IELTS Reading Paragraph Information: Whaling

This passage is similar to the level of GT passage 3 and just below academic level. However, it is a useful passage for academic students because it will help develop skills without too much heavy academic vocabulary.

This IELTS reading practice requires you to match information to a particular paragraph. Read instructions carefully.

A Brief History of Whaling

A) People have been whaling for thousands of years. Norwegians were among the first to hunt whales, as early as 4,000 years ago. The Japanese may have been doing so even earlier.

B) Traditions as varied as the Inuit (who hunted in the Arctic Ocean), Basque (who hunted in the Atlantic), and Japanese (who hunted in the Pacific) relied on whales to provide material goods, as well as part of their cultural identity.

C) Nearly every part of the whale was used. Meat, skin, blubber, and organs were eaten as an important source of protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Baleen was woven into baskets and used as fishing line. In warmer climates, baleen was also used as a roofing material. Bones were used primarily for tool making and carving ceremonial items such as masks.

D) During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, whaling gained popularity throughout Northern Europe. Whale oil and baleen (sometimes called whalebone, although it’s not bone at all) were valuable commodities. Whale oil comes from the blubber of right and bowhead whales, and the head cavity of sperm whales. It was used primarily for oil lamps. Corsets and hoop skirts were constructed from whalebone.

Questions 1-5

The reading passage has 4 paragraphs. Which paragraph contains the following information? Letters may be used more than once. Write the correct letter (A-D) as your answer.

  1.  Whaling became common in Northern Europe.
  2. A variety of different cultures have used whales to furnish important supplies.
  3. The Japanese probably started hunting before anyone else.
  4. Whale oil was used for lighting.
  5. The body of a dead whale was used for many purposes and little was wasted.

You can download a free pdf copy of the passage and questions: ielts-reading-history-of-whaling


Click below to open the answers for the above IELTS reading practice.

  1. D = Information about Northern Europe and whaling is contained in A (Norway) and D. However, information about whaling being common is contained only in D = gained popularity.
  1. B = Paragraph B contains the names of different cultures. It contains the words ‘provide material goods’ which can be paraphrased to mean ‘furnish important supplies’.
  1. A = Paragraphs A and B contain information about the Japanese. However, paragraph A contains information about the beginning of whaling and the last sentence in paragraph A contains the exact information.
  1. D = Paragraph D contains information about whale oil which was ‘used primarily for oil lamps’.
  1. C = Both paragraphs C and D contain information about the uses of whale. The first sentence of paragraph C, gives further information about not wasting the body.

Passage from: National Geographic 


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IELTS Reading: Using Online Translations for Medical Purposes

This exercise is based on matching paragraph information for IELTS reading. This reading exercise is not difficult and could be classed as medium in level. It’s a useful practice lesson.

Skim read the article and then look through the statements below. Take time to think about the information in the statements and consider possible paraphrases for vocabulary before you attempt to locate information.

Using Web Based Translations in Medical Communication

A)  A complex medical and treatment discussion with patients whose knowledge of the local language is inadequate remains challenging. After treating a child whose parents did not speak English, we resorted to the use of a web based translation tool. We were unsure as to whether Google Translate was accurately translating our complex medical phrases. We aimed to evaluate the accuracy and usefulness of Google Translate in translating common English medical statements.

B)  Ten commonly used medical statements were chosen by author consensus. These were translated via Google Translate to 26 languages. Translations only were sent to native speakers of each language and translated back into English by them. The returning English phrases were compared with the originals and assessed for meaning. Minor grammatical errors were accepted but not if the meaning was altered.

C)  The results showed that of the ten medical phrases translated by Google translate and then translated back into English, 57.7% were correct and 42.3% were wrong. Out of the 26 languages used, Africa languages scored the lowest, followed by Asian languages. Western European languages were the most accurate. However, there were some serious errors discovered. For instance, “Your child is fitting” translated in Swahili to “Your child is dead”. In Polish “your husband has the opportunity to donate his organs” translated to “your husband can donate his tools”. In Mathi “your husband has had a cardiac arrest” translated to “your husband had an imprisoned heart”.

D)  The conclusion drawn is that in today’s world “just google it” is considered to be the answer to everything, but for health related questions this should be treated with caution. Google Translate should not be used for taking consent for surgery, procedures, or research from patients or relatives unless all other avenues to find human translators have been exhausted and the procedure is clinically urgent.

Questions 1-7

In which paragraph (A-D) is the following information found. Letters may be used more than once.

  1. When calculating the results, slight mistakes in language, possibly related to syntax or structure of language, were admitted.
  2. It is believed that most information and help can be found on google.
  3. The aim was to test whether Google Translate could be used reliably for medical communication.
  4. Significant mistakes were found in the translations which were web based.
  5. The research was conducted after a situation in which a patient’s relatives did not speak English.
  6. The translate function is not admissible to get people’s permission for operations.
  7. Accuracy in meaning was essential.


Click below for answers.

  1. B
  2. D
  3. A
  4. C
  5. A
  6. D
  7. B

Adapted and edited from BMJ article by Patil and Davies, December 2014 publication

All reading exercises on have been written by myself to help you prepare for your IELTS test for free.   


Vocab Builder
  • inadequate = lacking / deficient / not enough
  • resort to = turn to  / make use of
  • evaluate = assess / appraise
  • consensus = agreement
  • minor = small / insignificant
  • donate = give
  • cardiac arrest = when the heart stops / ceases to function
  • the conclusion drawn = the conclusion derived
  • other avenues = other possibilities
  • exhausted = finished 



IELTS Reading Practice: Ebola

Develop your skills for matching paragraph information for IELTS reading with this reading exercise. Skim read the passage to get the gist of the article. Then spend time reading the questions before you try and locate the answers. The more time you spend analysing the meaning and vocabulary in the questions, the easier it will be. This is a similar level to the academic reading paper.

Reading Passage: Ebola

The questions are listed at the end of the passage. However, because this is a long passage, I have also put the questions at various points in the passage as well ( Q’s).

About Ebola

A) The Ebola virus causes an acute, serious illness which is often fatal if untreated. Ebola virus disease (EVD) first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.

B) The current outbreak in west Africa, (first cases notified in March 2014), is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976. There have been more cases and deaths in this outbreak than all others combined. It has also spread between countries starting in Guinea then spreading across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia, by air (1 traveller only) to Nigeria, and by land (1 traveller) to Senegal. The most severely affected countries, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have very weak health systems, lacking human and infrastructural resources, having only recently emerged from long periods of conflict and instability. On August 8, the WHO Director-General declared this outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Qs

  1. Information about possible medicine.
  2. How medical staff can contract the disease through interaction with infected people.
  3. How it came to be called Ebola.
  4. Information about precautionary procedures.
  5. The way Ebola crossed the species barrier.
  6. A description of Ebola.

C) It is thought that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts. Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest. Ebola then spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids. Health-care workers have frequently been infected while treating patients with suspected or confirmed EVD. This has occurred through close contact with patients when infection control precautions are not strictly practised.

D) Supportive care-rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids- and treatment of specific symptoms, improves survival. There is as yet no proven treatment available for EVD. However, a range of potential treatments including blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies are currently being evaluated. No licensed vaccines are available yet, but 2 potential vaccines are undergoing human safety testing. Qs

  1. Information about possible medicine.
  2. How medical staff can contract the disease through interaction with infected people.
  3. How it came to be called Ebola.
  4. Information about precautionary procedures.
  5. The way Ebola crossed the species barrier.
  6. A description of Ebola.

E) Health-care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola virus should apply extra infection control measures to prevent contact with the patient’s blood and body fluids and contaminated surfaces or materials such as clothing and bedding. When in close contact (within 1 metre) of patients with EBV, health-care workers should wear face protection (a face shield or a medical mask and goggles), a clean, non-sterile long-sleeved gown, and gloves (sterile gloves for some procedures).

Questions 1-6

Which paragraphs contain the following information?

  1. Information about possible medicine.
  2. How medical staff can contract the disease through interaction with infected people.
  3. How it came to be called Ebola.
  4. Information about precautionary procedures.
  5. The way Ebola crossed the species barrier.
  6. A description of Ebola.


Click below to reveal answers and vocabulary.

  1. D
  2. C
  3. A
  4. E
  5. C
  6. A

Passage taken from WHO

  • acute = critical, serious
  • outbreaks = bursts, epidemics
  • emerged from periods of conflict = come out of a time war or instability
  • fruit bat
  • secretion = discharge, emission
  • contaminated = polluted
  • rehydration = the process of restoring lost water
  • proven = confirmed, sure, certain
  • sterile = germ-free, hygienic, sanitary



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Matching Paragraph Information: IELTS Reading Exercise

Matching paragraph information question in IELTS reading requires you to match the sentences given with information that is contained in different paragraphs. You must have strong skills of paraphrasing for this type of question. See if you can complete this practise lesson which I have written for you.

You will need to prepare lots of paraphrases for the statements in order to locate the right paragraph which contains that information. Answers do not come in order in the passage.

Tips for IELTS Paragraph Matching

  • read though the questions
  • think of ways to paraphrase key words
  • try to locate the key words or the paraphrases in the paragraphs
  • the answers do not come in order
  • your answer should be a letter not words
  • start with the easiest questions first

IELTS Matching Paragraph Information Practice

Amundsen’s Expedition to the South Pole

A ) The first expedition to reach the geographic South Pole was led by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. He and four others arrived at the pole on 14 December 1911, five weeks ahead of a British party led by Robert Falcon Scott as part of the Terra Nova Expedition. Amundsen and his team returned safely to their base, and later learned that Scott and his four companions had died on their return journey.

B ) Amundsen’s plans had focused on the Arctic and the conquest of the North Pole by means of an extended drift in an icebound ship. He obtained the use of Fridtjof Nansen’s polar exploration ship Fram, and undertook extensive fundraising. Preparations for this expedition were disrupted when, in 1909, the rival American explorers Frederick Cook and Robert E. Peary each claimed to have reached the North Pole. Amundsen then changed his plan and began to prepare for a conquest of the South Pole; uncertain of the extent to which the public and his backers would support him, he kept this revised objective secret. When he set out in June 1910, even most of his crew believed they were embarking on an Arctic drift.

C ) The expedition’s success was widely applauded. The story of Scott’s heroic failure overshadowed its achievement in the United Kingdom, unable to accept that a Norwegian had been the first person to set foot in the South Pole, but not in the rest of the world. Amundsen’s decision to keep his true plans secret until the last moment was criticised by some. Recent polar historians have more fully recognised the skill and courage of Amundsen’s party; the permanent scientific base at the pole bears his name, together with that of Scott. (passage from wiki)

Questions 1-5

In which paragraph (A-C) is the following information found.

  1. The success of Roald Amundsen was celebrated worldwide, except in one country.
  2. Amundsen only heard about the death of Scott after he had reached the South Pole.
  3. The base at the South Pole bears both Amundsen’s name and Scott’s.
  4. Amundsen had originally planned an expedition to the North Pole.
  5. When Amundsen decided to aim for the South Pole he did not reveal his intentions.
  6. The British did not celebrate Amundsen’s success as did other countries due to the death of Scott.


Click below to reveal the answers.

  1. C
  2. A
  3. C
  4. B
  5. B
  6. C

All reading exercises on have been written by myself to help you prepare for your IELTS test.   



More IELTS Matching Paragraph Information Practice

IELTS Reading Practice: Matching Paragraph Information

Matching paragraph information question in IELTS reading requires strong skills of paraphrasing. This lesson will help you understand the need to paraphrase the sentences given before you try to locate the information in the paragraphs. It’s a good lesson for both GT and academic students.

This is an easy practice to help you get started with matching paragraph information questions. For more practice and more challenging reading, please see the recommended links below.
Hobbies for the Elderly
A. Card making – This has become an increasingly popular hobby, as it’s very easy to start and cards can be as simple or complicated as skills allow. Best of all, it’s a lovely way for your parent to send wishes to all the family and friends.

B. Art – this can be done at your parent’s home, or in a local art class. It can be painting, drawing, sculpture, or pottery. It does not matter how skilled your parent is, as there are opportunities for all levels. Just give it a go. The creative process is very absorbing and rewarding and it is a great way for your elderly relative to meet new people.

C. Learning to use the internet – if your aging parent likes the look of new technology, but has never learned how to use it, the internet is very easy once someone has shown them how. It opens up a whole new world of information and they will be able to keep in touch easily with children and grandchildren via email.

Questions 1-2
Which section contains the following information?Write the correct letter (A-C) as your answer.

1. A way to learn new methods of communication.

2. A way to socialize.

For answers and vocabulary, click here.

Recommended Lessons

IELTS Reading Practice: Multiple Choice
IELTS Reading Practice: Summary Completion
IELTS Reading Practice: Sentence Completion

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