1. photography. Paragraph 1, sentence 3. ‘Breakthrough’ from the task is paraphrased as ‘advancement’ in the text.
2. falling/descent. Both words convey the meaning and are present in the text, namely in the middle of paragraph 1.
3. tail. To aid means to help, to make something easier. The cat’s tail, surprisingly, does not help it land on its paws. ‘Upright’ means not upside down.
4. right. Paragraph 3, sentence 1. Pay attention to the fact that in the task you can only use ONE word, and in the text we have ‘to the right’. Therefore, just putting ‘right’ in the answer form is the only option here.
5. opposite. Paragraph 3, sentence 3. ‘Rear’ in the text is the paraphrased ‘back’ from the task.
6. inertia. Last sentence of paragraph 3. The main paraphrase here is ‘to make up for’, transformed to ‘compensate’.
7. landing. Ending of paragraph 3: Just before landing, the cat puts its front paws forward.
8. ground. Note that the word we need in the gap should be a verb, as suggested by ‘to’ before the gap. Normally, you would expect to use ‘land’, but it is not present in the context of these sentences.
9. FALSE. First sentence in paragraph 4 states the opposite. ‘All fours’ in the task match ‘feet’ in the text. Do not be alarmed by the usage of ‘feet’ in relation to an animal; this is perfectly acceptable, just as much as ‘paws’ or ‘legs’.
10. TRUE. The biggest challenge is understanding what ‘aural’ means. This word refers to one’s ability to hear things. Last sentence of paragraph 6 states that it has no impact on a cat’s successful landing.
11. NOT GIVEN. Paragraph 6 starts with a question about how cats manage to survive falling from heights. This is the extent of the information we get, but there is no statement about cats being able to survive a fall from any height. No definitive answer can be given here.
12. TRUE. Last sentence of paragraph 6 mentions that cats get a chance to relax their muscles and spread their bodies, thus increasing aerodynamic drag and lowering the speed of their fall.
13. FALSE. The opposite is true; Brian Phelps is mentioned as an example of accomplishing such a feat.
14. FALSE. Directly opposite information is given in paragraph 2, second sentence. ‘Unlike today’ shows clear contrast with the statement made in the task.
15. FALSE. 5 percent is the total number of people suffering from this phenomenon. Of those 5%, some experience it regularly, while others do so much less frequently.
16. TRUE. Paragraph 5, last sentence states that hallucinating can be one of the effects of sleep paralysis. ‘To see things’ means to have visions that are not real.
17. TRUE. Sentences 1 and 2 of paragraph 6 confirm the idea, suggesting sleeping on the side as a viable alternative.
18. C. Paragraph 5 mentions all the symptoms, with nausea not being mentioned as one.
19. C. The ways to ‘dispel’ this state (make it go away) are listed in paragraph 7. The opposite of Answer A is stated: it is harmless, according to the last sentence of paragraph 3. Answer B is wrong; the biological purpose of SP is given in paragraph 4, sentence 2. Answer D, probably referring to first sentence of paragraph 8, says that such people are less likely to have SP but are not immune to it.
20. state. A fairly simple answer. ‘Danger’ doesn’t fit as it is a real condition rather than just a risk of it happening. It is not a disease; you can’t get it from somebody else. ‘Fear’ doesn’t fit either – see ‘danger’.
21. speak. The one other word that fits grammatically is ‘think’, but according to the text, you are quite conscious even when affected by sleep paralysis.
22. superstitions. ‘Dating back to ancient times’ is a helpful part, making it easy to connect the idea to paragraph 2 of the text.
23. stop. Sentence 2 of paragraph 4 mentions the biological need for sleep paralysis.
24. fear. Paragraph 5. Note that ‘danger’ doesn’t work here, as ‘danger’ cannot be used as a symptom, only as a sensation, e.g. ‘a sensation/sense of danger’.
25. breath. Paragraph 5: ‘it can also be difficult to breathe’.
26. danger. Last sentence of paragraph 3 contains the answer. Note that ‘harm’ shouldn’t be used as the word cant be found in the text – in IELTS Reading you should favour the words that are present in the test text.
27. food. The middle of paragraph 2 says that they gather food for future use. – HMMM
28.protecting/defending. In the second paragraph, they ensure hive safety from outsiders. This time, you get some leeway with phrasing the answer.
29. larvae. Plural of ‘larva’, this part can prove difficult if you are not familiar with the word ‘satiated’. It means ‘well-fed, not hungry’.
30. mate. Do not use ‘have offspring’ as the answer is limited to one word only.
31. female. Over the course of evolution, worker bees reproductory function has gone.
32. reliant. Sentence 3 of paragraph 5 mentions the queen’s total reliance on worker bees when it comes to food. ‘Totally’ is synonymized as ‘completely’.
33. fertilizing/impregnating. Second sentence of the paragraph relating to drones has the answer. Once again, you get some freedom with wording, as both words can be found in the text.
34. food. Last paragraph mentions this peculiarity of drones.
35. exiled. Last two sentences of the text contain the answer. As is often the case with the last part of IELTS Reading, you face more difficult vocabulary that is needed to get some questions right.
36. TRUE. Paragraph 2 of the text states that worker bees are the predominant type in a bee colony. It is also added that they can only be female, which is irrelevant to the question but might add to the confusion.
37. TRUE. Last sentence of paragraph 4 says that a queen is ‘the sole ruler’, meaning that there can be only one queen at a time. There is also a part that mentions fertilised eggs that give birth to other queens. However, they are used when the queen is dead or dying, as stated in the last sentence of paragraph 5.
38. FALSE. The opposite is mentioned in paragraph 4 – bees can control the gender by choosing to fertilise the egg or not, effectively manipulating the gender.
39. NOT GIVEN. You are tricked into assuming that the drone is larger because it is male and eats much more than a worker bee. However, no information about their relative size is presented in the text, so be careful with the answer.
40. TRUE. Middle of paragraph 7 mentions the drone’s much more developed eyesight and perception that it has thanks to more facets in their eyes. A direct comparison with a worker bee is given here, so a conclusive answer can be chosen this time.
The vocabulary below is meant to help you with the more difficult words. If the word isn’t on the list then you are either supposed to know it or it is too specific to be worth learning and you don’t have to know it to answer the question. Symbols in brackets mean part of speech (see bottom of the list). Sentences in italics give examples of usage for some more complex words and phrases.
And remember — you are not given a vocabulary list (or a dictionary) at your real exam.
Paw (n) – the part of the leg of an animal, such as a dog, a cat, or a wolf, which has claws and soft pads of skin.
Plausible (adj) – something that looks or sounds possible or trustworthy. A plausible explanation for the increased smoking among teenagers is the positive portrayal of smoking in movies and TV-series.
Descent (n) – the process of going down. During the plane’s descent, you might feel the aircraft shaking; this is completely normal, and you shouldn’t be alarmed by it.
Ascertain (v) – to make sure, to confirm something.
Latter (pron) – the last one mentioned. Dogs and cats are both very popular as pets; the latter are more favoured by people living in flats.
Debunk (v) – to prove something untrue, especially a myth or a theory. I know a guy who debunks urban myths on YouTube for a living.
Momentum (n) – (here) to gain and maintain speed in a particular direction. In order to ride up this steep bridge, you will need momentum to carry you up, so make sure to accelerate hard when approaching it.
Proposition (n) – a suggestion or an idea that is open to consideration by others. My proposition to push the lunch break to 1 p.m. was rejected by people because most of them do not have breakfast at home and get hungry by noon.
Extremity (n) – a limb such as an arm, leg, or other limb that extends beyond the end of one’s body.
Inertia (n) – used a physics-related word here; inertia is an object’s tendency to keep doing what it currently does. If it is stationary, then it requires energy to move; if it is moving, it too requires energy to be stopped.
Propel (v) – push or apply force to move something in a particular direction.
Blindfolded (adj) – with one’s eyes covered and therefore unable to see. I was blindfolded and given some food to taste, then choose then one I liked best.
Proactivity (n) – acting before something happens, as opposed to reacting, which is acting after something has already taken place.
Aerodynamic drag – the force that prevents you from gaining more speed as air density goes higher.
Malicious (adj) – evil by nature, desiring to do harm.
Numbness (n) – a state of not having any sensation; can refer to both physical and emotional aspects. I had numbness in my left arm because I was sleeping on it.
Ominous (adj) – if something is ominous, then it is a sign of something bad that is likely to happen in the future. The teacher had an ominous look on his face – I guessed that most of us had failed the exam.
Spawn (v) – give birth to, either figuratively or literally.
Superstition (n) – a widely held belief that is based on myths or legends rather than facts and experience. One common superstition is that a black cat crossing your path means bad luck.
Abrupt (adj) – sudden and unexpected; often used negatively. It took her a while to get used to the abrupt change in life that introduced the death of her relative.
Uninterrupted (adj) – without any unwanted stops (interruptions).
Unbearably (adv) – too much to tolerate; used negatively. The commercial breaks during this show are unbearably dull and uninspired.
Imminent (adj) – unavoidable and coming very soon; almost always used negatively. The realisation that death is imminent makes many people uncomfortable with themselves.
Stifling (adj) – uncomfortably hot. A stifling day in July really makes you want to move to the seaside.
Involuntary (adj) – something that you have no control over; also, something you did not agree to. A strange fit that made one of my fingers twitch involuntary.
Drastically (adv) – considerably, very much. Quitting drinking and smoking has drastically changed her life for the better.
Surefire (adj) – guaranteed to succeed. A surefire way to do well at college is to apply yourself academically since elementary school and never miss classes.
Recede (v) – to gradually become less intense. The storm receded, and eventually we were able to leave our underground shelter.
Incomprehensible (adj) – extremely difficult or impossible to understand because of the way it is said or written. Teachers always complain about my supposedly incomprehensible writing, but my mother can read it just fine.
Susceptible (adj) – more likely to be affected by something negative. Having lived in a warm climate all my life, I catch a cold easily whenever I hate to travel to a country with a temperate climate.
Stem from (v) – to come from, to have something as the source. My fear of dogs probably stems from my traumatic childhood experience with one.
Swarm (n) – normally means a big group of flying insects; used in a slightly different meaning that is explained in the text right after. A swarm of mosquitoes clouded above the street lamp.
Predominant (adj) – occurring in most cases or in greater numbers than anything else. Pines are the predominant type of tree in these woods.
Deprive of (v) – to take something away, especially something that one wants or needs. Prisoners in third-world countries are usually deprived of the most basic human rights.
Offspring (n) – children, more often used in reference to animals, birds, or insects than humans.
Deteriorated (adj) – something that became worse than it was before. With time, his lonely life deteriorated into spending days staring at the wall and reminiscing about the past.
Retain (v) – to keep something, to continue having it.
Prime (adj) – most important. Your prime duty at this job is to organise Mr. Brown’s schedule and redirect his phone calls.
Larvae (n) – a first, primitive, and helpless stage of life for many insects.
Satiated (adj) – fed, not hungry.
Intruder (n) – an unwelcome, often aggressive thing or person to one’s place of living. There was a rather disturbing sign at the gate entrance: “Intruders are shot on sight”.
Chastity (n) – state of not engaging in an intercourse (mating).
Coincide with (v) – to happen at the same time. It took me great effort to make my 10-day vacation coincide with the Christmas holidays.
Pollination (v) – a process of plant reproduction that happens thanks to bees and other insects who seek nectar and, incidentally, carry pollen from male to female flowers, fertilising them in the process.
Apiary (n) – a location where artificially made small houses with bee hives are kept. The person working with bees is known as an apiarist.
Inbreeding (n) – mating among closely related males and females. This is considered unnatural, and if it leads to pregnancy, it might lead to genetic disorders in the offspring.
Fertile (adj) – (about living things) able to get pregnant and give birth.
Puberty (n) – stage of physical maturity and reproductive functionality. They say that teens reach puberty earlier nowadays than they did several decades ago.
Bosom (n) – female breasts.
Bulky, cumbersome (adj) – big and awkward.
Cornerstone (adj) – an integral, fundamental part of something that cannot be taken away. Sharing is a cornerstone principle of our community; you should be ready to both give and take without feeling sorry about it.
Humble (adj) – not proud, thinking of oneself as not better than others. They say that geniuses are rarely humble because, usually, they are fully aware of how special they really are.
Agitated (adj) – visibly worried. Anna seemed quite agitated; it was later that I found out the reason—she had been shortlisted for the local beauty pageant.
Procreate (v) – to have progeny; in other words, to give birth and to continue one’s lineage.
Spare no expense – to do everything possible to achieve a goal. We spared no expense in organising this holiday for you, so hopefully it will be to your satisfaction.
Acute (adj) – (about senses) well-developed.
Spatial (adj) – relating to space.
Exempt from (adj) – not having to participate in something, especially something unpleasant or undesirable. Post-graduate students in this country are exempt from compulsory military duty.
Raison d’etre (French): reason to exist, ultimate purpose.
Click to download this IELTS Reading Worksheet in PDF.