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.
v. acquire — to get or gain something, usually permanently
adj. justified — proved to be valid or appropriate
ph. v. drum up — to gather, obtain or collect something or someone (e.g. a meeting)
n. badge — a distinguishing mark of membership, e.g. one’s name on a piece of paper
adj. intolerable — hard to stand, bear or tolerate
adv. otherwise — if not, then; or else
adj. convenient — suitable for one’s needs, easy to use
v. cull — to choose the best and discard the bad
n. anathema — (fig.) a person or thing that is hated
v. defeat the purpose — to make the reason for which something is done meaningless
n. tension — strain, either physical or mental
n. inferior — a person of lower rank in a company
v. rein — to rule, to command
adj. detrimental — harmful, injurous
v. stifle — to suppress, to choke
n. glory — praise, honour or fame
n. crumbs — small pieces of something, usually food (bread crumbs)
adv. apace — rapidly, quickly
v. span — an interval; a period of time
adj. compatible — fitting, able to coexist (computer components are compatible)
adj. splendid — luxurious, great, grand, magnificent
adj. insular — isolated, remote, detached
n. wheeler-dealer — a person in charge of something, an active and effective manager
adj. meek — (of a person) patient, submissive
adv. hitherto — until now, until this time
adj. menial — relating to a job that needs little skill or qualification to be done
n. literacy — ability to read and write
v. rest on one’s laurels — to enjoy past achievements without doing much in the present
n. bedrock — basic principles; base of something
adv. fully-fledged — finished, completely developed
v. conspire — to plan or agree to do something secretly
n. solitude — state of being alone, without others around
n. contempt — dislike, disrespect towards others; disdain
n. peer pressure — influence from group of people of your age, esp. in young years
n. attitude — how one views something or someone, relation towards it
phr. v. frown upon — dislike or disapprove something
adj. substantial — considerable in size, value or appearance
v. entice — to attract or tempt someone to do something
adj. contemporary — belonging or coming from the same age
v. originate — to come from (about place of birth/creation)
adj. obscure — difficult to understand and strange
v. comprise — to contain or include something
adj. rigid — strict and hard to change; hard to bend
n. burden — something heavy that you carry
n. reflection — a mirrored image; process of thinking
n. flexibility — ability to change and adapt to circumstances
Answer Keys and Scores
IELTS Reading Section 1 Answer Keys
- Yes. Paragraph one, first sentence. “Unjustified air of modernity” means that it is unfairly thought of as something new. It is implied then that the concept of networking is old — just like the task states.
- No. Last sentence of paragraph one. The opposite idea is clearly stated.
- Yes. Second paragraph, first sentence. It is clearly said that all people can be divided into two types and their description is given.
- Yes. Sentences two and three of second paragraph confirm the task statement.
- Not given. Sentence three of paragraph two has the expression “strong within themselves”. This statement doesn’t mean physical strength, but rather a person’s mental and psychological capability. No information about physical qualities of a good networker is given in the text.
- Brings success. Paragraph three, first sentence. “Causes problems” in the text is synonymised as “has disadvantages” in the task.
- (very) insecure/jealous/nervous. Last sentence of paragraph three. The word “manager” isn’t paraphrased so it is quite easy to find, making it an excellent choice of keyword for this question.
- Block. Same last sentence of third paragraph. Note that “stifle” isn’t the right word as it is the synonym of “suppress” from the task.
- Companies and enterprises. Paragraph four, sentence two. “To expand” and “to grow” are synonymized. Business becomes a good keyword, making for easier navigation.
- Cooperation and contact. Middle of paragraph four. “Specialist” or “specialise” is the keyword that helps here.
- (the) academic world. The first sentence of paragraph five. “Jealously” remains unchanged while “guarded” is changed to “protected”.
- (the) stereotypical academic. Paragraph five, sentences three and four. The natural propensity to isolation makes an academic poor networker.
- (around) Cambridge (in England). Last sentence of paragraph five. “Which” refers to the word closest to it, so the answer is Cambridge and not Silicon Valley.
- Homo Sapiens. Paragraph six, second sentence. “Supersede” is a scientific term that means “to replace something old-fashioned or less developed”. Keep in mind that both words should be capitalised.
- Culture. Paragraph six, second sentence enumerates three basic distinctions — understanding, though abstraction and culture. Be careful to write only “Culture” as your answer as the other two are already mentioned in the task.
IELTS Reading Section 2 Answer Keys
- III. Last sentence of the paragraph gives an accurate summary of it. Title IV is wrong — the period discussed in the paragraph is before the St. Augustine’s.
- VIII. The influence of literacy on economies is mentioned both in the beginning and at the end of this paragraph, being the main idea of the abstract. Title V doesn’t fit — India sure has a great amount of educated people and it is mentioned in the text but it is a minor detail rather that the main point of the paragraph.
- XI. Once again the last sentence accurately sums up the idea of whole paragraph. Title VIII would not fit as it has “countries” in plural, whereas this paragraph is solely about the UK. Title XI doesn’t fit — the phrase “billions of pounds” is mentioned, but only as a supportive argument to the general idea. Remember that titles should reflect the main topic of the paragraph.
- VI. Most Western nations and the UK are considered to be “developed nations”. The negative attitude to reading is also mentioned as the key reason for declining literacy rate among population of these countries.
- X. The focus of the paragraph is how the young part of population sees reading. Title VI would be wrong because there is no mentioning of declining levels of literacy. The main idea is that reading as an activity is frowned upon.
- XII. The author expresses his opinion on the whole matter rather ironically. No other title fits this short paragraph.
- VII. The author suggest a number of ways to change the current situation.
- Yes. Paragraph B, last sentence. The European countries have spent too much time “resting on their laurels” or enjoying the past achievements. India is an example of said “other country” that managed to overtake developed nations in the literacy department.
- Yes. Last sentence of paragraph C clearly states the same. Reading is indeed an economic force
- Not given. Last sentence of paragraph D talks about falling rates of literacy in developed countries. However, the author says nothing about how much lower the literacy of first-world countries is in comparison to less developed nations. We can neither confirm nor refute this statement so the answer is “not given”.
- Yes. This is a rather difficult question. Look at sentence six of paragraph E. It states that the bullying kids do so because of their insecurity about their own level of literacy. This means that if we were to make them love reading from the early age it would make them less biased towards other reading children. The word “subcultures” helps us to find this piece of information that is relevant to the answer.
- No. Sentence five of paragraph G states that reading comics and magazines “is frowned upon”. However, the next sentence states that it doesn’t make much difference what people read as long as they enjoy reading. So the second sentence means that people shouldn’t be discouraged from reading light fiction. The opposite is true.
IELTS Reading Section 3 Answer Keys
- V. This title is a fairly easy to choose. Petrarchan sonnet is the main topic and there are not alternative titles with word Petrarchan in them.
- VII. The paragraph talks about how various structures could serve different needs and express varied emotions. Octaves and sestets fit for expressing different feelings and notions. Title I isn’t good enough — it is too simplistic and doesn’t satisfy the main topic of the paragraph, this title being too narrow and specific.
- IV. Shakespearean contribution to the form of sonnet is the main notion of this paragraph. Word Shakespeare is a perfect keyword for this abstract.
- XIII. The paragraph focuses on the developments based on the original sonnet form. Title VIII wouldn’t fit as only one of the variations was made out of dissatisfaction with the current choice of rhyme models — the Caudete sonnet. The paragraph has other variations so this title wouldn’t fully cover the theme of it.
- VI. The second part of the paragraph challenges the idea of this format as being a real sonnet and not a completely different form of poetry.
- Contemporaries. Paragraph A, first sentence. A contemporary is a person who lived or lives in the same time period as the other person in question.
- Sonnet / little song. Paragraph A, sentence number two. Three decades are thirty years. The words for the answers are found in the very beginning of the paragraph, but the structure that hints at these answers is in the second sentence: “It originated … dating from the third decade of the thirteenth century.”.
- Petrarch. Last sentence of paragraph A. Both Dante and Petrarch are mentioned, but the “latter” is named to be the better one. Latter means the last of the named ones. Do not forget to capitalize Petrarch — it is a proper name.
- Fourteen lines /octave and sestet. Paragraph B, second sentence give a clear answer on the structure of a Petrarchan sonnet.
- More varied. Paragraph C, sentence four. Sestet’s structure is more varied with more variations in the rhyming pattern.
- C. Paragraph C, below the middle. Gayley sais that “sestet … answers the query or doubt”. D is wrong — it isn’t the sestet that has a twofold division but a rhyming pattern in general — division into octave and sestet.
- C. Paragraph D in the middle: “Such structure allows greater flexibility…”. Answer B is wrong as there is no direct comparison in terms of development.
- D. The second part of paragraph E compares Milton’s and Meredith’s approach to sonnet — last sentence of E. “A similar notion … where most sonnets in the cycle have sixteen lines”.
IELTS Reading Score Reference Table