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In this article we’ll be taking a look at the first exercise of the IELTS Reading paper.

We’ll have a closer look at some sample texts and their accompanying question types so that you will feel better prepared, as well as giving you some tips to prepare!

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IELTS Reading Exercise 1 Sample Texts and Questions

One of the main ways to improve your IELTS Reading Section result is by working with sample texts and questions. Exercise 1 is usually the easiest text, as IELTS Reading Exercises 2 and IELTS Reading Exercise 3 are progressively more difficult. Here with some extracts from exercise 1:

Sample Text 1

Have a look at the first paragraph of the following text:

Bone Tissue Engineering with Human Stem Cells


Bones are organs of the skeletal system, providing shape, mechanical support and protection to the body, and facilitating movement. In addition, bones contribute to the mineral homeostasis of the body and have recently been found to participate in endocrine regulation of energy metabolism.

During development, bones form by two distinct processes: intramembranous and endochondral ossification. In intramembranous ossification, cells of the condensed mesenchymal tissue differentiate into osteoblasts and directly form bone. In contrast, endochondral ossification involves the formation of cartilaginous anlage, which then undergoes calcification and invasion by blood vessels, resulting in the formation of new bone by mesenchymal stem cells.

As you can see, the text is quite challenging, so you need practice to be able to understand this kind of information quickly and efficiently. Remember: you do not need to understand everything in detail. Your main goal when reading for the first time is to understand globally what the main subject of each paragraph is.

Let’s have a look at the questions for this text:

  • Complete the flowchart below.
  • Choose no more than two words from the text for each answer.

chart about human bones for ielts exam

A popular question in IELTS Academic Reading is to ask you to fill in a diagram based on the information you saw in the article. Start by reading the instructions carefully when they mention: “No more than two words.” The instruction means that if you write “2” and not “two”, your answer will be incorrect. It’s very easy to lose points quickly on IELTS, simply by not reading the questions carefully enough.

Sample Text 2

In our second example, the subject is very different:

Harsh, critical parenting may drive kids’ brains to overreact to errors


In an age when the formula for success seems infinitely regressive–when having a good career means going to a good college, which requires acing your way through a top high school, middle school, and even preschool– the onus is on the parent to push, push, push.

We want our children to get a foot in the door before they even know how to tie the shoe that is on it. But should we encourage our children through tender praise, or do we embrace the “tiger mom” strategy of punishment and criticism?

This time, we’re looking at parenting, specifically the impact of parents being very strict and critical. Again, remember you only need to understand the gist of the text, not every word.


Now research suggests that parents who stroke their children with harsh scolding may also be saddling them with anxieties that last a lifetime. In a survey published last November, researchers collected childhood memories from more than 4,000 adults from all ages and correlated them with the participants’ self reported mental health. The findings suggest that children with authoritarian parents will have a harder time adapting to adversity later in life.

Now let’s look at an example question:

In Paragraph B, what did the survey show?

  1. Severe punishment did not cause problems later in life
  2. Participants with demanding parents often have issues facing hardship later in life
  3. Participants had no memories of their early childhood
  4. Anxious children felt the need to be disciplined

As you can see, the first questions here are slightly different – you have multiple choice answer questions, related to one paragraph. If the question asks specifically about paragraph B, don’t waste time looking at other paragraphs to find the answer. If the question says that the answer is in paragraph B, the answer will be there.

Sample Text 3

IELTS Reading texts often compare humans with other creatures found in nature. Have a look at the introduction to the following text:



The ability to crawl up vertical walls is not only cool, but also a huge advantage to escape being eaten or to surprise prey. Many species have arrived at this conclusion and found different ways of acquiring the super power (unlike Marvel’s Spider-Man, who was bitten by a radioactive spider). A new study recently published in PNAS shows that nature offers variations to vertical climbing – basically, either you are super sticky or freakishly big-footed.

As you can see, in this text, we’re looking at where you can find the ability to climb vertical walls in nature. The questions for this text are slightly different:

diagram for ielts exam

This time you have to match the headings to the different paragraphs. It is common that many people lose a lot of time in this part of the exercise. One good technique is to choose the ones you are 95% sure of first, and then work through the other ones.

Above is another example of a typical IELTS Reading question: choose a replacement title. This demonstrates to the examiner that you can accurately choose a title which would summarize the article. If you do not know the correct answer, you should respond instead of leaving a blank. There’s no negative marking at the IELTS test.

Sample Text 4

In the next sample text, the subject is liars and lying:

The history of humankind is strewn with crafty and seasoned liars like Hogue. Many are criminals who spin lies and weave deceptions to gain unjust financial rewards– the financier Bernie Madoff did for years, duping investors out of billions of dollars until his Ponzi scheme collapsed.

Some politicians lie to come to power or cling to it, as Richard Nixon famously did when he denied any role in the Watergate scandal. Sometimes people lie to inflate their image or to cover up bad behavior, as American swimmer Ryan Lochte did during the 2016 Summer Olympics by claiming to have been robbed at gunpoint at a gas station when, in fact he and his teammates, drunk after a party, had been confronted by armed security guards after damaging property.

This time the question is similar to the ones we saw for Sample Text One – you have a diagram to complete based on the information in the text:

diagram for exam exercise

With this type of question, don’t hesitate to read through the diagram first to find what information they’re asking you for. In the next step, while you are reading the text, you will be able to find the information you need.

Sample Text 5

In our final example the subject is the impact of new technology – an IELTS favourite!


THE WORLD IS IN THE THROES OF A TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTION that differs from the periodic waves of technical change that have marked the progress of industrial society since its origins 200 years ago. A shift is occurring in the socio technologicalC paradigm that underlies our current sophisticated industrial structure.

This old paradigm consists of the mass production of essentially standardized goods in ever-larger units; an emphasis on quantitative goals for production, requiring ever higher inputs of capital, energy, and raw materials to produce more and more; and little attention to environmental impact, resource use, and conservation issues. 

The questions related to this particular text are perhaps the most challenging!

yes or no question type for exam

The Yes – No – Not Given are usually the types of questions that people find the most difficult, especially the Not Given questions! Make sure you practice these types of questions as they’re guaranteed to be in the test!

It’s important to practice with sample answers as well as questions! On the GlobalExam platform you’ll find numerous answers which you can read and work with.

Some Tips to Help You Succeed Your Exam and Get a Better Result

Let’s take a look at some useful tips that will help you feel at ease when passing the IELTS exam.

Read the instructions attentively

Reading instructions correctly and adhering to them is always vital during a test, but it is even more important to do so during the Reading section of the IELTS. In this section, if your answer does not perfectly correspond to the format described, it will be invalid!

Get the general meaning

It is important to learn vocabulary, but there can be words you have never seen before. If you hesitate on what a word could mean, don’t focus on that word in particular, just try to understand the meaning of the whole sentence.

Be careful with the timing

If you do not know the answer to one question, try to answer the next one. You can always come back to the question later because it is important not to lose time.

Practice and Train For the IELTS Online With GlobalExam

GlobalExam is the first platform 100% dedicated to online preparation for language proficiency tests. On GlobalExam, you can train for the IELTS in real exam conditions thanks to full mock exams with the correction, but also thanks to the dozens of exercises per section of the test.In order to achieve a high score on the test, we recommend to practice for the IELTS in real exam conditions.

Each result is automatically saved, and it gives you your overall progression along your training. According to this, you will be able to see where you perform well, and where you have gaps. For that, we have created vocabulary and grammar study sheets for you to practice!

We have over 30,000 questions in 5 different languages – Spanish, English, French, German and Mandarin – to help you prepare and these questions are regularly updated by our pedagogical experts. GlobalExam can prepare you for IELTS, but we also have training for 27 different tests, including DELF, TOEIC, and TOEFL.

You can try GlobalExam for free and do the equivalent of a full test, you just have to register! GlobalExam can help you reach the score you need.