passage. 
  2. Skimming Skills: Use this skill to navigate through the passage to determine the keywords, and answers and also comprehend the gist of the passage. 
  3. Scanning: You should be able to search for specific information.
  4. Paraphrasing: You should be able to paraphrasing skills to understand the question statements.

IELTS Reading Short Answer Questions Sample Answers 

Refer to the following sample answers to get a solid idea about answering the IELTS Reading Short Answer Questions in the IELTS test. 

Question 1: Read the Following Passage and Answer Accordingly

Light as a Photon

“The electromagnetic wave model of light (as formulated by Maxwell) was one of the great triumphs of nineteenth-century science. In 1887, when Heinrich Hertz made invisible electromagnetic waves (what today are called radio waves) on one side of a room and detected them on the other side, it ushered in a new era that led to the modern age of telecommunications. His experiment ultimately led to the technologies of television, cell phones, and today’s wireless networks around the globe.

However, by the beginning of the twentieth century, more sophisticated experiments had revealed that light behaves in certain ways that cannot be explained by the wave model. Reluctantly, physicists had to accept that sometimes light behaves more like a “particle”—or at least a self-contained packet of energy—than a wave. We call such a packet of electromagnetic energy a photon.” 

  1. Who formulated the electromagnetic wave model of light? 
  2. When did Heinrich Hertz make invisible electromagnetic waves? 
  3. Whose experiment led to the development of technologies such as television, cell phones etc.? 
  4. How does light behave? 

                   Answers: 1. Maxwell 

                                      2. 1887

                                      3. Heinrich Hertz

                                      4. Particular nature, i.e., as particles. 

Question 2: Read the Following Passage and Answer Accordingly

 Technological Globalisation

“Technological globalisation is impacted in large part by technological diffusion, the spread of technology across borders. In the last two decades, there has been rapid improvement in the spread of technology to peripheral and semi-peripheral nations, and a 2008 World Bank report discusses both the benefits and ongoing challenges of this diffusion. In general, the report found that technological progress and economic growth rates were linked and that the rise in technological progress has helped improve the situations of many living in absolute poverty. The report recognizes that rural and low-tech products such as corn can benefit from new technological innovations, and that, conversely, technologies like mobile banking can aid those whose rural existence consists of low-tech market vending. In addition, technological advances in areas like mobile phones can lead to competition, lowered prices, and concurrent improvements in related areas such as mobile banking and information sharing” 

  1. What has impacted technological globalisation majorly? 
  2. What is directly linked to technological progress in society? 
  3. How has technological progress contributed to the betterment of society? 
  4. Technological advances in domains such as mobile phones can lead to? 

Answer: 1. Technological Diffusion

               2. Economic Growth 

               3. Improved poverty

                4. Competition, lowered prices 

So that was all about IELTS Reading Short Answer Questions. Hope the blog has answered your queries about the topic. 


Q1. What are short answer type questions in reading IELTS?

Ans. This question type tests your ability to identify relevant details in the passage and provide short, accurate answers within the prescribed word limit, ranging from a single word to three words and/or a number.

Q2. How to answer short answer questions in IELTS?

Ans. You can answer short answer questions in IELTS by skimming over the test, reading the questions thoroughly, identifying crucial keywords and information, and ensuring that your answer is within the word limit. 

Q3. How much time is given for the IELTS reading test?

Ans. Test-takers are required to complete the IELTS Reading section within an hour (60 minutes). 

Related Reads:

IELTS Eligibility: IELTS Exam Age Limit & QualificationIELTS Exam 2023 Dates, Registration, Result, Preparation
IELTS Preparation Tips: General Tips and Section WiseIELTS Academic 2022: Syllabus, Pattern, Band Score, Dates
IELTS Test Centres in IndiaIELTS Marking Scheme | IELTS Scoring System & Grading

Visit the Leverage Live page of Leverage edu or contact our study abroad experts at 1800-57-2000 to strengthen your scores and application to secure your spot in your dream college. 

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *