1. Introduction to short answer questions in IELTS Reading


Your task for Short Answer Questions is to give one-to-three-word answers to a specific set of questions. Also, test-takers may consider rushing through this question type due to its uncomplicated essence. Nevertheless, be more careful with unwanted mistakes while answering in a hurry.


Short Answer Questions IELTS reading will evaluate your:


  • Skimming techniques for the general meaning


  • Identifying keywords, synonyms, and paraphrases


  • Scanning technique for specific information


Some examples for this question type:


short answer questions

ielts reading short answer questions


2. Ielts Reading Short answer questions strategies

2.1. Read the requirements carefully


A thorough consideration of the instructions should be prioritised in the first place. Candidates should cautiously take special notes of the word limit for the answers  (e.g. NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER).

short answer questions ielts reading

2.2. Read the questions and try to Understand what is being asked


Having a deep understanding of what the questions are asking will help test-takers save time for locating the information in the given text.

2.3. Identify and Underline key words and Think of synonyms or paraphrases


Remember that the questions will not appear exactly the same in the reading text, therefore, while identifying and underlining key words, try to think of potential synonyms or paraphrases based on your own words and understanding. 


Don’t panic if there are unfamiliar or new words, you can work them out in the context with help of the aforethought synonyms and paraphrases.

>>> Practice now: IELTS Reading Practice Test


2.4. Skim the text and Identify the related paragraph


Candidates had better read the first sentence of each paragraph in a little more detail than the rest to get the main idea. Then, locating the information of each short answer question will be more effortless to locate.

2.5. Re-read the questions in order and Find the answer


You should follow the same process of scanning keywords or synonyms or paraphrases to find the answer for each short answer question.

2.6. Double-check the answers


Maybe you have missed something that forces you to check the answers again after finding them.

You should check whether your answer is correct or not, as well as spelling, and grammatical mistakes.

3. Common mistakes and tips for short answer questions in IELTS reading


Common Mistakes Tips
1. Reading  carefully the whole text before questions

Don’t blind reading the whole reading text or you will waste much time on this without getting any specific information for each question.

At first, read the short answer questions to deeply understand the meaning, and underline keywords to locate the information later
2. Leaving blank answers

Try to not let any questions be unanswered

Give the answers to every question and you may get a point from your predictions
3. Looking for the exact same words or phrases in the reading text after reading the short answer questions

Changeable words are likely to appear in the form of synonyms or paraphrases in the reading text so don’t try to look for the identical words

While reading the IELTS Reading Short Answer Questions, think of synonyms or paraphrases for keywords
4. Ignoring the spelling and grammatical rules when completing the gaps

Grammar and spelling apart from meaning will decide whether your answers are accepted or not.

Check the answers carefully with regard to grammar, spelling and meaning at the same time
5. Give a full sentence for each answer

Remember that the word limit allows you to give the answer in a phrase or a word, not a full sentence. 


Notice the word limit and just give the answer in the form of a word or phrase

>> Read more: IELTS Reading Summary Completion Questions


ielts reading short answer questions


Other tips for Short Answer Questions in IELTS Reading:


  • Don’t worry about the order of the questions since they will follow a sequence.


  • Don’t exceed the word limit or you will lose a chance to get a point.


  • Only use the actual words from the reading text for your answers instead of your own words. Also, make sure that your answers are grammatically correct.


  • Don’t take too much time on one question but move to the next one if you are not sure about the answer. Note down the hesitations


These strategies and tips can help you master the Short Answer Questions in IELTS Reading. However, practice makes perfect so install our app – IELTS Test Pro now with manifold updated tests preparing for your IELTS Test journey.