One of the parts of the reading section in the IELTS exam is the Short Answer questions. They are relatively straightforward. However, you should be careful as these questions can get tricky sometimes.

This article will teach you about the essential tips and strategies on how to find the correct answers successfully. Additionally, we will show it in a real sample.

IELTS Reading Short Answer Questions – Tips

  1. Always read the questions first! The texts are relatively long, and it would be beneficial to read the questions beforehand so that you can know what you are looking for.
  2. During reading the passage, make sure to underline the keywords which can help you to guess the answers. Carefully read each paragraph’s first and last sentences; it will give you a general knowledge of the information written in the paragraph. Try to find the synonyms mentioned in the questions and the text.
  3. Most of the time, the order of the answers to the questions is the same as the questions. So, once you find the answer to the first question, then the second one and so on. Don’t waste your time going through the text and trying to find the answers in other places.
  4. Don’t write too many answers. Keep in mind that the question asks ‘NO MORE THAN A PARTICULAR NUMBER OF WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER.’ If you write many answers, it will be marked wrong, and you will lose points, even if the written information was right.
  5. For your answers, use actual words mentioned in the text. You may need to change the tense of the verbs to make sure your answer is correct.
  6. Most questions will have synonyms or will be the paraphrased version of the text. Be careful to notice them. The answer probably lies right there.

Now, we will show you how to go through all the mentioned steps in a real sample

Example 1: – Official Cambridge IELTS Book

Answer the questions below.

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

Write your answers in boxes 4-8 on your answer sheet.

4 What has been found in some Fancy Foods products?

After reading this question, you should start to read the text. The answer to this question is in the first sentence of the paragraph. “Fancy Foods wishes to inform the public that pieces of metal have been found in some jars of Fancy Foods Chicken Curry (Spicy).” 

The answer is “pieces of metal.

5 Where can you find the batch number on the jars? 

The answer to this question is right after the previous question! So the answer would be –“The batch number is printed on the bottom of each jar.” 

The answer is “on the bottom.”

6 How much will you receive for an opened jar of contaminated Chicken Curry? 

As mentioned in our tips, the first and last sentence of each paragraph is crucial. The answer to this question is the last sentence of the second paragraph. “Fancy Foods will pay $10 for each jar returned unopened and $5 for each jar already opened.” 

The Answer is “$5.”

7 If you have eaten Chicken Curry from a jar with one of the batch numbers listed, whom should you contact? 

In the next paragraph, you will find the answer for this part “the Retailing Manager will be interested to hear from people who have consumed chicken curry from any of the above batch numbers.”

The answer is “Retailing Manager.”

8 What is the maximum reward Fancy Foods is offering for information about who contaminated their product? 

To answer this question you should look for the word REWARD, and luckily it is written as a new topic. You just have to look for numbers and choose the maximum. In the first sentence, we have $10,000 and $50,000. 

The answer is $50,000. 

Now, we will provide another example, and you can try the same steps and practices to answer them yourself.

Example 2Official Cambridge IELTS Book

Questions 9 – 12

Answer the questions below.

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

Write your answers in boxes 9-12 on your answer sheet.

9 Christians and Muslims were visiting al-Qaryatain to appreciate what saint

10 What local population regards Mar Elian as a Sufi leader?

11 Who found the tumbledown ruins of the original complex?

12 What did the community have to explain why Sunni Muslims and Christians lived together in harmony?


9 Mar Elian

10 Sunni

11 Emma Loosley

12 a myth

ALISTAIR BROWN: As a writing and speaking examiner for more than 10 years, I bring a lot of experience. I have seen the frustrations that students have with IELTS from a career where I have actively guided and corrected students’ studies. I am looking for the most effective ways to teach IELTS as I understand students’ needs.