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In this article we’ll take a look at Exercise 2 of the IELTS Reading test.

To get a good result at the IELTS test, you need to be familiar with the different types of questions and that’s what we’re focusing on here.

It is also important to study and practice for all sections of the IELTS exam. So, let’s get started!

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IELTS Academic Reading Exercise 2 Sample Texts and Questions

Before we focus on the different types of questions and answers, we’re going to look at some sample texts and questions.

Sample Question 1

Complicated Calories


The formula for maintaining a stable weight–consume no more calories than the body needs for warmth, basic functioning and physical activity is just another way of saying that the first law of thermodynamics still holds for biological systems: the total amount of energy taken into a closed system (in this case, the body) must equal the total amount expended or stored.

But there is nothing in that law that requires the body to use all sources of food with the same efficiency. Which brings us to the issue of whether all calories contribute equally to weight gain.

The text above is focusing on diet and calories. Remember world health and food is a popular subject for IELTS Academic Reading! One of the key skills that IELTS tests is your general understanding of a text. This is why they often ask a question where you need to give a label to each paragraph, as follows:

List of Headings:

  1. Eating Calories vs. Absorbing Them
  2. Burning Calories
  3. Fiber Lost to Feces
  4. Scientific Laws Apply to Homo sapiens
  5. Mixed Metabolism
  6. Atwater to the Rescue
  7. Healthier Diet = Better Results?
  8. Middle-Aged Metabolism
  9. Calorimeter Expérimentation

You don’t need to understand every word to be able to answer this question. However, you do need to be good at having a global understanding quite quickly.

Sample Question 2


Psychologists have long been looking for ways to turn off those unwelcome thoughts, and now a study from the University of Reading in England suggests a fresh approach: chew some gum.

Psychologist Philip Beaman and his colleagues found that college students exposed to a catchy song snippet who then chewed gum reported fewer earworms than those who did not chew. The act of chewing gum, as with silently reading, talking or singing to yourself, engages the tongue, teeth and other parts of the anatomy used to produce speech, called subvocal articulators. These sub vocalizations lessen the brain’s ability to form verbal or musical memories.

In this extract, we’re speaking about earworms. In the case you do not know what earworms are, do not panic because the definition will be given right after. IELTS will often speak about a keyword which will be explained in the text.
The sample question for this paragraph is the following:

Fortunately, chewing gum solved the writer’s earworm problem.

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Not given

This type of question is on every IELTS test therefore make sure you practice doing them. You can only select “No” if there is something in the article which contradicts the question.

Sample Question 3

Here we have an extract from a reading text on cancer drugs and cell development:


This research changes how we think about cancer at some level,” Matus says. “We think of cancer as a disease of uncontrolled cell division, and in fact, many cancer drugs are designed to target these dividing cells. But our study suggests that we need to figure out how to target these nondividing cells, too, as these are the ones that are invasive.”

This time the question is a straightforward multiple choice question:

What conclusion does David Matus draw about future cancer drugs?

  1. Nondividing cells should be taken into consideration when designing cancer drugs
  2. His team’s findings will improve cancer drugs within the next 4 months
  3. Most cancer drugs are already designed to target non dividing cells
  4. Other research teams will have issues finding the dividing cells.

For multiple choice questions, try to eliminate the answers you’re sure are wrong first. That way you increase your chance of getting the correct answer!

Sample Question 4

In our final sample, the text is speaking about viruses:


While the potential for saving lives through viral treatments of bacterial infections is just hitting the road, viruses may have proven to be a possible highway to a cure for cancer.

All across the world, companies have been working to develop virus-based therapeutics against this potentially deadly disease. The efforts have always held promise but now thanks to a recent decision by the FDA, the dreams may finally come to fruition. In October, the FDA approved the first virus-based cancer therapy for melanoma. This milestone was long coming but it won’t be the first of its kind.

This time, you need to find the paragraph which speaks about the information in the question:

This passage has seven paragraphs labelled A-G.
Which paragraphs contain the following information?
Choose the correct letter A-G for questions 16-22.
NB: You may use any letter more than once in your answer.

The Food & Drug Administration recently approved a virus-based cancer drug.








Always double-check the instructions because sometimes you can use a paragraph more than once. However, it isn’t always the case.

In order to prepare well for the IELTS Reading Section, you need to work with practice texts and start reading the questions carefully. You also need to read the sample answers. On our e-learning platform, you’ll find numerous questions and answers for all parts of the IELTS test.

The IELTS Reading Test has seven different question types

The IELTS reading exam features seven different question types and you could encounter any of these question types in Exercise 2.
This article focuses on two of these question types, Identifying Information and Identifying Writers’ views.
If you want to know how to do Summary Completion, read Practice for the Reading Exercise 1. If you want to learn about Matching Headings, read Practice for the Reading Exercise 3.

Identifying Information questions

In this type of question, you will be given a piece of information that you will have to find in the passage. Moreover you will also have to write a letter of the relevant paragraph on the answer sheet. Of course, the information will not be expressed exactly the same way in the passage and in the question. You will need to look for synonyms or paraphrases that express the same meaning.

There are many examples of this on GlobalExam but here we will focus on just one. The passage is about “Complicated Calories” and explains different theories regarding how the body processes the calories obtained from food.

This passage has eight paragraphs labelled A-H.
Which paragraphs contain the following information?
Write the correct letter A-H in boxes 7 – 12 on your answer sheet.
NB: You may use any letter more than once in your answer.


Researchers once believed that humans had a unique way of processing food.


Research in this area is evolving, and understanding why it has taken so long to get definitive answers requires a trip back in history to the late 1890’s and the tiny community of Storrs, Connecticut.

There a chemist by the name of Wilber O. Atwater built the first research station in the US designed to study the production and consumption of food.  In fact, Atwater was the first to prove that the first law of thermodynamics holds for humans as well as animals. (Some scientists of his day thought that people might be the exception to the rule.)

This example is taken from an exercise graded as “Easy”. The benefit of training using GlobalExam is that you can progress from “Easy” to “Medium” to “Hard” examples. You can also be improving your exam technique and at the same time increasing your level of English.

Identifying writers’ views (True/Yes, False/no, Not given questions)

In this type of question you have to decide if a specific piece of information, or the writer’s opinion on a particular point, is contained in the passage.

Here is one example from an “Easy” passage about Earworms, which describes the phenomenon of having a song or piece of music in your head that you cannot ignore.

You need to decide if the statement is in agreement with the views of the author (Yes), contradicts the author (No) or if there is no information in the passage that confirms or denies the statement (Not given). In an exam you need to quickly skim read the whole passage to find the relevant paragraph. However in this exercise the answer is in Paragraph G. Can you find the relevant sentence?


The writer doesn’t appreciate her earworm and has not integrated it into her life.

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Not given

Practice for Both Versions of the IELTS Exam Online With Globalexam

On GlobalExam you can train in real exam conditions on dozens of exercises that follow the same pattern as the real test. All the exercises come with a correction and explanations, and your score is automatically saved. Register now for free and try out our trial version. You’ll be able to see what the platform looks like, and see our content.

Our content includes over 30,000 questions, which we update regularly. You’ll have access to complete practice IELTS tests (General and Academic), as well as many sample questions for each part of the test.

You decide which part of the test you want to focus on. You can also use the platform’s timer to check that you’re working within the time limit for each section. If you feel your grammar or vocabulary needs some work, GlobalExam is here to help. We have numerous pages for grammar and lexical words, which are designed to help you get your desired result on IELTS.

If you’re training for another test, have a look at our platform as well! We cover 27 different exams and tests, from DELF to TOEIC. Our platform is available in 5 different languages – Mandarin, Spanish, German, French and English.