Short answer questions in the IELTS reading test
In the IELTS reading test, you may be required to answer short answer questions, where you have to write one, two or three words or a number as an answer.
As with all question types, make sure you read the question instructions carefully before you answer. Do not write more than the number of words / numbers the question asks for. Generally the instructions and limits on word numbers are written in CAPITAL LETTERS, with bold and italic script.
For example: Answer the following questions USING NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS.
If you write three words for the answer here, your answer will be marked as wrong even if you have included the two words that are correct. However, it is OK to use only one word.
Here are some common instructions for this type of question:
Answer the following questions USING NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS
This means the answers will be either one or two words.
Answer the following questions USING NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS OR A NUMBER
This means that at least one of the answers will be just a number – a useful tip!
Answer the following questions USING NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND / OR A NUMBER
This means that at least one of the answers will include a number and probably another word as well
Answer the following questions USING NO MORE THAN ONE WORD
This means that all of the answers are single words only
IELTS Short answer questions reading text
Now practice by reading the text below answering the 10 short answer questions that follow.
The heat in the middle of the earth is held in place by large plates that float over molten rock. At the point where these tectonic plates meet, there is a fissure through which the heat and power beneath the earth can escape, causing volcanic eruptions of liquid rock. However, there are some advantages to living close to the edge of tectonic plates.
New Zealand, being positioned on the border of two such tectonic plates, experiences a large amount of this geothermal activity, but it is more in the nature of thermally heated water than molten rock. From a tourism perspective, this has given the country the opportunity to develop a number of spas and hot pool resorts, some of the most well known being situated in and around Rotorua and Taupo.
Rotorua has earned the nickname of ‘RotoVegas’, in that not unlike Las Vegas it attracts a large number of international tourists every year. The majority of commercially operated tours of the North Island include a day or more in Rotorua, and very few independent travellers miss the chance to visit. From Auckland, the entry point for most visitors to the North Island, Rotorua is an idyllic car ride or bus journey through lush countryside. In addition to the numerous spas and pools, Rotorua is also a popular destination as it is a renowned centre for Maori culture. You can spend the morning walking around the area, the afternoon soaking in a hot pool and then in the evening go to a Maori concert or have a hangi, a traditional form of Maori cooking.
To name just a few of the thermal resorts in Rotorua, tourists are able to visit Hell’s Gate, Wai Ora spa, the Lakeside Thermal Holiday Park, QE Health Spa and Lady Knox geyser. At Hell’s Gate and Wai Ora, visitors can take advantage of the opportunity to bathe in geothermal mud and sulphurous water, although many people find Hell’s Gate a little less accessible. The Lakeside Holiday Park, situated on the shores of Lake Rotorua, serves breakfast cooked in thermal steam and visitors are invited to sample the medicinal benefits of soaking in pure, hot mineral pools. At the QE Health Spa, guests can luxuriate in a mineral water pressure spray massage. Lady Knox, one of New Zealand’s most famous geysers, is one of the few geysers that you can guarantee will erupt. It is stimulated artificially as it was when it was first discovered, although these days the effect is intentional. The geyser was first discovered by convicts who used the hot water around the geyser to wash their clothes, only to find that by adding soap to the water, they triggered a chemical reaction which caused the geyser to erupt.
A scenic drive to the town of Taupo offers tourists the opportunity to visit the largest lake in New Zealand. Around the lake, which bears the same name as the town, there is an abundance of cafés, restaurants and curio shops. In both Rotorua and Taupo, accommodation is plentiful and there is an option for every budget, from campsites to five-star hotels. It is also possible to rent a bach (a holiday home), offering more independence and privacy at a reasonable price. This is the preferred option for larger groups. On the shores of Lake Taupo to the northeast there is an area of the lake which has become known as ‘Hot Water Beach’, as a natural stream of thermally heated water feeds into the lake. Even on the coldest days, this area offers the chance for a warm swim.
But it is not just the main centres of attraction that benefit from thermal activity. There is another Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula, a couple of hours’ drive from Auckland, where visitors can rent a spade to dig holes on the beach which then naturally fill with hot water. There is also the Miranda Springs resort, a relatively small leisure park only 45 minutes drive from Auckland. And, of course, this is in the North Island alone. In the South Island there is Hanmer Springs Thermal Reserve, situated in the north Canterbury region, about 90 minutes from Christchurch. Hanmer is an alpine town and the Thermal Reserve has been in operation since 1859. The resort’s proximity to Christchurch also ensures that activities and excursions are available all year round. So wherever and whenever you go, you can always find some thermal tourist attraction.
Read the text and answer the questions that follow using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS.
How does the text refer to tourists that follow their own itineraries?
Show answer Independent travellers What does Rotorua attract to have earned parallels with an American city?
Show answer International tourists Where do most people first arrive when travelling in the North Island?
Show answer Auckland What else is Rotorua noted for?
Show answer Maori culture Where is the most convenient place to have a mud bath?
Show answer Wai Ora What is used to start the Lady Knox geyser?
Show answer Soap What is the name of New Zealand’s largest lake?
Show answer (Lake) Taupo What kind of accommodation is preferred by large parties of visitors?
Show answer (A) bach Where in Taupo can you swim all year round?
Show answer Hot Water Beach Which city is the Thermal Reserve near?
Show answer Christchurch