IELTS Short Answer Questions: Reading Practice

IELTS short answer questions for reading require you to locate answers in the passage. Skim read the passage and then spend time preparing the questions. Pay attention to question words which will help you understand what type of words you need for your answer. The answers for short answer questions always come in order in the passage. This is a reading practice lesson created for IELTS students.

The History of Easter Eggs

Easter eggs, also called Paschal eggs, are special eggs that are often given to celebrate Easter or springtime. The practice of decorating eggshell is ancient. Ostrich eggs with engraved decoration that are 60,000 years old have been found in Africa. In Europe, it was traditional to use dyed and painted chicken eggs at Easter, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery such as jelly beans.

easter egg reading practice

Easter eggs are a widely popular symbol of new life in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and other Central European countries where they are concealed in the garden for children to find. Eggs, in general, were a traditional symbol of fertility and rebirth. Some magic rituals, these days, often use eggs to promote fertility and restore virility (of the body and mind); and to foresee the future.

Questions 1-3

Answer the questions below. Choose no more than two words from the passage for each answer.

  1.  What is another name for Easter Eggs?
  2. What type of eggs were formerly used at Easter  in Europe?
  3. What did eggs represent on the whole?


Click below to reveal the answers.

  1. Paschal eggs (No capital letters are needed in IELTS listening.)
  2. chicken eggs
  3. fertility   rebirth (no “and” is needed as you can have only two words as your answer)
Vocab Builder
  •  another name = also called
  • oldest tradition = many generations ago
  • in general = on the whole
  • were a symbol of = represent

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





  1. Hi Liz! I want some more clarification about short-answer type questions ( I have already gone through all the valuable comments). As, you have previously discussed that we don’t need to use any articles, no linking words etc. Does this mean that we don’t need to use any noun phrase or determiner even if word limit allows? For example, the passage says,” The college welcomes visitors and provides parking arrangements through pre-arranged permits, which must be displayed in the vehicle. Please contact the Hospitality Department for further information.” the question is, “What do visitors need to show when parking?” I wrote, “pre-arranged permits”; however, the answer is just “permits”. Why is this so? Is my answer wrong?
    Similarly, another passage says, “There will be two short-term drop-off/ pick-up spaces for users os the nursery, with a maximum of ten minutes’ waiting time allowed. These are located outside Concorde building. The nursery staff bays may not be used under any circumstance.” The question is, “Where can the nursery pick-up point be found?” I thought it is “outside Concorde Building”; nevertheless, it is just “Concorde Building.”
    I will be grateful if you consider clarifying my doubt. My exam is this Saturday. By the way, this passage is from Cambridge general book 14.
    Thank you so much in advance.

    • It is not required to provide adjectives or any other descriptive language – just the noun. Short answers questions or note completion usually have examples which illustrate this. Some times more than one answer is permissible. However, stick to the basic rule of providing just the main noun. For example, whether the location is inside or outside, the location is still “Concorde Building”.

  2. mozhgan says

    Hi dear Liz
    I think the last question is a little bit tricky, because I supposed we must answer these kind of questions as the same as the words in the passage, so when ‘and’ is omitted it seems it doesn’t make sense..could you please explain more about these kind of short answer questions which have word count restriction?
    thanks dear Liz for all your efforts

    • Short answer questions are not sentence completions. You are filling a sentence which needs to be grammatically correct. So, for note completion and short answer questions only specific words are given as answers – no articles, no prepositions, no linking words etc. Just the specific word or words which are the answer.

  3. Flos Brusola says

    Hello Liz, on number 3 I answered “fertility, rebirth” will it be marked correct even if with coma? thank you

  4. Dear Liz,

    First of all, thanks for all your advice in this website and I find it very useful on my road to IELTS. I will take the exam in March.

    I tried some short answer questions in Reading practice tests. One of the questions was asking about what tools were being used in the game. There were wooden pin and balls mentioned in the paragraph and I answered “WOODEN PIN BALLS”. However, the correct answer was shown as “pin and balls”. I am asked to use not more than three words and I will attend the CB test. Would I get one mark for my answer or it has to be same as the model answer? Appreciate your advice in advance. Cheers.

    • Your answer would be marked wrong. The answer is eithr 100% correct or it is wrong. Always check if your answer is to complete a sentence (in which case the sentence must be grammatically correct when completed) or to complete notes.

  5. Nataraj Das says

    Hi this is Nataraj. I want to know, Short Answer Questions is of Computer based, Voice based or Pen and paper based?

    • It makes no difference if you are taking the computer based test or paper based test – the format, questions etc are all the same. They are the same tests. The only difference is in writing using a pen or computer.

      • I have been viewing your website for a few days. This is amazing and beyond help that the effort you put into it. I really look up to you. I wanna thank on behalf of everyone

  6. Vishal Pardessi says

    Dear Liz,
    Could you please guide me with the “Section 3” of the Reading part, as to typically what type of questions are expected { Matching paragraph info, Summary completion, Sentence completion, Multiple choices,List selection, Choosing a title, Matching sentence endings or Short answers }.
    And what should be an ideal strategy? :
    A- Skim read the whole passage first?
    B- Sim read all questions starting from Q28 to Q40?
    c- Read just first set of questions – Q28 to Q33 – answer them & then read Q34 to Q40?

    Happy to be guided by you.

    Vishal Pardessi.

    • Any type of question comes in any part of the reading test.
      The usual advice is to skim read the passage to pay attention to layout and gist (no more than 2 mins) – this is not to grasp meaning.
      Then read one question and analyse it.
      Then find the answer by scanning the passage to locate the area that the answer is found it.
      However, you must work on your own technique. Not everyone does it this way. Also some questions are approached differently – matching headings, skim them all and then choose which one you want to try.

  7. Roshan Karki says

    Is this para for academic or general ielts exam?

    • My lessons are not for one or the other. They are just lessons to build skills. GT and Academic reading have the same question types.

  8. Believe me or not! i fall in love with the way she is explaining things and with the way she doing things for others
    thanks alot

  9. Great job @Liz, insights are do helpful. I’m preparing well for my ielts exam in Dec.

  10. Thanks

  11. Please is slash / counted as a word

  12. Hi Liz,
    For Q2 why not the answer is Chocolate eggs?
    Thank You

    • The question is about “formally used eggs” – this means “in the past”. The chocolate egg: “a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs”. This means the problem you have with this question is understanding the English word “formally”.

  13. Pat lmonikhe Success Bola says

    Liz, you are simply fabulous. I had my speaking (GT) yesterday in Nigeria. All levels studied were your materials. It helped me a lot.
    I am sitting for the listening, reading and Essay tomorrow, l have been glue all day online at Liz. Thanks for the free services.
    Keep increasing dear.

  14. Hi Liz
    Are these examples put together by you or are they passages from actual IELTS tests / approved practice materials? And if they are done by you, are they following the correct IELTS guidelines?
    In the official exam, can you have give an answer such as “fertility rebirth”, without using any connection? Can we simply list words?
    Confused by the fact that I had to answer in no more than two words, I answered “new life”, which made a hell of a lot more sense to me than the suggested answer.

    • If you wish to buy IELTS tests, you will need to buy the IELTS Cambridge test books from 1 to 12. You can get them online or in a bookshop.

  15. 2/3
    I wrote “fertility & rebirth” –> so I exceeded the words count.

  16. I got same answer in mind. Thank you for clearance.

  17. Could I write this type of name in all capital letters suppose, Mc Donald as MCDONALD

  18. Hi Liz,

    How to answer Short Question types in reading and listening?
    Do they have to be grammatically correct?
    For example,
    Where is Anna going? (audio played: She says that I’m going to office)
    Is it correct to say ‘Office’ or ‘to her office’ or ‘to office’?(3 words allowed)
    Same is the case for reading.
    Please help.

  19. M.Nikitha reddy says

    hey liz all 3 r crct thank you.

  20. Hi Liz,

    Can one use capital letters throughout his listening test?

  21. thank you so heavy

  22. Hi Liz.
    Can I use capital letters all through my reading answers,just like in listening. Is it allowed?

  23. Michelle says

    I got 3/3. Thankyou for your effort, Liz!

  24. Fatemeh says

    Hi Liz,

    I got 3/3. Thank you.

  25. Dear mam,
    Good day
    Thanks so very much for your materials, its very helpful

  26. Mam the reading section or the practise papers you have provided are very easy. I think in ielts reading their is a much complex one. Can you please help with the link

  27. Pooja Bodnapu says

    Thank you for all your help Liz. I have a suggestion for the reading section exercises. I feel it would really help if you give us a time limit for all the reading exercises so we can finish them in the required time. That would make the practicing much more effective. Please do consider this suggestion . Thank you.

    • Thanks for the suggestion. I like it. I’ll see what I can do over the next few months. I’m a bit overloaded with work at present.

  28. Hello Liz,
    I did not understand how come the answer of the third question is fertility rebirth.
    We do not care the “and” between these two words. Is it possible in the Ielts exam?
    Thanks in advance.

  29. Hi, how can I get your materials? The Copy/Paste function doesn’t seem to work

  30. ahmad ghunaim says

    Thank you so much

  31. Liz – Your website is simply awesome. I am glued to it since morning going through contents on reading section of the IELTS test. Great work. I believe your study materials will help me a lot to get the best scores.
    Also, I have one question on the above sample test- What if I just answered fertility alone? Will I be given marks?

  32. Dear Liz medam ,
    Thanks for your help. Your efforts are absolutely worthy to us.
    Medam i want plenty excersice for reading test with different types of question such as T/F/NG , matching heading etc…so please suggest me any website or any book from where i can get more excersice. Thanks.

  33. Sorry found the ans in the thread.

  34. In no 3, Can I write fertility, rebirth? ( I mean with comme)

  35. Peace_0n_Earth says

    I have got 3/3 within 4 minuets of timeframe.however I capitalised all answers like PASCHAL EGGS. is it ok?

  36. Is it wrong to only write “fertility” for question no. 3 ?

  37. Dear Liz,

    The answer to the question 2 should be singular…Paschal egg?


  38. Hii liz i need a speaking partner can u arrange it i have an exam on 11 of december.

  39. naveen nouman says


    Can we write the whole word in capital for listening and reading instead of following punctuations? if I write all answers in capital letters what happens?

  40. Hello,
    I haven’t understood the usage of capitals and lower case letters for starting letters of a word. You explained P is capital for Paschal because it is the first letter. Isn’t it because it’s a proper noun?
    Also shouldn’t C be in capitals for chicken in the second answer as it is the first word? Why are we penalized for this?

    • The word “chicken” is not the first word of a sentence because there is no sentence. This is not sentence completion, it is short answer questions. Completely different requirements. Try to learn more about how to answer the different types of questions in reading.
      All the best

  41. Hi Liz. Is this text an example for general training? Thanks!

    • This is a similar level of GT reading passage 3. Both GT and academic reading have the same types of questions, so just choose the easier reading passages on my blog for your practice.

  42. Dear Liz Thanks for all you recommendations…. Dear Liz I want to now correct answer for third one. Thanks in advance..

    • Always check the answer keys for the answers. You can find number 3 here: Eggs, in general, were a traditional symbol of fertility and rebirth.

  43. For Question No.3, the answer is fertility rebirth. If my answer is rebirth only it this correct or wrong?

  44. Hi Liz, Thanks for the test. I should have read more on the instruction. No more than 2 words.

  45. hi Liz just want to know since the answer at no.3 question is fertility rebirth , Is this considered as 2 words without “and”?

    • “fertility rebirth” are just two words. Sorry, I don’t understand your question.

      • what i mean if you put fertility rebirth, is it correct?it seems not a logical answer… in the paragraph, it says fertility and rebirth. so are we allowed to alter it?

        • You are asked to find two words and to answer a question. So, you should provide two words. You have not been asked to complete a sentence. Each type fo question has different requirements for the answer. Read about the question types and learn more.
          All the best

  46. wadud dewan says

    Hey, liz, Recently I’m start my ielts exam preparation, so please say me, How to improved for reading part i want to overall 6 so how to get it, please kindly your excellent information.
    I’m from Dhaka in Bangldesh, IDP or British council which is better to ielts, so i expect your information ….

  47. Can I just write Fertility ; rebirth ?

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